A symphony of extremist incitement and deranged tirades blared out at a conference hosted in Jerusalem on March 28 by the Israeli tabloid newspaper Yediot Ahronoth. Dedicated to attacking the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, the Stop BDS conference featured appearances by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, several ministers in the right-wing governing coalition and the American comedian Roseanne Barr.
One of the top government figures who appeared at the conference, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, called for stripping Omar Barghouti, a BDS movement leader and Palestinian resident of Israel, of his permanent residency rights. Deri said he was “inclined to accept” the recommendation against Barghouti, insisting that “you cannot turn the other cheek to those who beat them.”
Next, Israeli Minister of Transportation Israel Katz called for the “focused civilian elimination of the leadership of BDS.” Insisting that he was not calling for military-style assassinations of BDS leaders, Katz explained, “Civilian [elimination] is to expose the actors, the people, the system, the mechanisms and their connections to the organizations already crossed the threshold of military and terrorist activity. And definitely, through this exposure, to know how to act against them, how to isolate them, also to transfer information to intelligence agents around the world, and other agents. We have to understand that there is a battle here. It is wrapped in many covers."
The Stop BDS conference featured Roseanne Barr as its keynote speaker. As Richard Silverstein recently reported for AlterNet, Barr has equated followers of Islam with Nazis, called for dropping a nuclear bomb on the University of California-Davis to retaliate for its students’ support for BDS, and has referred to supporters of Palestinian human rights as “Nazis' helpers.” Before her transformation into a Likudnik Twitter troll, Barr was a self-styled critic of Israel who promoted anti-Semitic activist Gilad Atzmon and once posed as Adolf Hitler in a supposedly humorous photo spread that depicted her shoveling “Jew cookies” into an oven.
Barr once told Oprah Winfrey, “I was prescribed numerous psychiatric drugs. Incredible mixtures of psychiatric drugs to deal with the fact that I had, and still in some ways, have and always will have some mental illness. And the drugs and the combination of drugs that I was given, which were some strong, strong drugs, I totally lost touch with reality in a big, big way.”
At the Stop BDS conference, Barr described BDS as “right-wing and fascist,” claiming it gave voice to “the immoral and insane racist anti-semitism of pharaohs and fuhrers.” Taking her tirade to its crescendo, Barr falsely branded me and Electronic Intifada publisher and journalist Ali Abunimah as the faces of the “trust fund left.” (To be sure, if I had a trust fund, I would donate heavily to pro-BDS organizations.)
In an interview after her speech, Barr called on “Jews who are dominant in the media” to ensure “Jewish unity. She then described campaigns to destroy the careers of musicians like Roger Waters who criticize Israel “a damn good thing.”
As Richard Silverstein reported on his blog, Israeli concert promoter Shuki Weiss complained that the country’s Interior Ministry was forcing visiting performers to sign loyalty oaths
Barr’s interviewer earned applause from the audience when he proposed her as a potential future prime minister of Israel.
“I don’t have to marry Sara?” Barr asked, referring to Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was recently forced by a Jerusalem court to pay almost $50,000 in damages to a housekeeper who accused her of verbal and emotional abuse.
Watch video lowlights of Barr’s tirade below:
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