Both “Harry Potter” star Emma Watson and the book’s author, J.K. Rowling, have been courting controversy: the former for posting a message of solidarity with the Palestinian people on her official Instagram page; the latter after comedian Jon Stewart took her to task for the insensitive and antisemitic portrayal of goblins in her book and movie franchise.
Yet while Rowling was defended by a wide range of pro-Israel groups who rushed to her side, Watson was slandered as a secret anti-Jewish bigot by figures as official as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Joining Lowkey today on The Watchdog to discuss this blatant double standard is MintPress Senior Staff Writer and Podcast Producer Alan MacLeod. Before joining MintPress News in 2019, Alan was an academic whose work focused on propaganda, media and power. He has published a number of peer-reviewed academic papers on the subject, as well as two books: “Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting,” and “Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent.” His latest article, “J.K. Rowling’s Hypocrisy: The Author who Smeared Jeremy Corbyn Gave Us Books and Films Full of Antisemitic Stereotypes,” can be read on MintPress News.
MacLeod suggested that the furor over Watson’s anodyne message, contrasted with the collective defense of Rowling, can be explained by examining their positions on Israel. While Watson has traditionally supported liberal or progressive causes, Rowling has been something of a champion of the apartheid state. An Israeli marketing firm ranked her as the fourth most important pro-Israel personality online – the highest Gentile on the list. Rowling has consistently opposed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, calling it “divisive and discriminatory.” She was also a leader in the campaign to unseat Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn over his alleged antisemitic remarks. Corbyn is and was a champion of Palestine liberation and had been highly critical of Israeli governmental policies.
In the second part of the show, the two talk about MacLeod’s work exposing the connections between Hollywood and the national security state. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Department of Defense has been involved in the production of over 800 movies and over 1,100 U.S. TV shows. From military movies like “12 Strong” and “Lone Survivor” to blockbusters like “Iron Man” and comedies like “Brüno,” the military plays a leading role in manufacturing pop culture.
If it is to help with the production of a movie or TV show, the military usually demands complete editorial control over the entire process, often rewriting entire scripts and changing scenes to present itself in the best light possible. In return, they offer military bases to shoot on, access to the latest military technology like battleships or fighter jets, soldiers to appear as extras, and help acquiring uniforms and other props. MacLeod went through how the documents show that the four previously mentioned movies were changed in order to send a pro-military, pro-war message.
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Lowkey is a British-Iraqi hip-hop artist, academic, political campaigner, and a MintPress video and podcast host. As a musician, he has collaborated with the Arctic Monkeys, Wretch 32, Immortal Technique, and Akala. He is a patron of Stop The War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Racial Justice Network, and The Peace and Justice Project founded by Jeremy Corbyn.