Jews torn over Glenn Beck Jerusalem rally
Glenn Beck at last summer's 'Restoring Honor' rally in Washington
August 23rd, 2011
04:49 PM ET

Jews torn over Glenn Beck Jerusalem rally

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

One year after hosting a huge politically charged and largely faith-based rally in Washington, Glenn Beck is at it again, this time in Jerusalem.

Just like last year’s “Restoring Honor” rally in the capital, Beck’s pro-Israel rally in the Holy Land on Wednesday has stirred plenty of controversy before it even begins, with many Jews in Israel and the United States saying they feel mixed about the event.

They welcome the support for the Jewish state, many Jews say, but some are uncomfortable over recent Beck pronouncements on Judaism and the rally’s close association with conservative evangelical Christians from the United States.

“I and some in my community have been critical of him and some of his expressions, and we have made no secret about our feelings,” says Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group that fights anti-Semitism.

“We should welcome it and embrace it,” he said of Beck’s rally but added, “I hope he doesn’t make any faux pas, which he’s been prone to do.”

Beck says his Jerusalem rally is meant to show global solidarity with Israel at a time when the nation is facing growing international criticism and threats.

“There’s an important distinction of saying I love Israel, I defend Israel, and not separating that from the Jewish people,” Beck said Monday at one of a string of events leading up to the Wednesday rally. “Make sure to say not that we only love Israel, but we love the Jewish people as they are.”

Some of Beck’s previous comments on Judaism have attracted criticism from groups like the Anti-Defamation League, provoking apologies from Beck.

In February, Beck criticized Reform Judaism – a major movement among American Jews - on his radio show. At the time, Beck said Reform rabbis are "generally political in nature.”

“It's almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way,” Beck continued. “Radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. … When you look at the Reform Judaism, it is more about politics."

Foxman called the statement “highly offensive and outrageous." Beck apologized for using a “horrible analogy.”

Last year, Foxman blasted Beck for alleging that financier George Soros, who is Jewish by birth, helped send Jews to death camps during the Holocaust. Foxman said the remarks, which came on Beck’s radio show, were “inappropriate, offensive and over the top.”

Beyond Beck’s statements, some Jews are uneasy with his close association with Christian Zionists, American-based evangelicals who tend to be on the opposite end of the political spectrum from American Jews and whom some Jews suspect have ulterior motives for befriending them.

Some evangelicals believe events in Israel are crucial to ushering in Jesus’ second coming, while other Jews say evangelical Christians want to convert them.

High-profile American evangelical leaders like the Rev. John Hagee, the leader of the American Christian Zionist movement, are traveling with Beck this week. Beck, a Mormon, began building bridges to conservative evangelical leaders in the lead-up to last year’s Washington rally.

“Last year’s event was all about getting your house in order, getting back to God and getting started in prayer again, whether or not you’re an evangelical,” said David Barton, an American evangelical activist who helped Beck organize the Washington rally and who is traveling with Beck in Israel this week.

“This next event is about, because you’re God-centered, you start looking around for neighbors that need help - especially Israel, which is where our roots are,” said Barton, describing the Jerusalem rally.

Barton said Beck’s Mormonism is a plus because Israeli leaders are less wary that he has ulterior motives for supporting them.

Many Christian Zionist leaders say Christian support for Israel is based in a Biblical connection to Jews and Israel, not in messianic thinking or a desire to convert.

“There’s an uneasiness in the community with evangelical support,” Foxman said. “But as long as the support is not conditioned on American Jewish support for the conservative Christian political agenda or on us converting, they can be my guest.”

The rally is happening steps away from holy sites like the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. On Tuesday night, some Republican members of Congress were meeting with Beck and American evangelical leaders in Jerusalem.

In Israel, many conservative politicians have embraced Beck’s rally and the broader backing of American evangelicals.

“I am very supportive of his initiative,” Danny Danon, an Israeli parliament member who belongs to the conservative Likud Party, said of Beck’s rally.

“When we see so many attacks against Israel and when we have people coming and standing with Israel, it is very important,” he said.

But Danon also hinted at Jewish ambivalence toward Beck.

“I don’t agree with everything that Mr. Beck said in the past, and I will not agree with everything that he will say in the future,” he said.

“But if you take the overall picture in terms of support for Israel … you really have someone who really cares about supporting the state of Israel and supporting the message of the connection of Jews to the land.”

–CNN's Kevin Flower contributed reporting from Jerusalem.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Israel • Judaism • Leaders

soundoff (1,111 Responses)
  1. Raferc Motoshin

    Hi there to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this site, and your views are pleasant in favor of new visitors.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:53 am |
  2. Sundar

    If Jews are God's chosen people as a few posts here suggest, why does the bible state Jews who do not beleive in Christ will land up in hell? They are the chosen people for a different reason I suppose; to create financial crises one after another

    September 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

    The guy is nuts and the Jews know it like we do.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:09 am |
  4. Ryan

    If I were an Evangelical Christian I would offended by being associated with this mad man.

    August 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  5. snakeoil

    restoring courage?Shut the f up and restore sanity.Beck talking to the jewish people about courage?Send all your body guards home and walk through gaza then tell us about courage you stupid hack!You give america a bad name I hope an unfortunate rpg hits your caravan,then tell us how you feel.Arrogant windbag.

    August 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  6. Dave Harris

    Beck's plan for Israel does not include the Jews surviving the holocaust. They will serve their purpose and then his God will murder them all, along with the Chiinese (national debt solved!), Indians, Muslims, Hottentots, and Democrats (to name but a few). Believe it or not, this is really their plan. All of us on his hit list should have "mixed feelings".

    August 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      I question the sanity of any person who wears magic underwear.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Thinker23

      I have to disagree. You may not know it but the Orthodox religious Jews are waiting for the coming of the Messiah... and so are Christians. If Jesus will come and prove and He is indeed the Messiah the Jews will certainly accept Him with open arms.

      August 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • md2205

      To Thinker 23: There is criteria as to what qualifications a person has to have to be the Messiah. It can't be just anyone. The Messiah has to be a descendant from the House of David, which means from the line of King David. There are people who know they come from that line. J. didn't have a father. So he is out of the running. It has to be someone who fixes the breaches in observance of Jewish law. J. didn't do that. J. said people don't have to do the Jewish law. So he is out of the running. It has to be someone else.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  7. John


    August 26, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  8. hayim

    Jason, .

    Beck's goal is to promote honesty,Honor and support of our country and Israel. Not this One World Vision.Liberal Jews are big supporter of Obama . Obama is not a supporter of Israel . A very high percentage of Liberals are not supporters of Israel.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • snakeoil

      I would have to say you're wrong.The far right in the US only support isreal because they can't wait for the second coming.They call our media jew controlled and hollywood too.If there wasn't a mosque behind the wailing wall they'd throw you under the bus.The new teapublicans are no different then any other repressive theoracy.

      August 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  9. hayim

    The Anti-Defamation League has criticised Hollywood actor Jon Voight for a remark in which he compared Palestinian radicals to a "new Holocaust".. Having bombs exploding around is as Holocaust.

    At least Hitler did not have babies strap bombs to babies and send them out to kill Jews. Read all the Islamic blogs and believe them.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  10. John Hand

    Then why 'JewinDetroit, is Obama refusing to sell weaponry to Israel? Why is Obama gearing up against Israel at the UN? Why does Obama want Israel to return to the 'pre-67 borders? That is insanity. You can not claim that Obama is a supporter of Israel if you have ever read the papers or watched the news. Where were you when Obama openly said that Israel needs to go back to pre-67 borders? Ever looked at those 'borders?' At one point, below the Golan Heights, Israel was only 7 miles wide. SEVEN MILES! And before Israel took the Golan, Syria rained down artillery shells on Israel on a daily basis. Bet you didn't know tjhat, did you? Oh, I know why. I was around before the radical liberals took over the news sources, and I REMEMBER....

    August 25, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  11. John Hand

    To Dan Gilgoff, the CNN editor that supposedly authored this piece. Did you choose that unflattering photo of Beck at the Washington rally? I am sure there were many other shots to choose from. And your start saying Beck is at it again showed your bias right off. And of course you used the usual 'tools' that liberal news media go to whenever a story is written about a conservative. Quoting from all the liberal anti-Christian, anti-Beck sources you could find, in this country, but none from Israel. NY Times and USA Today do the same thing. Everytime they report on a conservative cause or person, they do a GO TO. They go to a Harvard professor or maybe Wisconsin or wherever they have a GO TO source stashed, and get a negative quote from him. Reporting at one time used to be NEUTRAL. A good reporter, way back when, was neutral and UNBIASED. Unfortunately, today most journalists, ecucated in the anti-war 60s and 70s by anti war, anti Republican professors are incapable of being unbiased.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • snakeoil

      Obama just wants to end the war on Islam,it was never a war on terror.That was just a bumper sticker slogan from the extreme right"christians".99.9 percent of Islamic people are mad at their fring crazies,just like us in the U.S..It seems to be true that the empty can rattles the loudest.

      August 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  12. John Hand

    Oh person who calls thyself 'me,' you say that Beck derides Obama for trying to invest in science and technology and praises Israel for same? I do not think that Obama's 'investment' in technology qualifies if you are talking about that financial fiasco he instigated last year that PRODUCED NO JOBS, and increased our national debt by trillions. When the Israelis invest, they PRODUCE. You probably have no idea of the thousands upon thousands of inventions and patents Israel holds in the areas of science and medicine, to name a few.

    August 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  13. John Hand

    blocanary. Obama does have the balls? Yes, I heard that when his low-riding pants fell down in the back while he was bent over praying and a Secret Service guy accidentally saw them. (sorry, couldn't resist)

    August 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Rumor

      Whoever edits and publishes these airctles really knows what they're doing.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • asolkaumft

      TX7UOz iiquhylbfzbl

      October 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • bfycjenoa

      TKoSvo fghibinodbty

      October 11, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  14. hayim

    Amen ! to John Hand's remarks. George Soros is certainly NO friend of Israel or the Jewish People. Read his books. Look what he invest in. It is a disgrace that 500 rabbis took out an ad in NYT supporting George Soros . The world is blessed to have a Glen Beck and cursed to have a George Soros. ADL was wrong in supporting Jew hating Soros over an honest man like Glen Beck

    August 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  15. John Hand

    Solowd? That sure sounds like a Muslim name to me. You say Obama has the balls to say what everyone is thinking "Give them their F-ing land back? That land belongs to the Jews. Before the 60s there was no such thing as 'Palestinian" people. The Jews, in 1948, WERE OFFERED the name PALESTINE for their new place to live. They refused, and chose Israel, another name from the Bible. When they went to war with a ragtag army, using weapons snuck past British lines, they told the Arabs living in the Jerusalum area that they could STAY. Muslims from outside told them to leave. They left of their own choosing, and thus became 'refugees.' Now I ask you, if the descendants, remember, it is 63 years after, are living in the area today, are they still refugees? I think not. But, because of their political system, Islam, they have no life other than slums , have built nothing, can offer nothing, use their women as weapons, and oftentimes receive help from Israel. Yet they are the poor and downtrodden. Let me ask you, why doesn't Saudi Arabia, with all its oil reserves and billions upon billlions deposited in Swiss Banks help the poor 'Palestinians'? How about Libya, or Syria, or even Egypt? No, wait, now that Egypt has been taken over by radicals, the Palestinians are now getting aide from Egypt...in the form of weapons so that their unedecuated young men, and their women and children can die for Allah.

    August 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  16. John Hand

    Oh my gosh! I came to this site via another link and never looked at the very top to see the CNN logo. I should have known. That would explain why there are so many, mostly all, anti' Beck posters on here. This is one of 'those' sites. I wonder how many of you guys also post on MSNBC. I just read up there where one guy said that liberals were the best friends of Israel. What? You'd better prove it to me, cause I sure don't believe you. You guys voted for Obama, and you will probably vote for him again. Can't you see? Are you blind? He is throwing Israel to the wolves. Watch and see what he does at the UN. Hillary is his little schemer, and her right hand girl is a Muslim (Weiner's wife). So wake up people. Time is short. Isreal needs America, and America needs Republicans right now. If you have EVER read the Christian Bible (King James Version) you will see that throughout the Bible, it states that Jews are God's chosen people, and that the lands of Palestine (all of Israel going East into Syria and West to the Nile, are his chosen people's land. There is no such thing as 1948 or 1967 borders. The true borders were close after the 67 war, and the scheming Jimmjy Carter tricked Israel in giving that land away.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  17. John Hand

    The ADL and American Jews better GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER and do it quickly, because Obama (Democrat) is about to let Israel go down the tubes. He is cutting our military, bowing to Muslim princes, and refusing to sell Us military equipment to Israel. Did you know that Israel has recently welcomed CHINESE reps to Israel to discuss exchanges of ideas and goods? You can bet your bippy that weaponry will be amongst those items. This is what Israel must do to survive, because they no longer can count on America, thanks to Obama, Hillary, and the rest of the Aetheists. So support Democrats, and watch Israel resort to nukes in order to survive. I am a Baptist, and I see our ministers supporting Israel constantly, with no talk of converting the Jewish community to Christianity. So don't believe all you are told about Christians.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • JewinDetroit

      Seriously, you are an idiot! As a Jew, I can say that Israel is not always correct in what they do. Obama and the US have, are and will always be the main supporter of Israel in the world. To criticize is not the same as not to support.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:00 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.