Helen Mirren attacked on social media over Golda Meir role

The British actress, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, is under fire for accepting the role of Israel's first female Prime Minister.

 Actress Helen Mirren at the Berlinale 2020 (photo credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Actress Helen Mirren at the Berlinale 2020

British actress Helen Mirren, 76, is under fire on social media, as internet trolls attack her for portraying former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in a new film.

“How sick (sic) making a biopic on criminal Golda Meir and yes no surprise Helen Mirren the racist is happy to portray the pure distorted version of a disgusting individual,” a tweet by a profile that described themselves as “Palestinian and proud” read.

Another user wrote that “Helen Mirren doing a film about the first female prime minister of Israel is a slap in the face to all the people of Palestine, they are literally celebrating taking over Palestine and taking families out of their homes, murdering children, families! Tasteless film!”

“Ugly zionists and Helen Mirren should lose her damehood for this. The double standards they say they stand for equality but don’t give a sh*t when it comes to human rights of Palestinians,” another profile tweeted.

The British actress, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of another leading female figure, Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, and was awarded Damehood in 2003, is starring in a biopic about Israel's only female Prime Minister, who served from 1969-1974. The first photos of her as Golda Meir were released last Wednesday.

 HELEN MIRREN as Golda Meir (credit: Jasper Wolf) HELEN MIRREN as Golda Meir (credit: Jasper Wolf)

Mirren reportedly immersed herself in studies of Hebrew language, Jewish history, and Holocaust writing while she was in Israel in 2009 in preparation for her role as a retired Israeli Mossad agent in the film “The Debt.” She was among over 200 actors to sign an open letter opposing efforts to boycott an LGBTQ film festival in Tel Aviv in late October.

Golda Meir was Israel’s fourth prime minister and was leader during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. She was colloquially known as the “iron lady” of Israeli politics and first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion once called her "the best man in the government," according to a BBC profile on Meir. She passed away in 1978 from lymphoma.

Anti-Zionist social media attacks are nothing new. Last July, popular singer Billie Eilish was “flooded with thousands of bot-driven comments consisting of Palestinian flags and other Palestine solidarity-themed comments” on Instagram after posting a video where she said “hi Israel”, according to the CCFP (Creative Community for Peace). CCFP research found that hundreds of bots commented on Eilish's pictures and received thousands of likes for each comment, although the commenters' accounts never even posted one picture on their own profile.

A few months earlier, during the May escalation between Israel and Hamas, hundreds of thousands of Malaysian online activists spammed Israeli accounts on popular social media platforms. The groups instructed their followers to harass, block, hack and shut down Israeli accounts using loopholes in social media platforms that allowed them to create fake reporting and fake password recovery processes.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is a hotbed political issue – particularly on social media. A Community Security Trust (CST) study showed that antisemitism rose substantially – roughly 365% – in the United Kingdom amid the May conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Dan Levinson, Jeremy Sharon and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this story.