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JewishJournal.com

August 16, 2011

PRO: Glenn Beck’s unwavering support for Israel

http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/glenn_becks_unwavering_support_for_israel_20110816

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck

Find the con column here: Glenn Beck Rally in Jerusalem: Bad for the Jews!

“Israel must have our support, and I’m not talking about military support; I’m saying they must have our support as a people. They have a right to survive and to be free from extermination and the people who want to vaporize them. They have a right to defend themselves. Will Americans stand up and say that? [Israel has] a right to hold on to the land taken as a buffer zone between them and the people who want to kill them. That’s the support they deserve, the support they have earned and the support that is required.”

No, this statement was not made by Benjamin Netanyahu; it was made by Glenn Beck during his program on Fox News a couple of months ago.

As the most hated cable news host among the left — and especially among liberal Jews — Beck emerged as the medium’s most pro-Israel commentator. This was very welcome news for me, as when he first began broadcasting for Fox News a few years ago, he focused almost exclusively on domestic issues, advocating strict libertarian policies for America. For the most part, he steered clear of issues related to defense and international relations. As such, I feared he was in the mold of Ron Paul.

But then something changed. About a year ago, when the flotilla incident occurred, Beck was out in front, reporting on Israel’s right to self-defense, while so many others in the mainstream media were ambiguous or hostile toward the Jewish state. I decided to watch Keith Olbermann on one of the nights following the incident, and his entire coverage was relegated to a biased interview with one of the “peace activists” on the ship.

Conversely, Beck did two consecutive shows devoted to defending Israel’s actions in the flotilla incident, as well as educating his audience about the creation of Israel, the history of the Jewish people and anti-Semitism. Furthermore, during the last several months,  Beck has devoted large segments of his shows to discussing how the tumultuous uprisings in the Middle East will affect Israel’s security. Unlike many in the liberal media who blindly cheer these revolutions, Beck — with the fate of Israel on his mind — is engaging the issue with a healthy dose of skepticism. Beck understands that Egypt, under the ousted President Mubarak, kept peace with Israel for 30 years. Now, the virulently anti-American and anti-Israeli Muslim Brotherhood is poised to take power. In addition, Egyptian presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei — the lauded “progressive” among Western leftists — said: “If Israel attacked Gaza, we would declare war against the Zionist regime.” It looks like Beck’s skepticism about the fate of Israel vis-a-vis the Egyptian uprising is well founded.

On his Fox News show, Beck repeatedly stated that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that shares America’s values of freedom and human rights. In March, Beck began the show with the statement, “Tonight I stand with Israel,” and then asked: “Tens of millions of Arabs have suffered atrocities at the hands of their own countries … but Israel is the evil one — that is the obstacle to peace? … How many homosexuals have been stoned to death by the Israelis? … How many terrorists are wearing a yarmulke?”

On his program during the week of Passover, Beck played the part of a rabbi giving a sermon or a Hebrew school teacher giving a lesson as he spoke beautifully about the seder. In fact, he sat down at his own authentic seder, complete with matzah, gefilte fish, maror, karpas and more.

He then explained why supporting Israel is a moral imperative: “The world wonders why it is that most Americans sympathize with the Israelis in their continual battle with the Palestinians and the Arab world. I don’t think it’s that hard to understand. Israel is a democracy. It’s the closest thing to what we understand as freedom in the entire Middle East. We relate to that. But maybe more importantly, we share common values.”

Beck also compared the story of the Jews leaving Egypt with the story of the Pilgrims coming to America, as they both faced hardships to escape oppression: “The story is the same for America and Israel and all over the world. … With Israel, Americans have a shared culture, shared history and values. We have been close allies since their inception. … There have been occasional bumps in the road with our relationship with Israel, but we have stood by them when no one else would. But now I fear that seems to be changing.”

There is absolutely nothing like this from liberal cable news hosts. Even Bill Maher, who normally defends Israel against the venom of his radical guests, said he understands how some could view the Jewish state as “thugs” for being an “occupying army.”

The truth is that if one wants to find consistent pro-Israel coverage, Beck is the person to listen to. The problem is that, for so many liberal Jews, hate of the right overwhelms their love for Israel. As such, they marginalize Beck, even though he is without question the media’s most outspoken supporter of Israel. This is unfortunate, as in this time when Israel is isolated internationally, decried as an apartheid state on college campuses and constantly threatened with annihilation, Beck’s voice is so necessary and precious. One of the most popular political commentators in America is using his fame for great good — to bring awareness and respect to the Jewish state.

On Aug. 24, Beck is holding a pro-Israel rally in Israel to bring awareness and support to the tiny Jewish state. Thank you, Glenn, for your unwavering support for Israel. We need more people in the media like you.

Sammy Levine is the creator of the pro-Israel Web site counterboycott.org. He has worked for the Dennis Prager Show and is now an assistant producer at PJTV.com.

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