JK Rowling urges non-Jews to ‘shoulder the burden’ for tackling anti-Semitism

JK Rowling urges non-Jews to ‘shoulder the burden’ for tackling anti-Semitism

Harry Potter author urges her 14.4 million Twitter followers to intervene in instances of abuse towards Jews online

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

JK Rowling
JK Rowling

The bestselling author of the Harry Potter books waded into the anti-Semitism debate yesterday by suggesting it’s time that non-Jews “start shouldering the burden”.

Writing on social media on Wednesday, J.K Rowling, who has 14.4 million followers on Twitter, sounded exasperated when she highlighted a seemingly “innocent” post stating that “Judaism is a religion and not a race”. Presumably, the post added, this was a “defence” against being called racist.

But Rowling was having none of it. She wrote: “Most UK Jews in my timeline are currently having to field this kind of crap, so perhaps some of us non-Jews should start shouldering the burden. Anti-Semites think this is a clever argument, so tell us, do: were atheist Jews exempted from wearing the yellow star? #antisemitism”.

Almost immediately the writer received nearly 2,000 “likes” and hundreds of re-tweets. Many of the respondents were Jewish users of Twitter who thanked her for her timely intervention and support.

Her move came a few hours after the comedian David Baddiel received an abusive message in response to his thanking a woman who had enjoyed his one-man show, currently on tour in Durham.

When Baddiel replied that “my geography teacher would be proud of me”. he received this message: “You disgusting yid, nobody is proud of you. I bet you can smell the change in my pocket.” Baddiel concluded ironically: “Antisemitism isn’t a real thing.” Rowling saw the exchange and decided to intervene more generally several hours later.

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