Dame Maureen Lipman has quit the actors’ union, Equity, after it reportedly encouraged its members to join London’s anti-Israel rallies which were revealed to have been infested with antisemitic chants and signs.
Dame Maureen, a member of Equity for 54 years, warned Jewish members to “get the hell out,” adding: “I didn’t join a political union. I joined a union to protect its members. You don’t dictate to artists what they believe in, and don’t incite them to join a mob.”
The actress and columnist, Tracy-Ann Oberman, was another leading figure who criticised Equity, asking on Twitter: “How are UK Jewish performers and friends meant to feel safe?”
In a statement, Equity said: “Equity has a long, and proud history of standing up for peace and justice around the world – including in Palestine. Violence directed against ordinary working people in both Israel and Palestine is appalling, and it is to be condemned by our movement. The disproportionate actions of the current Israeli government over the past few weeks, both in the policing of Jerusalem and toward Gaza, are particularly horrifying. We stand in solidarity with Palestinians taking industrial action, and workers around the world taking action in support of them.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Equity should take a long hard look at themselves after associating with a march infested with antisemitic banners and other signs appearing to condone violence and where a speaker blamed Israel for racism against Jews. It is difficult to see how Equity can possibly pretend to represent their Jewish members when they turn a blind eye to anti-Jewish hate.”
Recently, Dame Maureen showed her support of France’s Jewish community when speaking at Campaign Against Antisemitism’s rally for Sarah Halimi.