JCRC cancels talk with Roseanne

Roseanne Barr’s fiery rhetoric has landed her in hot water again.

Roseanne Barr

A planned public conversation with the Jewish actress and comedian at the Magnes in Berkeley on Feb. 17 was canceled after Barr wrote on her Twitter feed last week that she hopes U.C. Davis “gets nuked.” She posted the comment 10 days after a Jewish fraternity in Davis was spray-painted with two swastikas, which occurred shortly after the university’s student senate passed an Israel divestment resolution.

The planned public interview and Q&A session with Barr, billed as “Israel, the Jews and Me,” was canceled after the Jewish Community Relations Council, the event’s sponsor, withdrew its support Feb. 16.

“Roseanne’s remarks garnered a lot of attention from Israel’s detractors, and that’s really counter to our efforts to make sure Jewish students stay safe on campus,“ said JCRC spokesman Jeremy Russell. “We felt that the discourse was moving in a direction that we couldn’t support.”

Barr, 62, and her publicist did not respond to J. requests for reaction to the cancellation.

Most widely known for her sitcom “Roseanne,” Barr is famously outspoken. Though she used to criticize Israel’s actions regarding the Palestinian territories, more recently she has expressed staunch support for the Jewish state and has called pro-Palestinian activists in Berkeley the “fake left.”

“Israel has been the world’s moral hostage,” she told J. earlier this month. “It’s blamed for everything.”

Posted Feb. 10, Barr’s tweet read in full, “I hope all the jews leave UC Davis & it then it gets nuked!” She later deleted it, then tweeted “#nukeUCDavisJewHaters” to her 272,000 followers.

Her comments attracted attention on Twitter, in the media and elsewhere.

An online comment on a J. story previewing Barr’s talk called it a “slap in the face” that JCRC, as of Feb. 13, had not cut its sponsorship of the event. “Barr’s extremist rhetoric has a long history. There is no excuse for this,” the commenter wrote. Four days later, after the event was canceled, the same commenter wrote, “Obviously, JCRC and/or Magnes took stock of what Barr has said … and decided to cut their losses.”

Drew Himmelstein
Drew Himmelstein

Drew Himmelstein is a J. parenting columnist and former staff writer. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.