Non-Jewish, British actress Helen Mirren, who is playing Golda Meir in a new film, waded into hypothetical Israeli political history in an interview on Tuesday, Feb. 21, with international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Mirren told AFP that the former Israeli prime minister would have opposed Israeli judicial reform. “I think she would have been utterly horrified. It’s the rise of dictatorship, and dictatorship was what has always been the enemy of people all over the world, and she would recognize it as that,” said Mirren. “I think it would be a complete reversal and denial of her values and her understanding of the world that she wanted to create.”
AFP noted that controversy has surrounded the non-Jewish actress playing Meir, but it did not say that it was controversial for a non-Jewish actress to criticize the Jewish state in the way that she did.
Mirren, 77 hitchhiked around Israel in the 1960s with her then Jewish boyfriend and experienced a kibbutz, which led the actress and Guy Nattiv, director of “Golda,” to think that she could understand Meir’s world, AFP reported.
Nattiv, who is Israeli, also hypothesized about what Meir would think of current developments when it comes to the judiciary. “It’s terrible. I think it’s on the verge of losing democracy, and I think if Golda was alive seeing that, she would want to go back to her grave,” he told AFP.
In recent years, actors have faced backlashes for depictions that critics say appropriate others’ stories. In 2018, for example, Scarlett Johansson drew criticism for playing a transgender person, with CNN quoting someone who joked she would next play former President Barack Obama.
Bill Maher recently attacked Hollywood for that sort of criticism, TMZ reported. “People become actors so they can spend their lives not being who they are,” he said.