Calls are made to boycott the movie, Golda, starring Helen Mirren, which is about to premier in the UK, for glorifying former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir accusing the filmmakers of “whitewashing a genocidal maniac”.
While the movie celebrates Golda Meir’s leadership as Israel’s prime minister during the 1973 war launched by Egypt and Syria on October 6 to regain their lands occupied by Israel in the June 1967 war, organizers of the boycott accuse Meir of killing and displacing thousands of Palestinians during her tenure while denying the existence of the Palestinian people, the indigenous people of Palestine and what is now called Israel.
“Hundreds of Palestinians were killed and many thousands were removed to refugee camps during her tenure, and yet Meir refused to even acknowledge the existence of Palestinian people... ‘There is no such thing as the Palestinian people. It is not as though we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist’,” said the organizers, quoting Meir.
Ironically, Meir herself held a Palestinian passport and even referred to herself as Palestinian for many years.
Former Panorama current affairs correspondent Alan Hart once interviewed Meir and asked, “You are saying that, if ever Israel was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be prepared to take the region and even the whole world down with it?” She replied: “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”
Born in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1898, Meir moved to the US as a child and then to Palestine in 1921, working in a new kibbutz; she held a Palestinian passport. She then lived in a grand Palestinian house looted in 1948 from Hanna Bisharat, who had built the house 20 years earlier for his large family.
Helen Mirren visited Israel in the 1967 war and had herself volunteered on a kibbutz. She shares Meir’s view.
Pete Gregson of One Democratic Palestine said, “Mirren has led the cast in a racist movie, intended to propagandize the Israeli project and its war criminal founders, whitewashing their crimes against humanity. The film glamourizes ethnic cleansing; it attempts to romanticize the occupation and to portray the perpetrators as the victims. People like Meir should be remembered as war criminals and illegal settlers, rather than being portrayed as heroes in silly Hollywood movies.”
Jonathan Ofir, an Israeli musician based in Denmark, wrote of her: “In the end, her attitude towards Palestinians was basically a macho, chauvinist, denialist attitude which is intrinsically inherent in Zionism.”
Howie Movshovitz said in the KUNC film review: “When Golda Meir was prime minister, Israel had more friends in the world than it does now. It was still viewed as a tiny, somewhat romantic and courageous little country. But now, there’s more controversy and opposition around the world over the issue of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. So why a film about this Israeli heroine with no mention of the Palestinian question? Movies about the past are always also about their own present.”
Taghrid Al-Mawed runs the Palestine Refugee Project; she had this to say: “Golda Meir had no problem killing Palestinians, saying, ‘How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to?’ Helen Mirren is more than happy to play this evil woman in her latest film. Well, Helen, we Palestinians do exist, and we will never forget your words and acts of support for the Zionists and your eagerness to play Meir, who has done us so much harm. She (and you) may have wanted to wipe us out, but she failed; we are still here, and we still have a very loud voice that more and more people are starting to hear and pick up. You have made a mistake Mirren; history will judge you.”
The campaign to boycott the movie is asking supporters to picket cinemas where the movie is going to be shown.