J. K. Rowling on cultural engagement with Israel

Her courage in coming out against BDS is not matched by sympathy for Israel's terror victims, but she is all for dialogue.

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Dr. Harold Goldmeier

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J. K. Rowling is no greenhorn when it comes to political firestorms. Rowling donated a million pounds in the campaign to keep Scotland in the U.K.  One angry Scotsman Tweeted she’s a b**** because Scots supported Rowling when she was just a single mum.
 
Earlier in the year Rowling attacked powerhouse personality Rupert Murdoch when he allegedly Tweeted Moslems must “recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer (and peaceful Moslems) must be held responsible.” Rowling tasked Murdoch to take responsibility for the Spanish Inquisition and Christian fundamentalist violence.
 
Last month, Rowling shied from joining 100 artists in signing a petition calling for a cultural boycott of Israel claiming boycotts are ”divisive, discriminatory, and counter-productive.”  Rowling argues a “channel of communication should always remain open.” Instead, she is collaborating in the bridge building Culture for Coexistence Movement (CCM). You can only imagine the Pro-Palestinian attacks in the press and hateful Tweets she elicits.
 
Nevertheless Rowling is a strident critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians suffering “untold injustice and brutality.”  She wants Israel held accountable.
 
I can live with that and so does half the population of Jewish Israel. Not all criticisms of government policies devolve to existential antagonisms. Rowling’s position adds gravitas to Israel’s democracy and it’s a messy form of government. She recognizes Israel’s inherent goodness and desire for peaceful coexistence, and seems willing to work with Jewish-Israel artists and Israelis in the hope of ending the occupation and despair of the Palestinians through dialogue.
 
Pro-Palestinians accuse Rowling of giving sustenance to the neo-con anti-Palestinian CCM, as Israel continues mistreating Palestinians. One critic of Rowling writes how she views Rowling’s characters in Harry Potter to be Zionist  “death eaters.” She views Rowling’s heroes, Harry and his peers are the Palestinians. The writer clearly ends the diatribe against Rowling’s cultural coexistence plea calling for the destruction of Israel, “Coexistence will happen once this culture (Israel) is torn down.”
 
Rowling’s bridge building position is an entente cordiale to Israelis and Palestinians. "In its highest incarnation, as exemplified by Darwish, art civilises challenges and reminds us of our common humanity" she writes.  
 
 A co-existence, peace loving, human rights advocate of Rowling’s class and stature might appear exhibit more gravitas if she were to acknowledge in her Tweets concern for civilian Jewish victims of Palestinian terror attacks; expressions of concern for Palestinian and other Moslem victims of oppression under martinet Arab regimes far more cruel and insidious than Israel.
 
Perhaps Rowling can muster a mention about Cypriots under Turkish occupation against international law; China’s ethnic cleansing and religious persecution of native Tibetans; Russia’s decades long feral against Chechnyans fighting for independence; and an execution of gays and Christian converts in Gaza.
 
Singularly focusing on wrongheaded acts only of Israel is a slippery slope to justifying anti-Semitism and attacks on any Jews anywhere.
 
Hundreds of academics and artists condemning Rowling and calling for boycotts against Israel might seem impressive, but there are 500,000 British academics and artists not calling for the destruction Israel or boycotting Jewish-Israel institutions, goods, and academics. She is in good company among many Jews and Israelis condemning wrongful treatment of Palestinians, but it is equally heartwarming to have her standing alongside the right-headed advocates of Israel making no sartorial concessions.
 
J.K. Rowling, STAND WITH US and continue working and advocating for peace and prosperity in the Middle East, and WE WILL STAND WITH YOU. Your political posture epitomizes the Dr. Seuss warning to all of us, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  



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