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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. Truth Speaker

    Beck acting absurd is no longer newsworthy. However, if he ever decides to do/say something "normal" and positive it should be a headline story*... (don't worry it will never happen)

    August 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  2. JT

    Yes, Israel is in a fickle. You support the deluded American Taliban Christians because they actually believe you Jews are the "chosen people". You benefit from this delusion so you stay silent and snicker at them. I do not blame you. These fools are in your corner. You know they have been duped by a Jewish cult leader called Jesus but that's OK. You benefit from their flawed beliefs.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • pea

      it took 21 centuries to find a enlightened peanut like JT, what a peanut find!!!!

      August 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Wow JT, you gots some issues boi.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Flawless Logic

      Yes, history shows that the Jewish people have benefited greatly from Christendom.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  3. j

    Glenn Beck is a smart guy, he like many on the right wing are "Anti-Semitic" on his shows he constantly puts down Jewish people saying they are the enemy, he has had on Nazi Sympathizers

    But he is able to get away with it by being a strong supporter of Israel so he can say "How am I Anti-Semitic when I support Israel

    Glenn Becks main motivation is money, he has made a nice living doing what he does, but his under objective is to probably see a big war between the Muslims and the Jews and see lots of them killed, and then the Christians can come in and take that holy land, I am sure that is why the Right Wing is supporters of Israel

    August 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Reality Bites.....

      Dude you are talking some much smack.......Where do you get your facts?????

      August 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • theorist

      u making a phony movie out of that or what? Rejected!
      work a little harder and do your homework...

      August 23, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • BuzzMann

      Most people that feel the need to use the term "Zionist" in every post are usually full of shlt or mentally retarded.Just sayin.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • SueRH

      Odigo did NOT give anyone warning. Two of their employees in Israel received a text/instant message stating that there was going to be an attack, but no details whatsoever were given. Odigo didn't even report it until AFTER the attacks happened. YOU look it up!

      August 24, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  4. Paul N Destin

    It is easy to see how a nation as stupid as this one would elect such a fool as obama. Glen Beck is a decent person trying to do good things for his country. obama and soros are evil!!! CNN is a fecking joke.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • frenchiedoc

      Given the egregiousness of your hatred, I am quite content that you are on the side of my enemies: as a friend, I could not turn my back on you.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • 20yearNavyVet

      No the mindless idiots the believe every word that comes from Fox and Friends lol (all about money which I'm sure Jesus was against). Do you think Jesus meant for you to be Racist pig?

      August 23, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • wakeupAmerica

      Are u f'ing serious? Glenn Beck is a complete moron, u have obviously drank the Christian Conservative Kool aid. Glenn Beck is an entertainer he tells stupid people like u what to believe and u drink it up!

      August 23, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  5. God

    most reform jews are democrats and pro obama, no matter how bad Obama can be on Israel.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  6. pastafaria

    I'm Jewish, and I'll attend a pig roast in Tehran before I'll attend an event hosted by Glenn Beck.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • piggy

      i would throw up in ur tummy...

      August 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Pig Roast Organizer

      We will be starting the BBQ at 1pm... please bring an Appy. PS: Beck is not invited.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • 20yearNavyVet

      I'll give an Amen to that lol good one

      August 23, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • bigboxes

      Haha! Thanks for the laugh.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Jimbo M.

      You'd never make it to the Pig roast in that country.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  7. us1776

    Mr. Nutcase is still roaming outside of the asylum?

    Please, somebody have this lunatic committed !!

    .

    August 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • look

      nutcases can comment too!

      August 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  8. Monty

    Beck is a freaking fraud .. the guy is only interested in exploiting opportunities to make more money. He is the worst kind of douchbag there is

    August 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • python

      monty python spews venom on its targets

      August 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  9. Martin T

    I find it rather amazing that Isreal would even allow Beck into the country. The man is a menace to society, he hates Jews, and he's been openly critical of the relationship between the US and Isreal. The man is so insignificant to the society as a whole, why is he even still making the news. The man went from being a relatively sane individual in CNN's Headline News to an openly psychotic on Fox News.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • what

      @Marty that is what we call as Fair and Unbalanced commentary

      August 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  10. a person of the Name

    @ mark you must remember friend, that God is not about judgement, though He will judge, but about forgiveness, acceptence, peace, and love. Let God handle this madness. Remember God said its ok to get mad, but not to strike out in anger.

    August 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Martin T

      Well, since the very concept of god is "madness" I can see your point.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • shawn

      beck has to do this israel thing. he's being used like a puppet for money to try and get as many sucker moms locking arms for the evil israel. not the jews, the moneychangers. they are the reason for 99% of the worlds hell. they lie cheat steal and kill and pay for killings on a daily basis.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • BuzzMann

      The bible clearly states that God is a vengeful god.Far from forgiveness, acceptance, peace, and love.The bible is full of acts of destruction and death caused by god.Gotta read it all not just the parts you like.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • hahaha

      Hmmmm... do peaceful god kill all the people on a planet with a flood or destroy cities full of women and children?

      August 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  11. Spiritual

    Lord we pray for your peace in the hearts and minds of everyone that turns away from thee!,
    we pray for your wisdom to everyone that is taking the initiative in the "Holy Land"

    August 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • frumpy Bargerplumkin

      And lord we thank you for letting us watch Glenn Beck's career fall apart on your most holy of world wide webs.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Attack of the Revenge Of The Return Of The Mildly Angry Kittens From Beyond Hell ! ! !

      The words "wisdom" and "Beck" just do not go together, not at all.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • ed

      There is no god.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • domwoolf

      two thousand plus years of prayers for peace lead to the conclusion that A. god isn't listening B. god doesn't care C. gods gone fishing back in a millenium

      August 23, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  12. Jesus Koresh

    Well, Jerusalem is the intersection of three hate-filled bumb-ass religions, so a hate-filled religious dumbass like Beck belongs there.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "bumb"?
      Careful who you insult, which are you anyway? The kettle or the pot?

      August 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Jesus Koresh

      You use bad English to insult a typo? Pretty hypocritical, Mr. Swine!

      August 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Martin T

      Bumb-Ass or Dumb-Ass, you make a valid point. Kettle or pot or not, the point you make is strong.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @JK- Guess you are up to date on literary references.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  13. frumpy Bargerplumkin

    Most of Glenn Beck's enemies are Jewish it turns out. Makes you wonder.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  14. mark

    You may or may not like his politics but we have a Jew hating, Democracy hating president who dos not bother to hide his contempt for Israel because they will not bow to his extreme liberal views of the world. He condemns a friend, and a democracy which is Israel. He put Israel on A terror list and he embraces Islam. Glen Beck may be right wing but he respects democracy and honors Americas allies. How would you like being a tiny nation a democracy surrounded by cut throat Arabs who want to kill you. American citizens are comfortable again and have forgotten about 9/11. Keep up the good work Mr. Beck. Remember Gods word those that bless Israel I will Bless, those who curse Israel I will curse. True yesterday, today and forever.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Support of Israel should have nothing to do with religion or your man's word.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Yoann

      Israel is no friend of the USA, they keep proving it with every action

      August 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Yoann- Like what?

      August 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Religion proves again and again how close it can come to destroying society, and we let people who talk to an unseen, invisible friend look after it....and there are those who wonder why atheists have to speak up. If every god was forgotten, and we all all worked together rather than promoting god upmanship the world be be a safer place...not free of violence but free of a major cause.

      August 23, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Martin T

      Do you have any proof that Obama hates Jews? I just don't see it.

      August 23, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • 20yearNavyVet

      Mark, your an idiot and need to leave the snow globe of middle america. Beck cares about nothing but making money and selling books which makes money. Like Rush and those other Nazi b-holes. I think your probably just a racist in the closet and can stand someone who doesn't think like you made it to the top. I wonder how many arguments the GOP could make without religion? answer none.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • maria leyfman

      i love everithing you say,if i only can write so good about myfiling about Glen and Israel but my english not good..

      August 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • paddlefeet

      israhell surrounded by terrorist? Those cretins that lob rockets into their own land to try and drive the real terrorist out of their homeland..The audacity! Those usurpers need to be rounded up and dropped upon the Bildeberg's front lawn.

      August 24, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  15. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    It has been interesting seeing slowly Glen Beck get stranger and stranger.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Martin T

      In poor English, "Ain't that the truth!"

      August 23, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Dave

      Yes it has... years ago the guy was just right of center. Now he is so far right they had to define a new right of right.... which is just left of insanity.

      August 24, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  16. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    Glen Beck can no longer be taken seriously. He has found a new career as a preacher.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Rush Limbaugh's Favorite Child Se x Vacation Destination

      Are you actually suggesting that there ever WAS a time Glenn Beck could be taken seriously?

      August 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  17. True

    I will Bless those who Bless you!,
    what John said will come to pass will come to pass.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Spiritual

      I have been to Israel, there is something spritual when you walk in the same place where Jesus walked.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Spiritual

      I have been to Israel, there is something spritual when you walk in the same place where Jesus walked.

      ---–
      You are experiencing power of the mind. Interesting how it makes you "feel"

      August 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Yup

      "You are experiencing power of the mind. Interesting how it makes you "feel""

      The mind is a powerful thing and not to mention our biggest sex organ...

      August 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Spiritual

      @ATCS, Have you been to Israel? lets compare notes if you have.If you havn't then we really can't exchange our notes about our experiences.It is a must go to place!

      August 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • mark

      Amen

      August 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Spiritual

      @ATCS, Have you been to Israel? lets compare notes if you have.If you havn't then we really can't exchange our notes about our experiences.It is a must go to place!

      -----
      I have a number of friends from Israel and would like to go which has nothing to do with religious reasons. Obviously when I was a christian I wanted to go for different reasons. Obviously if a person believes their saviour walked certain streets and died there they will have a different perspective and emotions.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      I think I need to say obviously again lol

      August 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Spiritual

      yes got it A C T S...

      Peace!!!

      August 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      True.. you mean John Lennon from Imagine...I agree..

      August 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • 20yearNavyVet

      I've been to Israel and many famous people have talked there besides just Jesus. You know Masada is a pretty amazing place made by Herod. I've been to the Sea of Galalee, Nazareth, Dead Sea and Masada. The most important history of Isareal is that it is the center of the economic cross roads of millenias gone by and the politics of the past made many people famous for many different reasons. Without Israel there is no Judism, Christianity and Islam. But to think of a world without the three, I think that would be heaven.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  18. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    He is just a mormon nut. He wants to go back to see where the tribe that came here was from. You know the tribe that there is zero evidence of. I wonder if he is wearing his magic underoos in the photo?

    August 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • mark

      You seem to have a great Hatred for any person with any spritual beliefs. How much longer are you going to live? Maybe 10 years maybe 40 years. Then the day will come when you shall stand before God who you mocked. Then you will spend the rest of eternity in a withering burning hell where you can get no relief and all of your senses shall feel. Then you will be sorry for worshipping Yourself, your car, Your pride your hate or whatever your trip is. It will be to late for you. A mans life is temporal, fleeting, None of us are staying, none of us own anything. You will die and your car will be sold, your home, or maybe family will get your things . Turn from this while you have a chance. Ask god to forgive you and invite Jesus christ into your life. Then you shall have treasure beyond your wildest dreams. Your inhertance shall be eternal. Do not live for today. How much of life can you consume. A man has a roof, food, clothes, a car. He has material wealth.A man with Jesus has eternal life.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Mark, if your god exists, she/he/it is not worth worshipping. I do not fear your god or what lies after death. If they exist, I would rather burn anyway.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Mark

      And you are wasting this life with rubbish in the hopes of better things to come. This is where my biggest beef with theists is. There isn't any evidence at all that we possess a soul. No reason to expect an afterlife awaits. The entire idea is a poison that belittles the true preciousness of what it is to be alive. Our time here is unique and finite. When someone close to me dies I feel the full extent of grief over the finality of the loss. You placate yourself with warm fuzzy delusions about perhaps seeing them again. It's a weak-minded, pass-the-buck attempt to escape from the real consequences of our mortality. Theists don't properly grieve and their worldview diminishes the awesome splendor and brevity of life. The God you wish so fervently to spend eternity with is one I view as a malevolent tyrannical monster to be despised.

      August 23, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Well said Steve couldn't agree more

      August 23, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Mark..I am sorry that you crave death over life. I prefer a life cult over a death cult any day. When I see how evolution works, and the wonders of the universe..and my favourite , that the iron in our blood, your car, the nails that you think were hammered into JC formed from a supernova eons ago , and were sweep up little by little from a proto earth...that my friend is truly magnificent.

      August 23, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • FudgeMonkey

      Paraphrasing marc......."If you don't follow my God, whom I KNOW is the real and true God, then he will put you on his hit list."

      Just silly.

      August 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • ibivibiv

      The fact that a grown adult like Mark still believes this garbage in 2011 is just mind blowing to me. I am truly not trying to be mean, it just is the same to me as if I met a 50 year old who just told me what Santa was bringing him for Christmas and believed it. Or told me that he couldn't wait to start losing his teeth again so the tooth fairy would come back. Believe me I have died and come back MULTIPLE times. I didn't see any lights or fire and brimstone. I did feel like I was passing out on the way down and then a jerk awake gasping for air on the way back up. That's about it. Maybe a little euphoric release of DMT release in my body but that's about it. I have learned not to fear death on my own and I am VERY aware of how finite it will be when I finally go down and don't come back. You will be better if you let go of your fear of death. Don't use some imaginary super being to hide from it. Face it and then live your life as best you can because you won't get another, and on the way out it will be just you and all of your regrets, joys, and memories as you fade. Better to have cheery thoughts than guilty ones, believe me. The realization that it is happening is VERY shocking and your mind has lots of time to race. Better to give it happy things to race through. It makes the whole experience more pleasant.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Cry more

      Most of the Atheists on this comment section should really just refer to themselves as Nihilists. They are sort of pathetic

      August 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • ibivibiv

      That's a big jump there 'Cry More'. I haven't seen any comments like life has no meaning. I guess if you are totally wrapped around the idea of mystical supreme beings and encounter people who don't then you must assume they have no meaning or value in life. I think several Atheists here have pointed out that it is the enthusiasm for LIFE they look to since they aren't waiting for some mystical afterlife to make everything all better. I haven't seen anyone point to a lack of reality of morality, just the lack of an "enforcer" in the form of deities or gods.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • Spydyee

      Glen Beck May have joined the Mormon church but he has no clue what we actually believe or he would not be doing many of the things he is doing. Glenn Beck is what those of us who have actually been in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction call a dry-drunk. He still has all the behaviors and bad judgement of a drunk/addict but without actually using. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he is actually living by the rules of our church with regard to alcohol consumption. He is an idiot and an embarrassment to the Mormon religion. We respect all religions and one of the 13 articles of faith which are the basic tenets of our religion states, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." This includes the right to be atheist and choose to worship no one. This includes Islam, Wicca, Judaism, or any other religion. There is no way to be a true Mormon without respecting the right of every person to worship as they see fit which Glen Beck does not do.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • hahaha

      Id much rather burn with Thomas Jefferson, Ghandi, Lennon, etc. then go to heaven with a bunch of small minded, fearful christians.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  19. AGuest9

    Why is the press following this... person around? He and his sorry group of extremist-lovers are still trying to stir up people who are disgusted by thieving Washington machinery. Why do we wish to have more of the same, but worse? He's the male offspring of a three-way between Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin & Ann Coulter.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  20. William Demuth

    I bete we see a Pop Goes The Palestinian event at his rally.

    This man is evil, and seems to stir up poison

    August 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Well it would be the end of him like his career. lol

      August 23, 2011 at 5:53 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.