When Glenn Beck’s upcoming Jerusalem rally was first announced last month, he said it would be called “Restore Courage”—modeled on his “Restoring Honor” rally last year in Washington that drew half a million. Or as Beck put it: “Last summer, we set out to restore honor in Washington, DC. This summer, it’s time to restore courage. It is time for us to courageously stand with Israel.”
A month later the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot added more details. “Tens of thousands of excited Israelis and Americans,” the paper claimed,
music performances, appearances by local and international celebrities, senior politicians and a live broadcast that will reach millions of viewers – this is just some of what is in store for Glenn Beck’s upcoming rally “to restore courage,” which is set to take place on August 24 in Jerusalem.
…The multi-million dollar production is expected to be attended by a convoy of American dignitaries, including former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. US Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent, and Republicans Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Congresswoman Michelle Bachman are to join Beck at the rally as well.
That was too much for “liberals,” who went into a froth.
That same day, June 15, the _Jerusalem Post_’s leftwing columnist Larry Derfner published one called “Godspeed to Jerusalem, Glenn Beck.” Derfner spoke of
thousands of godly Americans expected to fly in to join tens of thousands of godly Israelis…. So far there’s been no word about Koran-burnings…. The stupider and more rotten an American’s politics, the more loudly he’s likely to cheer for Israel…. So wackos like Beck and Palin and Bachmann love us – but only as long as we go on fighting their enemies…. Who are Israel’s friends? Right-wing meshuggenehs. What is Israel? A right-wing meshugge country…. Israel is a tragic story. It used to inspire idealists, now it appalls them…. So come on, Glenn… proclaim the covenant between Israel and whack-job America for all to see…. And I couldn’t think of a better meshuggeneh for the job.
One would like to believe that even some who share some of Derfner’s views could admit that this is not any kind of argument but a stream of nasty, bigoted abuse.
Americans for Peace Now chimed in with “Don’t let Glenn Beck set Jerusalem on fire!”:
the location he’s chosen shows that what he really wants to do is foster conflict. [emphasis in original] He’s decided to hold the event in East Jerusalem, just outside the Old City, one of the most politically sensitive locations in the world.
This proves that Beck is no friend of Israel, as he now claims to be. His planned rally could sow greater enmity between Israelis and Palestinians….
That’s it, right on the money. The choice of location has nothing to do with religious associations; Beck will be flying to Jerusalem in the hope of starting a rumble. Again, the intellectual level of the elitist left doesn’t sweep you off your feet.
And then there was Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, who has gone so far as to publish a Beck-bashing book. In his June 17 column Milbank called Beck “the leading purveyor of anti-Semitic memes in the mass media.” He noted that, notwithstanding the Yediot report, Romney, Gingrich, and Bachman were not slated to attend Beck’s rally. But that hardly consoled Milbank.
No, what really got to him was that Lieberman—a non-Christian, a Jew still connected to the Democrats—confirmed to a Washington Post reporter that “I’ve been approached by [Beck] to go…. I’d love to participate.. . .”
“This,” wrote Milbank, “nearly caused me to _plotz_” (Yiddish for “faint”):
I admire Lieberman… But if he shares a stage with this creature, he will surrender the decency that has defined his public life…. Lieberman still has time to reconsider. For the sake of everything you have stood for, Joe, please: Say it ain’t so.
“Wacko,” “meshuggeneh,” warmonger, anti-Semite, “creature”—these virtuous people don’t like Beck, do they?
Now what is actually the truth about Glenn Beck? As Ron Radosh noted in a tribute three weeks ago, his
recent programs on Israel, anti-Semitism, and Jew-hatred of an Islamic strain have been unique in television fare, and in [them] Beck has been serious, passionate, and committed in his desire to defend Israel and to let Americans know why they should join him in this cause.
You can see some of Beck’s own selections from his passionately pro-Israel programs here. They bear out what Radosh says, and not the raucous calumnies of the “liberals.”
As Radosh further comments, Beck
has been devoting his air time…to the need for defense of Israel and has been doing this in a way that no one else in the media is…. No one else in the media has done as much to let Americans know about Islamist Jew-hatred and how it is being played out today. He shows his viewers videos from MEMRI’s own website that the major networks would never think of letting their viewers see.
Now, does this mean Beck is the ideal, made-to-order pro-Israel broadcaster and activist? No. He’s not a polished intellectual. He commits gaffes. He’s not always in command of the subjects he deals with. He often has a heavy-handed delivery. He could bring God into it less, since the points he makes are important for all people of goodwill and genuine sympathy for Israel, religious and secular.
And those points include the facts that Israel, as a thriving democracy, is on a different moral plane from its neighbors, including its supposed peace partners; and that, more than any other country in the world, Israel is under grave threat—particularly from Iran, striding toward nukes while its President Ahmadinejad foretells Israel’s demise regularly, and Iran’s allies and proxies on Israel’s borders. Seemingly that would be enough to forge some unity among those claiming to care about Israel.
For Beck, as Radosh further points out, it is enough, since
Beck is non-partisan when it comes to the issue. Twice on his program he quoted Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a leading liberal Democrat…. Beck has no hesitation in running the video of Schumer’s [pro-Israel] comments — although on domestic issues, he has no love for liberal Democrats.
Beck, in other words, is not like his opponents who loathe his guts and call him names; Beck can make common cause over Israel with those in the other camp. It’s a standing indictment of the likes of Derfner, Americans for Peace Now, Milbank, and so many others that they have no such capability; hatred of “the right” is so essential to their identity that there is nothing, not even Israel’s survival, that transcends it.