|Watson’s Instagram post had nearly one million likes and more than 89,000 comments by Tuesday [File: Henry Nicholls/Reuters]|
British actress Emma Watson’s official Instagram account expressed solidarity with the Palestinians in a new post, eliciting widespread support from pro-Palestinian users but also drawing sharp criticism from Israeli officials.
The account of the movie star, known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, on Monday shared a photo of a pro-Palestinian rally with the phrase “Solidarity is a verb.”
The picture was originally released by the Bad Activism Collective in May last year after Israel launched a deadly 11-day offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip, in which several celebrities interfered with the conflict with figures such as Bella Hadid and Susan Sarandon posting messages of support for the Palestinians.
In the caption, there is a quote from British-Australian activist Sara Ahmed, saying: “Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future.
Solidarity involves commitment and work, as well as recognition that even though we don’t have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we live on common ground. Watson’s Instagram bio says her account “has been taken over by an anonymous feminist collective.”
The post, which by Tuesday had nearly one million likes and more than 89,000 comments, was hailed by pro-Palestine social media users. Many thanked Watson for her support, while some added the hashtags #FreePalestine and #PalestineWillBeFree to their comments.
On the other hand, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, criticized the publication:
“Fiction may work in Harry Potter, but in reality it doesn’t work,” he wrote on Twitter. The wizarding world could eradicate the evils of Hamas (which oppresses women and seeks to destroy Israel) and the Palestinian Authority (which supports terrorism). I would be for it! ” he said.
His comments followed those of former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon.
“10 points from Gryffindor for being an antisemite,” Danon tweeted.
Several social media users slammed Danon for his comments.
Leah Greenberg, the coexectual director of the indivisible project, a non-profit organization, which was founded in 2016 in response to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, released the allegations of Danons and said that they were “a perfect demonstration of liberation absolutely cynical and bad-faith weaponisation of antisemitism to shut down basic expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian journalist and activist Mohammed El-Kurd, who played a crucial role in raising international awareness about the forced eviction of Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, responded saying that Watson’s “simple statement” had left “Zionists everywhere … in a frenzy”.