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Jewish star Margolyes slams Israel

Actress Miriam Margolyes has criticised Israel for "allowing people" to vent prejudice against Jews, who she claimed "I don't think people like".

The Harry Potter star (73), who is Jewish, said there had been a "troubling backlash" against Jews following the recent 50-day Gaza conflict.

She told Radio Times magazine: "I loathe Hamas, but they were democratically elected and Israel's behaviour is not acceptable. There's been a troubling backlash.

"I don't think people like Jews. They never have. English literature, my great love, is full of greasy and treacherous Jews.

"I'm lucky they like me, and one always needs a Jewish accountant. Anti-Semitism is horrible and can't be defended, but Israel is stupid for allowing people to vent it."

The summer war claimed the lives of more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 70 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

Israel accused Hamas of using Gaza civilians as human shields and claimed the number of militants killed was higher than the UN figures.


A long-term ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Palestinian militants in August.

Conservative MP Charles Walker told MPs last month that events in the Middle East were being "perverted to give licence to hate".

"I am deeply disturbed by the personal letters I have received from a number of my Jewish constituents expressing their distress at what the future holds in the UK for them and their families," he said.

"These are British citizens who have as much to do with the Middle East as I do."

Margolyes also talked about her sexuality, saying: "Things have changed enormously for the better over the years. People won't judge me on being a lesbian, it's whether I can do the work.

"But there's still prejudice, so young actors should protect themselves by refusing to discuss who they go to bed with. Everyone should be able to do what they like - find God, and love, wherever they want to, so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else."