Roseanne Barr lost her popular show on ABC two days ago after she tweeted a racist and Islamophobic comment about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. The network’s response was fairly instant, and Barr launched into apology mode.
But as many have pointed out, Barr has a long history of hateful speech about Palestinians and Muslims, and of describing supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) aimed at Israel as Nazis. And she did not suffer career-wise for those comments.
This comment from Barr, about putting Palestinians in ovens, is particularly repugnant.
Barr was referring to a photo shoot in which she played Hitler, for Heeb magazine in 2009. Richard Silverstein capsulizes:
Roseanne volunteered for an inexplicably offensive photo shoot/article for Heeb Magazine titled, That Oven Feelin’, which featured her dressed as Adolf Hitler with moustache and Nazi armband. Pictures from the session show her eating burned “Jew cookies” fresh from the oven. Though both she and the magazine initially defended the tasteless stunt, the article no longer appears on the Heeb site.
She also called financier George Soros,a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, a Nazi collaborator.
Many leftwingers on twitter got angry tongue-lashings from Barr. Glenn Greenwald described the exception for hate speech against Arabs on Democracy Now!
I had a very vitriolic exchange, in fact several of them, with Roseanne, several years ago about Israel. She has become a very fanatical defender of Israel. And in the course of defending Israel, she often spewed some of the most grotesque and overt naked racism against Arabs and Palestinians that you’ll hear from any public figure this side of, say, David Duke. She deleted a lot of those tweets but I do remember them because some of the exchanges are still online, in which she was talking about Arabs and Palestinians being inferior, being prone to violence, deserving to be slaughtered and killed.
She had previously said similar things about Susan Rice that she said about Valerie Jarrett. So obviously her comments yesterday received a lot of attention because she now has a show and they were so grotesque—just viscerally grotesque and racist to any person with a conscience–that ABC had no choice. But it wasn’t like this was something new for Roseanne. This is stuff that she has been saying about lots of different groups, including African Americans, but especially Arabs and Palestinians, for a long time. It’s just that Arabs and Palestinians, racism towards them tends to be more acceptable.
Barr had an anti-Zionist phase. Silverstein on Barr’s previous statements about Israel:
In 2009, the Jerusalem Post quoted Barr as calling Israel a “Nazi state.” On Kathleen Wells’ radio show in 2011, she called Israel a “brutal and undemocratic theocracy…which has the world’s fourth largest army.” In the same interview, she decried the 2009 Israeli invasion, Operation Cast Lead, as “terrible crimes against humanity” that made her “weep and sweat at night.”…
She praised the courage of Rachel Corrie, who died defending Palestinian homes in Gaza, and she hailed the Gaza flotilla that broke the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian enclave.
Then Barr converted to right wing Zionism in 2013. She said Barack Obama was anti-Israel, attacked the Labor Zionist leader Isaac Herzog as a puppet of Obama, started calling supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Nazis. She also posted many Islamophobic comments, including a graphic likening Islam to Nazism. Silverstein:
Perhaps her most infamous and outrageous public statement came after the UC Davis student government voted to endorse BDS. She posted to her social media account, “I hope all the jews leave UC Davis & it then it gets nuked.” After deleting that tweet, she followed with, “Nuke all UC Davis Jew-Haters.” She falsely accused Davis students supporting BDS of receiving “terror funding” from King Salman of Saudi Arabia.
Barr unleashed a stream of vitriol at students supporting BDS, in tweets that Ali Abunimah saved.
In 2014, she wrote:
“If israel doesn’t nuke iran, then nothing makes sense anymore,”
This spring when the actress Natalie Portman refused to attend a ceremony with the Israeli prime minister at which she was to receive the Genesis Prize, Barr called Portman a nincompoop and said she wanted to move to Israel herself and run for prime minister. She endorsed Zionism as rooted in Torah, and said that the presence of Jewish activists in the BDS movement “threatens our existence.”
“Jews who are against other Jews is always been our problem since the first story in Torah. So maybe this time we could do something about it. And change it. We need to love each other. Jews need to love each other.”
Ron Fox, a longtime peace activist in the Boston area, writes to us that he had unpleasant exchanges with Barr on line.
In late 2015 and early 2016, while tweeting about, as usual, the oppression and brutality of Israel’s occupation, I was suddenly faced with tweets that were vicious, insulting, hateful and racist from @therealroseanne.
For a short period of time, I was unsure that this was actually Roseanne Barr but, for some reason, with a little research, I was convinced that it was she.
I apologize that I cannot recapture her actual tweets.
However, I did find tweets from some of the other trolls that joined her in basically overwhelming my tweet account for about 10 days.
The routine was that @therealroseanne would tweet something offensive and @EternallyJewish and/or @RisingRedStorm would then support her by Replying to @therealroseanne but directing their comments to @ronfox
It was unnerving, to say the least….What is disturbing is how many have been enablers of her during these many years she has been an extremist, a racist and a proponent of conspiracy theories.