American media superstar Glenn Beck’s visit to Israel this week was a revealing
and remarkable event. It revealed what it takes to be a friend of Israel. And it
revealed the causes of Israel’s difficulty in telling its enemies from its
Many world leaders, opinion-shapers and other notables protest
enduring friendship with Israel. From Washington to London, Paris to
Spain, policy- makers and other luminaries preface all their remarks to Jewish
audiences with such statements. Once their declarations are complete –
and often without taking a breath – they proceed to denounce Israel’s policies
and to deny its basic rights.
US President Barack Obama exemplifies this
practice. Obama always begins his statements on Israel by proclaiming his
enduring friendship for Israel. Then he tells us to deny Jewish property rights,
accept indefensible borders, or desist from defending ourselves from
The Israeli Left habitually embraces self-proclaimed friends
such as Obama. Often leftist leaders encourage such friends to harm Israel in
the name of helping it. For instance, in 2007, speaking to then-secretary of
state Condoleezza Rice – who had a habit of comparing her friend Israel to the
Jim Crow South – then-Haaretz
editor David Landau asked her to “rape” the Jewish
state. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni recently encouraged Obama to increase
pressure on Israel.
When anti-Semitic public intellectuals such as the
late Nobel laureate Jose Saramago compare Israel to Nazi Germany, the Israeli
Left makes light of their remarks. For instance, when at the height of the
Palestinian terror war in 2002 Saramago said Israel was worse than the Nazis and
that Jews had no right to speak of the Holocaust, Yediot Aharonot
Melamed referred to Saramago as “one of the most beloved foreign novelists in
On Thursday, Israeli Arab actor and filmmaker Muhammad Bakri was
the subject of a two-page hagiographic profile in Yediot. Bakri’s libelous 2003
film Jenin, Jenin, in which he falsely portrayed IDF soldiers as murderers and
war criminals, was brushed off as merely “controversial.”
mention of Bakri’s family ties to terrorist murderers or supportive statements
regarding terrorism and war against Israel, Yediot
portrayed this foe as a hero.
Bakri, who has used his considerable talents to criminalize and demonize the
country and to support its terrorist enemies, was lionized as an unwilling
culture warrior who would much rather be acting than fighting, but feels he
cannot escape his duty to fight for the great causes he holds dear.
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ran a story about Beck’s Restoring Courage Rally beneath the
Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The headline read, “Glenn Beck’s Messianic
In general, the Israeli media responded to Beck’s visit to Israel
either as a non-event, or they distorted who Beck is and what he is trying to
do. Thursday’s print edition of Ma’ariv
sufficed with a photograph from Beck’s
rally in Jerusalem the previous day.
By casting Beck’s visit as
disserved its readers. Beck is one of the most
influential media personalities in the US today.
Unlike the leftist
public intellectuals such as New York Times
columnist Tom Friedman who are
celebrated and obsessively covered by the Israeli media, Beck exerts real
influence on public opinion in the US. His calls for action are answered by
hundreds of thousands of people. His statements are a guidepost for millions of
Americans. Aside from radio host Rush Limbaugh, no media personality in the US
has such influence.
It is highly significant that thousands of Beck’s
supporters followed his call and came with him to Israel for a week to express
their support for Israel and the Jewish people. It is similarly significant that
millions more of his supporters followed his actions on Internet.
Those media that did not seek to downplay the importance of Beck’s visit opted instead
to distort who he is and what he is doing. As the Yediot
headline indicated, the
media portrayed him as an unstable messianic, or they castigated him as an
extremist and marginal force in the US. Haaretz
articles attacking Beck as an anti-Semite.
These claims are outrageous
and represent yet another gross disservice to Israeli news consumers who do not
have an independent means of judging Beck, his message and his actions for
Beck came to Israel to launch a global movement of activists
committed to supporting Israel, not in order to “rape” it, but in order to
empower it to defeat its enemies and to stand up to an increasingly hostile
world. In his speech under the Temple Mount, Beck roused his audience – which
contrary to media reports was a mix of American Christians and American Jews
joined by scores of Israelis – to action. With gripping prose, Beck told his
audience to disregard the “convenient” lies about Israel and embrace the
That truth, he said, is that “In Israel, there is more courage in
one square mile than in all of Europe. In Israel, there is more courage in one
Israeli soldier than in the combined and cold hearts of every bureaucrat at the
United Nations. In Israel, you can find people who will stand against incredible
odds, against the entire tide of global opinion, for what is right and good and
true. Israel is not a perfect country. No country is perfect. But it
tries, and it is courageous.”
From Israel he proceeded Wednesday night to
South Africa to tell the true story of Apartheid and to dispel the popular
falsehood that Israel bears any similarity to Apartheid South
Africa. From there he will continue on to Latin America to meet with
communal leaders and mobilize them to support Israel. And from there he will
return to the US where he will launch his global movement to support Israel
before a mass audience in Dallas early next week.
What was most
remarkable about Beck’s message was its rarity. Beck did not say anything
factually inaccurate. The vast majority of Israelis certainly would find nothing
controversial in any of his assertions. Yet despite his honesty, and his
reasonable interpretation of Israel’s strategic and diplomatic circumstances,
Beck’s is a voice in the wilderness. One almost never comes across a foreigner –
or even an Israeli – who is willing to speak such basic truths in
Both the rarity of truthful assessments of reality such as Beck’s
and the gross distortion of his message and importance by the media are the
consequence of intellectual and social intimidation that has led to groupthink
among members of the media and of the cultural elites in Israel and throughout
much of the Western world.
As Beck put it, “The grand councils of the
earth condemn Israel. Across the border, Syria slaughters its own citizens. The
grand councils are silent...
“These international councils, these panels
of so-called diplomats, condemn Israel not because they believe Israel needs to
be corrected. They do so because it is convenient.
it. In some countries, it’s a crime not to.
“The diplomats are afraid,
and so they submit. They surrender to falsehood. The truth matters not.
To the keepers of conventional wisdom, a sacrifice of the truth is a small price
to pay. What difference does it make if we beat up on little Israel? These are
the actions of the fearful and cowards.”
And in the face of this
cowardice, Beck organized his visit to Israel under the banner “Restoring
He told his audience, “I stand here to tell you this: Fear is
the pathway to surrender. And to overcome fear, we must have
Beck is rare, because he refuses to bow to the intellectual
intimidation and groupthink that plagues the discourse on Israel in Israel
itself and throughout the world. He refuses to play by the rules in which
friends of Israel are castigated as messianic crazies and extremists and
Israel’s enemies are praised as friends and great artists and courageous
dissidents. He is an exception to a demented rule.
Israel’s media didn’t
come to their hatred of Beck on their own. Most of it is fueled by American
Jewish leftists. Beck ran afoul of the liberal American Jewish establishment
through his outspoken attacks on George Soros. In January, Beck ran several
shows on Soros, the extremist leftist anti-American and anti-Zionist global
financier who has given more than $100 million to radical leftist
Among other things, Beck ran a 1998 interview that Soros gave to
CBS News’s Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes. During the course of the interview, Soros
admitted that as a boy in Nazi occupied Hungary he collaborated with the Nazis in
confiscating Jewish property. Beck dwelled on Soros’s statement and his stated
lack of guilt for his actions. Beck considered its impact on the shaping of
For his actions, Beck was attacked as an anti-
Semite by the Soros-funded Jewish Funds for Justice. The group which
conducts community organizing in liberal Jewish congregations collected the
signatures of several dozen rabbis and ran a $100,000 ad in The Wall Street
asking Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch to take action against Beck.
According to JCCWatch.org, New York’s UJA-Jewish Federation has given more than
a million dollars to the Soros-funded organization.
The Left’s attacks on
Beck are fueled by the fact that he is a Christian Zionist. The Left’s default
mode is to accuse Christian Zionists of a hidden agenda to convert Jews and a
secret desire to see us killed in an Armageddon.
But in truth the media’s
embrace of Israel’s enemies, their rejection of Beck, and most important Beck’s
refusal to bow to their conventional wisdom that Israel’s enemies should be
praised and its friends should be condemned all reveal the reason that Christian
Zionists can be trusted and embraced by Israelis.
Christian Zionists –
like Jewish religious Zionists – are unmoved by the media’s intimidation because
of their faith in God, and their reliance on scripture. Their faith provides
them with a means of judging reality that is independent of the largely
post-religious intellectual commissariat that runs the media and the cultural
elite in the Western world. They don’t seek or care about receiving the
accolades of the New York Times
or other post-religious totems for their
actions. And Beck’s message to Israelis is that we shouldn’t care
For most Israelis, this message rings powerful and true. But for
the media, in Israel and throughout the West, it is dangerous sedition that must
be marginalized and destroyed.
Beck said that his movement will be one of
individuals who work together to defend Israel and the Jews from those who seek
our destruction. He argued that regular people are far more capable of
understanding what needs to be done than the well-heeled experts who lead us
down the garden path of weakness and demoralization.
And he is
And in bringing this message to Israel, he demonstrated his
friendship. We should return the favor by taking his advice. We should trust
ourselves and our instincts and stop listening to the “experts” who preach
weakness and firstname.lastname@example.org
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