Report: Joan Rivers Got Death Threats for pro-Israel Remarks During Gaza War

Israel's U.S. Consulate says Netanyahu 'reached out' to blunt-spoken comedian and wanted to arrange a meeting.

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Joan Rivers poses next to her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame during her induction ceremony in Los Angeles on July 26, 1989.Credit: AP

After bluntly defending Israel during this summer's Gaza war, outspoken comedian Joan Rivers, who died September 4, reportedly received death threats, hired a bodyguard and was on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's must-meet list, The Hollywood Reporter said Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Israel's U.S. Consulate told the Reporter that Netanyahu wanted to speak to Rivers.

"Following her pro-Israel comments during Operation Protective Edge, the prime minister reached out to Joan Rivers and wanted to arrange a meeting," the spokesperson said.

In a statement after her death, at 81, Netanyahu said Joan Rivers brought laughter to millions around the world and was proud of her Jewish heritage and a vocal supporter of the State of Israel."

On August 6, entertainment news site TMZ asked Rivers how she felt about the deaths of Palestinian civilians. "Good," she said in comments caught on video at Los Angeles International Airport.

"When you declare war, you declare war," she said. "They started it. We don't count who's dead. You're dead. You deserve to be dead. You started it. Don't you dare make me feel sad about that. You can't get rid of Hamas, you have to say you do not recognize them, they are terrorists ... They were re-elected by a lot of very stupid people who don't even own a pencil."

Rivers later said civilians "are victims of political conflicts," adding: "Along with every other sane person in this world, I am praying for peace."

But that didn't stem the flow of death threats River appears to have been receiving.

Blaine Trump, the vice chairwoman of God's Love We Deliver, a charity where Rivers was a long-time board member, told the Reporter that Rivers felt she was in danger. "When she came out and said Israel had every right to bomb Hamas, the death threats started rolling in," said Trump. However, Rivers' publicist, Judy Katz, said she was not aware of her client having received death threats or hired a bodyguard.

The star was accompanied by a man sitting at another table when Trump ran into her recently at Amaranth, a Manhattan restaurant they both frequented, Trump told the Reporter.

"I asked her about the whole Palestinian question that was going on," said Trump. "She said, 'Well, just look to your left. That's my new best friend because of all the death threats. She wasn't joking her bodyguard sat at the next table while we had dinner! She was so outspoken, but it was quite frightening at times."