Sunday, February 28, 2016

Roseanne Barr in Oakland: another Jewish woman who will not be silenced

The social hall at Oakland's Congregation Beth Abraham was filled last night with people who had gathered to hear the story of comedienne Roseanne Barr's dramatic transformation into an active supporter of the state of Israel.

Roseanne Barr interviewed by Dr. Lenny Kristal 
Seattle blogger Richard Silverstein's attempt to organize a protest fell flat and the program went on without a hitch. Good to see that no one outside of Press TV takes him too seriously.

Rabbi Bloom touched upon the controversy surrounding his guest speaker by reading an email he had received, signed by a handful of people.

"You will see the attached that over 70 individuals signed a petition urging you to reconsider your ill-advised decision to host Roseanne Barr on February 27th.

It is clear now that no reconsideration will happen, and the event will go on as planned.

You have the freedom to stand by a person that has a history of “voicing any thought that comes to mind”.  No matter how hateful. No matter the hurt in causes the human community. We do not find this anything to celebrate. Like the many places of worship that have in the past (and the present) used their freedom to host those that  denigrated Black people, Jewish people, immigrants, Muslims, you have chosen to sully your reputation and debase your sanctuary with hate and extremism. You have chosen narrow devotion to a nation-state rather than choosing justice, mercy and compassion. It is not the first time such a thing has happened.

We will continue to speak of the traditional values of love, compassion, universalism of human rights, justice. We will not be deterred by the rants of a few that seek mass destruction. We hope at some time you can join us."

The gathered crowd collapsed into laughter.

The local "outrage as a lifestyle choice" folk  (thank you, Howard Jacobson, for that) immediately began spreading lies about Barr's talk.

Rabbi Lynn Gottleib of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinic Council  jumped at the opportunity to bear false witness, accusing Roseanne of spreading anti-Muslim vitriol, "at a synagogue, no less"

JVP Rabbi Lynn Gottleib bears false witness

The reality was very different.  Roseanne discussed growing up Jewish in Salt Lake city. She discussed her socialist orientation, and she discussed her fascination with the story of Purim, and with Queen Esther, another Jewish woman who would not be silenced.    Roseanne Barr used the talk at Congregation Beth Abraham to express her desire for peaceful co-existence in the region, stating,  

"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." 

Crowd filters in to hear Roseann Barr at Congregation Beth Abraham


Anonymous said...

I'm glad congregational rabbis are now speaking up

Rabbi Bloom: “When people are being stabbed daily in Israel, if we can’t, as a community, and if I can’t, as a rabbi, have the courage to allow someone to just speak about what’s happening, then there’s something wrong with us.”

Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

even Arutz Sheva had an article for the event i'm sorry i wasn't able to go it sounded like an interesting evening. i knew something was wrong with Barr when i saw her name on the 2012 presidential ballot with that filthy terrorist sympathizing witch cindy sheehan. i'm glad Barr finally came to her senses and realized that the radical left are nothing but a hate group.