At the battle of Thermopylae (translation: the Hot Gates) in 480 B.C., as Herodotus tells it, 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans held up the advance of over a million Persians, an act of heroism that led in the course of time to the victory of the Greek alliance over the armies of King Xerxes I. The historian notes that the Spartan and Thespian contingents at Thermopylae did not flinch before the advancing hordes, but the Thebans “stayed against their will,” reluctant to face the enormous odds arrayed against them.
Nevertheless, there is every reason to believe that the Greek force under Leonidas might have kept the Persians indefinitely at bay had they not been betrayed by a certain Ephialtes of Trachis. This Ephialtes, says Herodotus, “stirred by the hope of receiving a rich reward at the king’s hands, had come to tell him of a pathway which led across the mountain to Thermopylae, by which disclosure he brought destruction on the band of Greeks who had there withstood the barbarians.”
Flash forward to 2011 to a different, yet in some ways comparable scenario: the state of Israel surrounded by enemies and defending its own Hot Gates at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and the Persians in their millions once again armed to the teeth, threatening to “block out the sun” not with arrows, as in the original battle, but with missiles. Mutatis mutandis, instead of 400 Thebans assembled at the pass, we have 400 rabbis, mainly Reconstructionists with a smattering of Conservative and Orthodox hangers-on, prepared to surrender the gates to the enemy—or, in effect, 400 Ephialtes’ poised to betray the faith and give succour to those who would rejoice in their misfortune. Their words and actions make it plain that their purported defense of Israel and ostensible support for the country’s friends and allies are problematic, wavering, and perhaps even disingenuous.
The sordid story of the 400 rabbis is common knowledge by now. Taking exception to Glenn Beck’s demolition of the apostate Jewish billionaire George Soros, the 400 took out a $100,000 ad in the Wall Street Journal accusing Beck and Fox News of cheapening the memory of the Holocaust, of making “literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterizing people,” and for drawing attention to Soros’ self-serving behavior as a teenager in Nazi-dominated Hungary.
It would appear, however, that most of these rabbis have never or rarely watched Glenn Beck or Fox News since their allegations are inaccurate and seem almost wholly based on hearsay. As Bill Narvey writes in his Open Reply to the rabbis, “I have not heard Fox News use the term Nazi ‘hundreds of times’ as you allege,” and wonders whether “any of you 400 Rabbis ever watch Beck or Fox News.” Moreover, they are plainly unaware that Beck has often encouraged his readers not to take his word but to investigate the issues for themselves. Nor have the good rabbis seen fit to disclose that the Jewish Fund for Justice, which paid for the ad, is partially bankrolled by Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Soros, ever the magician, has no trouble pulling rabbis out of a hat—or rather, hucksters posing as rabbis.
Obviously, they are not impressed by the fact that Beck is a “righteous Gentile” with enormous influence for good, a stalwart defender of the Jewish state and a scourge against anti-Semites while Soros is an undoubted apikoros, or “wicked son,” who funds unsavory venues like Media Matters and backs the disreputable advocacy group J Street, an outfit that regards Israel with suspicion and works to further the interests of Palestinian Arabs at the Jewish state’s expense. Soros targets Israel as contributing to anti-Semitism, scapegoats the Jewish state for the turbulence in Egypt and as an obstacle to peace and democracy in the Middle East—“The main stumbling block is Israel,” he writes in The Washington Post—, seeks to discredit The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), believes “the pro-Israel lobby” is invested in “suppressing divergent views,” blames Israel for “refus[ing] to recognize the democratically elected Hamas government”! and for pursuing “military escalation,” and has subsidized terrorist-defending lawyers like the infamous Lynne Stewart—one could go on. No matter. The 400, whether through ignorance or perfidy or both, proceed to vilify their protectors and champion their adversaries. Beck bad, Soros good.