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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. David

    When are people gonna wise up about this crackpot....

    February 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  2. ChiBlue

    Glen Beck is just a liar that has radical opinions for fun and profit. It's just a game and a living for him. He expects that people don't take him seriously and is surprised when they do. Shame on anyone who believes GB has integrity and is fair and balanced.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  3. Jason D

    Rabbis like extremists? Lol.
    There are extremist Jews, extremist Muslims, extremist Christians, one as bad as the other. But Rabbis are as extremists as priests or clerics.
    However, him implying that Soros was a Nazi...priceless!

    February 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  4. Some Guy

    Ugh. Why do we have to appoligizes every single time a Jew is offended? The Jews have made their fair share of offenses throughout history.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jason D

      It was a bad remark. To be honest, CAIR would be asking for an apology if he compared clerics to zionists.

      February 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Rudy1959

      If you offend someone without meaning to offend them, it's only polite to apologize. Personally, I don't see how Mr. Beck could have said what he said without understanding that a lot of people would be offended. So he either doesn't understand the power of language (which is bad for someone who makes his living trying to convey ideas) or his apology is questionable. Either way, I don't much care for him as a commentator.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  5. FREDERICK LEE

    As a person who could be considered as Jewish by the Reform branch of Judiasm -but not as a Jew by the Orthodox branch and as a political conservative, Beck needs to do more than appoligize. He should do some serious research before opening his mouth and making comments that make him look stupid. Had he compared the settler movement rabbis in Israel (e.g. the late Mier Kahane) to jihadist Imams that would be a fair albiet a secular, comparison. Had he compared Reform rabbis to the Quakers – that would be within bounds as well. The comparison he made is the equavalent of Gandhi = Hitler. Please Mr. Beck please stop embarassing people would like to think of themselves as conservatives.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jason D

      Well said.

      February 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Homer

      "The comparison he made is the equavalent of Gandhi = Hitler."

      I disagree completely. I have yet to hear of ANY Jewish group that advocates non-violence in the face of conflict. Don't tell me Jewish groups are passive and peaceful when they want something.

      February 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Beck111

      Beck here... Who is Gandhi? Should I apologize to him as well?

      February 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Eric

      @ Homer

      Reform Jews (and Jews in general) are usually liberal and only support the use of force as a response to an attack or self-defense.

      February 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Homer

      @Eric: "Reform Jews (and Jews in general) are usually liberal and only support the use of force as a response to an attack or self-defense."

      So when the IDL kills Palestinian children, is it an act of self defense? Was Ariel Sharon called the Butcher of Beirut because he was a liberal pacifist? Whom are you trying to kid?

      February 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  6. David

    Compared to the "other" people I have heard on other stations Beck is saint. If you don't belive beck look up what his footnotes says and do your homework.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  7. Keith

    Ya well, it's perfectly understandable. That's what happens when you don't bother coupling your mouth to your brain.

    Beck's no idiot. He's just so focused on being a "shock jock" like Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh in order to milk a market segment for his money that he doesn't really care about what spews from his mouth so long as it's shocking.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  8. J Richards

    It would seem Beck comments on topics he doesn't know anything about. I can't stand to watch him for more than a few minutes.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  9. kevin

    guess his zionist bosses made him apologize....

    February 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Rudy1959

      Kevin, What do you mean when you use the term "zionist"? What connotation does it carry with you? Thanks.

      February 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Homer

      I agree. His apology doesn't sound like the usual "I'm sorry if I offended anyone." Rather, it's a more desperate "Oh no - I really pis*ed off the wrong people!" He's in full damage-control mode.

      February 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Eric

      1. What does that state of Israel's right to exist have to do with this situation.
      2. The two largest shareholders in News Corp are a Catholic Australian and a Muslim Saudi (probably not Zionists).

      February 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  10. JackB

    There is no excuse for making that comment. He said it because he believes it.. It's sad, so, so sad. He doesn

    February 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  11. Bob in Pa

    yada yada yada. It is terrible in this world of political correctness.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  12. Mike Rose

    Beck sure does blow it, a lot.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  13. Danielle

    Shocker Glenn Beck said something stupid. What is shocking is the fact he made an apology.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  14. Alex

    All religious zealots are crazy, whether they know it or not.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Profm2

      Yup, I agree. Any religion that is into controlling what food you eat, what time of day you pray, where you pray, what you wear, how you wear it, what you say, who you can marry and where you can marry them, etc., etc., etc. - That includes the vast majority of organized religion. I have enough control. I am married.

      February 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  15. LeeCMH

    What about hateful Christians? Are they mainly political and in a most mean spirited and hateful way?

    February 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • MostFelonsRlibs

      No that would be athiests or liberals or athiest liberals the real worst of the worst....

      February 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Alex NJ

    Glenn Beck is an embarrassment to right wing politics. Most educated respectable people in the Republican Party wish he would just shut up and go away. Same with Palin and Limbaugh. What the Democrats advocate is idiotic enough, it speaks for itself. We don't need whack jobs like Beck making the Dems look good.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  17. kayaker247

    I'm no fan of organized religion but this guy Glen Beck is a cancer! The only good he serves is to illustrate what NOT to be, and how NOT to think and view the world. Unfortunately, there are a lot of naive people that listen to him and follow his lunatic rants.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  18. Scott Stern

    This comment not only shows ignorance but is anti-semitic in its very quality. At a time when "radicalized Islamic" beliefs are often associated with terrorism, this comparison with Rabbi's can only demonstrate Mr. Beck's feelings about the Jewish faith. Admitted or not, it is clear

    February 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  19. cbr

    By the time Glen Beck apologizes for his comments, millions of people have heard them and will remember them. He is very aware of that fact and so he and other commentators will continue to make these comments.

    He needs to think before he speaks. Yes, I am offended every time these commentators make comments and then apologize. That is the joke on all ofus.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  20. Reality

    Actually, Glen Beck blows just about everything in his Mormon-tainted tirades but hey it makes for a lot of money as he pocketed about $32 million in 2010. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/glenn-beck-earned-32-mill_n_529903.html

    -–

    February 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • jfb

      can't use a left-wing source to condemn a right-wing act. no credibility

      February 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Patrick

      "can't use a left-wing source to condemn a right-wing act. no credibility"

      So your saying that the left wing source for his salary (which also appears on right wing sources) is biased? OK wut-ever...

      Glenn Beck and Hannity all receive 10's millions for preaching hate and fear of muslims, arabs, democrats... anything they can do to spread the fear. Today Hannity is the pot calling the kettle black again today complaining and saying the democrats are causing fear of a government shutdown.

      Fear fear fear...meh...

      February 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.