Ex-Hollywood TV star Roseanne Barr, who’s undergone a conversion from being a rabid anti-Zionist to an Arab-hating Israel supporter will perform at an Israeli anti-BDS conference in March. She’s been invited to Israel by the Israel advocacy group, StandWithUs (SWU), for whom she’s headlining a fundraising gala at Temple Bnai Abraham in Oakland, CA on February 27th. During her two-week visit to Israel, she plans to travel around the country “collecting material which will help her in her hasbara efforts in Hollywood for Israel and against BDS.”
I recently profiled Roseanne and her SWU gig for Max Blumenthal’s new Alternet project, Grayzone. After the article appeared, Allison Kaplan Sommer reported on the upcoming Oakland event for Haaretz after cleansing her piece of the most objectionable material about the comedian which I’d reported. The columnist employed some of the same source material I used and lifted a quotation from my article without attribution. When asked why she had not attributed material properly, she did not respond. Though she did seem to think I should be grateful she even linked to my Alternet piece, because of the “shit” (her word) she had taken on Twitter for doing so.
The annual conference, Stop the Boycott, is sponsored by Yediot Achronot. It’s astonishing for any major world newspaper to take such a strident, ideologically-charged position on such a political issue. In organizing this event, Yediot has turned itself from journalism to jingoism, from reporting to boosterism.
Here is some of the promotional blurb at the conference website:
Without knives or missiles but with an explosive payload consisting of outrageous lies – genocide, apartheid and crimes against humanity – the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is conquering a growing number of strongholds in Europe, the United States and elsewhere. From the campuses of California to the supermarkets of Paris, the academic, economic and cultural boycott is becoming a palpable threat to…the State of Israel.
While hundreds of thousands of refugees flee for their lives from the infernos of Syria and Iraq, when Islamic terrorism from the school of ISIS runs amok in the heart of Paris and even reaches a peaceful city in California, while the regime of the ayatollahs in Tehran invests billions in supporting terrorist organizations…more and more Westerners – many of them students and academics at the leading universities in the United States and United Kingdom – ironically view Israel as the source of all evil in the universe.
Among those speaking at the event will be Israeli political leaders, cultural figures, CEOs and journalists. The politicians include Pres. Reuven Rivlin, Naftali Bennett, Yair Lapid and Labor Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog. The conference concedes the threat to Israeli companies which have extensive trade dealings that could be harmed by BDS: speakers from this sphere include the CEO of Israel’s leading food exporter, the Strauss Group; and Daniel Birenbaum, CEO of Sodastream, whose company’s stock price was savaged by the market after BDS targeted it. Among the artists represented will be Idan Raichel, one of Israel’s leading musical performers and ardent pro-Israel advocate who defended the rape of a Hezbollah prisoner in an Israeli prison; and Shuki Weiss, Israel’s leading concert promoter, who brings to Israel many of the foreign acts which combat the cultural isolation of Israel espoused by BDS.
In this context, Yediot invited Roseanne Barr to perform. Though she hasn’t been a TV star since the early 1990s, and generally headlines at B-list Las Vegas casinos, Yediot is trading on nostalgia for her 20 year-old past as one of America’s more popular comedians.
It’s possible, though hard to believe, that the organizers don’t know about another aspect of her checkered past, which once included vehement anti-Zionism. In a phase which lasted all the way through 2013, she likened Zionists to Nazis, called Nazi leaders “Jews,” ridiculed the Holocaust and defended Israeli Holocaust denier, Gilad Atzmon. In 2009, she did a photo-shoot for Heeb Magazine (the publication scrubbed its site clean of the piece) titled, That Oven Feelin‘, in which she dressed as Adolf Hitler, wore a Nazi armband, and took a tray of burned “Jew cookies” from the oven. Not even her fondest fans could make out what point she was trying to make.
In 2010, Barr wrote on her website (in a post which she’s subsequently “disappeared”):
In order to defeat euro socialism, Hitler leveraged the rich jewish industrialists against the working class jews. The Russian accounts say that the last trains to Auschwitz were first class, as that is all the leverage left to the jewish oligarchs within the ‘reich’, (other than the jews like Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler at the top). The scientists of the Reich successfully created a mutant human–a hybrid of Jewish mentality and German Resolve, the Zionist– He who broke the back of the labor movements and socialism,— which is the goal of National Socialism…
Just after her 2012 run for president on the Green Party ticket, she had a Come-to-Zion moment in which she rejected all of her previous Jewish beliefs and transformed herself into just as strident and foul-mouthed an advocate for Israel. That includes flamboyant denunciations of BDS. In the most notorious of these, after students at UC Davis voted in favor of a BDS resolution, she tweeted that they should nuke the campus after all the Jewish students were evacuated.
Barr hates not just BDS supporters. She’s also a vitriolic Islamophobe, calling Islam “a rape pedo culture.” Where once Zionists were the Nazis, now Hamas, ISIS and anything tied to Islam have taken their place in her hate fest. Anyone who supports Palestinian rights is a “Nazi helper.” She’s a poster-child for Godwin’s Law.
The San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council cancelled a planned event with her after the UC Davis incident. But apparently, Yediot and StandWithUs don’t have such compunctions. They’re only to happy to exploit her pathologies and hate speech for the sake of Zion. It is an indication of the desperation of the Israeli government and its media organs (Yediot’s logo boasts of it being “the newspaper of the State”) that they are forced to resort to B-list Hollywood celebrities to bolster the cause.