“I know with all my heart, my Jewish heart, that it’s wrong.” Watch Margolyes in 2007 supporting Enough! Coalition to End the Israeli Occupation.
Miriam Margolyes, a prominent English actress, perhaps best known for her appearance in the Harry Potter movies, (she is in the middle of the photo below) had a performance canceled by a Jewish organization in Melbourne because of her forthcoming participation in a controversial play, reported on here, about Israel. Apparently, “Seven Jewish Children” is practically radioactive in terms of its effect on the establishment Jewish community, erroneous claims of “blood libel” are being thrown around cavalierly. As discussed previously, only some people get to ever reference the Holocaust, while others are anti-Semites of the worst order.
Margolyes, who splits her time between England and Australia, was scheduled to entertain residents at JewishCare, a large elder care facility in Melbourne but was told that her appearance could offend some residents who were Holocaust survivors.
This need to protect the elderly residents from the appearance of Margolyes, not because her performance might be offensive, but because she will be acting in Seven Jewish Children, speaks to the irrational fears that are so much a part of the effort to muzzle any criticism of Israel.
This is familiar terrain. Seven Jewish Children is a nuanced and compressed accounting, the claims of anti-Semitism, again, no surprise, conflate legitimate criticism of Israel with racism directed at Jews. This is particularly galling given that Margolyes is very much Jewish identified and has explicitly stated that she had no intention of offending Holocaust survivors.
Further, the attempt to stifle any kind of alternative viewpoint on all things Israel/Palestine seems to be getting to the point where even harboring the “wrong kind of opinion” or participating in the wrong kind of activity (legal activity) makes you “unfit” to simply go about your job. This creeping “McCarthyism” is like sulfuric acid to the free exchange of ideas and a functioning democracy as well as going against the Jewish tradition of inquiry and debate.
Miriam Margolyes should have the last word on this through a statement issued by Australians for Palestine (too bad she can’t use a wand to make this all go away):
“I think they’re quite wrong, (those claiming she is anti-Semitic) I would never get involved with anything which was either anti-Semitic or critical of Holocaust survivors…. I feel they’re making a terrible mistake and I am very sad because I was truly looking forward to appearing there. I support JewishCare in the U.K. both in appearances and with donations. And I will continue to do so.”
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