Author JK Rowling has explained her decision not to take part in a cultural boycott of Israel, claiming it will not force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office. Her comments come as the campaign intensified, with more than 300 academics from British universities pledged to boycott Israeli academic institutions.
The best-selling children's author was one of 150 cultural luminaries, including broadcaster Melvyn Bragg and historian Simon Schama, to sign a letter last week arguing that a cultural boycott of Israel will not help to bring peace in the region. Rowling and her fellow signatories claimed in their letter that boycotts singling out Israel are "divisive and discriminatory".
Responding to fans asking her to explain her decision, Rowling wrote on TwitLonger: "I have deplored most of Mr Netanyahu's actions in office. However, I do not believe that a cultural boycott will force Mr Netanyahu from power, nor have I ever heard of a cultural boycott ending a bloody and prolonged conflict," wrote the Harry Potter author.
In an advert taken out in the Guardian though, 343 academics from dozens of British universities, added their support to a cultural boycott, pledging not to accept invitations to Israeli academic institutions, act as referees for them, or take part in events organised or funded by them.
The advert says the signatories are "deeply disturbed by Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people, and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement".
Criticising the advert, the UK ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, said: "As David Cameron has said, the UK government will never allow those who want to boycott Israel to shut down 60 years' worth of vibrant exchange and partnership that does so much to make both our countries stronger."
The Israeli embassy in London said that boycott movements aim to "sow hatred and alienation between the sides, rather than promoting coexistence."