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. Donivan

    @satanbug The Bible is not for earthly gains, but rather spiritual nurishment. The Bible was written telling the events of the predictions. Such as Jews becoming slaves to Egypt, the freeing of the people by Moses, the rise and fall of Rome. Nostradamus did indeed predict the rise of the Third Reich, by describing the symbols and even giving a name "Hister". But the Bible does tell of Jesus' return. God forgives you for your ignorance. But he will not do anything for you if you do not seek Him out. You are like a bum on a corner asking for a handout, while insulting the person you are asking for the money.

    God loves you, yet you deny Him. I pity you.

    August 23, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Caron

      Wow, man. I'm really glad for you that you have something to believe in, and you derive comfort from your beliefs. But I have to tell you, dude, you are living in fear and are grasping a mirage - a delusion - for compfort. Just let go.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • satanbug

      yeah, yeah I've read it, "Hister" wasn't his name...lots of groups have use that symbol or something like it in the past...tell me what's going to happen in China or Europe in the next 20 years or 20 days using the bible...I'll tell you, there will be some natural disaaters and some political upheaval...there I'm nostradamus....god is a bum and can lick my bum...wow no lightning...grow up you little child... you are an ape living on a planet that is just far enough from sun to grow intelligent life...although given your comments and the existence and popularity of glenn beck, i'd say the intelligent part is questionable

      August 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • satanbug

      I pity you for following the ravings of peopel who didn't know what the stars were or why the seasons changed...in fact they sacrificed goats to make sure the havest was good...grow up...your god can shove his love...go sacrifice a cat and see if you get some answers

      August 23, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • satanbug

      Hey Donivan man...do me a favor if your eyes have stopped burning...define what you mean by "spiritual"

      August 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • desi

      Bible also said that Earth is the center of the universe. Should I believe that, professor?

      August 23, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Ross

      I have no problem if people are religious or personally read the Bible, by all means. But it shouldn't influence the policy's of our nation, and shouldn't be imposed upon the American people by political leaders. period.

      August 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  2. smellarat

    Obviously most of the people commenting here have never even listened to Glenn Beck. Ignorance is bliss and hateful it seems.

    August 23, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • buckup

      I have listened to the fool several times. He is still a fool. Not that I hate him personally, but I do find him hateful, ignorant, and venomous.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I have heard enough of him to know that he speaks a lot but says very little.

      August 24, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • Ross

      instead of smelling rats, you should open up your mind to reality.

      August 24, 2011 at 3:40 am |
  3. Paul NYC

    Is there a bigger narcissist that this character Beck? Beware false prophets who are only after profits.

    August 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • smellarat

      Yes, the biggest narcissist of them all, the big Obama.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Sheesh, rat. We get that you are a republican and hate the president. That's your problem.

      August 24, 2011 at 2:57 am |
  4. Mike in Montana

    As a observation.. Watch Glenn Beck, like a hawk. Believe me.., he is a sheep in sheeps clothing.. If I was Jewish.., I would most certainly watch Glenn Beck like a hawk. He is NOT one to be trusted.. He comes from a background.., I wouldn't necessarily trust. Bar, alcohol scene.., Jesus Christ of Ladder-Day Saints and various religious churches. He is known.., to only care about himselve and his own bank accounts. This is one guy.., that I would be cautious of and what is his real motive or motives. In the Jewish faith.., it is wise, to check ones background and see the real truth, before passing judgement on one with a deceptive background, as Glenn Beck has. Its better to cover ones back, then to let ones guard down and to lose everything. Glenn Beck is one NOT to be trusted. From one wise Jew.. He could do more harm, than good. Remember.., Glenn Beck, his whole life has been, to look out for oneselve, before others.., that may be the case here, in more ways than one. Jewish people.., watch your back and bank accounts.., sheep in sheep clothing is drawing near. Glenn Beck is one NOT to be trusted, or lose everything. Is it.., really worth it ?

    August 23, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  5. Jesus Is Lord

    It's good that Glenn Beck is supporting Israel. I stand with him in that regard. It is, however, tragic that he is a mormon. Mormons ARE NOT Christians. Mr. Beck is deceived by this wicked cult. My hope is that he will turn away from LDS lies and embrace the one true gospel of Jesus Christ – the one found ONLY in the Bible.

    Jesus is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Beileve in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, obey and be saved!

    August 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Thomas


      August 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Dave

      The Bible was written and edited by human beings. like the Koran, the Bible is just a book of fairy tales. I agree that Mormanism is insane, but I also feel that way about every religion. So who are you to degrade anyone's belief for your own?

      August 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Larry L

      The world would be a better place without religion and those of you who allow yourselves to be ensnared in it's ridiculous trap. It's mythology. You are a Christian because of where you were born. Christianity, like all religions was created by men with an agenda. Christianity was just copied from existing mythology. You pray – nothing happens. You run the experiment over and over a thousand times – and nothing happens. It's destructive nonsense and the source of much of the misery in the world. I know... I'll be going to hell, you love Jesus, blah, blah, blah... It's mythology!

      August 23, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Ross

      Spot on LL

      August 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Gast

      See. This is what really perplexes me. Evangelicals hate Mormons. Refuse to acknowledge they are Christians (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . . . catch the Jesus in there?) but hook up with Beck? I think that says it all!

      August 24, 2011 at 2:54 am |
  6. Ross

    Beck, along with all the other tea party members are nothing but greedy hypocrites. Maybe in Israel some people don't see it, but here its as clear as day. These people paint pictures of themselves as humble Americans who love God and live simple honest lifestyles. Why? Because those are the people they are depending on for support. People who live simple lives in rural America, go to church on Sundays and BBQ in their backyards don't care whether or not China is completely wiping us off the map in education and technology because it doesn't effect their lifestyles! But for those of us citizens who understand how far behind America is falling, we also know that the right wing is the worst thing that could happen to our government. They ignore global warming, frown upon gay marriage, refuse to tax upper 2% of our population, AKA the self-proclaimed "job creators" (FYI the US unemployment rate is highest its been in years).They basically denounce progressive ideas and see them as threats. They want to blame Obama for the trillion dollar deficit, and give Bush credit for Bin Laden's death. The conservative House members have made it clear that they have no intention of reasoning with Obama on ANY issue, just ask our Speaker. The only reason is because they see him as a threat to their party, which in my opinion is as anti-American as it gets. America is as politically torn as its ever been. You're either this or you're that. So if im labeled as a liberal, fine. But I see myself as realistic, based on what I see in this country.

    August 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  7. jo jo

    Is he taking his chalkboard with him?

    August 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  8. CommonSense

    Listen to Glenn Beck! The Garden of Eden was in Missouri!!! Joseph Smith had the tablets from God, but then he lost them! Jeez, kind of like the Ten Commandments. Ancient Israel tribe turned up in New York!! Whoa! That is strange.
    Bababababababa.....Jesus....bababababababababab........Jesus.....Babababababa......Jesus.......Make millions of dollars off the simple, hateful, and ignorant.......Jesus......Marry 14 year old girls, just like the Muslims.......etc etc etc....

    August 23, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  9. Caron

    It would seem that the bible is capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. So, pray tell, of what use is it as a guidepost?

    August 23, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Thomas

      It's good to know that there are at least a few people out there who see it for the joke that it is.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  10. Roberto

    Glenn Beck is unread. He believes what he hears. And that picture of him with his right hand under his chin? Looks like he's getting ready to give the Italian f***off gesture. I laugh every time I see his visage. What an amusing, non-consequential doody head. Glenn! Hey! Yo! Take some time off! "Go down to the river where the water is nice. Put your head under three times and bring it up twice."

    August 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Caron

      What delightful comic relief!!!

      August 23, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  11. Glenn

    Israelis I hope, know the end of the story as perceived by the radical Christian fundamentalists trying speed on the second coming?! In the last days Jews will be given one more chance to recognize Christ as the Messiah...if they choose wrong (in the eyes of these fundamentalists) they go down with the rest of the unbelievers...a short term partnership with an ending that is not very appealing to Jews who take their faith seriously.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Toby

      Precisely why faith based religion needs to be challenged and needs to be emasculated of its influence. Unfortunately, it appeals to our fears and ignorance, so that may be a long time in coming. Peace.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  12. Teddy Phufner

    Jews "torn" on Beck? Really? Why is the corporate media so obsessed in trying to give both sides of the story that is so one-sided This is Beck playing to the hysterical and insane right wing. The lines in the sand are not amongst Jews themselves, but are among those who are religious fundamentalists who want to promote hatred and their corporate cronies and the rest of the world.
    Sad that CNN has to do such weak-knee'd kowtowing to such a hate-monger.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  13. Don

    Does Beck have a full time psychologist with him....for he is surely a crazy guy....maybe he should start taking his meds again.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  14. Alec

    With Glenn Beck on their side, Israel's success and prosperity is truly assured.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • AmericanSam


      August 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  15. eastwood1379@gmail.com

    What we need is a KATUSHA rocket to land on Beck.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  16. Nick

    Beck is up to something! I don't quite understand his angle here, but rest assured he has an angle. Folks should be worried too, cause he's been quiet for a bit, and when crazy gets quiet, crazy gets even crazier.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • satanbug

      I am so glad he is out in front of this movement...it's like Palin...it just proves what a bunch of silly fools these people are...look at the comical jerks they follow...palin, beck, bush, that woman who cures gays...ha...get real

      August 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  17. satanbug

    Here's how I explain it: the bible is a jumble of nonsense..filled with contradictions and proven falsities...try to predict any up coming event with the bible, anything...you can apply any nonsense after the fact and try to say it predicted something...god is a rediculous and childish notion on par with santa claus and superman...grow up...ohh the bible or nostrodamus: there wil be wars or rumors of war...there will be floods...Wow how insightful...how did they figure that???

    August 23, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • Colin

      Hard to understand how we still believe in Bronze Age Middle Eastern sky-gods in the 21st Century, isn't it.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • satanbug

      I don't colin..I live in 21st century and believe in science...the bible ...a bunch of c r a p written by people who didn't know why the sun came up in the AM or what a germ was...yeah I'll live my life by their ideals

      August 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Colin

      I hear you satanburg, it is a bunch of nonsense Middle Eastern mythology compiled by ignorant people during the Dark Ages. It is finally going the way of other mythology though. Western Europe is inceasingly secular, the North and West of the USA are, and Australia and NZ are well ahead of the curve.

      I think, in about 15-20 years, Christians, Jews and Muslims in these areas will be looked at like Mormons or Amish are today. Simple, harmless folk who are not too bright, but don't really offend anyone.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Ross

      Its scary to think how so many of the people in charge of creating our laws also believe evolution is a myth, and that there was actually a talking snake in the garden of eden. If Jack and the Beanstalk happen to be a Bible passage, they'd believe that too.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  18. Paul

    If Beck wants to be your friend, run don't walk, run as far away as you possibly can!

    August 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  19. James

    Personally I recognize the Roman claim on Jerusalem. It's historical, and the Romans are the coolest group to have held the holy land in my opinion. God probably likes the Roman Eagle too, because he allowed the Romans to annex Jerusalem/and area and disperse the Hebraic folks. Plus they built roads and indoor plumbing. Did I mention Rome is awesome? I support Italian immigration to Israel, because the Italians are somewhat genetically related to the ancient Romans.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Colin

      That was good. Subtle and good.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Larry

      All you have to do is find some Romans and you'll be all set???

      August 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Bill Mosby

      Looking for Romans? Tony Soprano once said they were "right here".

      August 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  20. Colin

    The Book of Mormon is basically the Bible with training wheels. A sky-fairy manual for the really, really naive and stupid. In a theological pecking order, I would put it below Christianity and above Scientology, but only just in the latter case.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Chotiwala

      Quick question: DO YOU HAVE A LIFE? You have like 3 posts on each page. What a loser.

      August 23, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • Thomas

      Chotiwala.... Who is the bigger loser - the guy who posts three comments on every board or the person who spends time tracking them down and reading them?

      August 23, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
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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.