(JTA) – J.K. Rowling was among 150 prominent British figures who wrote an open letter to the Guardian in support of cultural engagement with Israel – and against a cultural boycott of the Jewish state.
In addition to the “Harry Potter” author, historian Simon Schama and actress Zoe Wanamaker are among the artists, scholars and politicians whose names appeared on the letter, which the newspaper published Thursday.
The letter is written as a response to another open letter published by the newspaper in February – that one in support of a cultural boycott of Israel.
Rejecting the idea of cultural boycotts in general, the latest letter endorses a UK organization called Culture for Coexistence, which says it aims to encourage dialog about Israel in the “wider cultural and creative community.”
“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,” the letter says.
The letter also comes out in favour of a two-state solution, saying: “Ultimately we all believe in a two-state solution so that the national self-determination of both peoples is realized, with the state of Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security.”
Culture for Coexistence is planning to organize seminars across the country to engage pro-boycott artists in dialogue, the Guardian reported. The seminars would invite the artists to discuss and debate the value of a cultural boycott as a successful political tool.
Loraine da Costa, the chair of Culture for Coexistence, told the Guardian she also wanted to “take people to Israel and the Palestinian territories to have a dialogue with cultural counterparts there.”