Celebrity rabbi warns Roseanne Barr over absurd Holocaust remarks

Roseanne must “immediately clarify her statements, lest they be used by antisemites, neo-Nazis, BDS Israel haters, and Islamists the world over to deny the Holocaust,” Boteach told World Israel News.

By Atara Beck, World Israel News

Comedian Roseanne Barr, known as a strong supporter of Israel and a proud Jew, shocked audiences this month when she said the Holocaust “never happened” and added that it “should happen.”

As a guest on the June 14 episode of fellow comedian Theo Von’s This Past Weekend podcast, Barr said, “Nobody died in the Holocaust either. That’s the truth.

“It should happen. Six million Jews should die right now ’cause they cause all the problems in the world. But it never happened.”

Video of the comments went viral two weeks later.

Responding to widespread criticism, Von posted the interview on Twitter and insisted that Barr was “obviously using sarcasm and satire. She is a mensch and one of the funniest people i’ve ever met.”

Roseanne’s son, Jake Pentland, also defended his mother, telling TMZ, “We are embarrassed that people are stupid enough not to recognize Roseanne is being sarcastic. We think it’s funny that people are so stupid. Let’s stop doing this clickbait s**t, we need to focus on big problems in America. Focusing on out-of-context clips is what morons do.”

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Among those who were shocked by Roseanne’s statement was Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, founder of the World Values Network that brought the comedian to Israel in 2019. During that tour, as part of an anti-BDS campaign, she addressed a packed audience in Jerusalem, proclaiming her Jewish pride and support for Israel, and visited Samaria, where she planted trees and praised the Jewish communities there.

“The media is reporting that my friend Roseanne Barr said on a podcast that no Jews died in the Holocaust. I have not talked with Roseanne. I find it hard to believe that someone who has joined me in fighting antisemitism and protecting Israel throughout the world, including in a special trip we took to Israel in 2019 where we spoke before large audiences, would deny the historical fact of six million Jews being murdered in the largest genocide in world history,” Boteach, who himself has been attacked by antisemites and has warned his fellow Jews to take it seriously, told World Israel News in an email.

“The Holocaust is an incontrovertible historical fact. It’s absurd to have to even mention it. The podcast host, Theo Von, tweeted that it was sarcasm: ‘This Roseanne Barr clip was sarcasm folks. A clip taken out of a long sarcastic rant she had during our chat. Can we not recognize sarcasm anymore?’

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“Sarcasm aside, my friend Roseanne needs to immediately clarify her statements, lest they be used by antisemites, neo-Nazis, BDS Israel haters, and Islamists the world over to deny the Holocaust.

“This is a time for earnestness, not sarcasm. I call on my friend Roseanne to speak the truth she knows all too well, and the sooner the better,” he concluded.

‘This isn’t funny’

According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, “Barr’s comments were taken out of context. Criticism not valid.”

Not everyone agrees.

Among others who took offense to Barr’s comments on Van’s show was ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who tweeted: “Sarcasm or not, Roseanne Barr’s comments about Jews and the Holocaust are reprehensible and irresponsible. This isn’t funny. And shame on Theo Von for letting it go unchallenged and instead diving into conspiracy theories about Jews and Hollywood.”