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. J M Nelson

    It's difficult to understand the negative postings here because if you hate Glenn Beck, never watched any of his shows on FOX or listened to him on his radio shows, dislike anything he says or does, disagree with both his "Restoring Honor" rally in WDC & "Restoring Courage" rally in Jerusalem, etc., then what is the point of you're even logging onto this web site anyway? It certainly isn't to be informed about anything he either says or does, so obviously it's just to try to tear down &/or discredit, without giving any specifics tho of course. With the Califate currently being formed all throughout the Mediterranean area, with the sole intention of giving the Muslim Brotherhood sole authority under Shariah Law in the entire area (ask the average Egyptians how they like it now that it's already happened there), Israel will eventually be completely surrounded by their enemies & now needs the U.S. to continue to be their friend & stand beside them more than ever! You should also check out what's currently going on in Iran with the 12th Imam, or Mahdi–who is the opposite of our Jesus Christ–& what they believe "he" & his followers have in store for the "Little Satan" (Israel) & the "Big Satan" (the U.S.)–it's definitely chilling, to say the least! Oh, & by the way, Glenn & his family have only been LDS members in the last few years, as they were searching for a church they all felt comfortable in, having come from different religious backgrounds. My particular family background was also one of different faiths, but I've always believed that, no matter what religion you grew up in & no matter what your "God" was called in that religion, THAT THERE REALLY IS ONLY ONE GOD FOR EVERYONE, NO MATTER THE NAME OR RELIGION–just my personal opinion tho. Only time will tell what all peoples/religions will survive in the future, after God eventually "separates the wheat from the chaf," & of course at a time of His choosing as well. We just don't need any more hatred & bitterness in this world right now tho.............

    August 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  2. Joe

    The shame is that most Jews woulde vote for Adolf Hittler if he ran as a Democrat.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • shadysider

      You never met any of us, have you?

      August 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  3. Charly Brains

    Support to Israel = 100 %
    Evangelical Leadears supporting Israel = 100%
    Glenn Beck wanabe Christian (because he's LDS) claiming to support Israel = no way.

    Regretably he's the fly in the soup... 🙁

    August 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  4. HappyMeal

    The Jews need Evangelical Christians whether they admit or not. The Jews should trust in Jesus their Messiah.

    August 25, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!

      HappyMeal needs thorazine and lithium, whether she admits it or not.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Mrs. O

      Please note- Jesus was a Jew. Just something to consider. HIstory is frequently written by the victors.
      We all identify and have our beliefs- I am a secular Jew and accept that Jesus existed as a historical figure.
      You may accept him and his teachings as your Messiah; however, be cautious in your recommendations to others.

      August 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  5. thomas

    Jesus, Politics and Glenn Beck.....Not Kosher.

    August 25, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • bob

      not only not Kosher. Its also nauseating, just like CNN.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  6. lamoral

    What is really funny is that all those on the left hate this man so much, yet I have read misinformation, after misinformation concerning him. Not one of you has done ANY research on your own, you follow something you heard someone, somewhere say. Having a college degree does not make you wise, just taught. I ask each of you to start thinking for yourselves for once and do not be so gullible as to think you have the truth if you have not investigated all sides.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • kb

      And when they get to 30 all the things they learned in college over half they will have forgot. College doesn't mean a lot now and days in this country you can become well educated through hard work determination the internet and money. Your grammar and punctuation may not be 100% but there are plenty of people who could care less about typos in the work force.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • hahaha

      "Then Jesus Would Have ... Made The Jews Pay For What They Did." From the July 15, 2010, edition of Glenn Beck

      Hes a hateful, fear mongering moron.... and what does that make of the people who defend him

      August 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  7. Pickles

    Glenn Beck is in Jerusalem? – Keep him!

    August 25, 2011 at 5:17 am |
  8. Naomi

    The Jews are fortunate to have all these Christians to love them and support them. Bible-literate Christians all love the Jews. Education is crucial as the Jews know it very well.

    August 25, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  9. Reality

    If there were a god, he/she/it and/or spirit would not tolerate the stupidity of Beck thereby proving there is no god. Ditto for all others who consider natural disasters as being the work of some god.

    August 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Naomi

      He sounds smarter than the rest of Americans.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Naomi

      I mean Mr. Glenn Beck.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • ChristianC


      August 25, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • The World As It Actually Is

      The "If" means he is presenting a hypothetical situation. The existence of God is at best hypothetical, and a very tenuous and unsupported hypothesis it is.

      August 25, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  10. Mark

    What's wrong with supporting Israel?

    August 24, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  11. ???

    Why on earth does anyone listen to this boob?

    August 24, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  12. John


    August 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  13. Zapatta

    The whole world is tired of the U.S. running around kissing the backside of Israel. The religion thing is hokus pokus and nobody believes the crap anymore.

    August 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Janee

      And so you speak fo rthe whole world, huh Zapatta. Who died and made you king?

      August 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • inthespirit

      If we fail to support Israel, we will be in trouble. i believe that and it is not crap.

      August 24, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      >The religion thing is hokus pokus and nobody believes the crap anymore.

      Nobody? Last I checked, less than 2% of Americans identified as atheists, and probably less than 20% worldwide. Are you aware that we are the minority ... or do you only count the folks you want to count?

      August 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Wyatt

      You can kiss my backside.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • g.c.kells

      Junios, Not sure where you checked last, but the numbers I have say something a bit different. It's actually 15% that identify themselves as non theist. The term atheism is not always used. Some people don't call themselves atheist, they simply don't believe in god, and then there are agnostics. There are the Humanists, who apply a moral philosophy to atheism, but don't refer to themselves as atheists. Oh, and Buddhists, who are also non theists.

      August 25, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • HotAirAce


      Why does the US (or any other country) have to support Israel and what trouble would the use be in if they did not support Israel?

      August 25, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Junius Gallio

      > It's actually 15% that identify themselves as non theist. The term atheism is not always used.

      Well, there are reasons for that. Animism is non-theistic. So is Deism. Some forms of Buddhism (there are different ones) are most certainly theistic, in that they acknowledge that the Gods may exist, but worshiping them is nothing more than tanha.

      Either way, at 15% OR 20%, my point is that atheists are in the minority. And even more to the point, atheists and agnostics who run around doing nothing but casing insults at theists only succeed at making themselves (and, frequently, other atheists) look like ill-mannered rubes. We don't need that, and (for those of us interested in "deconverting" others) it lessens the effect of the argument.

      I, for one, am not interested in "deconverting" others. I am interested in learning from them, and (if they ask) sharing what I know. My interest, however, is thwarted when people cast insults simply for the sake of casting insults.

      August 25, 2011 at 1:08 am |
  14. The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

    My past postings were done via CNN’s rather unique way(s) of censoreship and I am now gathering them together so that they might be an assortment of flavored salsa to those who have and those still yet to read them. “Shalome”

    On Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 10:50 am, I did post to Shlomo stating,

    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.

    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."

    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!"

    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."

    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

    I responded to Shlomo’s post stating,

    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. 🙁

    Rabbi Shlomo or not, I respect your being honest with me in your posting to my rather resolute and censored post. Peace and or Shalome always be upon you and yours!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • 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 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  15. Alon

    nost israelis are secular and don't like GB!

    tale this crazy man from us!!!

    August 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  16. Reality

    There are always economics built into one's beliefs. For example, is Susan Jacoby an atheist because there is money to be made from books, speeches and columns on the subject? Unless she and others in the business of making good income from books, etc. on religion, secularism, or atheism take a vow of poverty, we will never know.

    BTW, Glen Beck "earned" $32 million in 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/glenn-beck-earned-32-mill_n_529903.html

    and from guidestar.org

    Rev. Franklin Graham $800,000+/yr.
    Rev. Billy Graham, $400,000/yr
    Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield $331,708/yr
    Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, $200,000/yr
    Erica Brown $134,221/yr
    Eboo Patel $120,000/yr.
    Dr. Herb Silverman $100,000/yr. ?
    Imam Rauf and his wife Daisy, $400,000/yr/ea estimated


    August 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  17. The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

    Does anyone here know as to exactly how many GB followers He brought with Him to the ampitheater that had only 3,000 or so seats? 2,000 perchance? That leaves room for but a 1,000! GB, your one sly dog you!

    August 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      Please forgive me Mr Beck. I sometimes do slip into my adversairial mindives and it is something I find quite hard to deal with whenever I am attentive to otherly boisterings of bemoanaments slanderings! Forgive me Please!

      August 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  18. JomoDaMusicMan

    Rush & Glenn Beck have millions of followers such as the KKK, Nazi's, SkinHeads along with Confederates who still think the South will Rise again and also thinks that Blacks will be returned to Slavery and Hispanics will be sent back to Mexico regardless of whether they came from Puerto Rico, Brazil, Guatemala or Honduras or CUBA

    August 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      One cannot forget Pastor John Hagee who is reported to have 30,000,000 that's 30 million evangelical followers at his beckon call! Sorry Mr Hagee, but I just love to boast!

      August 24, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      wingly lamb.. and your point is...delusion is rampant in all camps?

      August 24, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  19. Chris - North Carolina

    If you listen to his main speech or read it, you'll see that he is not insane and only wants to let the people of Israel know that we stand with them. Love him or hate him you can not deny that fact without lieing to yourself.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  20. JomoDaMusicMan

    Rush and Glenn have millions of followers such as the KKK, Nazi's and skin Heads along the Confederates who still think the South will Rise Again and all Blacks will be back in Slavery and all Hispanics will go back to Mexico regardless of whether they came from Puerto Rico, Brazil or Cuba

    August 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Rush and Glenn have millions of followers such as...Obama, the DNC and PETA.

      Wow, we can play the game of lumping fools together too.

      August 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • astuartgirl

      @Lycidas Yes, Yes I Can.

      August 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • astuartgirl

      Sorry actually that was suppose to be @Chris – North Carolina ... me fail at @s.

      August 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • lamoral

      What is really amazing is your immense ignorance, and I mean that in the true definition of the word. The Egyptians are wearing swastikas and holding signs to Israel that the gas chambers are ready. But cowards like you would NEVER call them Nazi's! Look it up "palwatch.com" . You know not what you speak of, yet you keep speaking. Mr. Beck and those that agree with him are so far from your rhetoric it is laughable. But as usual when you have no argument you spew hate and call names. This is why it is so pointless debating someone like you. You can not carry on an intelligent conversation with facts because you would loose. May God Bless you and open your eyes. P.S. maybe you should read something for yourself instead of being such a follower of the main stream media.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:09 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.