Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Beck and Call - is this radio shock jock friend or foe to Israel?

As Glenn Back prepares to lead his so-called "Restoring Courage" rally near Dung Gate, an appropriately named Old City venue,the US consulate cautioned its diplomats from being near the area, for their own safety:

On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, there will be a rally held near the southeast corner of the Old City. The areas between Dung Gate and Lions Gate are off-limits to official U.S. Government personnel from 4:00pm until 10:00pm on that day due to recent clashes in that area.

Hmmm. Whose courage does the tear-prone radio shock jock wish to restore? So far, the reception for Beck, who at Caesaria pointedly criticized Jews for their "2000 year old flinch" from an embrace with Christians, has been decidedly ambivalent. Some Israeli critics shrug him off as a neo-fascist comedian, and the public have far more time for actor Jon Voight, who went to Beersheba hospital to hug rocket victims in front of the cameras. (He is Angelina Jolie's daddy, after all.)

Rachel Tabachnick, a researcher documenting Christian Zionism and Millennial Jews, sounds off in Haaretz about his message:
Beck headlined this year's conference of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), founded by televangelist John Hagee. Hagee had appeared several times on Beck's show, including one where they speculated the earth as we know it would end within 20 years.

Beck's embrace by Israeli leaders is further indication to Americans that support for Israel is becoming linked to an extreme political agenda in the United States. This threatens to alienate Jews and Christians, Democrats and Republicans.

Ironically, this alienation of Israel is seen by Christian Zionists as fulfilling end-times prophecy, which, they claim, requires a second Jewish holocaust before Jesus returns. Surviving Jews must accept Jesus before a 1000-year Christian utopia, ruled from Jerusalem, can begin.

Beck's cultivation of Israeli leaders follows, step by step, the instructions Christian Zionists have used to gain access to Jewish communities and leaders. One of the most popular of these manuals is the 2001 book, "Your People Shall Be My People," by Don Finto. Finto's network of evangelists is encouraging churches around the world to "bless Israel" by supporting Messianic Jewish ministries and proselytizing Jews. His book has been promoted internationally, including by directors of Hagee's CUFI.

Finto's book provides instructions to: 1 ) avoid overt proselytizing, 2 ) vocally repent of the Holocaust, 3 ) tell Jews that Christian Zionist support is modeled after the biblical story of Ruth with no strings attached, and 4 ) emphasize that Christian Zionists are Israel's only friends in an increasingly hostile world.

Simultaneously these evangelists help to foment hostility toward Jews by teaching a narrative in which Jews hold power over the future of Gentiles.

Beck contemplated switching the location of the event away from the base of the Temple Mount because he feared “40,000 Muslims” were going to gatecrash. It's to be held down in Davidson Center, for increased security. Speaker John Boehner urged US House members not to attend the event (to avoid the appearance of joining a political event while on a policy-related trip to Israel). Consequently, both Rep. Eric Cantor and Sen. Joe Lieberman cancelled their RSVPs. And in the post-earthquake anxiety in Washington DC and elsewhere, the atmosphere is increasingly apocalyptic.

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