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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Sami Quadri

Maureen Lipman reveals ITV offered her security following Israel-Hamas remarks

Dame Maureen Lipman has been offered increased security by Coronation Street bosses after she said artists should feel "shame" for urging help for Palestinians after the Hamas attack on Israel.

Last week, a group calling itself Artists for Palestine UK, including actors Steve Coogan and Tilda Swinton, published a letter accusing Israel of war crimes while making no mention of the Hamas attacks.

Responding to this, Dame Maureen said: "These bleeding heartless liberals care so deeply for the Palestinians? That they espouse their cause at the expense of every other oppressed people of the world... Shame. Shame. Shame on every one of you."

The 77-year-old soap star later revealed that ITV bosses offered her security following her remarks amid a surge in anti-Semitic attacks.

Speaking at the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, she said: "I had a real surprise this week when I was offered security guards by the ­people at Coronation Street — this is where we are now."

An ITV source told The Sun: "The wellbeing of all our cast and crew is of utmost importance.

"Everyone should feel safe to come to work, and Maureen has the full support of the entire Coronation Street family."

Dame Maureen was among more than 200 public figures to have signed an "October Declaration" to condemn the terrorist attacks on Israel and the related surge in anti-Semitism seen in the UK.

They urged the BBC to describe Hamas as terrorists rather than militants, and called on the police to do more to enforce the laws against those who promote terror in this country.

She signed the October Declaration along with figures including the playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, former foreign secretary Lord Owen and TV presenters Vanessa Feltz and Rachel Riley.

It said: "We are a group of concerned British citizens and residents from a wide range of backgrounds and professions who stand in solidarity with British Jews and condemn all forms of anti-Semitism, whether in Britain or elsewhere.

"Following the terrorist attack on Israel, anti-Semitism is surging in the UK. Children have not been spared. Four Jewish schools in Britain felt compelled to close.

"One school was vandalised. It is abominable that British children should now live in fear just because they are Jews. All children should be able to attend school without fear. British Jews should not live in fear because of actions taken by the state of Israel to defend itself. The British state must do everything in its power to protect them."

The Artists for Palestine UK letter accused Western governments of "aiding and abetting" Israel's "war crimes" in Gaza and said Palestinians face "collective punishment on a grand scale".

Dame Maureen, known for films including Educating Rita, said: "When babies were garroted, women dragged by their hair and a family had eyeballs gouged out and fingers chopped off in front of their children - do they really think that Israeli blockades on the border with Gaza area justification for such acts of violence?

"Those bigoted signaturists, do they have no soul as well as no judgment?

"These bleeding heartless liberals care so deeply for the Palestinians (who, since 1937, have turned down no fewer than five offers of a two-state solution) that they espouse their cause at the expense of every other oppressed people of the world.

"The Palestinians are not Hamas, I agree; they just elected them. And, 17 years later, Hamas has done nothing for the Palestinians save stealing the millions donated in aid money while keeping them in penury."

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