Wednesday, January 05, 2022

  • Wednesday, January 05, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon
As everyone knows by now, actress Emma Watson's Instagram account sent out this message to her 64 million followers:

It is not clear if Watson herself, known best for her role in the Harry Potter movies, posted this or some group that she outsourced her account to. Either way, she is responsible.

There was the expected backlash and support from the usual players. And it should have stayed there. But Israel's former ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, responded: “10 points from Gryffindor for being an antisemite.”

I always liked Danny but this was a very stupid thing to tweet.

Now the conversation is no longer about the merits of supporting Palestinians at the exact time they were shooting rockets towards Israel. Now it is about whether supporters of Israel reflexively call all critics of Israel - or even ostensible supporters of Palestinian nationalism - antisemites.

Pro-Israel activists have emphasized for years that we do not consider all criticism of Israel to be antisemitic. Most follow the IHRA working definition of antisemitism which says explicitly that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic." 

Now the haters have this tweet as evidence that they were right all along.

Watson's tweet, on the face of it, was not antisemitic. You can argue that she is wrong, that she is misinformed, that she is clueless, that she is following trends, or that she is an idiot (as evidenced by the simple fact that solidarity is not a verb) - but the message isn't antisemitic without any further context. It doesn't fit any of the examples of antisemitism in the IHRA Working Definition. It doesn't fit in my definition of antisemitism:

It would have been bad enough if Danon called her tweet antisemitic. But he did something much worse. He called Watson herself an antisemite.

Certainly no one can conclude based on this tweet that Watson is an antisemite. Making that claim is irresponsible and wrong without a great deal of other evidence that has not been produced. 

My corollary to Hanlon's Razor is, "Never attribute to antisemitism that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Now the story is no longer about a debate on the merits of supporting Palestinian nationalism. Now it is about how Zionists try to shut down any pro-Palestinian sentiment.  It is about how people who are pro-Israel try to shut down debate by instantly calling everyone an antisemite. 

That's what the headlines are about.  

The haters of Israel have been given a free gift, and defenders of Israel have been immeasurably hurt, as has Israel's just cause. A person who is in the public spotlight for defending Israel should have known better.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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