By: Phyllis Chesler
The Harry Potter series has seized the imagination of the entire world. Its characters and author are now being subjected to the Thought Crime police. The actors who owe Rowling their careers, livelihood, and celebrity have also turned on her.
Poor J.K. Rowling! Not only is she under attack for her views on the transgender issue—she is now being accused of Jew hatred based on some of the characters in Harry Potter.
Comedian Jon Stewart, formerly of The Daily Show, has just accused J.K. Rowling of anti-Semitism. And why? Because her depiction of the “goblins” who run Gringotts, the underground bank where everyone’s gold is stored is, in his opinion, an anti-Jewish stereotype. He wonders why the “goblins” are the underground bankers… Get it?
Apparently, fiction, even fantasy, must conform to rigid speech code rules. But unlike Wagner’s Nibelungen, Albrecht, (a “dwarf” or a descendent of a “race of dwarfs’) who stole and who hoards the gold which can control the world in Wagner’s four part opera The Ring Cycle—Rowling’s “goblins” merely guard it and release it to its rightful owner—just like the Swiss do.
Call me crazy but once I read the comedian Jon Stewart’s allegation, I immediately thought that Stewart, born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, (changed his name, wonder why—nah, I know why) must also favor Palestine i.e. his anti-Semitism is anti-Zionism. Bingo! Even Al-Jazeera mourned his departure and bid him a “fond farewell” as one of the only Americans who told the truth about Israel and Palestine.
Stewart, a genuinely funny guy, is one of those “As a Jew” people who stand tall upon their own ethnicity in order to critique Israel. Well, he’s one of those dangerously crazy-funny guys.
Then there’s the actress Emma Watson whose also known and beloved as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. Oh, Hermione! How can you use your celebrity in such a cheap way? I may never again be able to enjoy Hermione’s officiousness, brilliance, and tenacity. My Hermione/Watson is both pro-trans and pro-Palestine.
Here’s what may be going on. Those who are pro-trans, who believe that identity trumps sex; that a man can be a woman if he says so, and that a woman can be a man—if she says so; who favor the descriptor “queer” over lesbian or homosexual; who are earnestly trying to expand what they see as the limitations of both sex and gender—these are also the kind of people who believe that a country that has never existed—that would be Palestine—is nevertheless the most important, the most persecuted, and the most heroic country in the whole world.
In a sense, the pro-trans actors are supreme fantasists and Rowling is their creator and their competition.
This op-ed piece originally appeared on the New English Review web site. Read more at: newenglishreview.org