In yet another exhibition of clueless hate-spittle, Glenn Beck declared this morning on his radio show that Reform rabbis are just like Islamic radicals (i.e. terrorists):
“When you talk about rabbis, understand that most people who are not Jewish don’t understand that there are the Orthodox rabbis and then there are the Reformed (sic) rabbis. Reformed rabbis are generally political in nature. It’s almost like Islam – radicalized Islam – in a way to where radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics.”
First of all, there is no such thing as “Reformed” rabbis. Perhaps he is confusing them with reformed drug and alcohol abusers like himself. There are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform rabbis, and all of them are practitioners of faith. They are all also permitted to participate in political affairs and there are as many Orthodox rabbis as Reform who do so.
Beck’s ignorance is both offensive and dangerous. He is deliberately misinforming his audience and fomenting hatred. What does he think the result will be when his disturbed congregation “learns” from him that most American Jews (because Reform Jews are a plurality (pdf) in the U.S.) are just like Islamic radicals? Does he think that will endear his followers to their Jewish neighbors?
This sort of anti-Semitic rhetoric is common amongst hate mongers who seek to demonize Jews and divide them from the community. It is how societies throughout history have advanced irrational prejudices and instigated Holocausts. And while many people recoil from Nazi analogies, the comparison here is just too close to ignore. You simply cannot associate a group of people with those who are your mortal enemies and expect to be excused.
Beck has a pattern of disparaging Jews and others he regards as different. He recently made a list of the nine people whom he said most contributed to the 20th century being the Era of the Big Lie. Eight of them were Jewish. His attacks on George Soros as a tyrannical “Puppet Master,” another common derogatory insult aimed at Jews, are infamous. And Beck has even perpetuated the intentionally incendiary allegation that Jews killed Jesus.
How is it that Beck doesn’t understand why people think he’s an anti-Semite? Even more perplexing, how is it that this repulsive, psychotic, purveyor of paranoid conspiracies and undisguised hatred manages to stay on the air despite dwindling ratings and scores of advertisers refusing to permit their ads to be aired during his hour of malevolent madness?
As disgusting as Beck is, we cannot let his protectors off the hook. Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch are just as culpable for providing the platform for Beck to disseminate his vile ravings. And so is Steve Lehman and the apologists at Premiere Radio Networks. They know full well what he is doing and have repeatedly expressed their support and agreement. On any other network, someone spewing the lies and hate that Beck does would have been fired long ago. Lucky for him he is employed by people who share his disdain for Jews, African-Americans, Muslims, Latinos, and anyone else they consider to be outside their exclusionary club.
Glenn Beck is a repugnant bigot with a diseased brain who needs to be, not just removed from the airwaves, but ostracized from society along with his Klan. Let him live in a mountainous compound with a militia of morons who believe he’s the Messiah, as he does himself. I am as strong an advocate of free speech as there ever was but, as we know, there are exceptions for incidents that incite imminent harm. Beck has already incited several cases of violence and we should not permit him to use the mass media to recruit more soldiers for his demented cause.
Now Beck has expanded his campaign of hate to tarnish a broad subsection of Judaism as akin to terrorists. A sane and compassionate culture ought not to tolerate this racist, Apocalyptic idiocy.
[Update:] After having his remarks denounced by the Anti-Defamation League as “bigoted ignorance,” and by the Union For Reform Judaism as “profoundly offensive,” Beck has issued an apology in which he concedes his ignorance and blames his repulsive comments on not having “done his homework.”
“To Abe [Foxman of the ADL] and everybody else, if I offended you it was not my intent. I see how I did that and I apologize for the action and the words. Nuff said.”
Nuff Said? Oh OK. Everything’s fine now and all of the other examples of bigotry, and the pattern of hate he has exhibited, is forgiven and forgotten. The attacks on George Soros, Francis Fox Piven, Cass Sunstein, Ezekiel Rahm, and his frequent use of Nazi and Holocaust analogies, none of which he has ever apologized for, are now wiped from the blackboard of accountability. Yeah sure. Beck’s apology wasn’t half bad until he got to the “nuff said” part. But it should be noted that he directed the apology to Abe Foxman and some vague “everybody else” rather than the real victims of his vitriol, Reform Jews. This shows that he is more intimidated by the ADL than he is remorseful toward those he offended.