NOTE: This article updates the Feb. 23 article below.
Commentator Glenn Beck has apologized for Thursday’s slur against Reform rabbis, in which he claimed they focus more on social justice than on religion, and used an analogy to radical Islam.
Read the whole statement on his radio program – and listen to it – on the Media Matters website and decide for yourself if he went far enough.
The Jewish Funds for Justice, which is conducting a campaign to get Beck fired, says no; in a statement issued Thursday the group said the apology is “welcome but incomplete,” arguing that he should have “acknowledged that the letter signed by 400 rabbis and organized by Jewish Funds for Justice represented a cross-section of denominations, including Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Renewal rabbis.”
To read the full piece from James Besser on his “Political Insider” blog on the New York Jewish Week website, <click here>
Beck compares Reform rabbis to radical Islam
(Feb. 23) Fox News host Glenn Beck said Reform rabbis are “almost like radicalized Islam” on his radio program Feb. 22.
Beck made the comments in the context of a wider discussion about a recent open letter, signed almost exclusively by non-Orthodox rabbis, criticizing him for repeatedly comparing his ideological foes to Nazis.
“There are the Orthodox rabbis and there are the Reform rabbis,” Beck said. “Reformed [sic] rabbis are generally political in nature. It’s almost like radicalized Islam in a way where it is just — radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics.”
In a brief aside, Beck said that he wasn’t saying Reform Judaism and radical Islam were the same. He went on to note that for Orthodox rabbis faith is primary, before reiterating that Reform rabbis place politics before religion.
Rabbi David Saperstein, the head of the Reform movement’s Washington office, the Religious Action Center, said the comments were “distasteful and offensive.”
The flare-up is the latest involving Beck and the Jewish community. The talk show host, whose television ratings were down 39 percent last month compared to January 2010, has come under fire for repeatedly comparing liberals to Hitler and the Nazis, and also for implying George Soros was a Nazi collaborator.
The Anti-Defamation League denounced Beck’s latest comments and demanded an apology.
“To compare Reform Judaism, which supports democratic institutions, to Islamic extremism, which supports anti-democratic movements and the repression of basic rights — including, for example, the denial of women’s rights — is beyond the pale,” said ADL chief Abraham Foxman. “Glenn Beck has no right to discount the faith of any people, and he should think twice before commenting on something he doesn’t know much about. He owes the Reform movement an apology.” — jta