There is ‘nowhere safe to be Jewish’, says Dame Maureen Lipman

There is 'nowhere safe to be Jewish', says Dame Maureen Lipman thumbnail

Dame Maureen Lipman has said she feels there is currently “nowhere safe to be Jewish” and prays that Holocaust Memorial Day will not be used for antisemites to “come out”.

The 77-year-old actress, who was born Jewish, spoke to Sky News’ the Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge, ahead of 27 January, which marks the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution, and in other more recent global genocides.

With ongoing conflict in the Middle East putting increased poignancy on this year’s memorial day, Dame Maureen said she hopes the day is not tarred by politics, or used as an “occasion when the antisemites choose to come out”.

“This is not a political day. This is a day for remembrance of the victims and for forgiveness and understanding,” she told Ridge.

“I know that’s quite hard, but when people take on responsibility for what they’ve perpetrated on other people, it helps both sides.”

When asked if she feels like the UK is a safe place to be a Jew, Dame Maureen paused, before replying: “I honestly think that nowhere is a safe place to be Jewish at the moment, and the UK is part of the global rise in antisemitism event that’s happening.”

She added that she thinks speaking out in favour of “Jewish things” makes people targets.

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“I don’t know whether people realise that our synagogues and our burial grounds have been guarded by the Community Security Trust (CST), we have our own, kinds of people who watch over us, have done for decades,” she said.

“It costs an absolute fortune, but we’ve had to. I can’t get into my parents’ graveyard without a key because people get in and desecrate it.”

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Rising antisemitic attacks in UK

Providing advice, training, representation and research, the CST is a registered British charity that aims to protect the Jewish community in the UK, according to its website.

“I’m not hugely frightened by this,” Dame Maureen continued. “But you can’t really take anything for granted. And, you know, there will be people who just don’t like the look of me.”

Turning briefly to politics, Dame Maureen showed her support for Sir Keir Starmer, calling him a “good man” who will do “anything to unite the Labour Party”.

The actress previously said Jeremy Corbyn had made her a Tory, but acknowledged that Sir Keir had won her back round.