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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. JamesWinter

    Glenn Beck is pathetic. His ego is the size of Jupiter, and he can't stop hogging the spotlight. Give it a rest already Glenn.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Rev. Rick

      And Beck, like Jupiter, is composed primarily of gas...

      August 24, 2011 at 8:56 am |
  2. Ben

    Much of the American Jewish community, because of ideology, has traditionally been closely tied to the Democratic party. At the same time, the Democratic party has traditionally been closely tied to Israel and the support of it. With no comment on the politics of either Bush or Obama, it was clear that the Republicans and evangelicals had become the strongest supporters of Israel in the US and Obama's recent actions muct cause Israel frights and place traditional American liberal Jews in a very weird place. The internal struggle between support of Israel and not wanting to "be conservative" is one of the real issues being expressed about this Beck trip.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  3. R

    Here we go again. Glen, you have a job. But if you lose job for messing around like this, do not blame Indians.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  4. J Norona

    It bothers me that american republican congress representatives, would be in Israel, with Glen Beck, to rally in a political event about something that is irrelevant to the needs of americans who are out of work now in our country. These congressmen and congresswomen should be here in the US, right now, looking for solutions to the high unemployment that we are facing, and let the state of Israel and the jews, fend for themselves, which they are very capable of doing.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  5. JIMBOB

    Beck is just doing what righteious gentiles have always done. The Jews are the real palestinians, the true natives of palestine, which is why the word 'Palestine' referred only to Jews until it was stolen by the international community of Isla mic naziism in the 1960s.

    There is evidence that ancient Hebrews were in North America before the dumb Jewhaters that post on these blogs. Read about the Los Lunas decalogue stone.

    Hamas/fatah are nazi movements supported by the new nazis. One need only spend 5 minutes studying the life and work of Eichmann's right hand man, the British-appointed Muslim holy man Haj Amin al-Husseini.

    In short, there is nothing remotely truthful, honest, or anything but genocidal in the pro-hamas movement.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  6. JayDeeT

    It really doesn't matter what Beck says about anything - he can't be trusted with any idea. He's a warped creature of his own hate-mongering, bigotry, racism, and twisted ego delusions.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Norm

      The guy is a joke.
      He's just another Fox prpoaganda shill.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • Ben

      It would help if you backed up statements about what a rabid racist he was with citations of his rabid racism (for the diatribe you just made, there must be many, lengthy ones).

      August 24, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  7. waj66

    The Jewish people should be weary of any who seek the end of the world in order to get to the "Rapture".

    August 24, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  8. TonyB

    He is a complete pandering idiot. Stay in Israel....spare us in america.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  9. kajd

    and to think that CNN once employed this moron. What were they thinking??????

    August 24, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  10. Common Sense

    Glen Beck is finally off his rocker either by drinking the coolaid or by taking perscription meds?

    August 24, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  11. cosmicsnoop

    His rally is "to show global solidarity." That's pretty funny. There is not global solidarity for Israel and never will be. Having a few people show up from the states is hardly global. If you believe in the continued existence of Israel then you should have no problem going to live in say the state of North Dakota surrounded by a wall and letting the remaining American Natives take back the country since they were here well before anyone else. That is exactly how Israel came to be and continues to exist; by imprisoning the natives that lived there before they decided to make up the state of Israel because some Jews left there 2000 years ago. Whatever.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  12. David

    I hope he doesn’t make any faux pas, which he’s been prone to do.”

    Like the time he says that mormons are the real jews.
    Or that mexican indians in south america used to speak and write hebrew and used metal coinage over 2,000 years ago.
    Those fictional stories are made to try and prove among other things that mormons think they come from a planet called KOLOB and that satan and jesus are really brothers? Not one map or acheological dig site can be found from the book of mormon. Even that upstate NY area is fiction where they say a great battle took place. All fiction.

    "I hope he doesn’t make any faux pas, which he’s been prone to do.” -– INDEED!

    August 24, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  13. Bobby

    Beck is a hero to Israel...The enemy are progressive liberal Jews like Foxman...there more dangerous than Hammas

    August 24, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • David

      Glenn Beck is not jewish no matter how try you wish to think he is.
      Mormonism is as fake as the church of the Subgenius.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • david mann

      Anybody who thinks "Beck the Buffoon" is ANY kind of hero has to be dumber than dirt

      August 24, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • RickN

      You're an idiot and a fool. How dare you say what you anything that you obviously know NOTHING about?

      August 24, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • lalose

      Beck is a hero to Christian fanatics who believe every one not part of their private club should diea horrible death in the hands of their co-opted god and of good old boys with a pabst in one hand and a gun in the other. They hate jews just as much as they hate everyone else who isn't one of them.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • RdclCntrst

      Um, did you even read the article? Because the point of the article is that Mr. Beck is NOT a hero to Israel. Nor are "liberal Jews"–you know, the ones whose money helps keep Israel afloat–villains. And equating "liberal Jews" with Hamas (whose name you misspelled, by the way; they're a terrorist organization, not a chickpea dip that goes great with pita) is wrong on so many levels I just don't know where to start. How about that "liberal Jews" in America work very hard to ensure universal availability of medical care, and Hamas blows up ambulances?
      Of course, my answer was more than five words long, so I'm sure it's more thatn you could have managed to read.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:56 am |
  14. CommonSenseChannel

    Funny...last week some nut on this site called for the "left" to rally for jobs..crickets. Some guy from India calls for a parliamentary government...crickets. I thought I'd give the ole fair CNN another try and in the first sentence of this story..a lie. Beck's rally in DC (yes King Barry was out of town) wasn't a politically charged rally. It was a faith based rally CNN. What..has King Barry's whopping 38% approval got you on the ropes there CNN? I can see why "fair and balanced" is the enemy..one network has leveled the playing field. Gotta love those viewers!

    You sound like people that didn't buy gold?...Oh man..was it cause Wiener attacked Beck?...oh man.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • fauxnews

      fox news has obviously turned you into an imbecile as well...

      August 24, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • RickN

      Beck is dangerous because sheep like you will listen to anything he says. When the gold bubble bursts people will be wondering what happened to their money. As a Jew, it's pretty easy to see through this charade. They'll claim to want solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people then stab us in the back when the wind shifts directions.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  15. JackTaraz

    I am totally "off" Glenn Beck over his Jew crusade. The Jews need to leave Palestine and he is out there supporting these terrorists. The Jews in Israel are the ORIGINAL Terrorists.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Moron

      Thats like saying the Americans are in Indian territory...Palestine lost the land...get over it. Its dirt.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Kyle

      Your dumb

      August 24, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • daivid Ben

      palestinians should stop incite thier own people to kill jews.
      jews have the right to live in their homland. and they deserve a place under the sun!!!
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyegOJ4dlmw&playnext=1&list=PL0FA9286BCE61B1FB

      August 24, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • kajd

      Palestine didn't lose the land....it was handed over to Israel by the British, who had no right to do that...The Jews need to give it back if they ever want peace. It is not their homeland.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • RickN

      Yes, we're all terrorists because you, a descendent of white europeans that occupied this land, committed genocide against Indians. If you're going to be an idiot and fool, at least be consistent about it.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Barbara a Muslim

      Amen brother! Let them live in Germany, Poland, Russia – wherever they come from, because I think many, MANY people fail to understand that the "Jews" (ie: "Zionists") in Israel don't LIKE brown people – even though ancient Jews were brown – they like to be fair and golden, which is NOT indigenous to that region.

      Just because someone puts a Russian/Pole/German Jew in Israel does NOT make them "indigenous" Jews to that region.

      Go home Zionists, you cause the world nothing but chaos!!

      August 24, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  16. rami

    "you start looking around for neighbors that need help – especially Israel" i thought Mexico and Canada were our neighbors? Oh they are no more, it's that big shake in the east coast. How pathetic person

    August 24, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • JackTaraz

      He is pandering. Trying to get his show back. The Jews control the media.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  17. capedoryus

    What country receives the most foreign aid from the US? We have a 51st state and its a welfare state. I am sure we get something to this payment to Israel. Must be insured oil flow. What will happen when the Arab countries become democratic? How will Israel keep us government paying. Stay tuned.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • JackTaraz

      ????? There is no oil in Palestine, what they now call Israel!

      The U.S. gives over $40 BILLION dollars per year, plus fighter jets, weapons and bullets to Israel. That is why these Arabs are angry.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • Barbara a Muslim

      Jack, I think you are in agreement. He just (rightly) called Israel the Welfare state, which it is and has been since day one.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  18. Peter

    Stations are dropping his show left and right, so he needs a publicity stunt. Pure and simple. End of story.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • Brilliant!

      Finally! A rational observation.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  19. jim

    If glen beck supports you, you are doing something wrong!

    August 24, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  20. steelerguin

    Why do so many of you hate the Jewish state? It is the only democracy in the midde east. Like Beck or hate Beck, we should support Israel.

    August 24, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Allocer

      Why should we? Also, the idea that Israel is the only democracy is the thing of the past, as countries around the middle east are ousting their dictator. Also, its not much of a democracy if Israel uses ethnic profiling.

      August 24, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • JackTaraz

      Answer: Because they STOLE the land that it sits on. Not sure about YOU, but I had to BUY my land!! And, if the U.N. told YOU that they were taking your land and giving it to someone, you TOO would fight until the bitter end.

      August 24, 2011 at 8:07 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.