Friday, October 23, 2015

Muggles and Wizards for Peace!

Yesterday, Britain's Guardian Newspaper published something that has been missing. Common sense. This letter was signed by dozens of artists, authors, musicians and other dignitaries in Great Britain to respond to their colleagues who chose to boycott Israel. 
Somewhere around the publication of the fourth or fifth volume of the Harry Potter series, I became convinced that J.K. Rowling deserved a Nobel Prize. And before you argue that fantasy fiction written for the pre-teen set cannot truly be deemed literature, let me make the case. What piece of "literature" has gotten so many people of any age to become avid readers? (Ok, perhaps Roth or Nabokov got those looking for racy images to turn off their TV's back in the day.)

I can still remember being at camp several summers in a row on the day when 300+ boxes from Amazon or Barnes and Noble showed up with the newest release. The whole camp got a little bit quiet for a few days as the kids devoured it as quickly as they could. And then I noticed that for many, the required summer reading books, which had been buried behind their socks or towels, made an appearance. With this letter, I am thinking the Peace Prize is looking even better. Of course, she one of many who signed. Thank God.



In February 2015 you published a letter from UK artists announcing their intention to culturally boycott Israel. We do not believe cultural boycotts are acceptable or that the letter you published accurately represents opinion in the cultural world in the UK.

Therefore we are writing to declare our support for the launch and aims of Culture for Coexistence – an independent UK network representing a cross-section from the cultural world.

We will be seeking to inform and encourage dialogue about Israel and the Palestinians in the wider cultural and creative community. While we may not all share the same views on the policies of the Israeli government, we all share a desire for peaceful coexistence.

JK Rowling




JK Rowling is one of the signatories
to Culture for Coexistence’s


plea not to boycott Israel.
Photograph: David Cheskin/PA
Cultural boycotts singling out Israel are divisive and discriminatory, and will not further peace. Open dialogue and interaction promote greater understanding and mutual acceptance, and it is through such understanding and acceptance that movement can be made towards a resolution of the conflict.

Ultimately we all believe in a two-state solution so that the national self-determination of both peoples is realised, with the state of Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security.


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.

Naomi Alderman          Shay Alkalay               Bennett Arron           Jonathan Aycliffe    
Daniel Battsek              John Battsek                Guto Bebb MP          Gina Bellman
Michael Berg                Josh Berger                  Bob Blackman MP   Neil Blair                  
Iwona Blazwick            Elli Bobrovizki            Gabi Bobrovizki        Melvyn Bragg          
David Burrowes MP    Teresa Cahill                Colin Callender         Simon Chinn
Danny Cohen                Frank Cohen                Prof Susan Collins    Wendy Cope
Loraine da Costa          Marcus Davey              Oliver Dowden MP   Daniel Easterman
Ruth Dudley Edwards Michael Dugher MP   Brian Elias                  Yigal Elstein
Allie Esiri                      Michael Etherton        Moris Farhi MBE      Niall Ferguson
Stanley Fink                  Larry Finlay               Amanda Foreman       Michael Foster
Andrew Franklin          Nick Fraser                 Mike Freer MP           Julian Friedman
Sonia Friedman            Jonny Geller                Adèle Geras                David Glick
Taryn Gold                   Amanda Goldman       Richard Goldstein      Michael Grade
Maurice Gran              Linda Grant                 Miriam Gross             Tom Gross
Stephen Grosz             Peter & Martine Halban                                   Jan Harlan
Ronald Harwood         Noreena Hertz              John Heyman             Lilian Hochhauser
Tom Holland                John Howell MP          Judy Ironside              David Japp
Andrea Jenkyns MP   Zygi Kamasa                Jack Kirkland             Evgeny Kissin
Michael Kuhn             David Kustow               Norman Lebrecht       Sam Leifer
Teddy Leifer                Camilla Lewis               David Levy                 John Levy
Maureen Lipman        Andrew Macdonald      Hilary Mantel            Stephen Margolis
Dan Marks                  Laurence Marks            Denis MacEoin          Charlotte Mendelson
Yael Mer                      Ivan Moscovich             Maajid Nawaz            Anthony Newman
Gavin Newman           Hayley Newstead           Paula Noble                Tracy-Ann Oberman
Matthew Offord MP  Cosh Omar                    Martin Paisner            Robin Pauley
Leo Pearlman              Daniel Peltz                   Andrew Percy MP      Eric Pickles MP
Stuart Polak                Monica Porter               Gail Rebuck                Charlie Redmayne
Andrew Roberts          JK Rowling                   Paul Ruddock             Prof Carol Rumens
Marc Samuelson          Charles Robert Saumarez Smith                    Prof Robert Saxton
Joanna Scanlan            Kenny Schachter          Simon Schama           Simon Sebag Montefiore
Francesca Segal            Anthony Seldon           Rick Senat                  Zaab Sethna
Jonathan Shalit            Bernard Shapero         David Shelley             Clive Sinclair
Daniel Silver                 Lucy Silver                   Dan Silverston           Chloe Smith MP
Karen Smith                 Mark Smith                  Prof Ashley Solomon
Claire Speller               Rob Suss                       George Szirtes            Paul Trijbits
Kevin Tsjiuhara           Gabe Turner                Moni Varma               Rebecca Wallersteiner
Minette Walters            Zoë Wanamaker         Angela Watkinson MP
George Weidenfeld       Fay Weldon                 Heather Wheeler MP
Robert Winston            Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg          

David Young                 Toby Young

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