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. Zenichi-Maro

    Has anyone alerted Hamas that he's going to be there? They might need some time to calibrate.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      That is one attack by Hammas that a lot of people will support.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  2. Ruth

    Christians have been slaughtering Jews for thousands of years.

    What makes you think we want your false friendship now?

    August 24, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • petercha

      "false" friendship, Ruth? Judge much?

      August 24, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • fran glass

      years of oppression, slaughter and hearing "only one way to heaven: JESUS" tends to have an impact on people's views of christians petercha, you pillar of christianity, you.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • hayim

      Ruth, Things have Changed..Christians are one of the biggest supporters of Israel. They are not trying to convert Jews but support God's word.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  3. lloyd roberts

    All I can say to the Jewish community is, "don't get fooled again".

    August 24, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • rdg18

      It seems that they are already fooled by the liberals which are a much greater enemy to them than the Christians are.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  4. joe

    I as A religious jew is very gratefull to the christian community for supporting the jewish people and israel,the liberal secular jewish establishment doesnt represent the religious jewish community .
    proud orthodox american jew

    August 24, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • petercha

      May God's richest blessings be upon you and Israel, Joe – from an evangelical Christian.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Jewsfraud

      As long as the fraud is not open u can do what u like

      August 24, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • joe

      may god bless u as well
      thank you

      August 24, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  5. Tony

    "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."

    How typical of CNN. They couldn't even make it one sentence without spewing lies. There was nothing political about Beck's Restoring Honor Rally. You liars on the left just WANTED it to be political.

    There were of course further lies, but this one was my favorite:

    "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."

    He "alleged" it because it was true. George Soros has said himself that he helped the Nazi Jewish Council deport Jews in Hungary. "Deporting Jews" means deporting them... to concentration camps. So Soros sent hundreds of his own people to their deaths. His mother must've been proud.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • joe

      ur right shame on foxman and all the other extreme liberal secular jewish organizations, that claim to represent the jewish community ,when in reality they only represent the extreme secular liberal jews.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Keith B

      plus 1

      August 24, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Laughing

      You're disgusting, really, just sick.

      First of all, Beck holding a rally in Jerusalem is obviously political, are you angry that CNN is telling it like it is? Then go back to fox, they'll serve you all the lies you need.

      Secondly, Soros among many others were forced to comply with the nazis during WWII, to say that Soros and all the other jews helped and knew what they were doing is an insult to just about every decent human being.

      Get your head out of fox new's as.s and learn to think critically before you spew your idiotic lies.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Tony

      *LOL* @ Laughing

      Look, it's not my fault that you so desperately wanted Beck's Restoring Honor rally to be a Tea Party rally when it wasn't. That's your fault for deluding yourself because you're too much of an intellectual coward and too irrationally hateful to accept reality.

      And it's also not my fault that you can't handle the fact that George Soros delivered Jews in Hungary their death sentences. To claim that he didn't know what he was doing at age THIRTEEN was ridiculous. He wasn't a little boy, he was an adolescent and more than capable of comprehending the situation. He was saving his own butt at the expense of his neighbors. He made the choice, now he's gotta live with it.

      I know you must think I'm "disgusting" for shattering your world of lies you've created for yourself, but that's just tough. Live in the real world for a change sometime.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  6. rhobere

    you know, if Glenn Beck just happened to NOT make his way back to the US after this rally, that would be great... *sips coffee*

    August 24, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  7. abc

    Why is Beck is so stupid? Maybe because he calls out Commies like Van Jones and exposes the Democrats Progressive agenda???

    August 24, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Michael

      Yeah, and comparing EVERYTHING to Nazi Germany, saying anyone not aligned with him wants to destroy the country, etc, etc. Not to mention he does his listeners a great disservice telling them to buy gold at record high prices. (Ever heard buy low, sell high?)
      I'm a conservative and can't listen to that garbage.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Sortakinda

      If you listen to anything he says and don't think he's a jack@ss, I'd have to guess that you and he eat the same hay.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  8. B

    Jews are not torn at all about Glenn Beck. There are two kinds of Jews – Jews who have seen Glenn Beck's show, know who he is...and think he is a fanatical lunatic. and Jews who have heard of Glenn Beck only second hand, who hear that he is ardently pro-Israel but dont know how crazy he is. Many Israeli politicians and others are in group 2. All American Jews and many Israelis are in group 1.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  9. JB

    I would say the description fits the liberal media, and Beck is definetley not a liberal!

    August 24, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  10. BoycottBeck

    this article is making me go watch the 15 minute rant Jon Stewart did with the chalkboard again for the millionth time, it makes me so happy to know someone sees GB for exactly who he is and calls him out on it with the same national stage...I suggest you all go watch it again too, it put a smile on my face after this article put a damper on my morning by uttering the man that shall not be named.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Sortakinda


      August 24, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  11. pat in jersey

    this man is dangerous. he has too much desire to pounce on causes just to veny his hatred for something or someone

    August 24, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  12. abc

    Beck is in Israel to prevent the planet from being taken over by radical Muslims

    August 24, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • jason

      LOL all I can do is Laugh at this... I mean really Israel is that desperate now they need Glenn Beck?!?!? All he's going to do is wear white sheets in Israel along with some of those Jews there, have a bonfire, and talk about how much they hate moslems and want to kill them and murder them and torture them.... I got some good and bad news for you Beck, the Israelis are already torturing,murdering, and commiting genocide against the muslims there so you dont need to really go there, but on the other hand the more Rcaists and Bigots that get together the more liquor is usually there and aot of guys there do end up dating each other which is great for Glenn and the racist Jews there

      August 24, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  13. Sortakinda

    I undersatand that Mr. Beck has an advanced degree in stupidity. Why are we bombarded with idiocy from the right and from the left, and iin Beck's case, from the Planet Moron?

    August 24, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  14. Zionist

    To all evangelical Christians, I applaud you for worshipping your Lord, Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus WAS A JEW !!!

    August 24, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Jesus was born, lived, and died a Jewish man

      Oh?! And his real name is Yeshua..... Jesus/Yeshua was born, live, and died a Jewish man. FACT.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • jason

      Jesus was a Jew because that was the only religion that believed in one God at that time, although the other Jews betrayed him for pennies and Killed him

      August 24, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • petercha

      Amen, Zionist. And this is from a Christian.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  15. Sortakinda

    Bozo the Clown is no longer active in the media.Glenn Beck has claimed the rubber nose of the Clown of Clowns. I don't know how anyone can listen to this guy for more than two minutes without yelling at the television and changing the channel.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  16. rdg18

    Jews seem to hate the evangelicals but without the evangelicals there would no support from the US or from anyone else in the world. The Jews seem to love the Liberals but the Liberals would like the Jews to be expelled from the land of Israel and even terminated from existents. Doesn't make sense to me.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • jma58

      Wake up.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Laughing

      So you've never met a jewish person before have you?

      August 24, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • barabra

      most religious orthodox jews gretly appreciate the support we get from the christian community,the secular liberal jews that dodnt practice judiasm are thye ones that hate the evangelicals.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:26 am |

      so the "liberals" arn't real liberals.

      israel is the true liberal and the real and only democracy in the ME.
      even if there is a palestinian state it would be just another country who goes against the human rights of it's own people (even in the moderate PA they don't give simple human rights to their own people).

      in israel arab women can do simple things as driving, being a manager and be equal to men. gays can live freely ect.

      being a liberal is supporting israel!!!

      August 24, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Laughing

      oh barb, now why did you have to go and say a thing like that? Every jew around the world appreciates the help and support of the US and by the groups in the US that help as well, however it's not exactly like the orthodox and evangelical communities are buddies.

      You and I both know there are ulterior motives for why the evangelicals are so invested in helping israel succeed and it's not because they just like Jewish people.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • petercha

      Good point, Rdg18.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • matt249

      I agree 100%! That is the truest statement on this comment page and website!!
      Real Bible-believing christians love their Jewish brethren and support ISRAEL'S RIGHT TO EXSIST!!

      August 24, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • petercha

      Amen, Matt249.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  17. BoycottBeck

    Wont someone just blast this lunatic off into space in a little glass box so all the people of earth can sleep easy knowing that our planet has been spared the existence of such evil, no amount of words could ever describe how much better off we would be if GB was orbiting some other solar system on the other end of the universe. I know I wouldnt lose a wink of sleep, now can I get an amen!!

    August 24, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • Justin


      August 24, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • JB

      Maybe they can make room for you on the ship too!

      August 24, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • BoycottBeck

      @JB: hmmm seems someone likes to eat up the evil GB propaganda he always serves up, go ahead drink it in it always goes down smooth, just like cyanide.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • California


      August 24, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  18. fran glass

    i'm an atheist, however, i find it INSANE that he compared reform jews to islamic fundamentalists.
    Guess who i compare to muslim extremists? Christian/mormon fundamentalists like this crazy person.

    Seriously, what is wrong with this man?!

    August 24, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • Tony

      What is wrong with him? This former rodeo clown's popularity with the ignorant lunatic fringe has made his ego swollen beyond sanity. He strikes me as either being a megalomaniac or a cynical hustler who is essentially a businessman pushing his own warped product at the expense of reason. His alternate view of American history is diseased.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • fran glass

      well yeahhh... i just meant generally. I think he must be mentally ill. No can possibly be stable and think it is ok to behave the way he does. Do mormons not believe in seeking psychological help? like scientologists? :p

      August 24, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • fran glass

      *no one

      August 24, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  19. Cult of Personality

    I actually have to agree with PROUD Jew, Evangelical Christians try to spew so much ludicrous rhetoric about their Lord, their Saviour, Jesus Christ, that they almost sound as radical as did all the former cult leaders such as Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Rev. Jim Jones, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), David Koresh, Warren Jeffs, etc. Unfortunately, for those whom had fallen victim to the likes of Rev. Jim Jones or David Koresh, well, now, it's a little to late for them, isn't it?

    August 24, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  20. boyamidumb

    I find it amazing how much time the media devotes to both NON-news and NEGATIVE – news, when each day in our world so many good things happen. People helping each other. People doing things that positively impact others and our planet. I need to find the school where all media people were taught that bad is news, negative is news, nonsense is news.

    Maybe if we start turning them all off they'll get the message???

    Doubt it. But I think I'll lead the movement to do that, starting now.

    Bye !!

    August 24, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • ChiAlex

      You should take your own advise. If this news doesn't suit you don't read it

      August 24, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • petercha

      I'd say that someone showing support for Israel falls under the category of good news.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:48 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.