Analysis comment

Israeli ambassador smears Emma Watson as antisemitic for Palestine solidarity tweet

Could attack on much-loved Harry Potter star finally break the back of the right-wing tactic?

Israel’s ambassador to the UN has smeared actor Emma Watson as antisemitic after Watson tweeted a simple message of solidarity with Palestinians.

The actor, who has a track record of support for global human rights, tweeted a graphic with the text ‘Solidarity is a verb’, with Palestinian protesters in the background:

But Danny Danon quickly tweeted in response:

10 points from Gryffyndor for being an antisemite.

Perhaps it sounded clever in his head, but the tweet was quickly the topic of thousands of ‘quote tweets’ attacking Danon’s crass equation of solidarity with an oppressed people with hatred of another.

Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, the victim of foul racism from within her own party and elsewhere, agreed:

So did many Jewish commentators, such as Richard Goldwasser and Jewish Currents editor Peter Beinart, with Beinart pointing out the now-prevalent deceit of the pro-Israel right that equates support for Palestinians or criticism of Israel’s conduct with antisemitism:

The sentiment for Watson and against Danon included Jewish Israeli Abraham Gutman, who pointed out what that foreign minister and Alternate Prime Minister of Israel Yair Lapid had said about the tactic previously:

Skwawkbox view:

Gutman is right, of course. If a mere expression of solidarity is antisemitic, then anything can be called antisemitic. The tactic has seen Jewish presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders smeared as antisemitic and Jewish actor-turned-political candidate Cynthia Nixon smeared by her own party as antisemitic in an attempt to prevent her challenging a favoured incumbent – an intentionally-coordinated smear, as a leaked Democratic Party email proved.

And of course, this country is all too familiar with the scam, to its lasting shame and damage.

But using it against a widely-loved Harry Potter actor with 28 million followers and a track record of activism for human rights might just be the straw that finally breaks that camel’s back and leaves it as discredited as it always deserved to be.

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