Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Roseanne in Old City of Jerusalem
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Roseanne in Old City of JerusalemEsti Dezidov / TPS

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach weighed in on the controversy surrounding comedian Roseanne Barr’s sarcastic remark that "nobody died in the Holocaust."

Barr made the remarks during a discussion on free speech and misinformation on Theo Von’s podcast “This Past Weekend.”

When Von asked if the 2020 presidential election was rigged, as former President Donald Trump has claimed, Barr exclaimed, “Of course not! 36 counties have 81 million people in them. That’s the truth and don’t you dare say anything against it or you’ll be off YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and all the other ones. Because there’s such a thing as the truth and facts and we have to stick to it.”

“Nobody died in the Holocaust, either. That’s the truth. It should happen. Six million Jews should die right now, because they cause all the problems in the world,” Barr then said, adding, “It never happened, it never happened.”

Bar's comments drew condemnation as Holocaust denial despite explanations that it was merely sarcasm.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on Twitter: "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."

Rabbi Boteach responded to the controversy in an Op Ed for the Jewish Journal in which he called Barr his "friend" and defended the comedian, who is Jewish herself, from accusations of antisemitism.

"I have not talked with Roseanne," Boteach wrote, "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."

He said that "sarcasm and explanations aside, my friend Roseanne needs to personally and 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," Boteach concluded.