Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Glenn Beck’s Israel Tour Draws Criticism, Praise

More than 3,000 people crowded into the Caesarea Amphitheater Sunday to hear Glenn Beck launch his “Restoring Courage” tour in Israel. “Welcome to the land of milk and honey!” Beck said by way of greeting.

With this tour, Beck aims to express solidarity with Israel and to explore the concept of “courage,” which he says the Israeli people possess in abundance. The week’s events are distinctly religious — Sunday’s launch took as its theme, “The Courage to Love” and featured speeches by pastors and a rabbi — and that’s exactly how Beck likes it. No politicization, please. “The God of Abraham ain’t running for office,” he says.

From Caesarea, Beck headed to Jerusalem to host Night 2, “The Courage to Remember,” an evening dedicated to the recollection of the Holocaust. The night opened with a prayer and included a fiery speech from actor Jon Voigt, whose presence at the Beck events has drawn positive attention from The Jerusalem Post, as well as members of the always-large crowds.

But for all that Beck would prefer to keep the focus on someone higher than himself this week, the multimedia personality just can’t seem to help but draw controversy wherever he is or whatever he does. Stateside critics are quick to point out Beck’s past misstatements and to suggest he’s disqualified to advocate for Israel:
[C]ritics say Beck’s track record of controversial statements makes him an inappropriate ally. Last month he likened Norwegian youths gunned down at a political camp by an anti-Islamic extremist to “Hitler Youth.” Twice in the last year Beck has been denounced by the Anti-Defamation League for “bigoted” and “horrific” comments on his show, one likening Reform Judaism to “radicalized Islam” and another in which he said Holocaust survivor and billionaire George Soros betrayed fellow Jews to Nazis.
Under pressure from Jewish groups in the U.S., Beck apologized for the remark about Reform Judaism.
He has several times had to fend off allegations of anti-Semitism. Last year he appeared to endorse the notion that Jews killed Jesus Christ; his list of the world’s nine most “dangerous” people includes eight Jews; he speculated in 2009 “that Israel might be wiped off the map, leading to all-out Armageddon.”
“If this is the only kind of friend Israel’s government can find around the world, that’s a very poor sign,” said Yariv Oppenheimer, secretary-general of Peace Now, the Israeli anti-settlement group. “It’s a reflection on our current leadership that instead of having the world on our side, we can only get someone like Glenn Beck.”

Read the full post at Hot Air

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