Actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik told a large gathering in Jerualem on Tuesday that her outspoken support for Israel and the Zionist movement has come with “a heavy price.”
Delivering a keynote address at the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, the Jewish-American celebrity said: “It hasn’t yet, that I know of, impacted my acting career, but it has impacted the way that I am seen, and that does impact my career in terms of speaking engagements and endorsements.”
The star of “The Big Bang Theory” provided the audience with numerous examples of the vicious attacks she receives on social media, which have included calls to boycott her and the program.
But, she said, “I’m happy to take that public bullet for the state."
Bialik suggested that other Jewish celebrities were not as willing to pay such a price. “What about the others?” she asked. “I can’t speak for other Jewish celebrities, but it’s very complicated, and a lot of people don’t want to deal with the kinds of things I deal with.”
“I can’t judge them,” she added.
Bialik said she was particularly prone to anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist attacks because of her huge presence on social media. (She has 2 million followers on Facebook, 2.6 million on Instagram and 600,000 on Twitter.)
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“For me, as a public person who lives in the public sphere where the internet is the method of a lot of communications in my life, anti-Semitism now has a deep and significant reach in ways it never did, and I’m being touched by it in ways I never was before,” said Bialik. “And it has demonstrated to me how much Israel has become a dominant feature of the hatred of Jews.”
The increasingly common depiction of Israel as antithetical to liberal politics, she said, “is something I never imagined that I would see to this extent in my lifetime.”
“Otherwise intelligent, educated individuals I know who know very little about Israel are very quick to hurl anti-Semitic insults, accusations and assumptions at anyone who believes in the right of Israel to exist.”
Bialik, who describes herself as “a lover of Israel,” said she found the fact that so many young people were unaware of the definition of Zionism particularly disturbing, and that she became aware of this during her student days at UCLA.
“The lack of understanding about the distinct role that Israel holds for Jews, and for non-Jews, astounds me,” said the 42-year-old actress. “The swiftness with which so many minority populations will side with any group that is against Jews and Zionists really devastated me as a student.”