Roseanne Barr plans to visit Israel, address its parliament

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Dec. 26, 2018 / 6:29 PM GMT

By Ben Kesslen and Associated Press

Former television star Roseanne Barr says she will travel to Israel in January to learn more about Jewish history and address the country’s parliament.

Barr’s longtime friend, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, first announced her plans this week on social media. Boteach’s pro-Israel organization, the World Values Network, said it is sponsoring the trip.

Barr was invited to speak to the Israeli Knesset on Jan. 30 by Deputy Speaker Yehiel Bar, according to the statement, just before the country’s next elections in April.

May 30, 201803:33

Barr said she wants to “further my own knowledge of Jewish and Israeli history” and speak out “against the insidious and anti-Semitic BDS movement.” BDS refers to a Palestinian-led global movement calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel that, as the campaign describes, “urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

The World Values Network describes itself as an organization dedicated to “promoting Jewish Values and defending Israel in mainstream and international media.” Boteach said that “bringing an incredibly proud Jewish woman like Rosanne to Israel will be a great boost to its citizens.”

Boteach and the World Values Network gained attention a year ago when they took out a one-page ad in The Washington Post attacking singer Lorde for canceling her concert in Israel. Lorde called off her Tel Aviv appearance after listening to calls from BDS activists. At the time, Barr tweeted for people to “boycott this bigot.”

In May, ABC canceled its reboot of Barr’s high-rated show, “Roseanne,” after she tweeted racist remarks about former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett. She later blamed her comments on taking the sleep drug Ambien.

Since then, Barr has a been a frequent guest on Boteach’s podcast, where the two often discuss topics such as the BDS movement. Barr previously said on the podcast that she would go to Israel when the “Roseanne” spin-off on ABC, “The Conners,” airs — in part to avoid seeing the new show.

The sitcom premiered in October.