Miriam Margolyes: Actress condemns 'stupid' Israel for allowing people to 'vent anti-Semitism'

"I don't think people like Jews," the Jewish figure added. "They never have. English literature, my great love, is full of greasy and treacherous Jews."

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The Independent Online

Miriam Margolyes has spoken out about the “troubling” anti-Semitic backlash created in the wake of Israel’s aggressive offensive against Gaza over the summer.

The Jewish actress said that the actions of the country, governed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had allowed the world to reignite existing prejudices against Jewish people, whom she claimed people "didn’t like".

"I loathe Hamas, but they were democratically elected and Israel's behaviour is not acceptable," she told the Radio Times. "There's been a troubling backlash.

"I don't think people like Jews," she continued. "They never have. English literature, my great love, is full of greasy and treacherous Jews.

"I'm lucky they like me, and one always needs a Jewish accountant."

Margolyes, whose family are descendants of Jewish immigrants from Belarus, added: "Anti-Semitism is horrible and can't be defended, but Israel is stupid for allowing people to vent it."


The Israel-Gaza conflict in July and August claimed the lives of 2,100 Palestinians – many of whom were civilians. The death toll starkly contrasted that of Israel, which suffered 70 casualties.

According to the Sunday Times, more than 100 incidents of anti-Semitic violence were recorded by community organisations and police in July during the most heated period of fighting between the two sides.

Four teenagers were charged with racially aggravated common assault after a rabbi was reportedly attacked near a Jewish boarding school in Gateshead on 18 July, while in Belfast, on the same day, bricks were hurled through a synagogue window.

On 12 July, following a pro-Palestine rally, a group of men piled into four or five cars and drove through a Jewish area of Greater Manchester crying "Heil Hitler", while also pelting pedestrians with eggs and drinks cans.

Mark Gardner, Director of Communications at CST, also told The Independent that week-on-week the number of attacks has been increasing, though "what’s particularly important for us is that we’ve not seen the kind of high profile violence that has been occurring in France.

"It’s that kind of high profile violence that causes major panic."

Tensions were strained as pro-Palestine and pro-Israel rallies erupt in cities across Europe, also.

Clashes broke out at a banned pro-Gaza demonstration in Paris the same month, with tear gas deployed by riot police after protesters threw stones and other missiles.

France, which has western Europe’s largest Muslims and Jewish populations, had been forced, at the eleventh hour, to ban a 3,000-strong protest, fearing a wave of anti-Semitic attacks.