(JTA) – J.K. Rowling defended her opposition to a cultural boycott of Israel with an analogy from her “Harry Potter” series.
The author faced backlash after she was revealed to be one of 150 prominent British signees of an open letter, published in The Guardian last week, which endorsed cultural engagement with Israel instead of a boycott as a means to peace between Israel and Palestine.
Rowling used the character of Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of the wizarding school Hogwarts, to make a moral point about the need for dialogue and cultural engagement with Israel.
“Dumbledore is an academic and he believes that certain channels of communication should always remain open,” Rowling wrote Tuesday in a TwitLonger post.
She referred to a moment in the final book – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – when Dumbledore chooses to meet Severus Snape, a professor at Hogwarts and the malcontent in the books, on a hilltop at a time when Snape’s loyalties are unclear.
“At the moment when he answers Snape’s call, he cannot know that Snape isn’t going to try and kill him … Yet still, Dumbledore goes to the hilltop,” Rowling wrote.
She pointed out that Dumbledore chose to meet and speak to Snape simply because it was the right thing to do.
Dumbledore, she concluded, is the “moral heart of the books. He did not consider all weapons equal and he was prepared, always, to go to the hilltop.”
Rowling’s comments are a riposte to the many social media posts criticizing the author for signing the letter advocating cultural engagement with Israel. Many of the tweets and Facebook posts used the characters, language and story of the “Harry Potter” series to criticize Rowling for aligning with the “evil” side of Israel.
“My battle of Hogwarts dreams have always had the death eaters as Zionists, and Harry and his peers as Palestinians,” wrote a young Palestinian woman in a Facebook post, which has been shared over 6,000 times.
The “Harry Potter” books have sold 400 million copies worldwide, making the series one of the best-selling in history. They provided the material for the second highest grossing film series ever.
In a TwitLonger post published Monday, Rowling said that she had “never heard of a cultural boycott ending a bloody and prolonged conflict” and added that she “deplored most of Mr. Netanyahu’s actions in office,” referring to the Israeli prime minister.