Roseanne Barr: How a Hollywood great chose morality over personal success

She emerged as a moral giant and Jewish heroine, one of a long line of Jewish women and men that have saved our nation from destruction.

Actress Roseanne Barr poses upon her arrival for the Life Ball at the airport in Vienna (photo credit: REUTERS)
Actress Roseanne Barr poses upon her arrival for the Life Ball at the airport in Vienna
(photo credit: REUTERS)
On the 18th of Adar II 5776, March 28, 2016, four days after Purim, legendary Hollywood TV star and comic genius Roseanne Barr took to the podium at the Ynet and Yediot Aharonot anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) conference.
Within 18 minutes, she emerged as a moral giant and Jewish heroine, one of a long line of Jewish women and men that have saved our nation from destruction. (I am sure she belongs to the Hadassah ladies of Utah.) And as Queen Esther said to Mordecai, “And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish” (Book of Esther 4:14), Barr began to speak, launching an 18-minute onslaught of such moral outrage, truth and clarity that could have ruined her career and standing within the radical-left-controlled kingdom of Hollywood. Nonetheless, she spearheaded an offensive strike against BDS, presenting to the world community the so-called “human rights” movement as a right-wing, fascist and anti-Semitic ideology hijacking the noble aspirations of the true Left to manipulate and brainwash innocent minds and hearts to destroy Israel via political means.
And as Queen Esther placed nation ahead of personal survival, Barr placed her sisters and brothers – her Jewish family – ahead of personal gain. And as I viewed her speech, I recalled the countless Torah sermons delivered by my rabbis in my yeshiva years about the power of all human beings, especially Jews, to transform their lives. Their ability to summon the courage to place aside self-interest for their love of God, Torah and fellows as personified by Moses. “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens” (Exodus 2:11) flashed before my eyes.
I sat stunned and motionless in the face of this incredible display of conviction, honesty and humility. Here was a well-established icon of American culture, who had reached the pinnacle of prestige, wealth and success, now leading the charge to battle modern- day anti-Semitism, in its guise of emotionally charged trigger words employed by BDS: “apartheid,” “human rights,” “ethnic cleansing,” “colonialism” and “justice.”
While many have made movies about the Holocaust, which is extremely important, she is striving to prevent a new Shoah.
Citing chapter and verse of the BDS playbook and then brilliantly revealing and destroying the diabolical subversive message of “Free, Free Palestine from the river to sea” – the secret code for “destroy the Jewish state,” Barr drew a line in the sand for all those of great wealth and success, to choose what is right over social blackmail.
For BDS is a new form of social blackmail that bullies others, especially Jews, who want to be liked by their non-Jewish peers. Fear of “not fitting in” coerces them to kowtow to anti-Zionism, fearing that otherwise they will not be socially accepted and regarded as “cool.” As BDS bullies ordinary Jews, it more so threatens and bullies Jews of prestige to turn their backs against their nation, fearing a backlash. But as Mordecai commanded Esther: “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews” (Esther 4:13), Barr did not fall into the snare of self-delusion that traps successful Jews into thinking that they can escape the monstrous tentacles of the Hamans of the world by staying quiet or even joining the BDS bandwagon. We need only remember how the successful Jews of Shushan attended Ahasuerus’s banquet to celebrate the destruction of the First Temple.
Then they were still sentenced to extermination by Haman. We can recall the countless number of German and Russian cinema and stage artists who lost their lives and livelihoods, thinking they could escape the Nazi death machine and Soviet communist party, respectively, only to be liquidated in the end with everyone else.
As she related her personal journey as the non-typical looking Jew, privy and subjected to the two-faced anti-Semitic bigots encountered on her presidential campaign trail, she unmasked not only the fake “Left” but importantly the treacherous “fake Jews” who would sell out their very nation and its destiny, to be a light unto the nations, for their pot of gold and comfortable life – a malady dating back to our days of the murmurers of old in the wilderness: “And the mixed multitude that was among them fell to lusting and the children of Israel also wept on their part, and said: ‘Would that we were given flesh to eat! We remember the fish which we were wont to eat in Egypt for naught; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic...” (Numbers 11:4-5).
These modern day murmurers – J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Justice for Palestinians – have abandoned their Israeli Jewish brethren, surrounded on all fronts by tunnel terrorists, knife-wielding murderers, global boycotts, Iranian-funded missiles and a cultural ethnic cleansing movement that claims the Jews are not an indigenous people that have miraculously returned home.
Even Hitler and his henchmen did not go so far. These fake Jews of the radical Left from the above-mentioned NGOs and the BDS movement have conspired together with the anti-Semites of the world, to eradicate not only the one Jewish state, but to send the Israeli Muslim, Christian, Druse and any other non-conformist individual back to the Middle Ages to live under PA/Hamas law. As Barr engaged in battle, I beheld all the Jewish mothers since the time of our Matriarch Sarah, who, like mighty mother lionesses, stood their ground and proclaimed to the world, “My son, Yitzhak, will not be bullied, humiliated, abused and used!” “And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, making sport. Wherefore she said unto Abraham: ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son ” (Genesis 21: 9-10). So within 18 minutes of penetrating analysis, Barr has raised the bar high for all Jewish mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, professionals and laymen, Hollywood figures and others, to answer to the call. “Silence? Never Again!” Barr, I am with you, our beloved sister! Charge!
The author is co-founder/director of Shomrei Haam (Guardians of the Nation – the New Palmach).