Actress Maureen Lipman considers quitting UK over anti-Semitism

Asked about the fears of Jews in France in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the attack on a kosher supermarket, Lipman explained that it was not just in France where Jews felt threatened.

January 28, 2015 23:02
2 minute read.



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LONDON – One of Britain’s most popular comediennes and actresses, Maureen Lipman, has indicated that she is considering leaving the country because of the increasing levels of anti-Semitism.

Lipman, 68, famous in the UK for brilliant portrayals of a semi-neurotic Jewish mother in a series of television advertisements for British Telecom during the 1980s and 1990s, was being interviewed on a London Broadcasting Company program discussing anti-Semitism in the context of Tuesday’s Holocaust Memorial Day when she expressed her concerns at the situation in the UK.

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“When the going gets tough, the Jews get packing... It’s crossed my mind that it’s time to have a look around for another place to live. I’ve thought about going to New York, I’ve thought about going to Israel,” she said.

Asked about the fears of Jews in France in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the attack on a kosher supermarket, Lipman explained that it was not just in France where Jews felt threatened.

“When the economy dries up, then they turn on the usual scapegoat: the usual suspect – the Jew. There is one school of thought that says it’s because of Israeli policies in the West Bank, but it isn’t. There’s been anti-Semitism for the past 4,000 years,” she said.

Against the background of what are widely expected to be the highest recorded figures for anti-Semitic incidents in any year in the UK due for release by the Community Security Trust this time next week, Lipman said the numbers were “very, very depressing,” adding that she did not understand the levels of hatred toward the Jewish community given what it gives back to society.

“There are 245,000 Jews in this country – what’s to fear?” she told the London Broadcasting Company. “We don’t proselytize, we don’t fly planes into buildings, we generally keep on the right side of the law. What is it? Because I don’t understand it at all. We give in science and in art, we give, we integrate, we help, we try, we are philanthropic and still they start – it starts – and it’s very, very depressing.”

The Hull-born actress admitted that she had been “talking like this for a long time, and my kids are very bored with me.

But it is only in the last few months that they have begun to say: ‘Mum, you may have something.’” Toward the end of last year, Lipman said she was ending five decades of support for the Labor Party, as she angrily denounced party leader Ed Miliband’s stance toward Israel.

She said she would vote for “almost any other party” until Labor is “once more led by mensches.”

Miliband’s support for a nonbinding motion in Parliament that effectively recognized the “state of Palestine,” she said, “sucks” at a time of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, and she publicly withdrew an invitation to the opposition leader to join her for a Friday night Shabbat supper.

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