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. SciGuy

    The irony is that beck and millions like him support Israel because they believe Israel is God's people. They are not. God loves all those who embrace Jesus as Lord, which Jews clearly do not. God's wrath abides on all Jews who reject His Messiah, and the nation Israel is no more his people than is the nation Iran.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Doesn't the bible state that 144,000 jewish people get a free pass into heaven? No Jesus required!

      August 24, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • WJM Knight

      Jesus was Jewish and he had no intention of creating a new religon. Christians are the apostates and Judism is the one true religon.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • Moron

      Nope there is no god. But, I do support a country that is trying to create a democratic nation. Anyways Israel is at war with Muslims not Christians....

      August 24, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • SciGuy

      Doc, no it doesn't, though some "Christians" believe that is so.

      WJM, right, then wrong. Jesus was Jewish, and his intent was and is to gather into one all of his sheep scattered abroad. They hear his voice and respond to his call, among both Jews and Gentiles. Those who reject Jesus as God the Son and Messiah are abiding under God's wrath. See John 3.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • RickN

      Good grief!! The nuts are coming out of the woodwork! You who claim your religion is the ONE are just horrible stupid people. How else can I say it? Christianity has been the source of murder, mayhem and misery for the past 2000 years. You fools wouldn't even have your religion today if it wasn't for your doctrine of, convert to our religion of our god of love or we will KILL you. Forced conversions was the major method your religion used to get a large number of 'followers'. How you can be proud of that I'll never know.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • SciGuy

      Well, RickN, you're just wrong. First, I don't claim this, Jesus does. He said, "I am the way, the truth, the life; no man comes to the Father except through me." Second, you fail to distinguish between true Christians and false professors of religion. Jesus calls them wolves in sheep clothing. Much suffering has been inflicted under the guise of religion, but not under true Christianity.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Grey, Atlanta

      @SciGuy: Ignorance is bliss. That's your motto, moron. You don't even understand your own religion, which in and by itself is a bunch of baloney.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • SciGuy

      Grey: if so, it's possible you are one happy fellow. Ad hominems and unsupported statements using emotion-laden verbiage provide no support to your position.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  2. Isaac

    of all the times for a gunman to be in a crowd and there's not one to be found

    August 24, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • Glenn Beck

      You know what I really hate? 9/11 families.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • ramfire98

      spoken like a true deranged psychopath.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  3. daivid Ben

    israelis don't know who glenn beck is, and those who know think he's a racist (especialy about the norway camp comment, eventhough they were boycotting us, we were shocked!!!)

    but have you notice that when it comes to israel no celebrity is willing to tweet on the monsterous terror attack in Eilat? but when terror hits places like norway, in 5 minutes you get 50 celebrity tweets who are “praying for the innocent victims”.

    israel is a liberal cause. we tend to forget it when it comes to the jewish state. in the PA (not only hamas) they delayed the elections once again, women are not allowed to drive, gays are being stoned...

    Israel is the true liberal here.
    just look how a demonstration looks like in israel: j
    ews & arabs are protesting together no one got shot no one was arested. just love & live music:

    August 24, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      Daivid Ben, Hello and Peace be upon your mind. I "think" Mr. Beck to be a news proposalist commentator but am not for surety's sakes. You "video" regarding the youths of ?-country reminds me of our nation's (USA) ongoing continuations of its' songwriters and lyricists. Our nation, the USA was born out of a deep seeded desire to be removed of and from the then ages of perceived English Despotisms and religious discrepencies that hardened our nation's desires for Freedoms of all sorts and values.

      We, the USA are as a nation being viewed by the rest of the world with a sense of dichotomies unrivaled in pre-existence times. Our people are watching otherly places in this world with deferred interests by those like Mr. Beck. Most though are not up to speed/par with our nation's literalness in politicalized venues leaving room for those politically orientated to urge this and that venue for base-capitalist and/or secularist reconnoitering.

      This world is awash with Glen Beck want-to-bees, but there are only a few slots available within the framed workings of news agencies which are themselves cloaked in defensives wrangling to “moderate” that which is made-known to their followers. CNN Belief Blog does moderate many of my postings and I become embittered with sarcasm due their inconsistencies to deny much of my word access for others to read.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  4. John

    At least Beck shows his support for Israel which is more than I can say for Barak Obama or the likes of Chris Matthews and his lefty media cohorts who support the faux Palestinians at every chance they get. Screw the Islamic terrorists and their supporters. In the words of Maxine Waters, they can go straight to hell.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • Tiffany

      He do not suppory israel. He is pandering to the idiots who follow him. The facts are the israel has not formed yet b/c those are not the true jews from the bible. The real jews (hebrews) have yet to set foot in israel. If he read and actually heard from God, he would know that. Also he would know that America will be punished or destroyed for knowing supporting the Kharzais.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  5. Tiffany

    It amazes me how obsessed white racist people are of President Obama. The story is about the clown of the century becky, and people are still involking comments about POTUS. But I do thank you for recognizing how wonderful he is.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • ramfire98

      The true rascists are the ones that hide behind the race card – like you Tiffany.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  6. Tripp

    I wish this MORON, (beck) would go away. He is a embarrasment to all rational humans everywhere.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  7. Wingate Peaslee

    What a nut bag. No wonder Retardlicans love him.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      "Retardlicans" sounds like a wordism I would promulgate with profuseness & cunninglesssness to relish an idealism in outwardly motiffs begetting moral interpretudes of randomized uncertainties or,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,??? 🙂

      August 24, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  8. Tak

    Let's make a deal with Israel – give them a couple of brand new, top of the line F-35s fighter jets and they keep Beck indefinitely.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Ben

      He's in Israel because they have not yet built up antibodies against his insanity, we've already got immunity.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:05 am |
  9. Qev

    Glen "Goebbels" Beck...in the "Holy Land"...my god...what next?

    August 24, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • elle

      Isn't that disgusting? That Israel would stoop to accepting the support of such a fool is dismaying. With "friends" like Beck, who needs enemies?

      August 24, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  10. feastingOnCaviarAndMammon

    The utter hypocrisy of it all...

    August 24, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  11. Anthony Gonzales

    RR OBL would find any reason to attack the United States wake up. You are baliming the Jews for everything that happened to us. Its more of all these nasty's from other countries coming into our country bringing there tarsh with them. By the way what does RR stand for are you muslim? Sarava what do you have against the Jewish people by looking at your last name it is no surprise. The jewish people in Isreal are OK with it so why do you have a problem.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • feastingOnCaviarAndMammon

      ...rabid Tea Party goons need to slow down and use spell check

      August 24, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Tripp

      Why dont you use the proper reply link to make replies to the proper post. That way users know who you're responding to.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:44 am |
    • RR

      We are at war because of our involment in the Middle east. And Isreal is the biggest reason for it. Go back and listen to the tapes of OBL before 9/11. He wasnt just making up any reason. I dont have anything against jewish people. Why do you think a American or me should die for Israels personal problems with other countries.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  12. BL

    Beck is no friend of Israel or Jews. In fact, he's about three quarters totally mad. As a member of the Cult of Mormon, his interest in Israel extends only to the part they must play in the Christian End Times fantasy, where they will ultimately be destroyed.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • Tiffany

      Exactly...so I wonder what book is becky reading.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • Enrique Arturo

      BL: Points of View: Mormonism is not a cult...and yes. BECK is a madman. Sorry he ever joined us. For some reason he reminds me of GREG STILLSON from the DEAD ZONE.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • Ben

      Beck first checked that Kool-Aid is kosher.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  13. keylargo

    Beck will no doubt reveal to Israelis what a bigoted, uninformed, egotistical lout he really is.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  14. Dennis

    It's the sign of the Apocalypse

    August 24, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  15. oyvavoy

    This is Ridiculous. Moses raised his hands and become the official spokesman of the jews. This guy should go back to Canada. We don't want him around. He doesn't belong.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • BRG47

      We don't want him in Canada either, thank you very much!

      August 24, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  16. Shlomo

    most israelis are secular and don't even know who glenn beck is!!!

    and those who know tend to dislike him for his racist views.

    israelis have other things on their mind now, like how to send 1/2 million kids next week to the first day of school under the explosions of palestinian missles on israel in the fake "cease- fire" of hamas!!!

    This is from 3 years ago but it is still happening today every day in south israel:

    August 24, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  17. Bookbook

    Jews are ambivalent about Glenn Beck. We don't know whether to laugh at him or cry that he's been able to be such a success in what used to be the greatest, most rational country the Earth had ever known.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:22 am |
  18. CNNblowsgaz

    Glenn Beck is a latent NAZI!

    August 24, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • ramfire98

      Godwin's Law FAIL

      August 24, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  19. Jack

    My sympathies to the Jewish people...

    August 24, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • Ben

      Anyone dumb enough to embrace Beck, deserves him.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  20. RR

    Im not supportive of Israel at all. 3000 plus American lifes it cost because we support them. Then thousands more deaths after 9/11 going to war because of it. Supporting Israel was the biggest reason AQ attacked the US. Words out of OBL mouth. Their not worth the American deaths. I didnt see any Israel soldiers fighting in the war. When would Isreal ever do anything for the US? Their just not worth the headaches.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • MS

      How about bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor?

      August 24, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • Mark Bernadiner

      you are profoundly ignorant idiot and pathologicalliar. your close friends, palestinian thudgs, killed about 700 Americans while you, idiot, provide them with money and weapons.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • Ben

      Guess again... mid-east = OIL

      August 24, 2011 at 7:57 am |
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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.