(photo credit: REUTERS)
After spending a decade revamping the American television landscape with her hit sitcom Roseanne, in recent years Roseanne Barr has shifted tactics to shake up another much more contentious arena: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“BDS doesn’t want peace, nor do they want peace negotiations. They use code words like, ‘occupation’ and use it a lot [and] get all the mileage they can out of it,” Barr asserted in a forceful 20 minute speech against the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement delivered at the Yediot Aharonot and Ynet Conference held at The Jerusalem International Convention Center on Monday.
Barr’s stance on Israel dramatically shifted after a failed run for president of the United States as a Green Party candidate in 2012. The comedian and activist became disillusioned by some members of the far-left she encountered during her campaign.
“Everything I believed about the left was severely shaken and the scales began to fall from my eyes in many ways,” she explained, “I had to admit that many of those that I considered comrades, were naked bigots, who had absolutely no interest in peace between Israelis and Palestinians Arabs at all as I did.”
“It was shocking to realize that what I considered criticism of Israel, many times gave over to the regular garden variety anti-Semitism that I’ve heard all of my life,” she added, alluding to being surrounded by non-Jews as a child in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Explaining her seemingly sudden 180-degree turn on the issue, she explained that her original protests against Israel stemmed from the same moral obligation which prompted her dissent against the American involvement in Vietnam. In both situations, the actress appreciated the country and its sovereignty, but objected to its military actions.
She was appalled though, by the BDS movement, which illustrated its concerted effort to delegitimize the entire country as a whole.
“I didn’t know – when I was harshly critical of Israel as I was before 2010 – I didn’t know what you were doing. I thought it was like being harshly critical of the United States during Vietnam, when we said ‘this is wrong.’ But I didn’t know this was part of a creeping campaign of delegitimization of the entire state of Israel looking to its destruction. I didn’t know that,” she confessed during a short question and answer session after her speech.
While acknowledging the kernel of truth in the stereotype that Jews and Israelis can be pushy and rude, she praised Israel’s diversity and religious tolerance saying it “lack[s] the supreme gall and insensitivity of typical leftwing peace activist trust-funders, living in Chicago, to suggest that the world’s surviving Jews should not be able buy or own or live on land inside any Arab state despite over centuries of citizenship there.”
After denouncing the hypocrisy of the far-left in America and Europe as they turn a blind eye to Hamas resuming their tunnel building in earnest, the comedian bluntly commented, “You can’t make this shit up, folks.”
“Israel is a state full of millions of good people who want peace,” and claimed that peace won’t “happen until pressure is brought to bear by all intelligent and moral people everywhere who will no longer tolerate war at the cost of the few and expense of the many anymore.”