Maureen Lipman, Dame Maureen has retracted her remarks about Helen Mirren’s portrayal as Ex-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Mesir. Lipman stated today that she thinks directors should first consider Jewish actresses.

She said that she believes stars like Bette Midler, Tracy Ullman, and Barbara Streisand who are Jewish should have been considered to star in the forthcoming film, ‘Golda.

She admitted that Dame Helen (76), would make a great choice for Ms Meir’s role, which she affectionately calls ‘the grandmother to the Jewish people’.

This is after the Jewish-born 75-year-old caused a row by questioning the casting for Dame Helen as Ms Meir — Israel’s first female Prime minister.

Maureen said that she had felt uncomfortable when the actress was cast, even though they were not Jewish.

However figures from the UK’s Jewish community defend the casting, including Rabbi Jonathan Romain who said: ‘You don’t have to be Jewish to play a Jew’.

In spite of being criticised for her position, Madame Maureen has today defended herself during an interview on Good Morning Britain.

She spoke to Susanna Reid, Ben Shepherd and said that she felt Helen Mirren was a great actress and would be a brilliant choice for the role.

The Coronation Street actress today said stars such as Tracy Ullman, Bette Milder and Barbara Streisand, who are Jewish, should have been considered for the starring role in upcoming film 'Golda'

Today’s Coronation Street actress, Tracy Ullman, Bette Millder and Barbara Streisand said they should have been considered for the lead role in the forthcoming film, ‘Golda.

Dame Maureen's comments sparked fans to point out that she herself had played a vicar in a 2015 Red Nose Day special of the Vicar of Dibley. In the comedy special, Dame Maureen's character (pictured centre) competed with Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Emma Watson and Ruth Jones, Annette Crosbie for the job of archbishop

Fans pointed out that Dame Maureen had been a vicar herself in the 2015 Red Nose Day Special of Vicars of Dibley. Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Emma Watson were competing for the archbishop’s job in the comedy special.

A publicity image of the film Golda, where Dame Helen portrayed Ms Meir during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, showed Dame Helen covered in prosthetic to look more like the politician.

An image publicity for the film Golda in which Dame Helen played Ms Meir at the Yom Kippur War of 1973 showed Dame Helen wearing a prosthetic that made her appear more like the politician. 

Ms Meir (pictured in 1969) was the fourth prime minister of Israel and held the position from 1969 until 1974

From 1969 to 1974, Ms Meir served as the fourth prime minister in Israel.

She will be very successful because she is very sexy. Golda Meir also, I believe, was extremely sexy. But she didn’t read the book, and she wasn’t even looking at it.

“And, I’ve watched shows about Helen before. So I have nothing against Helen playing it.

The times that Dame Maureen Lipman has played non-Jewish characters

“Up the Junction” (1968)Sylvie is a working-class girl who meets a young wealthy heiress.

The Smashing Bird that I Used to Know (1969). – Sarah – A lesbian prisoner who befriends an inmate from a middle-class background  

Riley (1985). Kitty McShane is a fictionalized representation of the Irish actress.  

Education Rita (1983).Trish, a roommate for Rita the title character

Water (1985). Margaret Thatcher, a fictionalized version of the British Prime Minister

Bookmark (1992).Enid Bleyton is a fictionalized version of the English writer. 

Coronation Street (2002)Lillian Spencer, a relief manager that helps to run the Rovers Return Inn

Doctor Who (2006)– The Wire — An energy villain takes over the TV-watching Britons’ souls during Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation

Holby City (2011) Bonnie Walters, a patient at Holby city Hospital

The Vicar of Dibley (2014)Alicia – A Church of England vicar, competing with five other women in order to be an archbishop

Coronation Street, 2018 to present – Evelyn Plummer – the grandmother of established character Tyrone Dobbs


My query was: Should casting directors look first at Bette Miler, Jennifer Connolly or Scarlet Johansson? Or would they have opted for Tracy Ullman instead, who is a great actress.

“But they might not have given green light to a movie and Helen could have played this Jewish woman from Milwaukee.”

Also, Maureen admitted that she was questioned about her role as an Irish Catholic. This part was criticised by Milton Shulman (Canadian film critic). 

“It’s complicated, and it will be contradicted by myself,” but let’s say you want to make a movie about Ghandi. Would that be okay? What if Salma Hayek, say, is a Mexican Catholic?

“Once upon a time I played an Irish Catholic,” Milton Schulman reviewed it.

Now you may say, “Why not ?”.’?”

She joked that acting could be defined as the ability to portray a character’s personality.

“And we’re becoming more and more tribal. The end result is that if you did the Maureen Lipman Show, you could only have a 75 year-old woman born in Northfield Road in Hull with an overbite or myopia.

“And it’s insane, it’s wrong. 

You’ve been through a lot lately. Javier Bardem, who is Spanish and not Cuban in Meet the Ricardos has come under fire.

“Jake Gilenhal played a Persian while he was American-Swedish. Rooney Mara was criticised for his portrayal of a Native American.

“My point, which I contradict myself here, is that if religion ignites the character then I truly think that you should examine that group. I also think that if the actor plays a gay character I would recommend that you see first the Jewish actors.

It is clear that there will not be another Lawrence Olivier portraying Othello. Although he was great, and Alec Guinness playing A Passage to India, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see Richard III on stage. 

She was asked if she thought she upset Dame Helen by her remarks. 

Dame Maureen Lipman

Dame Helen Mirren

Actress Maureen Lipman (left), stated that Helen Mirren (right), was not the right person to play Golda Meir as she felt uncomfortable about the casting.

“I think she, of all people, will be able to understand that the headline wasn’t necessarily the context. That’s why I don’t worry about it. 

The film is directed by Guy Nattiv (an acclaimed Israeli filmmaker). It’s not known if the people behind it had previously considered Jewish actors for the role before Dame Helen was cast. MailOnline has reached out to the representatives of MailOnline for clarification. 

Dame Maureen’s comments come as Rabbi Jonathan Romain, director of Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire, yesterday took to Twitter to express his view on the row, saying: ‘You don’t have to be Jewish to play a Jew’. 

Rabbi Romain, aged 67, took to Twitter to write: “We had an open discussion about this at Maidenhead Synagogue a couple of weeks ago. It was unanimously agreed that actors should act because that’s their talent. 

Rabbi Jonathan Romain, director of Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire, today took to Twitter to express his view on the row, saying: 'You don't have to be Jewish to play a Jew'

Rabbi Jonathan Romain of Maidenhead Synagogue (Berkshire) today posted his views on Twitter. He said: “You don’t necessarily have to be Jewish to enjoy the role of a Jew.”

The first woman to be the prime minister of Israel who earned the nicknamed the ‘strong-willed grandmother of the Jewish people’: Who is Golda Meir?

Born Golda Mobvitch in Kiev (present-day Ukraine) in 1898. Golda Meir would become one of Israel’s leading political figures.

Her father, Moshe, was a carpenter in the city, then under the control of the Russia empire.

As a child she faced difficult times. Later, her autobiography revealed that the first thing she remembered was her parents locking their house up in fear of anti-Semitism.

Meir was raised with Sheyna, and Tzipke sisters. He also had five siblings who were killed in childhood.

Her father, Kiev, was born in New York City and her family later moved to Pinsk, modern-day Belarus.

After finding a job and in Milwaukee, Moshe moved his family over the United States, where Meir’s mother Blume Mabovitch ran a grocery store.

Born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev, present-day Ukraine, in 1898, Golda Meir would go on to become on of Israel's most prominent political figures. Pictured: Golda Meir standing with U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1973

Born Golda Mobrovitch in Kiev (present-day Ukraine) in 1898. Golda Meir would become one of Israel’s leading political figures. Pictured: Golda Meir with U.S. President Richard Nixon, 1973

Meir was a leader from a young age. She organized a fundraiser and formed the American Young Sisters Society.

At high school, she was involved in the Labour Zionist Youth Movement. She also became an avid Socialist Zionistionist. 

After meeting in Denver in 2004, she married Morris Meyerson, a sign painter. They were married until their death in 1951. They had two children together.

Meir had agreed to settle down in Palestine to be a precondition for their marriage. But, Meir’s delay was due to the US entering World War I.

They moved in 1921 together with Sheyna. She lived in a community of Jews called a Kibbutz. Later, they moved to Tel Aviv and settled in Jerusalem.

Here she was made secretary of Working Women’s Council. She returned to America for 2 years, as an emissary.

During her time back in America she was the Jewish observer from Palestine at the Évian Conference – where a discussion took place on Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in Germany.

Meir rose up in Jewish politics, and was among the 24 signatories of 1948’s Israeli Declaration of Independence.

In 1949, she was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary of Moscow. After that, she became Israel’s Labour Minister.

During Meir's (pictured in 1973) time as premier she faced dealing with the fourth Israel-Arab conflict - which came to be known as the Yom Kippur War. The short 19 day war ended in an Israeli victory

Meir was premier from 1973 to 1974. She had to face the fourth Israel-Arab Conflict, which became known as The Yom Kippur War. This brief 19-day conflict ended with an Israeli victory

Meir was later Foreign Minister before being diagnosed with Lymphoma in 1966.

However she returned to front line politics in 1969 after being elected by her party to succeed leader Levi Eshkol following his sudden death.

She was Israel’s fourth Prime Minster and first woman Prime Minister, a position she held until 1974.

As premier, she had to deal with the fourth Israel-Arab Conflict, which became the Yom Kippur War. It was a short, 19-day conflict that ended with an Israeli victory.

Her government was engulfed by internal conflict and questions about Israel’s insufficient preparation for conflict.

Although her party won the next election and her coalition government was elected, it lost seats. It couldn’t form a majority. This led to her resignation.

Meir received the Israel Prize in 1975 for her outstanding contribution to Israel’s society two years later.

Meir, who was 80 years old, died from lymphoma in 1978, five year after she resigned. 

Her legacy is still alive in Israel where her successes as prime minister are debated but her achievements as foreign and labour ministers are widely celebrated.

She is today known as the “strong-willed grandmother” of the Jewish people. Others refer to her as the original “Iron Lady”, before Margaret Thatcher became British Prime Minister.

Her legacy in the Muslim world is however one of controversy. She was quoted by the Times in 1969 as saying, “There wasn’t such thing as Palestinians.” 

American Muslims for Palestine was founded in 2019 and is dedicated to teaching the American public all about Palestine.

The US Meir Foundation has many buildings that are named for her. There is one in Milwaukee and another library. A bust of Meir can be found at Golda Meir Square in New York City.

She is the home of Israeli Opera. 

You don’t need to be Jewish in order to play the role of a Jew, orphan to become an orphan. It is wise to consult an advisor regardless of the situation.  

Mister Pollard was the editor of the weekly paper from last month and he tweeted, “I adore Maureen Lipman. She couldn’t have been more wrong on that.” 

“The logic of her situation is that any actor can only portray themselves.”

Nicole Lambert, a journalist, replied that the position was’more nuanced.

“I believe a more nuanced view is that these roles of brilliant Jewish woman should sometimes be played sometimes by Jewish women,” she wrote. They never have been.

This row follows Dame Maureen’s interview with the Jewish Chronicle in which she gave her opinion on the casting.

An image from the movie Golda in November showed Helen with her prosthetics on to appear more like the politician. 

From 1969 to 1974, Ms Meir served as the fourth prime minister in Israel.

She was faced with dealing with the fourth Israel/Arab conflict during her tenure as prime minister. This became known as the Yom Kippur War. Israel won the short war of 19 days.

Her government was engulfed by internal conflict and questions about Israel’s insufficient preparation for conflict.

Although her party won the next election and her coalition government was elected, it lost seats. It couldn’t form a majority. This led to her resignation.

Meir received the Israel Prize in 1975 for her outstanding contribution to Israel’s society two years later.

When asked about casting Dame Helen in the role of Golda’s mother, Dame Maureen replied: ‘The Jewishness and importance of this character are so important. 

“I am sure that she will be amazing, but Ben Kingsley would not be permitted to portray Nelson Mandela. It was impossible for you to even consider going there.

Fans pointed out, in response to Dame Maureen’s remarks that she was a vicar for a Vicar of Dibley 2015 Red Nose Day Special.

In the comedy special, Dame Maureen’s character competed with Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Emma Watson and Ruth Jones, Annette Crosbie for the job of archbishop.

Later, it is revealed that there are five open positions and Dawn French is the one who has not been selected.

Her return to Dibley finds her role as vicar has been filled by Fiona Bruce, a presenter.

This comes as Tamsin Greig, who said last month that she “probably shouldn’t” have been playing a Jewish mother on Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner. While Ms Greig does not have Jewish roots, she practices Christianity.

Patrick Marber is a playwright, who directed the Sir Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt. He said that it was not appropriate to consider ‘lived experience when casting for parts.

He stated that actors would be denied the opportunity to play the part of someone else if they were forced to experience lives like the ones in which the roles are played.

Sarah Silverman, an American comedian, previously attacked the casting Kathryn Hahn (non-Jewish) as Joan Rivers.

Elliot Levey is playing the role of a German Jew at Cabaret in London’s West End. He called it a “dystopian nightmare” and criticized the idea that people should show their papers in order to prove Jewish heritage.

Helen, known as Dame Helen, is a strong supporter Israel and signed an open letter condemning the cultural boycott.

The New York Times asked her whether she may be “a secret Jew” while she promoted The Debt. She played the role of a Mossad retired agent.

She replied that she would not be surprised.

Internet trolls called Dame Helen racist and called her an ‘Israel-worshipper and Zionist’.

Golda is set in 1973, when Israel was attacked by the Arab States.

Meir was described by Dame Helen as “a formidable, determined and powerful leader” and it was a challenge to depict her in the most challenging moment of her remarkable life.

Social media critics criticized the production calling it ‘fascism, sick’ and tasteless’. 

One user on Twitter, who claimed they were Palestinian and proud, said: “How sick is it to make a biopic about criminal Golda Mesr? And yes, no surprise Helen Mirren, the racist, is content to play the pure, distorted version of an infuriating individual.”

Another writer wrote that Helen Mirren’s film on the first female Prime Minister of Israel was a joke. It is literally a celebration of taking control of Palestine, taking their families out of the homes and murdering the children. It is a tasteless movie!

One user on social media said that Helen Mirren was being a disappointment and another stated, “More fascism is needed to demonstrate how wonderful Israel is.” 

Meir was born in Ukraine in 1898 and moved to America as a youngster. She became Israel’s first woman prime minister in 1969.

Soon, she caused international outrage by stating that “There was no such thing as Palestinians.” 

Israel was critical of Meir’s inability to prepare adequately for the possibility of war, even though it received word from Arab forces that they were planning an attack. 

Meir resigned in 1974 after the public backlash against her war handling. In 1978, she was 80 years old.

In the past, Dame Helen was criticised for saying she believed in Israel and rejecting calls to boycott it.

Call My Agent is also featured in this film. Camille Cottin stars as Meir’s personal assistant, and Israeli Liorashkenazi is her chief of staff.