‘Harry Potter’ Author J.K. Rowling Joins British Anti-BDS Campaign
A letter-to-the-editor published in today’s (Friday’s) print edition of the influential British newspaper the Guardian by a group of renowned British figures, among them Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, denounces boycotts of Israel that other cultural figures in London have advocated.
The letter, signed by 151 members of the U.K.’s cultural and political elite, including 14 members of Parliament, reads as follows:
In February 2015 you published a letter from UK artists announcing their intention to culturally boycott Israel.
We do not believe cultural boycotts are acceptable or that the letter you published accurately represents opinion in the cultural world in the UK.
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Therefore we are writing to declare our support for the launch and aims of Culture for Coexistence – an independent UK network representing a cross-section from the cultural world.
We will be seeking to inform and encourage dialogue about Israel and the Palestinians in the wider cultural and creative community. While we may not all share the same views on the policies of the Israeli government, we all share a desire for peaceful coexistence.
Cultural boycotts singling out Israel are divisive and discriminatory, and will not further peace. Open dialogue and interaction promote greater understanding and mutual acceptance, and it is through such understanding and acceptance that movement can be made towards a resolution of the conflict.
Ultimately we all believe in a two-state solution so that the national self-determination of both peoples is realised, with the state of Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security.
Cultural engagement builds bridges, nurtures freedom and positive movement for change. We wholly endorse encouraging such a powerful tool for change rather than boycotting its use.
Journalist Tom Gross, who helped organize the letter, told The Algemeiner on Friday that “London is in many ways at the center of global efforts to single out, demonize and boycott the state of Israel. Many persons in the worlds of arts and culture in Britain feel very uncomfortable with these efforts, and we felt it high time our voices be heard.”
Gross, a British-born international affairs commentator and human rights campaigner specializing in the Middle East, added, “Such is the bullying tactics of some the anti-Israel activists in London, however, that some persons who privately oppose the boycotters were reluctant to sign.”
Another signatory, London-based pianist Evgeny Kissin told The Algemeiner that he had signed the letter, “Because Israel is good and its cause is right. To all unbiased people, it is as obvious as 2 x 2=4.”