The Political Views of JK Rowling
JK Rowling is the author of the well-known Harry Potter books. Further generalisations may be unwise: Rowling has been accused, rightly or wrongly, of suing people without access to the same level of representation that she can enjoy, see for example Rev. Stuart Campbell, JK Rowling is a Litigious Bully. However it is probably safe to say that Rowling has been vocal about various political positions she has taken. For example:
- During the run-up to the Scottish referendum on independence in 2014 Rowling, who lives in Scotland, contributed $1 million to the No Campaign.
- As a member of the UK Labour Party she has been a determined opponent of Jeremy Corbyn.
- She was vocal in her opposition to Brexit, reportedly comparing Leave supporters to Lord Voldemort.
- She signed a letter condemning boycotts of Israel. Rowling’s endorsement gave rise to a petition in opposition.
As can be expected these views pleased some of Rowling’s readers, while disappointing others – they can all be seen however, as consistent with a Guardian-reading Blairite member of the Labour Party.
The Bana Alabed Fraud
JK Rowling’s endorsement of the Bana Project, while also in line with Guardian policy, is a rather different matter. In the case of Bana, Rowling underwriting a fraud, perhaps the most blatantly fake of a number of propaganda projects designed to engender support for the UK-supported war on Syria. She is also an accomplice, if unwitting, to child exploitation and abuse (see The Crucifixion of Bana Alabed).
At the height of the campaign to take Aleppo back from al Nusra, “seven year old Bana”, more probably a native English speaker based in London, was ostensibly tweeting to urge the world to impose a Libya-style no fly zone.
The fakery of the account was apparent from the outset, with tweets that could only be constructed by an adult native speaker, contrasting both with Bana’s total ineptitude when she spoke, and with themes which ranged from blatant warmongering to Manchester United to the tooth fairy. This has been well documented, in the linked articles and elsewhere.
In November 2016, a couple of months after Bana’s first tweet on 24 September, Bana’s mother, Fatemah, tweeted to Rowling:
The wording of the request and Rowling’s response suggest that JK Rowling is already familiar with Bana, possibly already follows her. She certainly follows both the Bana and Fatemah accounts now.
Videos and interviews available at the time showed that Bana’s knowledge of English was practically non-existent. Rowling, however, obligingly provided copies of Harry Potter books, in English. Apparently Bana then read these books, in English, to her pre-school brothers.
Many people are extremely ignorant of the facts of the Syrian war, the huge part their governments are playing in supporting barbaric extremists, and the huge propaganda budget paying for fake humanitarian outfits like the White Helmets and hoaxes such as the Gay Girl of Damascus and Bana’s tweeting. One might reasonably assume Rowling fits into that category of well-meaning ignorance, and has been moreover been badly advised (for whatever reason). However, Rowling presumably watched this video, before retweeting it …
Once again the fakery of the account is apparent from the discrepancy between Bana’s highly idiomatic “we are on the run” and her otherwise lack of competence.
Rowling’s engagement with Bana has continued. However her role has gone beyond sending a few books and encouraging tweets to Bana. A book deal was arranged, and lo and behold, Bana shares the same agent as JK Rowling, Neil Blair (Rowling left the agent who launched her, Christopher Little, to join the new company started by Blair who until then was Little’s business partner )
At this point Rowling could still be seen as ignorant, well-intentioned but badly advised by her staff. However a recent tweet suggests a close affinity with the official British stance on the Syrian war.
“Assad apologist” is an ad hominem term that is only used by supporters of the war on Syria, intended to demean those who oppose the war. For Rowling to use this term suggests the she has been reading and approving anti-Syria propaganda put out by the likes of, for example, Bellingcat, notorious for producing dodgy articles on the Syrian war and also the downing of MH17, all to the disfavour of the Syrian and Russian governments.
Furthermore, the strawman set up by Rowling, the lie that Bana critics query the existence of the child, rather than the function of the account and the callous exploitation of children in war, is one already used by Bellingcat.
The Bana Project is not the only anti-Syria propaganda pushed by Rowling. Soon after offering Harry Potter books to Bana, she retweeted Michael Weiss’s claim that the Syrian Arab Army threatening to wipe out every man women and child. The leaflet dropped was a standard one to encourage al Nusra soldiers to surrender, and certainly was not directed at civilians.
Weiss of course offers no source, but the SAAF have dropped a number of leaflets, such as one quoted by Al Araby, which reads “Read and decide!!! To anyone bearing arms against the state in Aleppo!! Aleppo city has been completely encircled. We have left you one safe exit, this is your last hope. If you fail to leave the city within two days you will be eliminated.”
Clearly the Syrian army was not devoid of a sense of humour:
To suggest that the Syrian Arab Army was threatening to kill every man, woman and child is an extreme position, to say the least.
About that time Rowling was also following and promoting the White Helmets, a multi-million dollar ‘humanitarian’ enterprise funded by the Foreign Office and the State Department, who function as the propaganda arm of al Nusra – the “White Helmets” are essentially a set of props and uniforms donned by al Nusra terrrorists for media purposes or when their other uniforms are in the wash.
Rowling’s use of the hashtag #standwithAleppo is also notable, though she may not realise that its principal use is by those asking for a Libya-style no-fly zone in Syria
JK Rowling, Neil Blair and Israel
Many people swallow the Nato narrative on “evil Assad” and at the same time support Israel, the likely beneficiary of the destruction of Syria, without seeing these two positions as being related. However, when it comes to Rowling, there is a specific connection, which is not spurious, i.e. Rowling’s agent, Neil Blair.
Neil Blair is one of the driving forces behind Culture for Coexistence, who were responsible for the letter condemning Israel boycotts. As Sarah Irving has explained in her article, Harry Potter Fans “Heartbroken” as Author Urges Engagement with Israel, Blair has very close ties with Israel.
“Blair is also on the board of the UK branch of the Abraham Fund. That “coexistence” group is sponsored by Hapoalim, an Israeli bank that finances the construction of Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.
A look at Blair’s twitter account reveals that an inordinate number of those he follows relate to Israel, from Netanyahu to the IDF to numerous diplomats:
Conceivably JK Rowling, like Bana Alabed, is being manipulated in the interests of Israel.
Parallels can also be drawn between JK Rowling and Donald Trump: both have a power to influence, whether it be events or opinions, well beyond their understanding. How far their decisions are dictated by others is a matter or debate.