Glenn Beck rally could spark violence, warn Arab MKs

US radio show host to ‘Post’: Event will be different than people expect; MK Ahmed Tibi: "Glenn Beck is a ‘bizarre, neo-fascist comedian."

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, MELANIE LIDMAN
August 18, 2011 02:15
2 minute read.
Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck 521. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Glenn Beck’s Restoring Courage rally at the Southern Wall excavations site next Wednesday could spark a conflagration of violence in Jerusalem, Arab Knesset members and activists warned Wednesday.

The Jerusalem mass rally will be the central event of the American broadcaster’s three-night attempt to demonstrate to Israel and the world that the Jewish state does not stand alone. There will also be a rally for Christian leaders Sunday in Caesarea and a Holocaust-related event on Monday.

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“There are enough racists in Israel without importing them from the US,” Hadash MK Muhammad Barakei said.

“The lessons from Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount apparently haven’t been learned. This event isn’t for building coexistence, but to spark fires in a sensitive location ahead of the United Nations vote on a Palestinian state in September.

“There is a danger that the event will lead to people being harmed, and the police should have prevented it,” Barakei added.

MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) called Beck “a bizarre, conservative, neo-fascist comedian who is motivated by a hatred of Islam.”

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Tibi accused MK Danny Danon (Likud), who is involved in Beck’s event, of “dancing to Beck’s flute-playing and rejoicing to every outrageous word against Arabs and Muslim.”

Arab activists in east Jerusalem criticized Beck’s decision to hold the rally so close to a tense area.

“There is a message [in the location] – especially to come to the City of David, that’s close to Al-Aksa and other Muslim holy sites and the Western Wall – it says a lot,” said Murad Shafa, a member of the Popular Committee of Al-Bustan, one of the neighborhoods in Silwan. “I don’t know him, but I know one thing: this area belongs to all the religions.”

Shafa expressed concern the event would attempt to erase parts of the historical narrative that hold that the site is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. “Why are we the smallest people? Is their god bigger than ours?” he asked.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post Wednesday, Beck advised his critics to watch the event before casting judgment. He said that when he held his Restoring Honor event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, last August, people said he would desecrate the site with what they thought would be a right-wing political rally, but it ended up being nothing of the kind.

“[Israeli control over] Jerusalem is the best thing that has happened in many people’s lives among Arabs I’ve met, even though they won’t say it on camera,” Beck said. “They are protected, safe and able to live without violence.

Israel has done an amazing job of adhering to love thy neighbor – and even love thine enemy.

“It’s hard when people are trying to kill you to protect their rights.

Jerusalem is an example of coexistence working. You can’t deny truth,” Beck said.

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