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Actor and Comedian Roseanne Barr Urges End to Israeli Occupation

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In a videotaped message to be played at the June 10th rally in Washington, actor and comedian Roseanne Barr says an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the key to a just and lasting peace.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to the words of the actor and comedian Roseanne Barr. She recently recorded a message on the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation that will be played at Sunday’s rally in Washington.

ROSEANNE BARR: Hi, everybody. This is Roseanne Barr. And I’m here to add my voice to all of your voices. I’m here speaking as a citizen of the world, as an American, as a Jew and as a grandmother. All of us who gather here today are united in our desire to seek a just peace in the Middle East, instead of the vicious cycle of revenge and recrimination that benefit only those who profit from a distance. They never actually themselves experience the violence and terror and suffering inflicted upon those human beings who pay the actual price in terms of their families’ lives. Those people who do pay that price want change, as well as all of us here who care about them. That change starts with our calling for the end of the American taxpayers’ support of, as well as the United States government’s support of, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. All of us, regardless of our nationalities or our religious affiliations, seek a new policy in the Middle East based on equal rights for all. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Yeah, that was the comedian Rosanne Barr. Phyllis, as we wrap up, she hasn’t weighed in in this discussion publicly, that we know of. Will she be at Sunday’s protest?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: She’s not able to be with us physically, because she’s performing that night, but she has sent this message. She has been weighing in on this issue, Amy. I was on her radio program for an hour last week discussing it. She has become very public, and she is not the only one. More and more Americans, more and more Jewish Americans, among so many others, are joining this campaign to say no to U.S. support for Israeli occupation. It’s our government’s support, our billions of dollars in tax money, that goes to support Israel every year; the military support; the uncritical diplomatic embrace that protects Israel from being held accountable for these violations of international law. That’s what our government’s support for occupation means in the real world on the ground. The boycott by the United States of not the Israeli occupation, but of the Palestinian people who are living under occupation, on the grounds that they elected a government the U.S. doesn’t like, has made the conditions on the ground profoundly worse. We now have 87 percent of the people of Gaza living below the international poverty line of $2 a day. That’s a tragedy that our government is responsible for. That’s why people are going to be gathering in the thousands on Sunday at 2:00 in front of the Capitol, marching to the White House to say to our government, to say to the rest of our citizens, to say to all of us, this is the time to stop. Forty years is too long. Military occupation has to end. And the way to end it is to stop U.S. military support, to stop U.S. economic support, to stop U.S. corporate and diplomatic and all support, to stop the Israeli occupation.

AMY GOODMAN: Phyllis Bennis, thank you for joining us, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Among her books, her latest, Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer. This is Democracy Now!, When we come back from break, we go back 40 years. Stay with us.

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