Harry Potter Actress Blames 'Stupid' Israel for anti-Jewish Backlash

British Jewish actress Miriam Margolyes says anti-Semitism is horrible but Israel is 'stupid for allowing people to vent it.'

Miriam Margolyes
Miriam Margolyes being presented with Australian citizenship certificate by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2013. Nick-D, Wikimedia Commons

The British Jewish actress who played Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films has called Israel "stupid" for allowing people to "vent" anti-Semitism.

Miriam Margolyes told Radio Times, a British television and radio magazine, that there has been a "troubling backlash" against Jews in the wake of the summer's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, British media reported.

“I loathe Hamas, but they were democratically elected and Israel’s behaviour is not acceptable," she said. "There’s been a troubling backlash.”

Margolyes grew up in a Jewish household in Britain, according to Sky News. Her parents are descendants of immigrants from Belarus.

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

“I’m lucky they like me," Margolyes went on, quipping, "and one always needs a Jewish accountant."

While she said that anti-Semitism is "horrible and can’t be defended," she blamed Israel, calling the country "stupid for allowing people to vent it.”

The summer war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza prompted a spike in the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Britain.

The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity set up to protect Britain's Jewish community, said 302 such incidents were reported this July, compared to 59 in July 2013. The incidents included offensive letters sent to British synagogues, graffiti and property damage. One-third of them included language or imagery related to the Holocaust, according to the BBC.

The organization also reported 150 anti-Semitic incidents in August, making it the third highest monthly total recorded.