Bond actor branded ‘contemptible’ for tweet to Tracy-Ann Oberman after Israeli aid worker strike

In a now-deleted post, Bond appeared to suggest Oberman — a British Jew — ought to apologise for the actions of the IDF


Tracy-Ann Oberman claimed Samantha Bond 'doubled down' on her position when the shocked actor phoned her to check if her account had been hacked (Photo: Getty)

James Bond actor Samantha Bond has been branded “contemptible” and “stupid” after appearing to suggest fellow performer Tracy-Ann Oberman was in some way answerable for the IDF airstrike that killed seven members of a convoy distributing food in Gaza this week.

A post published last night on Bond’s on X/Twitter account called on the Jewish actor to offer her “response to Israel’s actions today” in light of the strike that killed six World Central Kitchen aid workers, including three Britons, and their Palestinian driver.

The post, which disappeared within hours, read: “Dear [Tracy], What is your response to Israel’s actions today! 7 people dead! Trying to feed the starving?”

Bond appeared as Miss Moneypenny in four James Bond films from 1995 to 2002 during Pierce Brosnan’s tenure. Her other on-screen credits include Downton Abbey and Outnumbered. In 2005 she starred in a stage production of James Phillips’ The Rubenstein Kiss as Ethel Rosenburg, a Jewish American woman who, along with her husband, was executed in 1953 after being found guilty of conspiring to commit espionage.

The message was posted in response to an old tweet from Oberman unrelated to the war in Gaza about the latest run of the acclaimed production The Merchant of Venice 1936 in which she starred. The retelling of the Shakespeare play is set in London against the rising threat of fascism, with Oberman reinventing one of the Bard’s most problematic characters, Shylock, as a single Jewish mother.

Oberman and others, including fellow industry figures, expressed shock that Bond appeared to be suggesting that the actor — a British Jew — ought to apologise for the actions of a foreign government.

Responding to Bond on X, Oberman noted her peer appeared to be subjecting her to a “political purity test”, and asked if she was holding “me and my ‘kind’ collectively responsible”, adding that this appeared to be “Jew baiting”.

Oberman, who has starred in Friday Night Dinner, Toast of London and EastEnders as well as in a host of stage productions, said: “Dear @SamanthaBond, as I am not a spokesperson for the Israeli government, why on earth would you send me this tweet? Is it a political purity test? Do you want me to fail it? As a Jew do you hold me and my ‘kind’ collectively responsible [for the strike]? This is a deeply offensive tweet…I’d say it was Jew-baiting”.

She later said that she had initially thought Bond’s X account had been hacked but upon contacting her by phone the actor “doubled down” on her online comments.

“I have known Samantha Bond and her wonderful husband for years — I consider them friends and so I was really shocked, as were many others, that she should have sought out a four-month-old tweet advertising my play to seemingly ask me to pass a political purity test,” Oberman told the JC.

“If she was genuinely interested in my opinion on this terrible tragedy she could have texted or called me.”

Oberman continued: “I was so shocked that I immediately rang her and then texted her asking if she had been hacked as it would’ve been the only justifiable explanation – [but] she doubled down on her [position].

“It is saddening that in this industry, myself and other openly Jewish professionals are being… held collectively responsible for the actions of the Israeli government in this terrible war with Hamas.”

She added that, since the October 7 massacres carried out by Hamas, her “only intention on social media has been to make people aware of the horrendous torture, murder and violence of Israeli women and girls at the hands of Hamas”.

Numerous directors, performers and producers have privately contacted Oberman to offer their support, according to the actor, while several industry figures have also spoken out publicly following the post.

TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp said: “Tracy-Ann, you have the support of all those who know what is being levelled at Jews around the world, and at Muslims, the conflict in Gaza has engendered much bigotry; Samantha’s question is simply mind-boggling.”

Comedian and writer Dom Joly simply said: “What a deeply stupid tweet”.

Commenting after Bond’s post vanished from X, the Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Good to see that @SamanthaBond has deleted her post demanding that a British Jewish actress – advertising her role as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, no less – explain Israel’s actions. Is Samantha aware that, according to the [IHRA] definition of antisemitism, holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel is a manifestation of antisemitism? Perhaps she ought to see the play and come to understand why her post was so contemptible.”

Bond and a representative for the actor have been approached for comment.

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