When Mormon media figure Glenn Beck was under attack last year by major Jewish groups for inappropriate comments he made about financier George Soros, one of the few Jewish leaders to defend him was Mort Klein, the head of the far-right Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Last week Beck returned the favor by accepting the ZOA’s Defender of Israel Award at the group’s annual fundraising dinner. Given that the honoree staunchly defended Israel, invoked the Holocaust, and made a mysterious prediction, his performance was entirely predictable.
The large ZOA crowd served as a giant echo chamber for Beck’s hour-long stemwinder, which by all accounts enthralled the audience. Condemning the world for “aiding and abetting the ranting of madmen who are out to destroy Israel and the Jewish people,” Beck went on to compare Israel’s predicament to the appeasement of the Nazis in 1939. Although I don’t understand why Beck can’t seem to speak about Jews without invoking the Holocaust, I have to agree with him here. I only see a difference in capability, not intent, between Hitler’s anti-Semites, the militants of Hamas and Hizbollah, and President Ahmadinejad of Iran.
However, Beck being Beck, he couldn’t stop at merely defending Israel, sometimes in apocalyptic terms. He also found a way to shift the focus to his Messiah complex, prophesying that “There is an 18-month window” in which to change the world, “and I believe I know how to do it.” He promised to clear up the mystery on December 8 with a public announcement to let the rest of us know where he is headed. I don’t know about you, but the suspense is killing me.
I only write about Glenn Beck when he makes news in the Jewish community, and every time I do his supporters accuse me of shilling for George Soros and/or my paymasters in the Democratic Party (note to George and Dems: if you’re reading this, I need a big raise). He’s one of the most prominent Mormons in the country, so I’d really like to be able to embrace him and his ideas. Unfortunately, Beck sometimes makes that hard to do. In this case, claiming unique prophetic insight and offering yourself up as a savior to Israel and the world in the next 18 months are non-starters for me. At the ZOA dinner, Beck lamented the fact that “[today] mad men speak, and the world hears and it is aiding and abetting.” One can’t help but wonder whether his hearers felt pangs of guilt.