Message to NRA & GOP: Stand with ADL and B’nai B’rith Against Beck

— by Aaron Keyak

Glenn Beck’s use of disgusting imagery, showing a leading Jewish American as a Nazi, at the National Rifle Association’s convention was deeply offensive. The NRA and Republican leaders must stand with the ADL and B’nai B’rith in condemning Glenn Beck — especially those who selected him to give the NRA’s keynote address. This isn’t only about what Beck said, but the disturbing fact that his stunt was embraced with applause and cheers by attendees at the NRA’s national convention. The NRA’s crowd is the Republican base and all Americans must take note.

Report from ABC News after the jump.
ABC News reported:

Glenn Beck roused the National Rifle Association’s annual convention this weekend with his attacks on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but he also aroused criticism by a major Jewish group for depicting the mayor giving a Nazi salute.

The head of the Anti-Defamation League called Becks’ comments “deeply offensive on so many levels,” and B’nai B’rith called for Beck to apologize.

“Glenn Beck, the keynote speaker at the NRA’s annual convention, trivializes the Holocaust when he compares New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Adolf Hitler,” B’nai B’rith told ABC News.

“The casual use of Nazi imagery or words serves to undermine the atrocities of the Holocaust. Glenn Beck should apologize,” the organization said. […]

Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, objected to the image and Beck’s comments:

“While he doesn’t say it, it seems Glenn Beck is implying through an image of Mayor Bloomberg in an apparent Hitlerian salute is that the mayor’s policies on gun ownership and other issues are turning New York city into a Nazi-like state. That suggestion is outrageous, insensitive and deeply offensive on so many levels,” Foxman said.

“Glenn Beck should know better. He has drawn similar inappropriate analogies to the Holocaust before. We wish he would stop trivializing the history of the Holocaust to score partisan political points,” he added.

Israel 10 Years Ago: Imagine a Boston Bombing Every Week

(CAMERA) In a piece in The American Thinker, novelist Noah Beck writes sympathetically about the tragic Boston Marathon bombing, calling victims “the epitome of innocent.” He continues:

But imagine if this happened again next week, at a pizzeria, killing 15 diners. And again, a week later, on a bus, killing 19 passengers. Then at a discotheque, killing 21 teens. Then at a church, killing 11 worshipers. And so on, with a new bombing terrorizing us almost every week.

Israelis don’t have to imagine; they just have to remember. Between 1995 and 2005, each year saw an average of 14 suicide bombings, murdering 66 victims. Two thousand two was the worst year, with 47 bombings that slaughtered 238 people. That’s almost one Boston bombing every week. Adjusted for population differences, Israel’s victims in 2002 amounted to the equivalent of three 9/11s in one year. And these bombing statistics don’t include all of the shootings, stabbings, and other violent attacks by Palestinian extremists during those years.

Unfortunately, as Beck notes, “the incidents usually received only scant and perfunctory media coverage, if they were mentioned at all.”

Shalom TV Live Premiers Today Throughout North America

— by Alan Oirich

Barack Obama, Glenn Beck, Ed Koch and Ehud Barak will headline the premiere of Shalom TV Live

Jews throughout North America will have a new channel available for viewing beginning today, February 1, 2012, as “Shalom TV Live” premieres with a wide array of programming.

Shalom TV Live can be viewed online on any computer or mobile device by visiting the Shalom TV Web site. The channel will also be premiering in New York City and in Miami on Hotwire Communications and will soon be carried on cable systems throughout the country.

The new television channel will compliment Shalom TV’s extremely successful Free Video On Demand programming which is currently available in more than 40 million homes on virtually every cable system in the United State and on Rogers Cable in Canada.

A Jewish “PBS-style” channel in the breadth of its programming, the first week of Shalom TV Live features:

  • the annual dinner of the Zionist Organization of America in NY and the addresses of ZOA President Morton Klein and keynote speaker Glenn Beck;
  • the Union For Reform Judaism’s Biennial in Washington, DC, with President Barack Obama, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky, and outgoing URJ President Rabbi Eric Yoffie,
  • an interview with former New York City Mayor Ed Koch
  • an interview with the recent past chairman of the Presidents Conference, Alan Solow, a longtime friend of President Obama.
  • And viewers will share in the fiftieth anniversary of the Foundation For Jewish Culture as its CEO, Elise Bernhardt, presents Jewish Cultural Achievement Awards to individuals who have made major cultural contributions, including Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt.

In addition, Shalom TV Live will feature a daily newscast from Israel, children’s programming every morning and afternoon, a series profiling the hottest Israeli musical artists (“Muzika”), and an “HBO-like” series following Jewish singles in their search for that special someone (“From Date To Mate”).

More after the jump.
Shalom TV Live will also provide viewers with a front-row seat to the outstanding programs presented at The 92nd Street Y in New York; and the channel’s Jewish Studies programming will enable one to learn to read and understand Hebrew (“From The Aleph Bet”), study a page of Talmud (“Dimensions of the Daf”), sit with rabbis from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem (“Rethinking Judaism”), and be introduced to the mysteries of Kabbalah (“Kabbalah Revealed”). Shalom TV also plans on telecasting live Friday Night Services preceded by a D’var Torah on the week’s Torah reading by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.

Shalom TV, a nonprofit network, is free of charge as both a VOD service and a live channel. Network president Mark S. Golub explains that the launch of the Shalom TV Live will do nothing to the Video On Demand programming which will remain available on all cable systems.

“There is something very exciting about doing live television,” Golub explains. “In addition to news from Israel, Shalom TV will now be able to cover breaking stories as they occur and our guests will be able to interact with our audience via telephone. And with a live channel, many Jews and non-Jews will find it especially easy to access Shalom TV and share in the information, education, and entertainment Shalom TV provides the entire community.”

To watch Shalom TV Live and to see the week’s program schedule; to access archived programs; and to find how to access Shalom TV’s Video On Demand network on your cable system, visit the Shalom TV Web site and click on “Find Us.” Everyone is also encouraged to call their cable provider and ask them to add Shalom TV Live to their channel lineup.

Shalom TV, America’s national Jewish television network, is available for free on virtually every cable system in America. It can be found in the free Video On Demand section on Comcast, Time Warner, Cablevision, Verizon FiOS, Antietam, Cox Communications, RCN, Bright House, Armstrong, Service Electric Cablevision, Service Electric Cable TV, Buckeye CableSystem, MetroCast, Blue Ridge Communications, Frontier, WOW!, Click!, GCI, and Rogers Cable (Canada).

Jewish Values Not on the Agenda For the 2011 Values Voter Summit

— David Streeter

2011 “Values Voter” Summit Schedule Featuring GOP Presidential Candidates To Conflict Yet Again with the Jewish High Holidays

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today criticized the 2011 Values Voter Summit in part because — for the third consecutive year* — the conservative conference coincides with the Jewish High Holidays. The 2011 Values Voter Summit, which will feature a majority of the Republican presidential candidates, perfectly symbolizes how the modern conservative movement does not include Jewish values under its umbrella. This year, the conference occurs on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

More after the jump.

NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:

Conservatives have been aggressively targeting Jews recently by touting their pro-Israel positions. But what they continually fail to understand is that pro-Israel rhetoric only goes so far. Polling consistently shows that the sweeping majority of American Jews abhor the conservative domestic policy positions — particularly on social issues — that will be discussed this weekend. With this in mind, American conservatives should explain how they intend to make Jews feel welcome in a political movement that advances an agenda opposed by most in the Jewish community and continually holds its flagship conference on the Jewish High Holidays.

This year’s conference falls on Yom Kippur — the holiest day of the year — and will likely have significant ramifications for the 2012 Republican presidential ticket. Such a repeated scheduling conflict further symbolizes that the conservative movement and the Republican Party do not represent the values of most American Jews. Quite simply, this weekend’s confab is a textbook example of why Jews remain solidly committed to the Democratic Party and its positions.

Republican presidential candidates attending this year’s summit include:

  • Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry
  • Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
  • Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain
  • Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Other Republican elected officials speaking this weekend include:

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
  • House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)
  • Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • Representatives Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Mike Pompeo (K-KS), Steve King (R-IA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH)
  • Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Leading conservative media personalities Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are also scheduled to speak.

In addition, the 2011 Values Voter Summit has many breakout sessions scheduled for the weekend that conflict with the sensibilities of most Jewish voters. While Republicans on Capitol Hill pay lip service to a supposed jobs agenda, this conservative summit focuses on such hot-button social issues as “How the Welfare State Erodes the Family,” “Exposing and Defunding Planned Parenthood, America’s Abortion Giant,” and “Straight Talk on Gay ‘Marriage'” [Values Voter Summit] — conflicting with the positions of the vast majority of American Jews.

With such an extreme lineup, most Jews would be unlikely to attend. But the scheduling of the event — which makes it impossible for any Jew observing Yom Kippur to attend — takes this year’s conference to new heights in repelling Jews from the conservative movement.

The 2011 Values Voter Summit’s content, in addition to its scheduling, contains nearly all of the elements that remind most Jews that today’s conservative movement and its Republican leaders do not reflect their values. Events such as this are a prime example of why the Democratic Party remains the historic and continued political home for the sweeping majority of American Jews.

* – Details:

  • In 2010, the Values Voter Summit was held September 16-19 — conflicting with Yom Kippur, which fell on September 17-18.
  • In 2009, the Values Voter Summit was held September 18-20 — conflicting with Rosh Hashanah, which fell on September 18-20.

Glenn Beck apologizes (sorta) but I’m not impressed

— Kol Ra’ash Gadol

After the ADL gets pissy with him Glenn Beck apologizes (sorta) for his rude comparison of Reform Jews to Islamic extremists but I have to say – I’m not impressed.

First of all, let’s just set aside for a moment the ridiculousness of mentioning Islamic extremists in every other breath – really, I have to say (I never thought I’d defend Beck in any way whatsoever) that really, his comments weren’t about Reform Jews being terrorists. While his comments were completely inane, his point was that Reform Jews are primarily a political organization rather than a religious one. How many ways this is a stupid comment leaves me gasping, but it’s not what most people seem to have taken it as — i.e. a claim that Reform Jews are terrorists.

However, the level of stupidity remains pretty high:

  1. Reform Judaism is not a political organization.
  2. Not just for the Reform.
  3. And Islam?

More after the jump.
1. Reform Judaism is not a political organization.

The now-taken-down Jonathan Marks piece (for which an apology was issued, but not by Marks) seems to have gotten what Beck was saying (without actually saying anything worthwhile). The claim he makes is that because Reform Jews tend to take certain kinds of political positions, that must mean that Reform Judaism isn’t a religion. Now, there are lots of things that I disagree with the Reform movement about. Religiously speaking, nearly everything, in fact. Having grown up Reform, though, and coming from a still-Reform family, I can surely say that knowledgeable Reform Jews are practicing a religion, not a political platform.

What’s really wrong here though is the premises that underlie Beck’s claim: Christians have a particular view of what it means to be a religion —  it isn’t necessarily one that matches up well with Judaism. Because Christianity is the dominant (i.e. more populous) religion in the USA, it is that view of religion which most people understand. But it’s not the only one. That view of religion claims that it is belief which is the central driving force behind spirituality. Let me be clear: I am not claiming that Christians think that one should not do what they call “works” — what I am saying is that “works” are derived from belief for Christians. For Jews, on the other hand, spirituality is derived from praxis – behaving a particular way.

Just in case anyone missed it, what Beck did was criticize Reform Judaism for being more like traditional Judaism – grounding its spirituality in behavior, That makes Marks’ piece particularly ironic. While I don’t think that what has come to be called “Tikkun Olam” (I won’t get into the difficulties of using that term here) is anywhere near enough for Jewish practice (I don’t have to, I’m not a Reform Jew), for Reform Jews, where it is in fact the mitzvot bein adam l’chavero (between one person and another) which are considered obligatory, their engagement in making sure that other human beings are treated with justice is, in fact, exactly what they ought to be doing. For Marks to say that it’s somehow a lack only shows his profound lack of understanding of both Reform Judaism and Judaism in general. In fact, to serve human beings through observance of mitzvot between one human and another are — if really engaged in as a regular practice- profoundly spiritual acts for Jews. For Reform Jews (by the way Mr. Marks “Reform” not “reformed” —  just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean you have to stoop to writing their name incorrectly), to engage in work to make sure that working people get a just wage (for example) is what lays the grounding for them to be able to say the Shema and be, as the rabbinic understanding is, an “eid” — a witness —  for God.

2. Not just for the Reform

While it’s ironic enough to have to break down why it’s part of a spiritual practice for Reform Jews to help their fellow humans and increase justice in the world, let’s not lose sight of the fact that these are obligatory for all, not just Reform, Jews. For Jews who are aligned with more traditional interpretations of Jewish law – in which halacha (Jewish law) is obligatory – it’s important to remember that Judaism for halachic Jews ( for whatever part of the spectrum they’re in) obliges us to also make no distinction between mitzvot bein adam l’makom and mitzvot bein adam l’chavero – obligations between one human and another and obligations between a human and God- those Jews who consider themselves traditional, halachic, Orthodox, Conservative, Mizrachi, Sephardi, Masorti, Hareidi or whatever are not doing what they are supposed to if they don’t act for the benefit of their fellow human beings. Simply keeping shabbat and kashrut isn’t even vaguely near enough. It may not technically be a violation of kashrut to allow workers at the slaughterhouse to be underpaid, but there’s a huge body of literature that very carefully lays out the mutual obligations (read: mitzvot — commandments or obligations) between an employee and employer, and, — I want to make sure this is very clear —  the obligation for Jews who see another Jew violating Jewish law — Jews are required to take action against Jews who violate the rights of workers because those laws are quite carefully spelt out in the Jewish legal works from the Talmud on.

So what’s the obligation if a non-Jew violates the rights of another non-Jew?

Well, you might get some people arguing that there isn’t one, but I think that’s a very difficult argument to make. Aside from the specific strictures that are laid out for Jews interacting with one another, there are plenty of general strictures that require an observant Jew to go beyond the minimum in assuring justice for others, for treating non-Jews with respect and dignity, and for working towards making the general society that we live in as Jews a just society – even the Noahide laws (laws that God commanded to non-Jews, there are seven of them) specify that no one can live in a society that doesn’t have a just legal system.

3. And Islam?

Well, I’m not an expert, so if anyone who is Muslim is reading this and I get it wrong, please forgive me. But from what I’ve learned from Muslims, Islam is very similar to traditional Judaism in that it is behavior focused. The goal is submission to God’s desire, which is accomplished through the five pillars. But the five pillars, as in Judaism, are just the beginning of how one expresses one’s devotion to God – there are all kinds of details, like one’s diet, and so on. but let’s also be clear about this: Islamic extremism is not a religion. As a matter of fact, there is a good amount of evidence that Islamic extremism may clothe itself in the language of religion, but the masterminds behind it tend not to be so very religious, but come from secular, often western-educated backgrounds. Like most extremism, Islamic extremism is not about submission to God, but about developing and maintaining earthly power and control over others – and that doesn’t make Islamic extremism significantly different from Christian, Jewish, Sikh or Hindu (name your favorite extremism) fanatics, who are not actually working to perfect themselves and their society, but to maintain control over others – women, people of other colors or races or nationalities, or who look, behave or believe differently – or for that matter, people of “your own group” whom you can manipulate into being ugly to others for no good reason.

In that sense, it isn’t Reform Judaism which is most like extremist Islam, but Beck and Marks, you may be familiar with a group that is very much like it. In fact, I believe I’ve heard of a group at this very minute working hard to deprive a large group of Americans of the ability to negotiate a fair wage for themselves. Say, that wouldn’t be one of yours, would it?

Reprinted courtesy of Jewschool.

Reform Movement Denounces Glenn Beck’s Attack on Religious Values

— Annette Powers

“Beck’s sweeping dismissal of the religious faith of a million and a half North American Jews was both tragic and outrageous.

Speaking on his Tuesday radio show, Fox News host Glenn Beck brought up the recent letter that more than 400 rabbis signed and placed as an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal criticizing him for repeatedly comparing his ideological foes to Nazis. He claimed that this letter, coordinated by Jewish Funds for Justice, was dominated by Reform rabbis, and dismissed the Movement as akin to “radicalized Islam.” Reform rabbis, he said, “are generally political in nature. It’s almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way.” His comparison was “not about terror,” he stressed, but “about politics, and so it becomes more about politics than it does about faith.”

In response to these remarks, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism issued the following statement:

We are deeply distressed by Glenn Beck’s profoundly offensive remarks about Reform Judaism and Reform rabbis.  Beck’s sweeping dismissal of the religious faith of a million and a half North American Jews was both tragic and outrageous.

Reform Judaism, a proud and venerable religious tradition, does not accept Mr. Beck as the arbiter of what is spiritual and what is not, of who has faith and who does not, of what constitutes real religion and what does not.   We respect his faith and demand that he respect ours.  Our members, who — like others in North America — apply their religious values to the problems of the broader society, are happy to have Mr. Beck disagree with us on any position that one or more of us may take, but not to make pronouncements and sweeping condemnations that he has neither the right nor the knowledge to make.

We are particularly incensed that Mr. Beck chose to compare Reform Judaism with “radicalized Islam.”  While noting that Reform Judaism is not about “terror,” he implied the opposite — or, at the very least, that the religious faith of the largest segment of North American Jewry is extremist and fanatic.

Mr. Beck’s comments are offensive to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike.  Speaking in sweeping generalizations about other religious traditions is offensive.  Imputing radicalism and fanaticism to large religious groups is offensive.  Dismissing the heartfelt religious beliefs of millions of North Americans is offensive.  Mr. Beck should be ashamed of his comments, and we hope that he will have the good sense never to repeat them.

Transcript of Beck’s comments follows the jump.

Reposted from Media Matters for America

Last month, 400 rabbis signed an open letter from Jewish Funds For Justice to Rupert Murdoch requesting that Glenn Beck be sanctioned for his false claims that George Soros collaborated with the Nazis.

Today, rather than apologizing, Beck lashed out at the rabbis. Beck falsely claimed that “all” of the rabbis who signed the letter came from the Reform movement of Judaism. Beck asserted that Reform Judaism is “more about politics” than about faith. Beck went on to liken Reform Judaism to “radicalized Islam.”

Transcript

PAT GRAY (co-host): And now remember, this is all fueled by an organization that Soros funds, that has a bunch of progressive rabbis that came out against Glenn and said —

BECK: OK, you have to — hang on just a second. When you talk about rabbis, understand that most — most people who are not Jewish don’t understand that there are the Orthodox rabbis, and then there are the Reformed rabbis. Reformed rabbis are generally political in nature. It’s almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way, to where it is just — radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at the Reform Judaism, it is more about politics. I’m not saying that they’re the same on —

GRAY: No, obviously not.

BECK: — and they’re going to take it at that, but — stand in line.

GRAY: “Glenn Beck says –“

BECK: It’s not about terror or anything else, it’s about politics, and so it becomes more about politics than it does about faith. Orthodox rabbis — that is about faith. There’s not a single Orthodox rabbi on this list. This is all Reformed rabbis that were — that made this list.

STU BURGURIERE (executive producer): Yeah, I don’t know that for a fact. I know that certainly this organization is a progressive political organization. And that’s fine.

These are pretty outrageous claims — even for Beck.

First of all, the letter was signed by rabbis from the Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstruction, and Reform movements. So Beck is dead wrong about that.

But more importantly, the Reform movement isn’t some fringe, radical group that has abandoned Judaism; it’s the largest religious denomination American Jews.

According to the National Jewish Population Survey 2000-01, 35 percent of American Jews consider themselves to be Reform, compared to 10 percent who consider themselves to be Orthodox and 26 percent who consider themselves to be Conservative.

Similarly, the survey found that 39 percent — a plurality — of American Jewish households that belong to a synagogue are Reform.

According to its website, the Union for Reform Judaism includes “more than 900 congregations in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands” and “is the largest Jewish movement in North America and represents an estimated 1.5 million Jews.”

That’s a lot of Jews that Beck just smeared.

Protocols of the Federal Reserve

Sean Wilentz explores the virulent anti-Semitic roots of Glenn Beck and the rest of the tea party crowd.

On September 22nd, amid a diatribe about House, Beck cited a passage from “Secrets of the Federal Reserve,” by Eustace Mullins. The book, commissioned in 1948 by Ezra Pound, is a startlingly anti-Semitic fantasy of how a Jewish-led conspiracy of all-powerful bankers established the Federal Reserve in service of their plot to dominate the world.

Read more in the The New Yorker