Visiting Israel, Roseanne Barr says she was punished for supporting Trump

Jewish comedian denies ‘Planet of the Apes’ tweet directed at Obama aide was racist, says network ‘mischaracterized’ her remark in order to fire her from TV show

Roseanne Barr, interviewed during a visit to Israel, January 25, 2019 (Hadashot TV screenshot)
Roseanne Barr, interviewed during a visit to Israel, January 25, 2019 (Hadashot TV screenshot)

The Jewish actress and comedian Roseanne Barr says she lost her eponymous TV show because people were looking to punish her for supporting US President Donald Trump.

In an interview broadcast Friday with Israel’s Hadashot TV news, Barr insisted she was not a racist and vowed that her detractors would not stop her.

“Absolutely,” she replied when asked if she was punished for supporting Trump. “And by people who hate him and who hated me because I supported him from day one when I went back to work,” she said.

Last year, Barr’s rebooted sitcom “Roseanne” was canceled after she likened former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and a “Planet of the Apes” actor.

She later released a video in which she ranted about the tweet, saying she did not know Jarrett was African American.

“The [only] reason I ever went on Twitter was to defend my people and my beliefs and my history and Israel,” Barr told Hadashot. “And they excerpted one line without any context whatsoever, and mischaracterized it and used it to destroy my life. But still they don’t stop me and they never will stop me.”

Barr said the network had not let her defend herself or explain herself before canceling the show.

“As if, at the height of my fame and my power in Hollywood, I would make a racist remark comparing an African-American or any people of color to an animal. I would never do that and I did not do that, but they continued to mischaracterize the tweet in that way,” Barr said.

Barr is in Israel on a tour organized by celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network. The two toured a West Bank settlement on Friday and were due to visit the Gaza border, but this was canceled over security concerns.

Barr will also give several talks next week in Tel Aviv as she campaigns against the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement, which she compared to the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses. (On Monday, she will be interviewed, together with Boteach, at Tel Aviv’s Hangar 11, by The Times of Israel’s Jessica Steinberg, at an evening organized by the Tel Aviv International Salon.)

“To me it is very much the very same thing as the first Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses. It is a boycott of Jews worldwide,” she said. “It pretends to be a boycott of just, you know, certain aspects of Israel, but it also calls for a boycott of businesses that do business with Israel, which means the American Jewish business community.”

Barr said she would love to move to Israel one day, but had no concrete plans for now. “That’s how my life works: I ask, I pray and it comes.”

“And so I suppose there’s a wonderful place waiting for me. And I would love to live in Jerusalem because I study Torah … it’s my joy in life, and I know many rabbis here and I would love to come here and be a full-time student,” she said.

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