JewishCare says no thanks to Miriam Margolyes

May 12, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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JewishCare Melbourne has cancelled a performance by celebrated character actress Miriam Margolyes due to take place today [Tues] in an aged care home.

Miriam Margolyes

Miriam Margolyes

The British award-winning actress is scheduled to star in a performance of Caryl Churchill’s  controversial play “Seven Jewish Children” at Melbourne’s State Library next Monday organised by Australians for Palestine

Margolyes said: ” JewishCare cancelled their invitation because they felt my performance would hurt the Holocaust survivors in the home.”

The play has been slammed as being severely critical of Israel’s Gaza incursion. But controversy reigns with some critics calling it “an open vilification of the Jewish people” and others describing it as “an impassioned response to the events in Gaza that is illuminating.”

The 67-yr-old Jewish actress admits to being highly-opinionated..but she says she is a Shul-goer and would never have offended the Home’s residents. She told J-Wire that she had offered her services to entertain the elderly following a successful performance at a Kew synagogue.  She admitted to having been involved in the UK with the organisation Jews for Justice for Palestine stating: “I was a co-signatory with Stephen Fry and the late Harold Pinter.” But she also admitted to having performed pro bono in front of Jewish Aged Care audiences in the UK too.

Margolyes bears no grudge against JewishCare saying that if they ask me in the future, “I will be there.”

But she remains ashamed of Jewish Care. She said: “I would never bring Jewish people or Judaism into disrepute. I want Israel to survive but I am against stifling dialogue. I phoned Jewish Care 2-3 weeks ago offering my services and they were thrilled to bits. I was shocked when one of their staff called me to cancel. I did not hear from a Board member.”

Jewish Care did not return several calls made by J-Wire.

Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs Council’s Director of Community Affair Jeremy Jones said: “I have read the play. It is propaganda disguised as art. It makes Judaism and Jewry appear to be both amoral and immoral. When recited by a group of actors, they seem to be plotting…referencing the Elders of Zion.”

The last word will belong to Margolyes. There will be a debate after the 9-minute play’s performance in which Margolyes will perform with Australian theatrical icon Max Gillies.”

She said: “I will use the debate to express my views.”

The play traces through dialogue with little girls, life for the Jews during the Holocaust, the end of WWII, emigration to Palestine, Arabs in Palestine, the 1948 War of Independence, Intifada/settlements/the Fence,…and Gaza.

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