Roseanne Barr Shmoozes at San Francisco Synagogue After Unhinged Twitter Rant

Roseanne Barr, the Jewish actress with an outsized Twitter personality who called Hillary Clinton an anti-Semite and her aide Huma Abedin a “filthy nazi whore,” lectured on Tuesday night in a prominent San Francisco synagogue about Judaism, Israel and the critics who have been calling her a racist.

“They call me a racist and a Zionist and I love it,” she said, to the crowd at Temple Emanu-El, a Conservative synagouge, according to Jweekly, which covered the event on social media.

“Those are their words, it says more about them than it does about me.”

The event comes only days after Barr skewered Hillary Clinton on social media, saying she was an anti-Semite surrounded by “Jew haters,” calling out Clinton’s onetime aide Sid Blumenthal and his son Max, a high-profile anti-occupation activist and journalist.

Barr, known for her star role in the long-running sitcom Roseanne, is familiar with the spotlight — and this is not the first time she has waded into Jewish politics and religion. She mounted not one, but two, political campaigns in 2011, announcing bids for office in both Israel and America.

Her support of Israel — and the rising religious right — is no secret.

Earlier this year, she exchanged a series of praising tweets with the Temple Institute, the controversial Israeli organization that seeks to rebuild the Third Temple in Jerusalem, on the most contested religious site in the country. Barr made plans to visit the institute next Passover.

(Disclosure: The Forward wrote about that exchange and afterwards Barr adopted the Forward’s illustration of Barr being blessed by “levitical priests” from the institute into her social media banner.)

Barr also has a unique spiritual background. She is from a Jewish family but grew up attending the Church of the Latter-day Saints. She also appears to be associated with the Kohenet Institute, a training program teaching the ways of Jewish “priestesses and prophetesses.”

She has also seemingly undergone an ideological transformation over the last years, according to the blog of independent journalist Richard Silverstein.

In 2010, for example, she appears to have written that she believed top Nazi officials were Jews and that Zionists were “mutant humans” who were “created” by Nazis, leading some websites to call her anti-Semitic.

More recently, though, she has fashioned herself into a prominent, if over-the-top pro-Israel voice. Last year, after a Jewish fraternity was vandalized at UC Davis, Barr wrote on Twitter that she hoped that the “Jews leave UC Davis” and “then it gets nuked.” The San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council cancelled a planned event with her because of the tweet.

But other hosts, are unfazed by Barr’s extreme comments. StandWithUs has invited her to speak at events, so has Yediot Aharanot, an Israeli newspaper.

This week, Barr spoke about her opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, according to the Temple Emanu-El website.

Jewish congregations can often be touchy when it comes to BDS and guest lectures. A number of speakers who have either endorsed, or even expressed sympathy for BDS, have been booted from speaking engagements because of their stance on the boycott movement. For example, in 2012, the prominent writer Peter Beinart was “disinvited” from an appearance at the Jewish Community Center of Atlanta because of the criticisms of Israel published in his book “The Crisis of Zionism.”

In her recent Twitter tirade against Clinton, Barr dubbed the presidential hopeful “Hitlery Clinton” and “hillary chi minh.”

Barr has not publicly endorsed any candidate — telling CNN that she would be writing herself in — but on her Twitter timeline, she did recently mention Donald Trump, invoking him in reference to a biblical passage about the end of days that she said she had read.

“When reading my bible,” she wrote, “my eyes lit upon this in Revelations: A trump will sound in these last days.”

Email Sam Kestenbaum at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum

Author

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum is a staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.

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