Roseanne Barr (AP/Julie Jacobson) (AP/Julie Jacobson)
Roseanne Barr

“Israel is an oasis of openness, freedom, democracy and tolerance amidst a desert of brutality from an age gone by,” said American-Jewish celebrity Roseanne Barr.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

Television star Roseanne Barr will be traveling to Israel in January, where she has been invited to address the Knesset on combating the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.

Barr announced her visit to Israel on Monday, saying her aim is to “further my own knowledge of Jewish and Israeli history” and speak out “against the insidious and anti-Semitic BDS movement.”

“I very much look forward to my trip as a lover of Israel,” Barr said. “While I intend to further my own knowledge of Jewish and Israeli history, I have important work to do as a voice against the insidious and anti-Semitic BDS movement.”

“We are in an age where Israeli innovation is ascendant and changing the world in areas of medicine, technology, media and the arts. Israel is an oasis of openness, freedom, democracy and tolerance amidst a desert of brutality from an age gone by. I want to shout this from the heights of the Galilee to the halls of the Knesset in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city – and from the cafes and art galleries of Tel-Aviv to the beaches of Eilat,” she said in a statement.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whose organization World Values Network is facilitating Barr’s trip, says that “bringing an incredibly proud Jewish woman like Rosanne to Israel will be a great boost to its citizens.”

“Lovers of Israel depend on powerful voices like Rosanne’s to communicate Israel’s rightful place among nations, its contributions to humankind, and its importance as the spiritual and physical anchor of the Jewish people,” he added.

Barr, a fierce BDS critic, was asked about Natalie Portman’s boycott of an event in Israel over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appearance.

“I asked a lot of Israeli friends what they thought, and they said, ‘Oh I wish she would have said it in Israel.’ Israel is a country where dissent is allowed,” Barr said, adding that she felt Portman’s decision played into the hands of BDS activists.