Beck: 'I blew it' comparing rabbis to Islamic radicals
Glenn Beck at last summer's 'Restoring Honor' rally.
February 25th, 2011
12:07 PM ET

Beck: 'I blew it' comparing rabbis to Islamic radicals

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Glenn Beck is apologizing for remarks he made on his radio show comparing rabbis from a major Jewish tradition to Islamic radicals, saying, “I was wrong on this and I also apologize for it.”

“In this case I didn’t do enough homework,” Beck told radio listeners on Thursday, while his website said his comments contained “one of the worst analogies of all time.”

On Tuesday, Beck said on his show that “reformed rabbis are generally political in nature.”

“It's almost like Islam - radicalized Islam,” he continued, “in a way to where radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics."

Beck’s comments came after a group of 400 rabbis, many from the Reform movement, took out a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal blasting him for comments he made about the Holocaust.

Beck, who also hosts a show on Fox News, had aired a radio series about financier George Soros that accused him of collaborating with the Nazis to send Jews to death camps, according to the Jewish Funds for Justice, which sponsored the ad.

Soros is Jewish.

The Reform movement, founded in 19th century Germany, counts a million and a half Jews in North America, according to the Union for Reform Judaism.

Beck sent a letter to the Anti-Defamation League, a group that works to combat anti-Semitism, to apologize for his remarks.

“I was admittedly misinformed on Reform rabbis, and made a horrible analogy that I immediately attempted to clarify - quite honestly, I blew it on this one,” Beck wrote, according to a copy of the letter released by the Anti-Defamation League.

Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham H. Foxman says he accepts Beck’s apology.

“Glenn Beck has shown that he understands how his remarks were offensive and out of line,” Foxman said in a statement Thursday. “We welcome his words of apology and consider the matter closed.”

The Jewish Funds for Justice, meanwhile, said Beck’s apology did not go far enough.

“Glenn Beck’s apology for comparing Reform Judaism to ‘radicalized Islam’ is welcome but incomplete,” the group said in a statement.

“While we are heartened to hear him recognize his ignorance,” the statement continued, “he still has not acknowledged that the letter signed by 400 rabbis and organized by Jewish Funds for Justice represented a cross-section of denominations, including Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Renewal rabbis."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Holocaust • Judaism

soundoff (1,083 Responses)
  1. Stormer

    Beck has a long history of antisemitism as well as racial and other bigotry. That he is held in such high regard by the Republicans, the tea partiers, and the rest of the radical right wing speaks volumes about how low our country has sunk in the last 30 years. America has had a good run, but it looks like it's pretty much over. Oh well.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  2. Reality Check

    I'm amazed at how much homework some of you done to "know" that all Republicans and/or conservatives, and particularly Glenn Beck, are racist unthinking robots who hate everything that moves.

    Sorry, but that's the kind of jabber that led to the Holocaust in the first place. Reduce a whole bunch of people, whom you might honestly oppose on some level, to a one-dimensional bunch of sub-humans who are evil. All it takes is the brand of mind-reading that's on display on this page.

    It's long been clear that hate speech is as much as home on the left as it supposedly is on the right. Doesn't this blog have a moderator?

    February 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • jason

      okay .. nice try there buddy..!!!

      February 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Scott

      Perhaps you have not ever looked at Fox forums and the rights comments about liberals?

      February 25, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • tffl

      While it is true that many Conservatives aren't racist, there are a significant number that are. This is somewhat understandable, since a major basis for Conservatism is maintenance of the status quo, which would include keeping those groups currently with power in power and therefore those without or with less out of power. Since the power in this country is concentrated in the hands of (older) white male Christians, maintaining their power means denying it to those who aren't (that is, non-whites, females, and non-Christians), and that is arguably racist (etc.), at least at some level.

      I don't know whether Beck personally is racist, but he is clearly both ignorant (what major player in US politics wouldn't be familiar with Reform Judaism?) and intentionally controversial (one assumes for the better ratings). Whether this ignorance is real or disingenuous (just to cause a controversy) is arguable, as is the significance of his apology.

      Your comparison to the Holocaust is itself rather hyperbolic, as those that you are comparing to the downtrodden are actually the people in power – those more likely to be suppressing their opposition rather than suffering the suppression.

      That said, I agree that nastiness and arguable hate speech exists on both extremes, and it would be good for both extremes to tone things down. However, given the range and power of Beck's voice versus that of the people on this blog, it is clear that it isn't (certainly in this case) a case of equivalents.

      February 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  3. steeve-o

    Glenn Beck reminds me of Jets coach Rex Ryan... always seems to enjoy putting feet in his mouth.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  4. Mike

    PS Beck is an idiot.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  5. Duwayne Anderson

    So Beck said something stupid. He does that sort of thing all the time. Why is this news?

    February 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  6. HJA

    “In this case I didn’t do enough homework,” Beck told radio listeners on Thursday.

    He never does his homework.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  7. Steveo

    You are correct the "Liberal Yids " you cite are at pit of the play. I just read a news article about Psycho Ops being used to fund the war effort in Afghanistan 4out of 5 of the decision makers for America are Jews. Makes you think.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • KK Denver

      What are you trying to say? The decision makers are bad but the loser general who ordered his team to perform psy-ops is good? I guess if your not a gun toting nascar fool your not American right?

      February 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  8. Mike

    Can anyone explain this connection to Israel that American Jews have? Are these folks Americans or Israelis?
    I'm Catholic- but I don't place the Vatican above my homeland. The interests of Israel and the US are not one and the same.
    These are two different countries. So the question then becomes "Can we serve two homelands?" I support Israel's sovereignty, but it would be hard to place the interests of the US above those of God's chosen homeland if I was so inclined in my beliefs. If someone can explain I would appreciate it.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  9. znud

    Here's a thought. Think before you speak!

    February 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  10. vtxrider

    Beck is a bigot plain and simple. He says whatever he wants with nothing to back the statements up. His viewers are even more ignorant, they believe is nonsense.

    He is nothing more than a monger of fear and hate working for the propaganda wing of the billionaires that own the republican party and the tea party. Their followers will believe any idiocy if it makes them feel proud to be hate filled and ignorant.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  11. droo

    Get over it for crying out loud you politically correct wuss. Who gives a crap about these remarks. Just more ammo for groups to shake their fingers. Norman Finkelstein...will you PLEASE comment???

    February 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  12. eric

    This G Beck stil has a job?

    February 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  13. betty

    Is it clear now that his true nature is to be antisemitic? This isn't his first faux- pas and probably won't be his last.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  14. Beck's Mother

    I should have thought twice about bringing this idiot child into the world. My fault!

    February 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  15. WIll III

    It's hard to say whether Beck reflects the racism in America that goes unsaid, or if America reflects the racism from Beck because he states it plainly. Just reading the comments you see on anything not pertaining to White Americans is very sad. I thought my country was getting a little better, but it obviously is not.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  16. katpup

    Glen Beck's ratings are falling. That is the reason for the apology. He is a little scared, as he should be.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  17. brian

    I came here think Beck, the musician, said something bad against Jewish people. Facepalm... oh Glen Beck. It all makes sense, what a tool.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  18. Concerned

    CNN and other news outlets profit from the ignorance of the masses by giving someone like Beck a forum. Beck profits from the ignorance of the masses who listen to his ignorant ranting. He can say whatever he likes about anyone, including the President, but say something about Jewish Rabbis and it demands an apology from Glenn Beck? I'm not much of a student on the plight of the Jews but this alone is an indicator of how powerful this race of people must be. Maybe he'll call some of them nappy-head hoes and we can be rid of him forever. The human race would immediately improve if this was to happen. Hopefully, O'Reilly and the drug addict Limbaugh will finally say something that sends them to oblivion as well. Unfortunately, there are forces within this world that use these people to further the agenda which is to keep chaos and hate alive and well. Fortunately, for the rest of society this is a short term time in history...goodness will prevail, just keep the faith. Project Disclosure is just around the corner.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  19. cmxsmitty

    All this from a guy who believes in magic plates and glasses.

    February 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • KK Denver

      Don't forget magic underwear!!!

      February 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  20. S.B. Stein

    I don't understand what research Beck claims to have done before that statedment. There is no major Jewish movement (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox or many of the "ultra-Orthodox") that can be compaired to radicals. There is no group within the major Jewish movements that advocate violence. Many Jews would advocate that Israel have a strong defense, but that would be about it for anything relating to violence.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Daddy

      i guess you never heard of Kahanism, or the JDL, or the JDO,......

      February 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.