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Ron Radosh

In Praise of Glenn Beck: He Does the Job Everyone Else Ignores

June 2nd, 2011 - 12:17 pm

Today’s blog is a tribute to Glenn Beck, whose recent programs on Israel, anti-Semitism, and Jew-hatred of an Islamic strain have been unique in television fare, and in which Beck has been serious, passionate, and committed in his desire to defend Israel and to let Americans know why they should join him in this cause.

I have been critical of Glenn Beck many times in the past — I disagree with his penchant for accepting old John Birch Society figures’ views of our American past, particularly those of the late W. Cleon Skousen. As an autodidact, one of his problems is teaching as he learns something, and speaking out on a subject before he fully knows different interpretations and before he has had a chance to evaluate a subject thoroughly. I am especially critical of his brief discussion a year or so back on the topic of the 1950s in America and McCarthyism, and his reliance on the views of M. Stanton Evans. I and others have seriously dissected Evans in other venues.

But now, just as his ratings are evidently at an all-time low — although two million viewers per night is no small number — he has been devoting his air time the past few weeks to the need for defense of Israel and has been doing this in a way that no one else in the media is. Last night’s program, a careful overview of Jew-hatred through the centuries and a detailed look at the ties between Nazism and the Palestinian movement of the 1920s and 30s, was simply essential viewing for those who care about the future of the Jewish state.

First, look at the footnotes he provides on his website for the information he offered on the program. Viewers who take his admonition to look for them and actually read them will be led to a reprint of the important article that appeared a few years ago in The Weekly Standard written by the important German scholar Matthias Kuntzel, author of the very important book that came out in 2009 (which I wish he had included): Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11. The book includes an introduction by the distinguished historian Jeffrey Herf.

That might lead readers to Herf’s own very important book: Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, which recently came out in a paper edition. And that, in turn, might lead some to read Paul Berman’s book: The Flight of the Intellectuals: The Controversy over Islamism and the Press.

Yes, Beck is not an intellectual or an historian. But he thinks deeply and seriously about these issues, and urges regular Americans to study and learn, in this case, about the roots of anti-Semitism, the growth of Jew-hatred in our own time, and the reasons to defend and to cherish the state of Israel. No one else in the media has done as much to let Americans know about Islamist Jew-hatred and how it is being played out today. He shows his viewers videos from MEMRI’s own website that the major networks would never think of letting their viewers see.

Moreover, Beck is non-partisan when it comes to the issue. Twice on his program he quoted Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a leading liberal Democrat. Speaking at a Jewish function last Sunday, Schumer said:

The reason there is no peace in the Middle East is very simple. It’s because the majority of Palestinians and the majority of Arabs don’t believe there should be an Israel. It’s that simple. Anyone who tries to figure out a way to solve this conflict without realizing that truth will never get anywhere.

Schumer, of course, is correct. Beck has no hesitation in running the video of his comments — although on domestic issues, he has no love for liberal Democrats.

Those who did not see last night’s program have a chance to watch tonight’s, which promises to be of equal importance. Beck announced that he will devote his hour to Yad Vashem, the Israeli museum dedicated to the Holocaust and its victims, and its celebrating of the righteous Christians who risked their own lives to save Jews during the years of the Nazi onslaught. One of his guests will be a woman who was a young girl, who, during those years, lived in a sewer in Poland with her family, while a Christian regularly did their laundry, hid them from the authorities, and brought them food. She will tell her story tonight, and it promises to be one of great power.

Glenn Beck knows the difference between good and evil. One of the themes he has emphasized has been the affinity of sections of the international and U.S. left-wing with radical Islamists, and he has pointed to the role played by Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers in the forthcoming pro-Hamas flotilla scheduled for this June. Today’s New York Times reports that when another flotilla sails this month for Israel, it will include a ship carrying 34 Americans, including the noted African-American writer, Alice Walker. The ship will be named “The Audacity of Hope,” ironically lifting their title from President Obama’s own memoir, and obviously meant to show the president how he inspired them to act against Israel.

The story reveals that the American members are being organized by Leslie Cagan, whom the paper simply identifies as “a political organizer.” As usual, the Times story seeks to put Cagan in the best light possible. It would be far more accurate to call her an extremist of the far Left fringe in our country, as the entry on Discover the Networks shows in great detail:

Cagan was an original founder of the Committees of Correspondence, a splinter group rooted in the Communist Party USA (of which Cagan is a longtime member). A strong supporter of Fidel Castro, she proudly aligns her politics with those of Communist Cuba.

During the 1980s and 90s she was a leader of the Communist front group, the U.S. Peace Council, which was dedicated to defending and promoting Soviet aims in foreign policy.

Sometime around those years, I was pitted against her on a PBS TV talk show. I recall that the subject was the nuclear freeze that was so popular in that time. Cagan vigorously defended Soviet policy as anti-war, and blasted the U.S. for imperialism and warmongering. In 2003, Cagan chaired the International ANSWER anti-war rally in Washington, D.C., and heralded the Workers World Party’s leadership of it, and what she called “the hard-core left’s” leadership of the movement.

So now Cagan is joining her comrades Ayers and Dohrn for this new venture, supported as well by the left-wing lawyer Michael Ratner, president of the very misnamed Center for Constitutional Rights — the main legal supporter of terrorists and their backers in our country. What all these people are doing was explained correctly by an Israeli spokesman, Noam Katz, who called it “a political statement in order to support Hamas in Gaza.” For Cagan and company to compare themselves to the Freedom Riders who fought segregation in the 1960s is an affront to that cause and to its participants, and is typical of the kind of propaganda in which they regularly engage.

How sad that so many supporting the cause of terror and radical Islam are themselves Jews, who betray their faith and the heritage of their fathers and mothers and who reveal that the only cause they serve with fervor is that of international leftism and revolution, now in the service of radical Islam and those who seek to destroy Israel.

So kudos to Glenn Beck for pointing these things out daily, and for devoting his last months on Fox News to gathering support for the state of Israel.

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