British actor Emma Watson has come under scrutiny for a pro-Palestinian post she shared on Instagram on January 2, a move which drew accusations of “antisemitism” from Israeli politicians and supporters. However, many defended Watson, questioning why the term antisemitism has been weaponised to “to shut down basic expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people”.
The 31-year-old — who rose to fame for her portrayal of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies — reposted a post originally shared by the Bad Activist Collective on Instagram. The post includes a picture showing pro-Palestinian supporters with the quote “solidarity is a verb” overlaid on it. The caption included a poem by British-Australian scholar Sara Ahmed about what solidarity truly entails.
Former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon strongly criticised her post, calling Watson an “antisemite”. The current ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, also voiced his disagreement with Watson’s stance.
Criticism by Israeli politicians received pushback from several public figures on social media. “A perfect demonstration of the utterly cynical and bad-faith weaponisation of antisemitism to shut down basic expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people,” tweeted Leah Greenberg, co-executive director of Indivisible, a US-based political campaign organisation.