Since attending a recent conference on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) effort in Jerusalem, comedian and television star, Roseanne Barr has taken center stage on the subject – loudly denouncing the boycott effort against Israel.
In a recent interview for Israel’s Channel 2, reported in JerusalemOnline,Ms. Barr also expresses regret over her previous statements condemning the Jewish state. She says she was swayed by false information about Israel’s military tactics.
Like the rest of us, artists are barraged by emotionally charged misinformation about the Jewish state. As public figures, they often feel they should comment on such.
Although artists and celebrities have the same right to free speech as the rest of us, they have a much greater power to influence public opinion. The social media reach of celebrities typically dwarfs that of most politicians.
If a celebrity elects to make political statements that impact the lives of millions, they have a special obligation to fully educate themselves on the issue at hand.
Performing for your fans across the globe, however, is not a political statement unless the artist wishes to make it so.
Should an artist make a political comment in the public forum, his or her opinion, like everyone else’s, can rightfully be scrutinized and subject to challenge. Boycott hate groups, however, victimize artists for merely for wanting to share their art.
Thank you, Ms. Barr, for your stand against the cultural boycott of Israel.
The April 15 report by JerusalemOnline contains one notable error. Ms. Barr’s criticism of Israel was in 2009, not during Protective Edge in 2014. In 2014, Barr signed a statement that I — along with other key members of the entertainment community — circulated in support of Israel’s right to defend herself.