Jeremy Corbyn 'doesn't believe Jewish people are a race', claims Maureen Lipman

27 May 2021, 09:34

By Fiona Jones

Actor Dame Maureen Lipman tells LBC's Nick Ferrari that Jeremy Corbyn "doesn't believe Jewish people are a race."

Dame Maureen Lipman has quit actors’ union Equity after 50 years over its leader’s stance on Israel.

The Jewish actor made the decision to leave after the union's president Maureen Beattie encouraged members to sign a petition calling for sanctions against the country, in response to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

Ms Beattie branded Israeli government actions in Gaza last week as “particularly horrifying”.

Dame Maureen told Nick that Equity no longer represents her: "I don't see them asking to go and protest against any of the other terrible wars and conflicts in the world.

"You are inciting something that's potentially dangerous and that's not for me."

Nick questioned whether this opposition to Israel in the arts is in some way the responsibility of politicians.

He asked: "At one of those rallies where an Israeli flag was set alight, Jeremy Corbyn addressed that rally - does he need to look to himself?"

Dame Maureen responded, "I don't think he can look to himself because Jeremy Corbyn is anti-capitalist. And as far as he sees himself that means he's not anti-Semitary.

"He says he doesn't have a racist bone in his body, it's in his muscles, it's in his sinews."

She told Nick she could cite "so many" examples of this, including the mural displaying cartoon-like Jewish people with derogatory tropes, on which he commented.

Dame Maureen continued, "It's been difficult for me since I came out against Corbyn's anti-Semitism, I've been dropped from a lot of invitations in the last couple of years and so be it.

"He doesn't believe we are a race so how can he be racist? We have to as a race stand up and address this because otherwise it's really lambs to the slaughter.

"I don't want to spend my life talking about my people, it's not what I do, but it's sort of thrust upon me."

Dame Maureen branded Equity "wrong" for prioritising a rally and the "demonisation of the Jewish faith" when so many of its members are in "dire straits" due to the pandemic, calling for it to take measures to help actors.

She called on Maureen Beattie to apologise for her actions.

You can watch the full interview above.