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Glenn Beck’s Attack On ADL Reveals “Populist” Anti-Semiticism?

Reported by Priscilla - December 2, 2009 -

While many consider Glenn’s Beck movement to be “populist,” there are others, like Eric Boehlert, of Media Matters, who consider it “rampant partisan hatred” which acts on behalf of corporate interests and as such cannot be defined as populist; i.e. concern for the little guy. Jonathan Weiler wrote an excellent piece, on the Huffington Post, which describes the cultural phenomenon, epitomized by Glenn Beck, as a disparate and angry group who defy categorization. But if it is a populist movement, it joins an American strain of political thought which according to historian Richard Hofstadter, in describing 19th century populism, consisted of “nostalgic, backward-looking petty capitalists” who “were provincial, conspiracy-minded, and had a tendency toward scapegoatism that manifested itself as nativism, anti-Semitism, anti-intellectualism, and Anglophobia.” If you substitute Anglophobia for coastal “elites” you have the Glenn Beck movement. Until recently, I would have removed the anti-Semiticism; but recent events might show the ugly anti-Semiticism that just might lurk below the surface of Beck’s dark and conspiratorial world where “populism” is defined by a sense of victimization by the “other.” Hmmm, historically speaking, why does that sound familiar?

The ADL “fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.” As such, they are concerned about “white supremacy, the militia movement, neo-nativism and conspiratorial fantasies in all of their improbable permutations” and that is why they recently issued a report about domestic hate groups which have emerged since Obama’s election. The report, “Rage Grows In America, Anti-Government Conspiracies” refers to Glenn Beck as “hatemonger in chief” because he is “the most important mainstream media figure who has repeatedly helped to stoke the fires of anti-government anger." Beck held his fire for a while; but then responded by claiming, on his radio show: "For nearly a century, the Anti-Defamation League" -- which has as much to do, I believe, with the plight of the Jewish people as the National Organization of Woman has with the plight of women -- it is nothing, I believe, nothing but a political organization at this point. And I -- it, it kills me to say that." He challenged the ADL to "Name the person that has been more friendly to Israel ... Name the person who has spoken out more against the Holocaust deniers who are running Iran. Name the person in the mainstream media that speaks as passionately as I do ... because I see the Jewish people as people, and the leaders of Iran as monsters that want to finish the job that Hitler started. You name the person, Anti-Defamation League."

Not surprisingly, his response received a thumbs up from some in the white supremacist community, many of whom Beck has less than six degrees of separation from, who applauded him for standing up to a group which they despise. I’m not surprised about his response in which he claimed that he is a friend of Israel because Domionionist Christians (read John Hagee) take pride in their support for Israel while their affection for American Jews, the majority of whom are socially liberal and vote Democratic, is not so much. “Hollywood liberals,” so hated by radical right wing Christians, are really the “Hollywood Jews” that Joe McCarthy, the political forefather of today’s radical right, so disdained. The Israel connection is only because it is the place for the return appearance of Jesus. It’s not surprising that Beck is focused on Israel given that his guru, W. Cleon Skousen said the when Jesus touches down in Jerusalem the “Jews will gather around their Messiah in the deepest adoration, but they will be puzzled by the wounds in his hands. Gradually it will dawn on them that this is none other than Jesus of Nazareth, and the people will go into great mourning because their forefathers failed to recognize him when he came to earth, and they had him crucified. From that moment on, both Jews and Christians will worship the same Messiah” This is the same sentiment seen on the Fox Nation attack on Larry David thread in which the many anti-Semitic comments were peppered with references about how David will need to bow down to Jesus. Thus, the concern for Israel is not really political but religious. Certainly what American Jews stand for is antithetical to Glenn Beck’s hate filled agenda which, historically, the Jews have been on the receiving end of. It's worth noting that Beck thought that the Holocaust Museum shooter was just a lone gunman.

Instead of taking responsibility for his hate mongering, Beck blamed the ADL for “the plight of the Jewish people.” Surely as a “historian,” Beck should know that “the plight of the Jewish people” was the result of hate filled individuals and groups whose fear and loathing of the “other” was no different from the hatred being expressed by individuals and groups who worship Glenn Beck. Once again, there is rich irony in Beck’s attempt to paint Obama as Hitler...