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Israel's UN envoy lashes out after Emma Watson expresses support for Palestinians

Gilad Erdan and former ambassador Danny Danon face online backlash after criticising Harry Potter star who expressed solidarity with Palestinians
Emma Watson at a premiere in NY in 2019 for her movie Little Women (AFP)

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations lashed out at actress Emma Watson on Monday after the Harry Potter star shared a picture on Instagram in solidarity with Palestinians.

In the post, Watson shared a picture from a pro-Palestinian rally with the phrase, "Solidarity is a verb". In the caption, Watson included a quote from British-Australian activist Sara Ahmed, who said: "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 the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground."

Gilad Erdan, Israel's ambassador to the UN, took to Twitter to criticise the actress' remarks, writing: "Fiction may work in Harry Potter but it does not work in reality.

"If it did, the magic used in the wizarding world could eliminate the evils of Hamas (which oppresses women and seeks the annihilation of Israel) and the PA (which supports terror). I would be in favor of that!" he added.

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His comments came shortly after Danny Danon, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, also lashed out at Watson.

"10 points from Gryffindor for being an antisemite," Danon tweeted.

Social media users slammed both Erdan and Danon over their comments, with many claiming they "diminished attention to real cases of anti-semitism".

Leah Greenberg, the co-executive director of Indivisible Project, a nonprofit founded in 2016 in response to the election of Donald Trump as president, said Danon's remarks were "a perfect demonstration of the utterly cynical and bad-faith weaponization of antisemitism to shut down basic expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

"Former Israeli ambassador to the UN calls Emma Watson an ‘antisemite’ for expressing solidarity with the Palestinians. Beyond parody," tweeted broadcaster Mehdi Hasan.

Meanwhile, Palestinian activist Mohammed El-Kurd, who played a crucial role in raising international awareness about the forced evictions of Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, responded with, "Cry louder it's making me laugh."

Watson's Instagram post currently has over 600,000 likes and over 47,000 comments. The picture was originally posted in May by the Bad Activism Collective after Israel's latest offensive on the Gaza Strip resulted in the deaths of more than 250 Palestinians.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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