By Ted Belman
Reform Judaism just issued this Press Release.
Reform Movement Denounces Glenn Beck’s Attack on Religious Values
NEW YORK — 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.”
[Seems fair comment to me. T Belman]
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.
Firstly I should point our that my reading of what was attributed to Beck was that he was not talking about Reform Judaism when he referred to the “Movement” but about “Jewish Funds for Justice”. For the purpose of this post, I will assume that I am wrong in this.
Rabbi Yoffie attributes many things to Beck that he didn’t say or imply and then goes on to criticize him for saying it. Beck did not say or imply that Reform Judaism is extremist or fanatic. All he said was that it was “almost” like radical Islam in that they both reflect politics more than faith. I personally am against this comparison because there is no comparison in degree.
All religions must be subject to critical examination. Particularly Islam. It is totally legitimate for Beck and all of us, to say that Islam is political and criticize its politics or to criticize its values. Rabbi Yoffie would deny us that right when he says he “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.” He goes to accept criticism of what any one may have said but complains when he makes “sweeping condemnations”. But isn’t one entitled to make such sweeping condemnations of Reform Judaism when 400 Reform Rabbis sign on to the statement or when the facts support such condemnations?
He accuses Beck’s speech as being “offensive”. Maybe what he said was offensive. So what. All that matters to me is whether it is truthful or supported by the facts. Joffie seeks to restrain free speech in the name of political correctness. No thanks.
Islam’s values are embodied it its horrendous Sharia Law. These values must be attacked.
Now that Soros has attacked Beck for using Nazi tactics. Commentary weighs in .
by Alana Goodman
Recently, a George Soros-funded group called Jewish Funds for Justice issued a public letter from 400 Rabbis denouncing Fox News and Glenn Beck for using Nazi imagery to characterize ideological adversaries during broadcasts.
Will the same group now speak out against Soros’s new allegations that Fox News is using Nazi tactics?
Here’s an excerpt from Soros’s tirade against Fox News on CNN Sunday morning:
“Well, look, Fox News makes a habit — it has imported the methods of George Orwell, you know, newspeak, where you can tell the people falsehoods and deceive them,” Soros said. “And you wouldn’t believe that an open society and a democracy, these methods can succeed. But, actually, they did succeed. They succeeded in — in Germany, where the Weimar Republic collapsed and you had a Nazi regime follow it. So this is a very, very dangerous way of deceiving people.”
In the Jewish Funds for Justice letter repudiating Glenn Beck – which was published in the Forward and the Wall Street Journal – the group unequivocally criticized the use of Nazi and Holocaust comparisons to smear political opponents.
“In the charged political climate in the current civic debate, much is tolerated, and much is ignored or dismissed,” the organization wrote. “But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organization you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only ‘left-wing rabbis’ who think so.”
In the aftermath of the anti-Beck letter, several Jewish leaders suggested that the Jewish Funds for Justice campaign was politically motivated because it only targeted conservatives. A Jewish Funds for Justice communications official told me she was aware of Soros’s remarks, but was unable to provide comment on them as of the time of this posting.