Roseanne Barr, the famous American comedian and actress, has recently become a leading advocate of Israel, and on Saturday night she revealed she may be moving to the Jewish state.
Speaking before around 200 Jewish supporters at the Conservative synagogue Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland, California, she said, "I'm going there (to Israel) for Purim, and I might be moving there, too," reports Haaretz on Sunday.
"We might all be moving there," she added to the audience. The comments were made during an event sponsored by the pro-Israeli group StandWithUs.
When asked how the American Jewish community should respond to the growing anti-Israel activity on US campuses, Barr said, "the thing that needs to happen is that Jewish donors need to stop supporting universities that allow Nazism on their campuses. I mean these Jewish donors are just sending their kids to be beat up, and it makes no sense at all."
Barr was welcomed to the synagogue by Rabbi Mark Bloom, who called her one of a "long line of Jewish women who won’t be silenced."
The actresses' mother Helen and sister Geraldine were both in attendance at the front row of the event. Police were stationed at the synagogue over rumors that anti-Israel activists would protest, but those rumors did not pan out.
Barr, who lives on a macadamia nut farm in Hawaii, was given a warm welcome by the audience and got a standing ovation when the event ended.
It was moderated by Lenny Kristal, an advocate of Israel who took credit for bringing Barr around to becoming a supporter of Israel. The comedian in the past described IDF soldiers as "Nazis," but in recent years she has become just as fierce a supporter as she once was a critic.
Asked about her change in stance, Barr said, "once I started reading, and once I started exposing myself to a wider variety of news sources than Haaretz and the Guardian and shit rags like that, and I started to expand my point of view, which I should have all along – I don’t blame anyone but myself – I just became so dogmatic."
Barr is to reach Israel in March and take part in an anti-BDS conference hosted by Yedioth Aharonoth. She was last in the Holy Land back in 1998, when she met with Ehud Olmert before he was prime minister and warned him against taking Evangelical Christians as allies.
"Being a Socialist, I was very concerned at the time about Israel and the neo-cons because I felt like Israel was being set up. So I said to Olmert, ‘You know the people Israel is getting in bed with, a lot of them want Israel to survive so that all the Jews can die so Jesus can return and kill all the Jews.’ And I told him I don’t think that’s very friendly," she said.
She grew up in a Modern Orthodox home in Salt Lake City, Utah, and said a key moment in the formation of her Jewish identity was watching the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann on television as a child.
Barr concluded by arguing she is a "moderate" and not an extremist as she is often labeled, saying she wants to work towards a peace deal during her trip to Israel.
"If I could get one Palestinian grandmother to join me, me and her – I would be the representative of the Jewish people and she would be of the Palestinians – we would sit down and hammer out a peace agreement and hand it to the people in power. I don’t see why that can’t happen. Last time I was in Israel, I sought out Palestinian women and had wonderful conversations with them, and I will probably seek them out again."