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Letter to J.K. Rowling: For the sake of all Palestinian children who love Harry you need to say their lives matter

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The following was written by a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron. The author writes, “*I am not using my name because Israel has complete control over the borders of the West Bank and Gaza and routinely denies entry to human rights observers. Israel denied two of my colleagues entry in the last few months and banned another from Hebron because she took an Instagram photo showing the Israeli military violating the human rights of Palestinian children.  Furthermore, Israel may soon deny entry to anyone who advocates any sort of boycott, even of those products produced in settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

Dear J.K. Rowling,

I have worked as a human rights advocate in Palestine for twenty years and most of the people in my circles support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to one degree or another.  I am married to an Israeli who supports the boycott of settlement products and corporations that enable the Israel’s occupation of Palestine, but, like you, does not support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.  I believe it is possible for people of good conscience to disagree on this issue.

But I want to tell you that in the city of Hebron where I have worked for the last twenty years, I have, with my own eyes, seen Palestinian children attacked, beaten, arrested—without any of the due process the civilized world grants minor children—and in general treated with utter contempt by Israeli soldiers and settlers.  A major part of our work is monitoring the treatment of children as they walk through checkpoints on their way to school everyday in the Old City of Hebron.   The Israeli military’s of teargas has become almost routine when elementary children passing through—something Israeli families would never tolerate for their own children (and indeed the police do not use it against Jewish Israelis inside Israel.)

Several days ago, 17-year-old Dania Arshid was walking to her English class through a checkpoint.  Accused by Israeli Border Police of having a knife, she threw her hands in the air, backed away, and was summarily executed by multiple gunshots.

I can tell you, based on my experience, that no one will go to jail for her murder, or for the murder of Hadeel Hashlamoun, a few weeks earlier or for Fadel al Qawasmi.  In the impossibly slim chance an investigation into her extrajudicial execution occurs, the courts will exonerate the soldiers and racist Israeli social media will hail them as heroes.

As of the end of August, 133 Israeli children and 2065 Palestinian children had died since 2000 in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. I view the death of any child of any nationality with horror, but in this conflict, it is the Palestinian children whom the agents of Occupation kill and abuse with impunity.

So Ms. Rowling, you do not have to support the Academic and Cultural Boycott, but for the sake of all Palestinian children who love Harry, you do need to say their lives matter.  You need to say they are entitled to exactly the same rights, dignities and freedoms that Israeli children are.   And you need to say that Israel’s military occupation of Palestinians, this Unforgivable Curse from which all the violence tormenting the inhabitants of this land emanates, must end.

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22 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    October 29, 2015, 1:00 pm

    ALSO SEE: “Hamilton vs. J.K. Rowling, Round Two” | by Omar Robert Hamilton | Counterpunch.org | October 27, 2015
    LINK – http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/27/hamilton-vs-j-k-rowling-round-two/

  2. amigo
    amigo
    October 29, 2015, 2:02 pm

    If JKR wishes to convince us she cares about Palestinian children , especially in Gaza, she should donate a small part of her billions to one of the many organisations involved in improving their lives .Of course she would have to be willing to suffer the inevitable accusations of “giving money to terrorists” and the children of zionists might stop reading her books.

    I suspect she would come out far more respected in the long run , and especially so when Israel,s true nature is finally laid bare for all to see.

    • annie
      annie
      October 29, 2015, 3:03 pm

      she should donate a small part of her billions to one of the many organisations involved

      actually, possibly more valuable than money, she could lend her name and fame to promote the easing of restrictions and other diplomatic efforts that amount to pressure. she could pick an issue like water puriification, sewage, or education. for example here is a person who has started a petition seeking rowling’s influence to “help a young graduate student from Gaza who is waiting for her visa from Israel to continue her studies abroad. Time is running out for her to claim her scholarship.”

      https://www.change.org/p/urgent-plea-to-jk-rowling-to-help-trapped-gazan-student

      URGENT plea to JK Rowling to help trapped Gazan student

      ….Today Sajida Alhaj, below, urgently pleads for help to ask Israel to approve her visa to pass to Jordan. Many times the student waits and hears at the last minute that there is secret information as to why they cannot approve the visa. This is the time to stop this oppressive practice to Gaza’s gifted students.

      Please call and write that she be free to go to her Masters program.

      after all, what’s the point of supporting “dialogue” if you’re not having one? she could start making bold statements on specific injustices that make palestinian lives miserable. like administrative detention and shoot to kill policies.

      • amigo
        amigo
        October 29, 2015, 3:15 pm

        Agreed Annie but any positive gesture would be a start and just think of the positive feedback she would gain as well as forgiveness for her initial thoughtlessness.

        Oh , I signed the petition.

      • annie
        annie
        October 29, 2015, 3:35 pm

        thanks amigo. it’s just amazing how much influence she has. she opens her mouth and media all over the world reports it. i didn’t know this until i started doing an online search of the reporting on this story. it’s truly phenomenal. and not just on this issue either. all and all, even tho she doesn’t support the boycott, her comparison of the israeli gov with the deatheaters in her analogy is just fantastic. here’s one headline:
        http://www.examiner.com/article/j-k-rowling-compares-israel-ro-the-deatheaters-from-the-harry-potter-books

        there are a lot of harry potter fans out there, kids who maybe have not heard about i/p. this is an excellent introduction for their imagination, even if they don’t understand the implications of ‘dialogue’ vs bds.

      • amigo
        amigo
        October 29, 2015, 4:03 pm

        I hope she reads some of the comments about her from the hasbara brigade.If she compares those hateful diatribes with the standard comments coming from the pro Palestinian side she can only further move away from her support for Israel.Don,t you just love those zionist mouth pieces.So adept at making enemies out of friends.Nothing but naked adoration is sufficient.

      • lonely rico
        lonely rico
        October 29, 2015, 5:26 pm

        link to change.org

        URGENT plea to JK Rowling to help trapped Gazan student

        Strange –

        @ 17h25 EST – “Petition closed” ?

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      October 29, 2015, 6:13 pm

      amigo — wonderful points, all. I think JKR like many another give a sort of lip-service to human rights for Palestinians — perhaps better than nothing, a foot in the door — but more is needed from the most visible such folks. Thanks for your ideas.

      BTW, I don’t think anyone can say that DECLINING TO boycott Israeli universities (even DECLINING to boycott individual Israeli scholars) has had any discernible positive impact on peace making over the last 20 years. So it is hard to understand how anyone can deduce that BOYCOTTING the universities (or even the scholars) would impede peace.

  3. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    October 29, 2015, 3:16 pm

    @amigo
    Donation idea is great . Even better still would be for her to actually visit Gaza and the West Bank . I suspect the naive JKR would come back chastened , truly aware and truly embarassed by her support for the bizarre idea of building cultural bridges between Palestinians and their Zionazi oppressors. And then set up a fund from her billions.

    Another curious listing on the signatories to the letter is Melvyn Bragg. Most Britons I would suggest have a perception of him as being erudite , astute and clearly left of centre
    in his politics. I can understand the naive JKR being spun into this cute little Hasbara web via the Neil Blair/Abraham Foundation nexus. It would be fascinating to know how Bragg was ensnared.

  4. tree
    tree
    October 29, 2015, 4:11 pm

    Good letter. I would have added that if Rowling is a believer in dialogue then she needs to speak those very things that the letter writer mentioned as part of that dialogue. If the dialogue isn’t is honest then it does nothing. And the dialogue needs to expand beyond just the Palestinians and the Israelis. Rowling has the fame and fortune to expand many ordinary people’s understanding of what is going on in I/P.

    Also, if Rowling is against boycotts, then she should likewise be against Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which is so much more punitive than BDS. She should state that loud and clear as well as part of the dialogue she supports.

  5. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    October 29, 2015, 7:26 pm

    When JKR announced that her novels’ children’s boarding school principal was gay, she apparently got mainstream establishment applause for it. Meanwhile, in real life hundreds of Palestinian children are in jail, where they are frequently beaten.

    Back in JKR’s world, “Rowling thinks it’s wrong that girls love Draco Malfoy”, the anti-hero. <>
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/11496100/harry-potter-revelations.html

  6. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    October 29, 2015, 9:18 pm

    Meanwhile in France: Support for BDS declared illegal:
    —————————–

    … The French high court upheld the criminal conviction of 12 political activists for the “crime” of advocating sanctions and a boycott against Israel as a means of ending the decades-long military occupation of Palestine. What did these French criminals do? This:

    The individuals arrived at the supermarket wearing shirts emblazoned with the words: “Long live Palestine, boycott Israel.” They also handed out fliers that said that “buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.”

    In France — self-proclaimed Land of Liberté — doing that makes you a criminal.

    […]The French court ruling is part of a worldwide trend. As more and more people around the world recognize the criminal and brutal nature of the Israeli government, its loyalists have been increasingly trying literally to criminalize activism against the Israeli occupation. For that reason, “pro-Israel” activists this week celebrated this French assault on basic free speech rights.

    Pascal Markowicz, chief lawyer of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, published this celebratory decree (emphasis in original): “BDS is ILLEGAL in France.”

    Statements advocating a boycott or sanctions, he added, “are completely illegal. If [BDS activists] say their freedom of expression has been violated, now France’s highest legal instance ruled otherwise.”

    https://theintercept.com/2015/10/27/criminalization-of-anti-israel-activism-escalates-this-time-in-the-land-of-the-charlie-hebdo-free-speech-march/

    • RockyMissouri
      RockyMissouri
      October 30, 2015, 10:45 am

      INCREDIBLE.!!

    • Keith
      Keith
      October 30, 2015, 8:14 pm

      SIBIRIAK- “Meanwhile in France: Support for BDS declared illegal:”

      Assuming that these activists are French, these 12 “criminals” may find themselves unable to visit the US or other like-minded countries. This is no joke. The elites are out to destroy any and all opposition, Israel being the initial focus to establish the precedents for an all-encompassing matrix of control. Things are going downhill fast.

  7. Rooster
    Rooster
    October 30, 2015, 12:54 am

    J. K. Rowling… wow, she really can write fiction.

  8. straightline
    straightline
    October 30, 2015, 4:59 am

    There are several interesting articles on the Independent in the last few days. This from a couple of days ago:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/harry-potter-would-be-disappointed-with-my-stance-on-israel-boycott-jk-rowling-says-a6710916.html

    And this is linked to from the Independent:

    http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sno25c

    where she seems to be trying to have her cake and eat it. I think this is the statement Annie discussed above – but good to see referenced in a UK outlet.

    Off-topic and much more interesting (I’m not a fan of HP) is the statement by the wonderful Gerald Kaufman, who has said what we all knew but were too afraid to say.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-mp-gerald-kaufman-accuses-government-of-being-swayed-by-jewish-money-a6712796.html

    A while ago I did a crude analysis in a comment or two on MW of the power of the Jewish vote (if indeed such a tribal identity exists as a political entity – I’d prefer to say Zionist vote) in the UK in response to a claim by one of the resident hasbaristas that it had a significant effect on the last UK election – it didn’t and indeed could it. But Zionist money could!

  9. Kay24
    Kay24
    October 30, 2015, 5:42 am

    Nothing like hearing the words of someone who has experienced, and seen, the brutality of Israeli troops against little children. The human rights abuses against Palestinian children are unacceptable and no decent human being should ignore it. Rowling made her money off little kids, and the least she can be is, want equal rights for all children whatever their religion or situation may be. She has a voice and she must speak up for voiceless children.

  10. ckg
    ckg
    October 30, 2015, 9:23 pm

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