I’m a Harry Potter fan. My friends know it. My co-workers know it. My family knows it. The random girl sitting next to me on the plane knows it.
I follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter. I’ve read and reread all of the Harry Potter books; I’ve read essays and books about the books, I have a Pottermore profile, and yes I’m a Hufflepuff.
I’m even going to a program in a castle in southwest Poland next month for a Live Action Role Play (LARP) called College of Wizardry to pretend to be a witch in a magical universe modeled after the world of Hogwarts castle.
You get the picture.
But, I’m also a huge Zionist.
This is a problem. Because, Ms. Rowling’s comments this week pit two of my greatest passions against each other in the most fundamental way. And, I’m not happy about it.
I even took to Twitter and invited Ms. Rowling to come to Israel and see this country for herself.
What’s even more terrible is that usually when the creative genius that is J.K. Rowling speaks out on a social issue, I’m totally with her – feminism, injustice, homophobia, telling Matthew Lewis to warn her next time he models in his underpants (well, maybe I don’t agree with her that one).
And, while I am grateful that Ms. Rowling is against the cultural and academic boycott of Israel – much to the chagrin of many – her reasoning is less than I was hoping for. Do I think that culture, literature, and the arts can serve as a bridge, a point of connection between Israelis and Palestinians? Sure. In some ways –though maybe not right now.
According to Ms. Rowling, and it pains me to write this, “Voldemort believed that non-wizards were subhuman, so it’s valid to draw comparisons between Voldemort and any real human being who regards other races, religions or sexualities as inferior.”
Is this who she thinks the Jewish People are? Is this what she thinks Israel is about?
Do you realize, Ms. Rowling, that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, the only place in the region where people are free to practice their religion of choice without fear of being massacred, the only place where you can be gay, lesbian, or any other orientation without being executed?
And do you realize, that exactly the points you mention – viewing the other as subhuman, viewing my people as worthy of being obliterated, of purposefully attacking women, children, the elderly, and other innocents, simply for being Jewish or Israeli –these are the acts carried out by terrorists in Israel?
In fact, many of the recent attacks have been carried out by Israeli Arabs, who are citizens of Israel. They live in an apartheid where they ride with me on my bus, shop with me in my grocery store, attend my university, sit in my government.
Of course, both sides will claim the other the Death Eater. But, as you demonstrate in your books, you can’t paint a whole group with one brush. After all, Sirius and Bellatrix fell from the same tree, and we always want to have faith, and to find the humanity in people.
I’m sorry Ms. Rowling. I love your books. I love your mind. I love the world you created for me. I love how you instilled in me the belief that everyone is created equal, and no one is deserving of injustice. I love that I learned from Harry, Ron and Hermione, Dumbledore, Serius, Lupin and the Weasleys, to stand up for what is good, and just, and moral.
And, I will continue to stand up for those things.