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. RR

    Isreal needs to fight and Die for themselfs, rather than Americans fighting and dieing for them in the Middle east.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      @ RR,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      Would you RR rather have the United States of the Americas become a nation of "de-aggression" to become likened to reclusive nation withdrawing form the wolrd stage and hide like a rabbit does in a hole when hunted? 🙁

      August 25, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  2. Mensaman

    Yikes. Keep relitgion out of politics. The creepy and weirdness factors are too much to take.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      "keeping religion out of politics" is a hardship causality loop that cannot be done since many politicians throughout the United States History are of a religious nomenclature of one or the otherly kind(s). 🙁

      In order for there to be a "separation of church and state" it is of some considerations that Federalist-like politicians of the "Republic" Nation of the United States of the Americas do not fall between church and state separations.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  3. Monbois

    Beck only supports the Jewish state insofaras it's existence is necessary for Jesus Christ to return and cast all the Jews into hell! Any Jew alive today who doesn't understand that Glenn Beck hates your guts, well... now you know.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      It is funny that Glen Beck, who hates Blacks, now wants to show the world that he likes Jews. Mr. Beck, the original Jews (The Hebrews) were Black people just like the Egytians. Every scholar knows the Egyptians were Black and if the Hebrews were not the same complexion how could the Pharoh's Daughter raise Moses as her own son. If the Hebrews were White all the Egyptians would have known Moses was a Hebrew

      August 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      It appears that you have read your Old Testament since you know that Moses was so called raised by the Pharoah's daughter. However, how does the fact that Moses grew up in the palace as an adopted Hebrew make him a black man? There is no evidence to suggest that Hebrews were black. If that were the case, then they would still be black correct? The Old Testament does reveal that Abram (later to be Abraham) had a son with an Egyptian slave girl named Hagar who was likely black woman. Their son Ishmael is considered to be the first born of the Arab nations. The assumption is that they are a mixed race between Hebrews and Egyptians which is why their skin is dark. This story is also important in understanding the Middle East conflict because all Arab Nations believe that Ishmael was the first born son of Abraham and therefore should be the heir to the Promised Land of Israel instead of Issac who was not mixed since he was conceived with his wife Sarah. The covenant that God made with Abraham was not intended for Ishmael but Isaac however God made a promise that he would bless Ishmael and make the Arab Nation great...and he did. He kept his promise but they still want the land which is why Israel needs to be our ally and remain protected.

      August 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      @ Monbois
      Christians do not hate Jews. In fact, Jesus Christ was a Jew and all of his Apostles as well. His return to earth is not to cast Jews into heal but to fulfill the promise he made to the human race. There would be no Christianity without Jews. Christianity is an extension and continuation of Judaism in that the original covenant that was made with Abraham is still valid but a new covenenat was extended to the Gentiles through Jesus. Glen Beck's support of Israel is more than our current administration is doing which is nothing. If anyone has betrayed the Jewish people, it's Obama who has turned his back on the only democratic nation in that region.

      August 24, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  4. The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

    Shlomo, your words are in the righteous pathways of soundfull mindives. My priorly wanting to post to your "video" was censored by CNN's "computerized" and yes "facist-like" de-nu-tting of lo-ok-ing for words that are fault natured as is now our country's sc-are-mon-ger-ing tac-til-ities due our labors from 9/-11,a day that lives on in the mindsets of those who do digress in ha-tre-dn-ess and big-otr-ous-ness ideologies unbecoming a righteous individual's or gatherings' powers to see beyond the Limelights of parlored fruitedness.

    The Is-ra-el-ian Au-thor-ities that consider it a ri-gh-teous Ac-t to lay waste to P-A's places where Ha-ma-s' ter-rori-sts lau-nch-ed their stones of mi-s-s-iled at-ta-cks is nothing more than an A-c-t of R-eve-nge of which neither Nation can find either a-tro-city as being a noteworthy placard toward a peaceful end, cir-cu-mv-ent-ing to a cli-max of non-host-ile activities and eventual peace. If the P-A cannot stop H-a-m-as from the A-c-ts of sub-vers-ion-ism then some otherly means and/or measures should be considered. If H-a-ma-s is greater in numbers than the P-A or H-a-m-as is sub-vert-ing the PA, then what should be done? I am at a loss to say anything positive. 🙁

    My not wanting to see ho-st-ili-ties on both sides es-cal-ate into a wor-ld-y re-volt ag-ain-st the af-fili-ations around Is-ra-el-ies' otherly nations who support Is-ra-el's wan-ton-ness to sur-vive as an im-bed-ded nation sur-rou-nded by mostly M-us-lim Na-tion-ali-ties beckons one to run away and not be part and parcel of an upcoming inevitability that shows no sign of alternatives to be reconciled for or against. 🙁

    August 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  5. SamIam

    Foxman is a liberal cowered first and a Jew second. He is the political manipulator not Beck. At least you know were Beck stands, Foxman on the other hand clearly has hidden political agendas. I believe Beck is doing this in part to "smoke out" those who call themselves Jews but who are truly liberals above all.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Just the truth

      Ignorance with a tinfoil hat.

      August 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Ex-hateful republican

      Necks half-truths and far reaching baseless assumptions are not manipulation? Lol. Tinfoil hat is right!

      August 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • BoycottBeck

      tin foil hat...haha...classic

      August 24, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  6. Geo

    Simple fact. There is no sincerity in anything Beck does. It is all self promotion. The master of innuendo and lies. A clown playing for the crowd and seeking approval from the brainless.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  7. Just the truth

    GB only sided with Isreali gov so he could have a partner in crime against the Muslim religion.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  8. Schizophrenic Christian Squirrel

    People of Israel, not all Americans are like nutjob Beck.

    August 24, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  9. Mcjeffster

    I believe that Phlegm Speck has a deep seeded hatred for sane people.

    August 24, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  10. Aiden Magee

    Having served as a USMC sergeant in Vietnam I am baffled as to what this idiot Beck sees as the USA having a special interest in relations with Israel. Sure, all rational minded people abhorred the treatment the Jews received during the second world war however I believe the USA should have no more special interest in Israel than for other religious denominations. As to why these like minded idiots in the 9-12 political organization here in the USA have the same perception in world affairs as does Beck also baffles me. Recently when attending a 9-12 PAC meeting I witnessed the body of the meeting standing to identify with Israel as one does with the Pledge of allegiance, I could not help but be aware that very few of those 9-12 guys answered the call for active duty for Uncle Sam.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Semper Fi, I agree, I don't see how Israel is any more important to us strategically than say Egypt or Jordan, less so if you ask me, but I'm just an old Grunt, what do I know.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • SamIam

      If you cant see how key Israel is politically, for security and strategically in the region and the world then you understand nothing. Furthermore if you can't support GB's support of Israel and a Jewish state you must be a godless whining liberal or are antisemitic.

      August 24, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • JohnQuest

      SamIam, oh great and wise one, please explain it to us, how is Israel more important to us then Jordan or Iraq or Egypt? Please use small words. What would the world look like if we stop supporting Israel?

      August 24, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • SamIam

      Most likely World War, dingus.

      August 24, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Use to be a republican until I educated myself

      @ samiam. You sir are an ignorant racist. Criticism of the Isreali GOVERNMENT has absolutely nothing to do with the people or their religion. Stop spreading your ignorance

      August 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  11. FayRay

    Even though you (Jews, Isreal) have seen this hate-monger & his friends in action you are still willing to have his support ($$$). The equivalent of 'selling your soul to the devil.' Amazing. Hitler must be relishing this place & time. 🙁

    August 24, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  12. Joe

    Remind me again which religious group built the death camps?

    August 24, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Colin

      It was the lawyers, Joe, the lawyers were behind it.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Doesn't matter

      I believe that would be the religion of Hitlerism...

      August 24, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Just the truth

      Conservative Chistianity? 🙂 Do I win a prize?

      August 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  13. The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

    CNN is a facist Fulcrum of levergaed weightiness whose bigotry lays within its' powers to subertly deny one's postings!

    August 24, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      Way 2 go CNNN! But what about my next posting 2 follow this One?

      August 24, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Stevie7

      Fullednessly spectrumal ignomous posting

      Also, I'm not sure how a computer program can be fascist.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      Shlomo I send you an olive branch guised as a message. Let Israeli commandants forgo their "Goliath" stance in the face of beliitling the Davids of Palestinian's bigotrous natures to cast likened to the stonings of ancient bygone days/eras. Cease and desist both of your countries with anonymous spatterings of wa-rlike insobrieties that benefits only the pragmatists of ongoing feudalisms. Who does such warlike mongerings really benefit? Surely idealists of common decencies should prevail over decadencies of warring 'G'uerrillas who show no mercies upon each other's fanatalicisms of "One shoe fits all" idio-syn-cro-nicities.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      To Ha-mas I write, "Lay down your weapons of insolence and w-ar-like despairs and find solemness efforts to bargain away your Libertairian ideals and moral philosophies guided around the base-fundamentals outside of the repressive religious debutants whose eye is he-ll-bent to ever fight for what is "not" a righteous consideration in views regarding the "citizenships" of worldliness concerns."

      August 24, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      To Israel I write, "Quit it with your pre-ambling tactics of being persecuted by just a hand-ful of big-otr-ous Ha-mas idolizers whose warlike stances keep the "limelights of the World Stage" ever spotted upon their belittled musings of roc-ke-tr-ous mean-derings that daw-ddle the worlds' eyeingness with embitterness ragings. Find within the Pale-sti-nian rankings, those who want and relish for a peaceful co-existence with you and make with them a binding means to relieve the Mid-dle East of its' w-a-r-like aggressions of tele-vise-d tac-ti-tion-ing a moot point!"

      August 24, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      To the rest of the world I write, "Rest assured, there can be n-o pea-ce within the Mi-d-Ea-st Nat-ion-alisms without 1stly the world's Glob-a-lists of Sec-u-lar-isms and their Re-lig-io-us co-h-o-rts truly wanting Peace in the Middle East Nations! To the Se-cu-la-rists who finds their greediness in "a-r-m-s s-al-es" to any na-ti-on re-gar-dless their un-div-id-ed int-erest for mon-etary ga-ins should be ou-tlaw-ed by all nations who aspire to becoming a Glo-ba-liz-ation of nowaday's mainly peace-loving fun-da-men-talists. To haggle over what types of we-apon-ry any nation should be given and/or allotted is but a bl-ow to-ward Pag-an-isms of He-ad-on-istic rev-uls-ions of which I find to be de-plor-able and id-io-tic within the "publics" Limelight of fruitioning Liberties."

      August 24, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Shlomo

      as a right wing and secular israeli, I tell you I want peace, and I'm willing to give the palestinians land & financial security for peace.

      my country is very dear to me. more than i care about the land, i care about the people who live on that land.
      i WANT TO WAKE UP IN THE MORNING AND HEAR ONLY GOOD NEWS, I want to take my kids to school and know they are going to come back in one piece from there.

      as a rightist in israel, i am willing to change myself in order to the other side to change his ways too. but i see no results in return. since 2005 when we withdrawal from Gaza and during all this time the palestinians only made it harder on us to reach an agreement. and you know it.

      i can only hope both Hamas and the PA will give peace a real chance and come negotiate with us soon.

      August 24, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Huh?!?

      @Lambly: FYI, the big words and hyphens dont make you sound smart or make anyone else on these comments respect you and your opinion any more than normal. So here's a tip, smaller words + smaller sentences = bigger point and more people will actually read the entirity of your responses instead of just skip right over them after the first babbling line. Cheers!

      August 24, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  14. SamIam

    If you are a Jew and you can't support a powerful media figure who only wants to support your Judaism and the right of a Jewish state to exists....the YOU are the disgusting political animal and a coward to your people.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Laughing


      August 24, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Mularky. Any individual of any religion is free to chose to align themselves with anyone, or to decline to align themselves with anyone, especially someone who hatemongers for a living.

      August 24, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • AC

      Beck is powerful? Give me a break. He was cut loose from Fox and now basically has taken up the traveling tent revivalist act. I'd hate to meet anybody who thought Beck was powerful.

      August 24, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Just the truth

      @Sam It's either we support your hate or we are all anti-semetic? You should change your name to glenIam. Pure ignorance

      August 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • SamIam

      "Beck has reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List in four separate categories as of 2010"
      "ranked 4th in the nation with over six and a half million listeners.[39] Glenn Beck is number three in the ratings behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity"

      @GB From Wikipedia, you silly liberal hippy.

      August 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  15. atypical

    i hope people learn to listen more with their heart–literally–and look less to others for truth and direction. Religious and political figures alike, tend to perpetuate ignorance and fear–knowingly and unknowingly.

    someone once said, "ignorance is a requisite for enlightenment." let's just say that glenn beck is working his way through the "curriculum."

    Nunti Sunya–to the era of transparency and expansion

    August 24, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • felicia

      Why did the account of this vicious person disappear from your front-page headlines? Fox News is for sure not going to report on the absurdity of this denigrator of Judaism and any group whose views diverge from his own appearing in Israel. we count on other media to get the word out.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:52 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 half a 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!!!


    August 24, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  17. Tami

    take this racis man from us.

    we don't like GB in Israel.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  18. Michael

    Liberals support radical islam and Jews who support left winf commies are suicidal !

    August 24, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  19. mb2010a

    Glen Beck is a wolf in a sheeps clothing...place no trust in a false prophet.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  20. Al

    When I saw beck for the first time on tv I though it was a comedy show. I took me some time to believe it wasn't. Anyway now I like to see him only for the lol.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:20 am |
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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.