Demonizing Glenn Beck
Few American public figures equal Glenn Beck in his ability to inspire loathing from his enemies and affection from his admirers. Beck was in Israel this past week for a series of public events—in effect, revival meetings. He called the tour "Restoring Courage." The first event, which took place in the amphitheater at Caesaria, brought out a crowd of some 3000, mostly Americans Christians but some Israelis as well. Christians, Beck told his enthused audience, "not only love Israel, but we love the Jewish people as they are." With Beck onstage was Pastor John Hagee, who roused the crowd to even greater heights by pronouncing, in an echo of Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, "Ani Yisraeli."
Nothing about Beck's background, religious beliefs, or politics resonates with liberal Americans or most American Jews. Beck is a disc jockey, radio host, former Fox News TV personality, conservative firebrand, and enemy of the Obama administration and American liberalism. He was a substance abuser and a spiritual seeker before he settled on Mormonism. With his aggressive, comic, sometimes conspiratorial, and riveting style, alternately manic and maudlin, he is relentless in his stated pursuit of an American revival. And he is a passionate supporter of Israel and of Jews.
Predictably, some Jews are incensed. Writing about Beck's "Restoring Courage" tour in the Forward, Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf describes Beck as a "declining conservative loudmouth" whose "radical conservative positions" are "a real danger to the well-being of Israelis and Palestinians alike." (Sheizaf must have missed the fact that the radio show of this "declining conservative loudmouth" draws a huge audience, numerous as ever. Beck's new imprint with Simon & Schuster has already produced one bestseller.)
Following the same script, M.J. Rosenberg of the Media Matters Action Network calls Beck's tour an attempt to transform a "failed extreme right-wing demagogue into an international figure popular in a country that is special to many, if not most, Americans." Rosenberg ominously warns that if Israelis embrace Beck, they "will antagonize Democrats who almost universally despise Beck—but whose support for Israel is vital in maintaining the U.S.-Israel alliance." (Rosenberg must have missed the fact that support for Israel is flagging in the Democratic Party but remains solid among Christian evangelicals.)
Less hysterically, Jeffrey Goldberg laments in the Atlantic that Glenn Beck is emerging not only as a defender of Israel but as "the Israeli right's favorite American friend." In other words, in Goldberg's view, "A man considered too extreme and unstable to appear on Fox News is invited to speak at the Knesset and hold rallies in Jerusalem." Goldberg warns, "I fear that Beck's August 24 rally in Jerusalem might mark the moment when the cause of Israel . . . jumps the shark." (Goldberg has missed the February 2011 Gallup poll that puts American support for Israel at a near-record 63 percent, nowhere close to shark-jumping levels.)
But it is the warning by Rachel Tabachnik in Haaretz that cuts to the heart of the matter. If Israel welcomes Beck, she says, "Israel's relationship with mainstream Jewish-Americans will suffer immense damage." By "mainstream," of course, she means liberal. Indeed, the warnings by all these commentators reveal more about liberal American (and Israeli) Jews than about Israel's general standing in America.
They are particularly tied up with attitudes toward Christianity, especially in its more conservative manifestations. To put it in a nutshell, the conservative social agenda strikes many liberal Jews (not to mention liberals in general) as a mortal threat to American society, which is to say the American society they have striven so hard to fashion in their own image. So entrenched in liberal American Jewish discourse are the fear and hatred of conservative and evangelical Christians that many speak as if the "fundamentalists" were Cossacks planning pogroms. In their view, only primitive and uneducated people can hold strong religious beliefs; in Beck's case, the lack of certified educational credentials is another sign of his mental deficiency.
When it comes to Israel, all this expresses itself in outbursts like the ones quoted above, cloaked in a pious concern for the position of Jews in general and indeed for the Jewish state. The fear, as expressed, is that Israel's actions will provoke a fatal alienation or create anti-Semitism in others. The worry, as expressed, is that if Israelis accept support from the "wrong people"—that is, religious and political conservatives—the sky will fall. Put more candidly, the real fear may be that a strong connection between "Beck" and Israel will damage the position of liberal Jews themselves with their own social class.
But that position is already damaged, in the sense that it is badly out of synch both with much of Israel and with much of America. As in many red states, Israelis value big families, vigorous self-defense, and a version of energetic capitalism, even as they ensure the rights of gays and worry over social inequality. Despite external threats and internal convulsions, Israeli unity and national pride remain strong. As it happens, these virtues are also key elements of the broader American ethos, and—not at all coincidentally—of the evangelical support for Israel to which Beck gives voice.
It is not hard to find fault with Glenn Beck, and in particular with his conspiratorial style. But reasoned criticism is one thing, and cries of anathema are something else—howls of a "progressive" class out of step with, and marching far behind, those it would lead into the light.
Alex Joffe is a research scholar with the Institute for Jewish and Community Research.
Who on the "left" is so outwardly supportive of Israel and sends such positive message about Israel as Glenn Beck?
Whose courage was he restoring.? We Israelis have courage enough what we don't have is courageous leaders.
We have become trembling Israelites afraid of our own shadow and seeking mothers milk at the breast of anyone who says "you are OK we love you."
If one is intolerant of anything to the left, he is no less intolerant than one who does not tolerate those to the right—or—to be truly open-minded is to respect and see value in narrow-mindedness.
You go, Glenn Beck!
Why is it wrong for Beck to hold strong views when people like M.J. Rosenberg or Noam Sheizaf (and the Forward altogether) have them, too, but are lionized as striking the right tone?
American Jews (and leftists/progressives in general) hate religion at worst and are uncomfortable with it at best. The old saw "liberalism is their religion" seems more true today than ever.
Even Mr. Kopel's comments above betray a prejudice against anything but a liberal/progressive POV.
But I guess so as long as Glen Beck is willing to defend the most extreme views of the Israeli right just as he defended the most extreme views of the American right--the Birchers and the Birthers--Jews should welcome him into our hearts.
The author tries to defend Beck as anything but a washed-up demagog. News flash: Fox fired him because even the Fox audience found him too extreme and was walking away from him. Yes, his books continue to sell, because right-wing organizations continue to buy them in bulk. He still has a mass audience, but they are not the 18-50 year old demographic which drives advertisers. And advertisers have been fleeting him in droves because they do not want to be associated with his hate speech. Unlike the author of our piece who finds it sort of a peccadillo.
Is this not the words of a true friend of Israel? What other media personality comes close?
For example, this is all that he says about Beck: Mr. Beck is a pundit with right-wing extremist views and with a track record of angry, inflammatory language, and an intolerance of views to the left of his own.
Mr. Beck is, of course, a pundit.
To say Beck has right-wing extremist views is to utter a seeming truism, but to what point? Just what are the views actually expressed by Beck that comprise right-wing extremism? And which of those utterances does Kopel oppose? Like the rest of Kopel's comment, a meatless bone.
To say Beck has a track record of angry language is to say not much of anything. Yes, he has expressed anger, but at what? At people whose actions, if not their goal, will, if not opposed, transform the United States of America and the ethos of its people into something profoundly different from what they have been. At people who would lead us down the road to serfdom, about which Hayek so brilliantly wrote many years ago. I, along with multitude of others, am are also angry about that.
To say Beck has a track record of inflammatory language is to say that he uses words that arouse passion or strong emotion, especially anger, belligerence, or desire. So, again, what is Kopel's point? Is it to show that, in the time of Tom Payne, he (Kopel), if located in the colonies, would have been on the side of the British loyalists for the same reason? Kopel seems to oppose Common Sense.
To say that Beck has an intolerance of views to the left of his own is to say something that is untrue, to wit: that Beck is unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights. Kopel cannot back that up with fact. Or else, Kopel is using the word, "intolerance," with a casual indifference to its actual meaning, perhaps to say that Beck sees no merit in views to the left of his own. But, what is wrong with that? (I won't quibble with the sloppy reference to "to the left of his own" by pointing out that some people whose views are right of center are, nonetheless, to the left of Beck's.)
Anyone who has spent significant time watching or listening to Beck has seen enough to know that his heart is is in the right place when it comes to America, Israel, Jews and Christians (and, for that matter, Muslims).
And, as to referring to Beck as a conspiratorialist (which Kopel, but not Joffe, left out), it was not all that long ago that we were highly critical of ourselves for not connecting the dots.
Placitas, NM/Bethesda, MD
AMERICAN JEWS, WHO ARE 78% LIBERAL, WHATEVER THE HELL THAT TERM MEANS, HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A FRIGHTENED LOT, ALWAYS AFRAID TO MAKE ALLIANCES WITH ANYONE NOT OF THEIR CLASS AND BELIEF SYSTEM, WHICH IS OF COURSE WHY THEY HAVE BEEN BATTERED FROM PILLAR TO POST FOR MOST OF THEIR EXISTENCE.
GLENN BECK, IN MY OPINION, HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR SOMEPLACE TO REST HIS HEAD AND IT'S JUST POSSIBLE HE FOUND IT IN ISRAEL AND THE ISRAELI PEOPLE.
HE HAS HAD SOME SORT OF REVELATION AND APPEARS TO BE BETTER FOR IT.
COULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?????
Not long ago, Beck posted the names of 9 people who were or had been enemies of America and humankind. Eight of the nine were Jews: Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays, Cass Sustein (a White House employee), former labor leader Andy Stern, Walter Lippman, Frances Fox Piven, Edward Rendell, and George Soros. The non-Jew on this list was Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO.
You may argue that some of the 8 are left-wingers, which may incline you to call them enemies of the United States. But if you were to draw up a list of 9 enemies of the U.S. and mankind, and include those no longer living (like 3 of the 8 - Freud, Bernays and Lippman) wouldn't you have thought that Hitler rated a place? Or Eichmann? or Stalin? Father Coughlin? You might also place a live Holocaust denier on the list.
You may feel that it's always open season on liberals and leftists, so it's ok for Beck to attack them as enemies of U.S. and humankind. Let me remind you that in 1933 in Germany, there were Jews who thought that so long as Hitler murdered only liberals and lefties among the Jews, they had nothing to worry about? Were they right?
I know George Soros is a particular target of people who don't like liberals and leftists. But when Beck declares that Soros heads an international ring of conspirators who plan to take over the world, don't you hear an echo of the claims in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that the Jews are conspiring to take over the world?
It's hard enough being a Jew without having to be saddled with an anti-Semite for a friend.
But how about starting now to understand? READ:
The Left's political rage against a Beck as visitor to Israel -- one among many -- seems quite like these long dead utopian Jewish artists whose lesson seems to continually be obscured by revisionist history, a specialty of the Soviets as of the National Socialists.
Today's Jewish "artists" of the Left trust their allies so implicitly that they are doing their non-Jewish bidding in considering someone offering support to Israel -- in whatever form it might come -- as an affront, based solely on a differing political stance. How much like the 1940s this time seems.
Certainly, this new socialism is not like those which preceded it, they argue. This is utopian, they argue. This is about tikkun olam, they argue, as they rage against a conservative visitor to Israel who might hold a different political view. But his view says "support Israel." What about this annoys?
Consider the lesson given us by the long dead Soviet artists, whose support for Soviet socialism led to their ultimate and murderous end.
Knowing the end of a story, one is supposed to be able to foretell the end of similar stories, says literary theory. Knowing the consequences of certain behaviors, one is supposed to be wise enough to avoid them, suggests everything from the mitzvot to thousands of rabbinic responsa. Knowing the end architecture of a sales pitch should inoculate one from buying the "lemon."
What part of Beck's visit is so annoying? That he is politically conservative, while supporting Israel? As one knows from the Frankfurt School forward, such a stance is not allowed, verboten, a contravention of the goals of socialism --
-- which the 500 Soviet Yiddish artists might yet teach us.
Thanks go to Nadler as to Joffe for their articles, and JID for publishing them.
Just like European Jews' relationship with mainstream American Jews, during the 1930s, when mainstream Jewish-Americans turned a blind eye to Hitler's behaviour to keep in with the Administration.
Amazing how Beck is attacked especially for bringing to the attention of today's educationally deprived the video (60 Minutes) interview of George Soros for which he was branded an antisemite by 400 secular rabbis in an ad in the paper.
Some Israelis are waking up to the fact that there some very dangerous mainstream Jewish-Americans, especially for their children.
Why would anyone use MJ Rosenberg as evidence of Jewish disdain for Beck. Rosenberg has disdain for anything Israeli or even remotely Jewish.He most definitely doesn't speak for the majority of Jewish-Americans.He is a Media Matters (Soros) shill. Jeffrey Goldberg while an identified Jew and seemingly someone who is pro-Israel is also part of the liberal establishment who thinks Obama is one heck of a great friend to Israel. Blinded by his own refusal to deal with the reality of the Middle East situation and Obama's complicity in the creation of the present dangers Israel now faces, means Goldberg for all his hyperbole is the one who has basically "jumped the shark" and has lost his grip on reality (much like his compatriots Tom Friedman and Beinart)
Furthermore, as illustrated by the rally this week, and the world-wide audience Beck engendered, there is a huge constituency that is pro-Israel in the right way (not a baloney JStreet way). Meaning that Israel is a Jewish State. It has the right to defend itself. It has the right to exist. Israel is also not in the wrong and Israelis doesn't have to beg those that wish its destruction for the right to be seen as human beings.
But in the end the true issue is why does the Jews of America fear the people that basically support their right to exist? These Christian-Zionists respect and support Israel and seek a strong and forthright USA. A USA that quite frankly will be the leader that it has been for generations and bring democracy, freedom and the concept of real human rights (not the UN kind) to all peoples of the world. I find it tremendously illogical that you have Jews on the left, supporting the likes of Soros, an evil -unrepentant-Nazi- collaborator who has spent his entire adult life attempting to destroy the Jewish people, yet castigate religious Christians because they think Jews are human beings worthy of respect.
I do not have to agree with everything someone believes in in order to know that they are a friend. But the one thing I do know is that if the Left gets its way, it wouldn't matter if I believed in social justice or every liberal social cause because quite frankly I and my family are proud Jews—the real thing, those that actually live our Judaism, Zionism and belief in freedom, (we are not "as a Jew" Jews), the kind of Jew, that would be expendable on the alter of leftist-politics.
One day Jewish-Americans may actually wake up. Hopefully it will be before the majority of us are sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and cultural relativism.
I share your disdain for the form of rhetoric that prefers catch phrases to analysis. In my writing and verbal discussions, I try to avoid that sort of model. You say that I fail here to clarify the meaning of several of my terms, and I don't totally disagree with you. So I'd like to try and make myself more understood. Here goes nothing:
When I wrote this comment, I had in mind four unsettling details of the story of Glenn Beck.
1) Beck's comparison of the leaders of the Reform Jewish movement to radical Islam. To me, this represented a quick-fix slur used by pundits to assign a group they disagree with to a category of absolute evil. In his view, Reform rabbis are too political, this is not good, so it's acceptable to use slander and compare them to terrorists.
2) Beck's comparison of the Norwegian camp terrorized in the recent tragic shooting to Hitler Youth. This is, in fact, a strikingly similar example to #1. And in general, I have little patience for people who compare their debate opponents to Hitler.
3)Beck's description of the current social protests in Israel as "radical left." These protests are supported by 82% of the country according to JPost polls, and have remained notably unpolitical, as national support for the Likud has actually increased in recent weeks. To dismiss such a popular national movement, in a country that he supposedly admires, as radically political is a telling instance of intolerance to views with which Mr. Beck disagrees.
4) Beck was dropped from Fox News because viewers found him too offensive.
When I used the term "angry, inflammatory language," my intention was not to refer to passion, but to an irresponsible use of rhetoric for slander, and for false categorization of social movements. When I referred to intolerance, my point was that when Beck encounters views that make him uncomfortable, his first recourse is to assign them to evil, the likes of radical Islam and Nazism. This is not someone whose friendship I appreciate, as a supporter of Israel, and a hopeful oleh (emigrant to Israel).
[Note: My recounting of facts includes no citations, because I don't have time for research in my current capacity. If I made any errors in reporting, please let me know.]
Do not misunderstand me. If Israel were exterminated tomorrow I would still go shopping the following day.
So I say to Greg whom I quote:
"So, I am supposed to overlook all of his views on American political issues (terribly wrong to me), his language and attitudes to anybody to his left that disagrees and his maniacal support of imposing Christian religious views on me via public law, because he supports Israel?"
YES, you Israeli idiot! Even if Hitler were resurrected and announced his new found love for Jews and would fight to assure Israel’s survival I would embrace and support him.
That measures how close I believe Israel is on the razors edge of national extinction.
He shouldn't be admired for his Israel escapade. There's no doubt in my mind that as he began to draw criticism for his demonization of prominent American Jews from the mainstream media--it had been going on far longer in the Jewish press--Beck had to do something publicity-grabbing to turn his image around.
There's also no doubt in my mind that as his rhetoric grew more inflammatory on many subjects, this, combined with his anti-Jewish rhetoric, led Fox to drop him. He's become increasingly flamboyant over the past 2 years and no longer appealed to mainstream conservatives and religious Christians, but to an increasingly radical right.
smiles. They want us to fit into their end of times dreams. As a PROUD Jew and a believer in Judaism, I will never convert or help G. Beck sell more books.
In a world of increasing anti-Israel sentiment spreading like a cancer, perhaps Beck is the kind of radical chemotherapy that is needed at this time--hard to take, definite side effects--but just may halt, or at least slow down the metathesis.
Second: if liberal-leaning Jews insist on being so anti-Beck, would they please find someone within their own liberal constituencies who is as passionately vocal as he is in his support for Israel.
Because unless they do, they come across as just hysterical as Mr. Joffe implies.
“Glenn never let facts get in the way.”
“And advertisers have been fleeting him in droves because they do not want to be associated with his hate speech. Unlike the author of our piece who finds it sort of a peccadillo.”
To Len Getz: Given Israeli courage, I assume that it need not be restored?
To Greg: Your observations are completely justified.
“So, I am supposed to overlook all of his views on American political issues (terribly wrong to me), his language and attitudes to anybody to his left that disagrees and his maniacal support of imposing Christian religious views on me via public law, because he supports Israel? . . . We can find better friends than him.”
Dr.Falke--no one said Beck was a tzaddik, and his loving Jews and not denouncing their being posthumously baptized wouldn't seem to be contradictory at all from a Mormon point of view.
If he and other Mormons love Jews, they certainly want for them what they want for themselves.
Why should it threaten us, as long as they don't coerce us to believe as they do? My experience is that it's the Jews who are not secure in their own beliefs that are the ones who feel threatened by Christians whose faith is strong, and who "might try to convert us". Let 'em try! If a Jew believes in and follows the Torah, what difference does it make?
I read two of the “outbursts” you mentioned, by Goldberg and Tabachnik. I’ll concede that they are outbursts only on the condition that your consider your piece the same.
Observations perhaps, argument certainly, an expression of sadness maybe, even warnings if you will (or predictions, one might say), but outbursts --- I just don’t see it.
“This article doesn't miss the point, it avoids the point. In singling out Beck's pro-Israelism, it consciously side-steps Beck's bizarre conspiratorial theories . . .” etc.
Your comments seem spot on. Ya gotta ask: Would you want this man Beck for your friend?
To Neshebber Nefesh:
“And advertisers have been fleeting [sic] him in droves because they do not want to be associated with his hate speech. Unlike the author of our piece who finds [Beck’s hate speech] sort of a peccadillo.”
Well put. And look out for the hateful man who will love you to death, with a comic-evangelical-conspiratorial touch.
To Len Getz:
"In Israel, there is more courage in one square mile than in all of Europe. In Israel, there is more courage in one Israeli soldier than in the combined and cold hearts of every bureaucrat at the United Nations. In Israel, you can find people who will stand against incredible odds, against the entire tide of global opinion, for what is right and good and true. Israel is not a perfect country. No country is perfect. But it tries, and it is courageous." - Glenn Beck
So why is Beck there on “restoring courage” mission?
“So, I am supposed to overlook all of his views on American political issues (terribly wrong to me), his language and attitudes to anybody to his left that disagrees and his maniacal support of imposing Christian religious views on me via public law, because he supports Israel? . . . We can find better friends than him.”
With regard to your point #2 do you have any idea what has been going on in this summer camp these passed 15 years with Fatah participating? The political indoctrination is very similar to what was practiced with the Hitler Youth.
As for #3 the protests were popular until the Left weaseled its way in with the Histadrut the first to scavenge for political morsels.
With NIF and the Arab Communist group Baalad getting in on the act all semblance of sincerity went out the door.
By the Way NIF and your J Street have the same intentions and are funded by the same boss.
As for your secular rabbis they're as political as the "radical" Islamists and with them at the helm you will end up with a theocracy.
In general some of the comments display a lack of knowledge about the people infecting the the situation,
Cass Sunstein, mentioned above, is the husband of Samantha Power who pushed hard for Obama to intervene in Libya using the UN's "Responsibility to Protect, R2P" as the excuse. It was originally conceived by Hanan Ashrawi and many think that Libya was a trial run before being used to protect the rocketeers in Gaza.
Glenn needs to get it across to Middle Israel that they are not alone, that many Americans support them in their struggle to survive.
The message the Israelis don't get from their media which only seems intent on copying the tendentious reporting of the NYT and ilk, is that they don't need to kowtow to the demands of pundit America.
This epitomizes the pathological myopia which has gripped my dear brothers and sisters in faith who have fallen for this fraud.
By accusing those who think this clownish demagogue is a great friend of ours is a mistake of being friends of Stalin or Hitler or whatever shows just how deeply my dear right-wing coreligionists have imbibed the wisdom of their new master. It's sheer nonsense and an evasion of the issues. Either embrace this lunatic, with his transparently anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (many of which come from another great friend of Israel, Alec Jones) or watch the State of Israel go down the tubes!
For some comic relief from the unintentional comic relief of my dear rightist coreligionists: Here is a great take-down of your new hero. Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1s4fj-5zlk
Do Christians seek to proselytize? Sure. So do other faiths, including secular atheism sometimes masquerading as Judaism? That Judaism is rather less prone to proselytizing does not mean that there are not converts to Judaism. That people change faiths and seek to influence others proves nothing against Beck. But it seems to prove something about those who would condemn him for this while practicing their own forms of proselytizing.
As to politics, that a conservative and Christian of some sort should encourage Israel might inflame the political Left seems more than odd. It seems downright orthodox, and that is my point. The political Left practices its form of orthodoxy -- quite different than that of Orthodox Judaism in its several flavors -- and those who would not conform are condemned. Such an orthodoxy is not supportive of ALL who would support Israel, and that is its shortfall.
I welcome all who support Israel in a raging sea of anti-Semitism and self-loathing politics, from the entire range of mankind. Am Yisrael chai!
There seems to be an assumption by many of our faith that the United States would prevent such a thrust and massacre of Israel and its Jewish population. This is based on the assumption that the United States relies on Israel to support American corporate and military interests in that part of the world. Another assumption is that past American presidents have been more pro-Israel than President Obama is. If Obama's policies are not as firmly pro-Israel as his predecessors, it is because American corporate and military interests are undergoing a change, one in which Israel will not be abandoned, but neither will it be protected to the same degree that it has been in the past. The world's most powerful military nation will not be swayed so much by sentiment or even past promises as it will be by the lure of further corporate and military conquests in that and other parts of the world.
Israel must discover and develop survival policies that reflect a sober, realistic assessment of a changing situation. Neither the liberal-left nor the rigid right have so far contributed any valid, realistic proposals for survival. The rhetoric on both sides is self-serving and irresponsible.
I don't pretend to know what policies would be best for Israel's survival, but I do know that the shrieking on the right and the left discourages a realistic search for realistic policies to ensure Israel's survival.
Perhaps it would be useful if Jewish Ideas created a special forum charged with formulating a realistic path for Israel, in which it would rule out all the current self-lethal arguments based on invective and denunciation of various political, philosophical and denominational ideologies.
Proposed solutions would have to begin with, "I believe that Israel should..." instead of with "So and so is an imperialist" or "so and so is a self-hating Jew...". The latter arguments may satisfy an appetite for self-centeredness and long-held prejudices, but cannot lead to Israel's survival.
Is it possible for Jews who passionately disagree with one another to passionately agree to devote themselves to enabling Israel to survive? It should be.
Thank you for your response to some of what I raised.
Even if the gist of your response is (or is mostly accurate), which I believe it not to be, you still have avoided the gist of what I wrote. I actually wish it were otherwise. I especially wanted to see what you make of my paragraph that mentions Hayek.
You say that "[m]y recounting of facts includes no citations, because I don't have time for research in my current capacity. If I made any errors in reporting, please let me know." In other words, you want me to take the time to track down support for what you wrote (realizing, as I am certain that you do, that one cannot track down a lack of support). That's just not how this works.
That said, if you wish and have the time, you can go back to what I wrote and respond to the parts that you left out.
I'm not asking you to do anything; I just wanted to convey, for the sake of intellectual honesty, that my presentation includes facts based on recollection and not citation. Try not to be so petty.
I'd like for you to explain what about my response you believe to be inaccurate, unless somehow, unlike me, you're entitled to make claims like that without explaining yourself.
My main point about Beck concerned his offensive tone and irresponsible comparisons, not the respective values of the political left and right. It seems that you prefer that I respond to your point about the dangers of the philosophy of the American Left. To that end, I can tell you that I am an Orthodox Jew, I believe in fiscal conservatism, oppose an extensive system of social welfare, am no fan of J Street, and yet I am offended by the likes of a Glenn Beck.
I hope I have been of some help in alleviating your frustrations. Enjoy your week.
You miss a significant reason for the support of America for Israel, by the way as opposed to every other country and entity in the world. That reason is Evangelical Christians.
American business and military do not rate Israel worth protecting they will get the necessary people out as they did in WWII. There is no reason for America to support Israel except a religious one, and I do not mean Jewish. The Jews do not matter in voting and so far they have not given their money to the presidents who have most supported Israel, actually the opposite.
What every president and political actor in America is concerned with is the Evangelical Christian support of Israel. They are the only group who are actually willing to sacrifice all for Israel and the Jews. (By the way, this is not all Christians, only the unique American version of it, predominantly.) When polls are taken and Israel is favored by 70-80% of Americans, who do you think these people are? Hasidim? (I am not knocking Hasidim there is just not enough of them.) When polls show that in America, Israel comes in third after England and Canada as the country the America should save militarily, that is the Christians.
I do not know why all of you are kidding yourself. The only reason Israel exists are the IDF and the American Christians. Strange bedfellows but accurate.
"A question from someone who just returned from Jerusalem for the Restoring Courage events. This is an honest question, and I would really appreciate an honest, unsalty answer from both sides because we want to know and understand the people we are advocating for. If you were a European Jew in WWII, would you want Glenn Beck to be an advocate for you, and why or why not? No hidden agenda--just seeking to understand both sides. We had no idea that this was so complicated...we just love Israel. My third trip ~ Israel is growing more beautiful every year! Shalom."
No. But your question is not at all a true thought(ful) question. Beck would already have been on the side of the Nazis. There is no room in the scenario you pose to see your context in any other way. The fact that you see nothing complicated in Beck's discourse just because he invokes the name of your God shows how he has trivialized the entire concept of G-d.
Leftist Israelis are exhibiting something of a Stockholm Syndrome in their demonization of anyone who makes overtures of solidarity. And as an aside, LDS abides voluntarily to Israel's anti-proselytizing law (*).
If Glenn Beck were as evil as so many are attempting to portray him, he wouldn't have so many enemies in this upside-down world we live in today.
May God continue to bless Glenn Beck, and may He continue to intervene on behalf of Israel and her own citizens who will destroy her from within without Islamists firing a single shot. Amen.
(*) "...[LDS](Mormons) voluntarily refrains from proselytizing under an agreement with the Government."
Leftists don't share Beck's views. They have that right, naturally, but the millions of Americans who DO share his views have the exact same right. Every time some liberal opens her mouth to complain shrilly about Beck, it simply reinforces the point that liberals are hypocrites and unworthy of any response.
What hubris. I think some proof of such an assertion is in order.
As the Nazis were the National Socialists of Germany and Austria in the first half of the 20th century, the accusation that Beck, strident or not, would "have been on the side of the Nazis" demonstrates an amazing lack of historical perspective or a willful obfuscation of fact.
As an example, one could prove that some Arabs were allies of the Nazis through many historical sources.
So I challenge Hosshi. Prove your assertion with citations. Or retract it.
I will await a verifiable response, though I think one will not emerge.
Carole Murphey's question is most thoughtful.
How in the world could you say that Beck would have been on the side of the Nazis? Are you referring to the same Nazis who made it clear they wanted the world free of Jews? Beck is supporting Jews, not wanting to kill them? Beck doesn't just invoke the name of G-d--he backs it up with fairly strong biblical support. You yourself may not believe the theology--but that doesn't make HIM a Nazi... Your comment is an example of more demagoguery
Gershom Gorenberg, the author of The End of Days says the following of the ultimate vision of evangelical Christians: "That vision is one in which the Jews eventually disappear...If you say that at the end of days, in a perfect world there aren't going to be any Jews, what you're saying, right now, is that you don't accept the legitimacy of Judaism." To put it another way, the widespread belief that Christ will come again, and that only those who believe in him will be allowed to enter heaven, compels militant Christians, evangelicals among them, to undertake vigorous measures to convert Jews to Christianity. Historically, conversion of Jews has been accompanied by violence, cruelty and burning at the stake. It was not an accident that Christian leaders, with a few heroic exceptions, did nothing to stay Hitler's Final Program for the Jews.
As a Jew, I would be lax about the security of Jews if I didn't question the current eruption of concern for Jews and for Israel by Christian leaders. While you may believe that it is not imperial ambitions by our nation's leaders, but religious ambitions from the Islamic world, that is the greater threat to Israel, but the history of the past two centuries shows that all major proselytizing religious groups follow, not lead, the agendas of imperial armies and governments.
We can't foretell the future, but we must study the past with as little bias as possible to understand what is taking place.
I know that the day will come when the American budget cutters will take a long look at Israel. If I were an Israeli leader I would not ignore what I see, and I would not invent corkscrew rationales to explain away looming dangers to Israel.
As I said in my previous posting, I don't know what Israel needs to do to survive. What I think would be helpful is for there to be a discussion of ideas, free of invective, free of wasteful comments on the "right" and the "left", free of venting on matters that bear no relationship to the problems Israel face. In respect to your commentsb on the evangelical Christians, when you adopt a program for survival and base it on the belief that hundreds of millions of Christians will lay down their lives to defend you, you would do well to have on hand Plan B, in the event that your anticipated allies may be touring Iran or Cairo or Sydney, Australia instead of hunkering down in Israel.
First, I do want to say that your ideas are well thought out and many I would not outright disagree with; but we sort of fall on different sides of the coin if you will.
I am not worried with the end of days. As a Jew, I know that my scenario is correct. Nonetheless, other religions have a different scenario at the end of time. All of them are by the positive to themselves. After 2,000 years, I am willing to wait to act on that scenario when it presents itself. In addition, I am talking predominantly about American Evangelical Christians; not Catholics for example, who have never accepted the legitimacy of the Jewish Torah. There are some exceptions in the protestant grouping especially with the protestant Christian Zionists.
The budget from America is less of a concern than the political support for Israel. During the second Lebanon war it was ONLY Christians that actually sailed on freighters to Israel on their own dime to help the Israeli State. Most Jews sat here and did not care. To be honest most of the Jewish community in the United States find Israel at best a bad or inconvenient relative. Most Reform and Conservative Rabbis have turned their backs on Israel and find "American" social justice more important. That is going to get worse with time not better.
Ironically, the Jews on "savior" are the American Christians. Does this change the world and our perception of it for 2,000 years, yes. But the killer of Jews now is Mohamed not Jesus. That is our new world. We are back to the year 700.
An interesting choice of words, given that in the 20th century millions of Christians (and Jews and others) fought and millions lost their lives against the tyranny of National Socialism, this part of a "program for survival" seems already in place. It is called commonweal, altruism, patriotism, and more.
Was this speedy enough to stop the Holocaust? Of course not. But the Nazis were eventually stopped, and a small but growing Jewish community in Berlin is evidence that National Socialism only seemed to triumph for a while.
The dark view that the majority of Christians are merely lying, while laying in wait to ambush Jews with militant proselytization is indeed a dark view.
It is a view which has been practiced in the 20th century also -- but not by Christians. Rather by the proponents of National Socialism and other socialisms against other peoples. (The Khmer Rouge comes to mind as a similar ideology arrayed against its own countrymen, as was the Nazis'.)
Mr. Alman writes, "I don't know what Israel needs to do to survive." But apparently among the things he seems to know is that Israel should not count on allies in the Christian world of today, which is not the Christian world of the Inquisition.
Times change. Paradigms change. I for one, as a liberal Jew, count as friends, Christians who I am sure would come to my aid, as would I to theirs. It is not about religion, but about what is right to do.
Israel is not asking for Christians to lay down their lives.
What they need and are likely to get from the evangelical Christians is political support in staving off the actions of the UN and Europeans towards international sanctions.
Many in Israel no longer believe in the support of many American Jews and the information being brought forth for their education represents de javu with today's article "Jews against Zionism" by Lawrence Grossman to the point.
All that remains for Israelis is for them to get the references to facts of American Jews turning a blind eye to the persecution of Jews in Europe during the Second World War in the interests of political affiliations.
The administration of FDR basically ignored the plight of those Jews and the NYT covered up the atrocities.
Today the administration is even worse in its handling of Jewish related affairs in another part of the world and American Jews just as fickle, so I think that any betting Israeli will go with the Christians for support.
The ONLY supporters the Israel and Israeli Jews have, in the world outside of themselves, are Evangelical Zionist Christians. There is no one else. I wish that the Jews of America supported Israel but that is only true for the old ones and the younger Jews generally care very little. It just is not an issue for them. Most American Jews are part of the Reform movement's idea that being Jewish is one religion among many and Israel is just another state among many.
During World War II the Jews made the mistake of listening to Jews and not Christian Zionists. It is now making the same mistake.
By the way, there is another alternative and that is to go it alone. But, what is to be gained by this and it always remains an option. By the way there is also a problem in Israel. Someway has to be found to deal with the Jews who are still living in the 19th Century and their only enemy is Christianity.
I'm old enough to recall the 1930's, when people, Jews among them, scoffed at the idea that a civilized nation like Germany - the land of Wagner, Beethoven, Planck, Goethe - would ever permit anti-Semitism to go beyond overturning a headstone in a Jewish cemetery.
Today is not the 19th century, I'm told. It's not even the 20th. There is no one named Pollard in an American prison.
I think what we do not understand that is that there may be good will for Israel among millions of Christians, but this will not save Israel in a confrontation with an entity armed and financed by the major Arab states. Yes, a small number may offer to take up arms for Israel. Resolutions will be passed in legislative bodies. Speeches of concern will come from capitals. The people of Israel deserve a better fate than honest prayers by Christians, empty promises in speeches by politicians, and poor advice from people who are so committed to settling scores with the left or right that they have lost their focus.
Allow me to enter a side observation about those 19 century Jews. I’m sure the writer means the Haredim.
Many Israelis are becoming intolerant of them--disparaging their intelligence, distraught at their lack of contribution to the nation’s defense. Their arrogance and demeanor gets to them in upsetting ways. They are treated as a special class of Jews with special “affirmitive” privileges. Some Jews clearly loath that "race" of Jews. You may even think they do not deserve to call themselves Israelis so "different" are they from the dominate culture they seem to be from another planet altogether.
What you have here is a problem of "race." I say race only as a metaphor for a range of distinctive differences between two groups of a population, where one is dominate and the other subordinate. The subordinate race is usually termed the "oppressed' but in this case the Haredim are not oppressed because of their religion, and only because of their religion.
If it is fair to assume the Haredim are not stupid. If it is fair to assume the Haredim can make rational decisions. It is fair to assume the Haredim are not "going to get on a boat and go back where they came from."
Am I to understand there are no constructive, ingenious ways clever Intelligent Israelis cannot devise programs that will ameliorate the irritation and conflict between most citizens and the Haredim?
If the Haredim will not change, the Israelis will in time change the Haredim.
The fact remains that there are basically three Abrahamic religions and only Judaism respects all the "families of the earth," and Christianity believes it is the successor to Judaism and the final message from God while Islam is the "last revelation" from God. The Book of Joshua, the Crusades, and the Islamic conquest all show that these three religions have experienced times when violence was "doing God's will," according to the respective beliefs of the three respective religions.
Judaism has been the least bloodthirsty for no other reason than it has been composed of sojourners in lands where they had no sovereignty. All of this has nothing to do with Glenn Beck, who in the history of mankind is like someone cutting wind in a windstorm.
"I don't know what Israel needs to do to survive..." precedes a plea to dicuss ideas, free of invective.
Sir, I have not engaged you with invective nor think myself "venting."
If you have no ideas yourself -- as you write -- as to what Israel "needs to do to survive," pray tell then what is your purpose in this particular venue/discussion?
The assertion that people oriented "right or left" are settling scores and therefore lose "their focus" is such a nuanced Hegelian gambit as to mean much by litte. If indeed Mr. Alman "recalls the 1930s," then one might well conclude he knows that "right and left" are in fact political choices with real world consequences, as was the supposed "right" of National Socialism and quite similar "left" of Soviet Socialism.
In fact, the political debate in Israel is about these polarities and the consequences they foretell about Israel's survival. This is not "mistake of wishful thinking" replacing historical knowledge, but about appreciating any and all who would support Israel and its people, right AND left.
Since Mr. Alman has stated he doesn't "know what Israel needs to do to survive," his assertion that others err with wishful thinkging in continuing such a dialogue seems disingenuous.
Israel needs strength, resources, friends and many more friends. It needs not to tear itself apart by those who would repeat the past's errors for the sake of a political ideology. Israel needs us, as well as those Christians who would support us, even some Arabs who do not target Israel for extinction. Yes, even people with whom we might not agree politically, but who still avow support and encouragement for Israel in this time. This is the minimum. Shall we add to it, or avow that we cannot "know what Israel needs to do to survive?" I prefer the former.
I don't challenge SW's right to his opinions, nor his right to express them as he wishes. But the subject of Beck's role in Israel can be pursued without calling Beck's critics "demagogues", something that SW has no proof of. Likewise, SW cannot have proof that those who are not Orthodox are actually atheists.
All matters pertaining to Israel's plight, including Beck's role, deserve very sober and objective treatment.
SW seems disturbed that I admit I have no magic formula for insuring Israel's continuity. What I do have is the hope that discussion among us, and among other groups of Jews (and non-Jews) will develop a sensible outlook built on reality, that may, in the end, prove useful to Israelis and to whoever governs Israel. I think anyone who agrees that this may have some value for Israel, will also agree that invective and settling scores will not take us where we want to go. I'm mindful that the Jews of Germany wasted an unforgivable amount of time in recriminations, and in the naive belief that Hitler was only after Communist Jews, or Jews who excelled "too much" in their professions, or made their anti-Nazi feelings public.
And there were Jews who tried to find the "better side" of Naziism. In these pursuits, the German Jews failed to understand the full threat to Jewish existence by a nation indoctrinated by government-sponsored anti-Semitism.
Israel faces a similar threat. I am arguing that time is not on our side, that unless Israel develops a program for dealing with the threat in a realistic manner, reliance on the good will - and there will be good will - of non-Jews to play a crucial role in Israel's survival will end in
If we want to settle scores with the left or the right, let's do it in other forums. If we want to try to make a contribution to Israel's policy, we have to have a forum in which we don't pursue other passions.
A "contribution to Israel's policy," made without knowing "what Israel needs to do to survive" or offering policy suggestions towards that end, seems odd. Constructive critique usually is accompanied by the construction -- here's an idea of what to do.
"SW seems disturbed that I admit I have no magic formula for insuring Israel's continuity."
One does not need a magic formula but just the ability to see the facts on the ground.
All the facts within the context need to be visible if one is to have a constructive discussion; it is no use attempting to be "fair & balanced" incorporating the "Palestinian narrative" created with the tendentious media reporting.
"That unless Israel develops a program for dealing with the threat in a realistic manner"
is an unrealistic statement when she cannot stop and overturn the demagogic welter of slander from without unless those outside of Israel are willing to help in the political fight with the truth and the facts in their entirety.
No, not all those on the demagogue's bandwagon trashing Glenn Beck are demagogues but unfortunately their ignorance or naivety have made them puppets and they will have to bare the collective guilt.
It is indeed unfortunate that so much of our time has been taken up in this discussion about this circus showman Beck and his connection to the Christian
right-wing. Enough all ready !! Nu...
What we should be checking out is this whole new movement of social unrest in Israel. Over 400,000 of our fellow Jews hit the streets in Israel just this weekend. These folks are a cross section of the whole of the population of Israel. The basic
needs of Ha Am are not being met by this current government.
Says who, Democratic operative and pollster Stanley Greenberg, who according to Maariv is trying to drive Netanyahu from power with his meddling in what started out as a grassroots movement?
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And that's not to mention the resentment of Beck among the Israeli population itself. As the country was rising in a spirit of civil social discontent, this self-righteous foreign pundit quickly dismissed the efforts of the national majority as an exercise of the extreme-left. That's downright insulting.