Thursday Aug. 25, 2011 3:18 PM (EST+7)
ON THE GROUND: Right wing America goes on display in Jerusalem
By EVAN BARTON
Read more: Glenn Beck, American, media, conservative, right-wing, rally, Jerusalem, Old City, Tea Party, Palestine-Israel Conflict, Green Line
RAMALLAH, August 25 (JMCC) – Media pundit Glenn Beck’s attitudes towards Jews and Muslims were not far from the minds of those who encountered his “Restoring Courage” event in Jerusalem Wednesday.
Beck met with American followers at a pavilion near Jerusalem’s sensitive Muslim and Jewish holy sites, advocating for “courage” in Israel and affirming a pro-Israeli position on the land conflict in the region.
In his speech, Beck established himself as a friend to the Jewish people.
“Without the Jewish people,” he noted, “humanity would never know that every single individual life has dignity, that every single life is sacred.” Beck also asserted the importance of the Jewish people in the Bible.
At one point during the rally, Beck lauded individuality as a human right, while disparaging human rights organizations moments later.
Given the Obama administration’s recent call for Israel to accept the 1967 Green Line as the contours of a future Palestinian state, a stance Israel has rejected, Becks’ praise of individualism and support of Israel were a marked denunciation of the White House’s official policy towards Israel.
Herman Cain, a Republican candidate for US president, was attending the event wearing a black skullcap.
Cain is a former CEO of Godfather Pizza, and has courted the right-wing “Tea Party”, an anti-government and anti-taxation faction of the Republican party.
A small crowd of supporters followed Cain as he made a tour around the terrace in front of the Western Wall. His backers were handing out campaign leaflets describing his policies.
Most of those attending the rally were Beck followers who came from the United States to hear him speak.
“It’s about time someone came out and said that we stand with Israel,” a Beck supporter from Texas said after the speeches.
Beck ended the rally with a prayer and people left the area appearing heady with nationalistic sentiment for Israel and right-wing American ideology.
Those without tickets to the rally were able to view it from an outlook above the excavation area. Israelis and foreign tourists alike came to see Beck, many carrying Michele Bachmann 2012 posters and other political memorabilia. Beck’s speech was easily audible in the area open to the public.
The controversial pundit had presented a show on Fox News but came under criticism following his statement that George Soros was “the puppet master” of the world economy, a comment many said smacked of anti-Semitism. He resigned from Fox News last June.
Beck has also been clearly antagonistic to Muslims. “Ten percent of Muslims are terrorists,” he once said on a radio program. He also demanded Muslim US congressman Keith Ellison “prove” he was not working with US enemies.
Beck’s record of intolerance wasn’t far from the minds of many encountering the event. “I don’t think he’s anti-Semitic,” one Israeli man said. “Did you hear what he just said?”
Around the rally, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and all manner of tourists continued their everyday activities at the holy sites. Tourists and religious pilgrims made the trek to the Western Wall, and Muslims filed into Damascus Gate in order to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.