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Hallel Silverman
Hallel Silverman
Proud Progressive Israeli

Magically ignorant: Emma Watson

Renowned actress Emma Watson has used her international platform from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to champion social and humanitarian causes. Although Watson’s character, Hermione Granger, is known as a caring and intelligent individual with a ferocious wit, her recent Instagram post regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict is ill-informed. Ms. Watson has apparently given full control of her account to an “anonymous feminist collective”. This group has distorted its purpose of women’s rights to use Ms. Watson’s social media as a global platform to claim solidarity with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in their crusade against Israel. Rather than (probably unknowingly) supporting terrorists who use children as human shields, Ms. Watson should use her influence to promote peace in the region. She can rectify this by claiming solidarity with Israel, an internationally-recognized leader in women’s rights.

Unpopular opinion; I don’t believe that Emma Watson is an antisemite – I just think she doesn’t care about us in the Middle East enough, or have a deep enough understanding, to review what’s being published under her name.

On January 3rd, Ms. Watson’s account shared a graphic expressing “solidarity” with the pro-Palestinian movement to her 64.2 million followers. This occurred during a spike in Ms. Watson’s social media activity, stemming from the new Harry Potter documentary. The graphic, reading “solidarity is a verb” layered over images of an anti-Israel protest, was accompanied by a quote from Sara Ahmed, a noteworthy feminist scholar. Let me be clear: the words “women’s rights” and “feminism” should never be paired with anti-Israel activity.

She should know better than to hand the keys to her social media over to a band of cowardly radicals who insist on remaining anonymous.

Had this anonymous “feminist” collective done their homework, rather than throwing together click-bait for Ms. Watson’s account, they would quickly learn that there is no better place in the Middle East to be a woman than in Israel. Four years after its establishment, Israel passed the Women’s Equal Rights law of 1951. This law, which stands today, guarantees women equal rights and protections under Israeli law. Across Israel, women enjoy the right to vote in Israel’s democratic elections, express themselves, own businesses, serve in the military, and have risen to the highest ranks of Israel’s government. Israel was the third state in world history to elect a female Prime Minister, Golda Meir, in 1969. It is safe to say that much of Israel’s resounding success has come as a result of its equitable treatment of women. 

The Palestinian territories are notoriously brutal to women. Women in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have reported unspeakable acts of abuse. Some have even been subjected to honor killings for expressing what many in the West consider to be basic liberties. In 2020, there were 55 reported cases of gender-based violence and discrimination against women across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. There were also 37 reported honor killings across the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Keep in mind: these are just the incidents that were officially reported, which are likely only a small fraction of the total.

Let me be clear, choosing any side in the I/P conflict that is not anti-Hamas and pro-coexistence, is inflaming hate and violence.

Make no mistake: Emma Watson has a complex understanding of the world. In addition to a successful acting career, Ms. Watson is an internationally-recognized human rights advocate with an Ivy League education who has served as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. She should know better than to hand the keys to her social media over to a band of cowardly radicals who insist on remaining anonymous. Regardless of who makes up the feminist collective which operates Ms. Watson’s social media presence, its attacks on Israel are reprehensible and ignore legitimate struggles women are facing in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Let me be clear, choosing any side in the I/P conflict that is not anti-Hamas and pro-coexistence, is inflaming hate and violence.

Emma Watson’s fans and followers deserve better than the phony activism displayed recently on her Instagram profile. This post not only encourages antisemitism, it distracts from real-world human rights issues which have plagued the Middle East for decades. I implore Ms. Watson not only to reclaim her social media as her own but to publicly apologize to those who feel attacked by the egregious claims made by a band of radicals.

About the Author
Hallel Silverman is an American born, Israeli raised digital activist located in Tel Aviv. With nearly a decade in Israel Advocacy, Hallel has created and executed content for dozens of major organizations, and has been a leading voice online for progressive Zionism. She is an associate at the Tel Aviv Institute, and one of the Top 50 Digital Israel Influencers of 2021.
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