Roseanne Barr is coming to the Magnes Museum in Berkeley on Tuesday, to discuss "Israel, the Jews and me". There is a lot of justifiable curiosity about her personal journey towards Zionism.
It was only last year, after all that Roseanne's program with notorious anti-Semite Gilad Atzmon was promoted by the extremist anti-Israel group, Jewish Voice for Peace.
I have a ticket. I hope to find out.
Ben (the son of) Zoma had asked and answered in Pirke Avot: "Who is wise? He who learns from all people". The community is hoping to learn from Roseanne's personal journey. The Jewish Community Relations Center is sponsoring the facilitated discussion with her.
Always outspoken, Roseanne is becoming even more controversial in recent days with a series of tweets that push the line of acceptable discourse.
From the Sacramento Bee:
Barr’s Twitter page has since become a battleground with the 62-year-old comic lobbing rejoinders to obscene and anti-Semitic slurs directed at her. On Wednesday, Barr tweeted, “Proud to have spam blocked 25k Jew haters today! #UCDavisDivest toads.”
Our friends at Divest this recently had a good discussion about Twitter ( statements of 140 characters or less), remarking that social media as a whole
enables those stupid things we all say (especially in our younger years – things that might still make us wince upon remembrance) to be broadcast around the globe where they get to live on forever in screen grabs of Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines long since deleted.
But as these thirty-second communication tools become proxies for what we are thinking, or bricks in the wall of confirmation bias too many of us are building around ourselves, it might be time to reflect on how tools originally designed to help us make friends should not be used to destroy lives.
How seriously should we take Roseanne's Twitter outbursts? Roseanne Barr is a public figure, but she is not an academic or a journalist. She's a comedienne- essentially a shock jock , who uses the literary tools of exaggeration and hyperbole to drive home her points.
Does it make us uncomfortable? Yes- but its meant to.
Opponents of Israel are using Tuesday's event as yet another reason to rage against the Jewish community. Jim Harris, founder of Stop AIPAC, and a familiar face at anti-Israel protests throughout the Bay area has started a petition "End Your Support for Roseanne Barr's call to "nuke" a California University".
Jim ends his petition (currently signed by a few dozen people) with a demand.
We demand that JCRC remove its sponsorship for this talk. To support civility. To reject all calls to violence.
Jim Harris is providing us with yet another example of the selective outrage of the morally bankrupt anti-Israel activist. There were no calls or petitions for civility when pro-Israel activists were threatened and attacked at events he organized and attended. There was no condemnation of the genocidal aspirations of Hamas or the local organizations that enable and excuse them. And there was no calls or petitions for civility when JVP promoted Gilad "Burning synagogues is a rational act" Atzmon, just a few short months ago. And as Europe collapses, as Jews living Jewish lives are slaughtered, Jim Harris chooses to be outraged over 140 poorly chosen words.
On Tuesday, we'll be testing Ben Zoma's words, first hand. What can we, as a community, learn from Roseanne Barr's personal journey? One thing is certain. Human beings are capable of much more nuance and subtlety when not restricted to 140 characters or less.
The talk, originally scheduled for Tuesday night, has been cancelled