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An open letter to Emma Watson

When you let others use your name and platform for discrimination against Jews and Israel, you alienate fans like me, and stand on the wrong side of history
Emma Watson poses for photographers at The Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony, Alexandra Palace, England, October 17, 2021. (AP/Scott Garfitt)
Emma Watson poses for photographers at The Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony, Alexandra Palace, England, October 17, 2021. (AP/Scott Garfitt)

Dear Emma,

I have been a huge fan of yours from the beginning of your journey through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I was inspired by your character’s intelligence, wit, and empathy for those imprisoned within the Wizarding World, specifically the house elves. I believed that you too were a well educated young woman, as I understood that you studied at Brown University. However, in your attention or rather inattention to your Instagram page, I think you are sorely lacking. I read that you have given over that social media page to an anonymous Feminist Collective to post their views. Why would you allow your name to be used by others without your knowledge, or input? I’m sure you have gotten plenty of response to the post with a background of Free Palestine, with an unrelated quote on solidarity from an Australian feminist.

I would love to see you become that educated and intelligent individual who takes ownership of her name. Educate yourself on the actual situation. As a feminist, I imagine you believe in women’s rights and women’s equality with men, women being allowed to have a personal social life, marry choice in marriage and the ability to make her own decisions. Much of that is not possible for women living in the Gaza strip or territories in Israel. As a feminist believing in climate change and protecting the environment, you wouldn’t want your name attributed to a society that is constantly polluting the environment and not managing their own waste systems and water systems. As a feminist, you would want children to live in a society that values their lives and education, not one the promotes jihad, and martyrdom. You wouldn’t want children pledging to be martyrs in the name of Hamas and Palestinian Jihad.

Take this opportunity to read Noa Tishby’s book, “Israel – A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth.” This book, written by a self-proclaimed liberal, clears up the misinformation that is being thrown around our intellectual circles. You need to know who are the players truly controlling the lives of the Palestinians and who is actually making their lives miserable. No one wants the Palestinian people to be living difficult lives except their leaders, who use them a bargaining chips around the global community, who encourage “Days of Rage,” in order to force the IDF into defensive tactics which will frequently result in death to the attackers.

Emma, you have a vast platform and many supporters and followers. Allowing that platform to be used by others to promote their own agenda is irresponsible. If you were to poll most Israelis you would find that they want peace, but they need a peace partner. They need a society ready to collaborate in the name of freedom and the right to live in peace side by side. Believe me, there are Palestinians who want peace. There are Palestinians who would like to build bridges and build a thriving Palestinian economy. The movement your post aligns itself with, is not a bridge building movement. J.K. Rowling understands the worldwide effort to delegitimize Israel and the effort to deny the right of Jews to live in their native homeland from bible. I ask you to re-evaluate your choice to allow your name and platform to be used by others. If you don’t speak out against discrimination and antisemitism against Jews and Israel but instead choose to agree with their positions, then you will not only alienate many of your fans and supporters, you will be on the wrong side of history.

Harry Potter had many themes. Good vs. evil runs throughout the series. You may not wish to represent the Wizarding World any longer, but your face will always be part of that world. Truly be a promoter of peace and stand up for what is right. Not for Hamas terrorists, using civilians as human shields. Not for Islamic extremists who throw homosexuals off buildings. Not for jihadists, looking to harm as many Jewish Israelis as possible by sending over kites with bombs attached or flaming Molotov cocktails to start fires on the Israeli side, which burn not only Israeli homes, but Israeli wildlife and vegetation.

Use your celebrity for education and the promotion of peace and security for all people living in and around the Land of Israel. You may not want the responsibility, but you have it anyway.

About the Author
Stephanie Z. Bonder is a proud Jew and lifelong Zionist. Stephanie studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for her junior year abroad and is currently pursuing her masters in Jewish Education at the Hebrew University Melton School of Education. In her volunteer hours, she is on the National Board of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America where she currently serves as Chair of the Speakers Bureau and team member of the Education and Advocacy division. Stephanie teaches teens and adults on Jewish Peoplehood, Zionism and current events in Israel through her involvement with the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest and her synagogue, Congregation Agudath Israel. All of her blogs are her own personal opinions and do not represent the organizations with which she is affiliated.
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