Seen by some as a feminist icon, Israel’s first female prime minister was nothing more than coloniser.

The British actress Helen Mirren has been panned by critics for depicting Israel’s first female prime minister, Golda Meir, in an upcoming Hollywood biopic. Meir is a figure known for expressing racist views towards Palestinians and Arabs.

Mirren said about taking on the role, “Golda Meir was a formidable, intransigent, and powerful leader.

“It is a great challenge to portray her at the most difficult moment of her extraordinary life. I only hope I do her justice!”

Yet critics of Meir, who served as Israeli Prime Minister between 1969 and 1974, point to her record and views on Palestinians.

In an op-ed in the New York Times in 1976, she said, “There is no Palestinian people,” adding that “when in 1921 I came to Palestine – until the end of World War I a barren, sparsely inhabited Turkish province – we, the Jewish pioneers, were the avowed Palestinians.”

Meir had also accused Palestinians of “wearing thin” their refugee status and made claims that the creation of the Israeli state “dispossessed no Arabs.”

She also controversially remarked, “Until 1948, the Arabs of Palestine multiplied and flourished as the direct result of Zionist settlement. Whatever subsequent ills befell the Arabs were the inevitable result of the Arab design to drive us into the sea.”

One online critic spoke out on social media against Mirren’s attempts to whitewash Meir’s place in history. “How sick making a biopic on criminal Golda Meir, and yes no surprise Helen Mirren the racist is happy to portray the pure distorted version of a disgusting individual.”

Another user wrote that “Helen Mirren doing a film about the first female prime minister of Israel is a slap in the face to all the people of Palestine. They are literally celebrating taking over Palestine and taking families out of their homes, murdering children, families! Tasteless film!”

Whereas another user was even more scathing, saying that” Helen Mirren should lose her damehood for this. The double standard is they say they stand for equality but don’t give a shit when it comes to human rights of Palestinians.”

Some critics, while respecting Mirren’s past acting, said, “I love Helen Mirren, but unless they show the sheer hate Golda had for Palestinians, then this is a useless movie and really bad timing because she’s always been a part of ethnic cleansing, land and resource theft of Palestine and Palestinians.”

While Golda Meir has been heralded by some as a trailblazing woman in politics, in reality, she showed little interest in the plight of women.

Born in 1898 in Kyiv, now part of Ukraine, as Golda Mabovitch, she later changed her name in 1956 at the behest of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion.

Meir moved to a socialist Jewish commune in Palestine in 1921, “whose aim was the acquisition of land in Palestine for purposes of colonization.”

In 1960, Golda lived at a villa in Jerusalem that Jewish forces had confiscated from a Palestinian Christian family. 

Source: TRT World