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. bethanyshondark

    Beck was right. If you look at the RAC – the Reform Action Center – the political arm of the Reform movement – their top items of focus are:
    Help Take Dangerous High-Capacity Ammunition Off Our Streets
    Oppose Revival of DC Vouchers Program
    Protect a Woman's Right to Choose
    Protect Health Care Reform

    How are those JEWISH issues? They are not. I've heard dozens of Reform rabbis stand on the bema (the pulpit) talk about Democratic candidates and politics. They always align Left, and social justice issues take more priority over actually keeping Jewish law, which almost no Reform Jew does nowdays. I'm disappointed he stepped back. While the comparison with Islamic radicals was off base, his statements about the movement are not.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Observer

      So Beck was right originally, but so dumb that he apologized?

      February 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Ruth

      Judaism is more about social issues than "God" issues. If you knew anything about Judaism you would know that.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • allen's

      why should anyone be upset about what beck says? he is nothing more than a entertainer. and being a fox entertainer, he is not bright or truthful. everyone understands this. he just got more of the spot light and his sheep still think he is the man! what a good person, he opoligized!

      February 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Bob

      Taking that leap from commenting on political issues to declaring such comments as "Islamic radical"- like is exactly the problem. Had he stopped and just commented about the political nature of many rabbis - he might (?) have even said, "So what?" It's not unusual for religious leaders to have political views - especially when they are social justice issues. It's Beck's inability to stop.....for g-d's sake - just STOP while you're ahead (or at least, not too far behind).

      February 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Bob

      Thank you Ruth. You said it far more succintly than I was able.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  2. cecilia

    if he offended anyone – IF – so he moved on from his first lame apology – digging a little deeper – this man is a danger to America. not that we cannot withstand utter stupidity – we can. but there are a lot of gullible people out there who believe the rants of this jerk

    February 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  3. arizonamom

    {face palm} Beck is "misinformed" on everything that comes out of his mouth. This will continue to happen because he works for a company (Fox) that doesn't give a damn what he says as long as what he says draws listeners/viewers. He's the biggest tool on radio/television.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  4. 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 1:08 pm |
  5. ariella

    yes, and he is also right about Soros being a Nazi collaborator. I don't care how old he was; ,meanwhile young kids like him were in the woods fighting the Nazis as partisans. Meanwhile, he helped Nazis loot murdered Jews' property. This experience of selling out his own people is probably what led him to become the sell-out he is today. The US left-wing Jewish organizations and "Rabbis" that support him are doing so because he funds them. These organizations are actually leading to the demise of Judaism as they encourage intermarriage and blame little Israel for defending itself from attackers. I respect real friends of Israel and Christians like Glen Beck, who let us be who we are and support Israel's right to defend itself.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • nghusker

      Hey everyone – Glen Beck is using the name ariella on his posts here today.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Homer

      "These organizations are actually leading to the demise of Judaism as they encourage intermarriage and blame little Israel for defending itself from attackers."

      If a white person had decried liberals for encouraging intermarriage, thereby leading to the demise of the white race, that person would be routinely condemned as a hater and bigot. Why is it ok for Jewish groups to demand they keep their bloodline "pure"?

      As for "little Israel defending itself from attackers," ask the children who lived in Jenin during the IDL's invasion how peaceful Israel can be.

      February 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  6. JC in SC

    Christians are Jews' best allies and Jews are Christians' best allies. We all are and acknowledge the fact that we are from the very same historical roots. No variation. These are the times of the gentiles: The time we Christians must get straight with our maker and savior before we die or the End Times occurs. Glenn Beck is neither a Christian or a Jew. He's a Mormon. He needs to shut up, quit denigrating Jewish Rabbis or any Jews for that matter, and spend his time repenting, instead of talking jibberish into a mic and further confusing his ignorant followers.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  7. American Patriot

    I was in a small restaurant and overheard a Beck show that was being played over at the bar. What vomit. (Beck, not the food)

    February 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  8. Alverant

    "didn't do enough homework"? Try "didn't do any homework". That would be a lot more accurate for his show regardless of the topic. Now when is he going to apologize for everything else he got wrong? That would be a show in itself.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  9. Dan in Colo

    Beck is a nutjob and I personally can't stand him, but he demonstrated a lot of class by admitting his mistake and apologizing. I hope that his apology was sincere and not driven by fear of losing his job.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  10. Dot44

    Don't apologize. Bill Maher never apologizes for anything. Why should you...and you are correct !

    February 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      BIll Maher is a comedian. Glen Beck is an ideologue. Learn to tell the difference.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • manswell

      I would love to see Beck debate Maher on any topic. Maybe then people would see Beck as the completely uneducated fool he is.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • tenino

      He's correct about what? Likening Jewish rabbis to Islamic radicals? Never heard of a rabbi promoting violence against another group of people. How about whether or not Obama is a Muslim or not a citizen? Do we really need a list of all the crap this guy has said that has been proven to be untrue?

      February 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Homer

      @tenino: "He's correct about what? Likening Jewish rabbis to Islamic radicals? Never heard of a rabbi promoting violence against another group of people."

      Beck likened Reformed Judaism to Islamic radicals because both groups are political. So yes, he is correct about that. And as for rabbis not promoting violence against another group of people, just look at the Zionist movement. You don't believe there are any rabbis in that group? Then I have a bridge in Tel Aviv that's up for sale.

      February 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  11. Shep

    I like talk radio but I can never get into Beck. He's honestly a little unbalanced in my opinioin.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  12. mike

    Beck is an idiot. He is offensive, insulting, incompetent and of no value to to anyone but Fox news. His relevance in life is a total zero and that is too bad for him because he really, really wants to be relavant.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  13. oop

    I see your true colors....shining through!!

    February 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  14. Observer

    Beck should apologize for claiming he does homework.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  15. Joe Fattal

    He didn't had to apologize if he had mentioned that there are also Christian radicals. Everyone in his or her own rights are radical on something or another.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  16. Richard Bullis

    Someone needs to shut this clown down.....I'm a conservative but statements like that make me ashamed to watch Fox news..

    February 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      Then just say No!

      February 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  17. JonJon

    Crazy like a fox, this guy knows exactly what he is doing. He's a shameless, self promoting, BOOB who makes millions off of dividing people for his own gain. What a tool. He's probably the worst of these selfish talking heads on all of the networks.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  18. Deborah Hunter Williams

    It is painfully disheartening to see people such as Glen Beck contnue (because of $$$) to have such a high profile platform with which to spread his ignorant,small minded bigotry. Mr. Beck meant exactly what he said...the one thing he is not is uneducated...his backoff is clearly motivated by money; i.e. sponsors. The Beck mentality showcases a very twisted view of what this country truly stands for or at least I pray it does.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • C

      He who thinks he knows and knows not , that he knows not is an idiot. I forget who said this so it might not be all that accurate, but it seem to fit Beck to the tee.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  19. David

    If you Google search 'Reform Judaism' the first link is the article on Wikipedia. Here is the SECOND SENTENCE from that entry: "In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the surrounding culture." That sounds nothing like radical Islam to me. So literally the second sentence found within the first link would have provided all the information Beck needed to clear up his ignorance. He was incapable of spending even 5 SECONDS researching his opinions before he vomited them out to millions of listeners as "facts".

    February 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • caradoc01

      The saddest thing in this whole paragraph is the fact Glen Beck(erhead) HAS millions of brainwashed (smallest load in the universe) listeners.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Homer

      David, that quote is very consistent with what Beck said. He compared Reform Judaism with radical Islam in that both groups are very politically active.

      I have yet to meet anyone who claims any branch of Judaism is not political.

      February 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  20. woodsman

    The guy loves the spotlight. He'll say or do anything to garner national headlines.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • tenino

      That's because his ratings are plummeting. My prediction is that he'll start to get even more and more crazy with the rhetoric before eventually getting canceled because honestly, people are getting a little desensitized to "the sky is falling" stuff you see on his show. Look for him to have another crappy show in a different time slot or he'll just go back to radio which is where he came from.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • caradoc01

      @tenino: yes he did come from radio but not talk radio...he did Top 40 for years, even had a show in Phoenix where one of his co-hosts was one of the "horizontal" secretaries of the the televangelist if I remember correctly.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:14 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.