J.K. Rowling Criticizes Israel, but Says Harry Potter Would Understand Her Opposition to Boycott

Renowned British author responds to critiques of her opposing a cultural boycott of Israel, acknowledging Israel should be held accountable for its brutality.

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J.K. RowlingCredit: AP

J.K. Rowling, the renowned author of Harry Potter, criticized Israel and expressed sympathy for Palestinians on Twitter on Wednesday, responding to a social media storm caused by her taking a public stance last week against a cultural boycott of Israel.

"The Palestinian community has suffered untold injustice and brutality," Rowling posted on TwitLonger, a Twitter extension. "I want to see the Israeli government held to account for that injustice and brutality."

Rowling framed her post by noting that she had received many messages from people who used her fictional characters to make points in favor of a cultural boycott of Israel, and drew a parallel two a meeting between two of the characters, the good Dumbledore and the evil Severus Snape.

She then noted that a number of people had written her that Harry "would be disappointed" or "wouldn't understand" her position. Rowling acknowledged that the "reckless and angry" Harry of the first six-and-a-half books might not understand, but argued that he undergoes a profound change in the final book, in which he goes against his aggressive instincts.

"Boycotting Israel on every possible front has its allure. It satisfies the human urge to do something, anything, in the face of horrific human suffering," she explained. "What sits uncomfortably with me is that severing contact with Israel’s cultural and academic community means refusing to engage with some of the Israelis who are most pro-Palestinian, and most critical of Israel’s government. Those are voices I’d like to hear amplified, not silenced. A cultural boycott places immovable barriers between artists and academics who want to talk to each other, understand each other and work side-by-side for peace."