Op-Ed: Moshe Feiglin's Take on Beck
Moshe FeiglinMoshe Feiglin is head of the Manhigut Yehudit [Jewish Leadership] movement...
It was hot on Monday, but I took my jacket along, nevertheless, hanging it on a hook in my car. It was the start of a long day of meetings, the pinnacle of which was to be a reception that Glenn Beck was holding for an exclusive group of people in a Jerusalem apartment, and I wanted to look my official best.
Beck is justifiably considered one of the best public relations people that Israel – and particularly the Israeli Right – has today. When you see an intelligent and articulate American gluing millions of Americans to their seats with the Israeli Right's case, making points that the Right dares not make, you immediately feel great pride and joy.
Glenn Beck is surely a great lover of Israel. He is not an active missionary and is not establishing a dubious charity foundation here. He is a very popular broadcaster; his job is public relations – what could be better than that?
But on Monday afternoon, I heard Glenn Beck speaking before the Immigration Committee in the Knesset. The main point of his message was that we must return to a policy of telling the people the truth. He called upon his listeners to attend an international event that he is organizing in support of Israel, to be held at the foot of the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount. Toward the end of his speech, Beck quoted the Scroll of Ruth:
"I invite you to join us," said Beck. "Your nation is my nation and your G-d is my G-d."
I must admit that when a friendly non-Jew starts to quote the Bible, I get a bit nervous. It is not just the long history of anti-Semitism that has developed a genetic mutation in the noses of Jews, giving them great sensitivity to anything that smells of Christianity - but also my own personal experience with avowed lovers of Israel and the settlers who took great pains to mask their Christian motives.
As Glenn Beck is not in the process of conversion to Judaism, it is impossible to understand his quote from the Scroll of Ruth as meaning, "I am joining you." Apparently, the real meaning of his words is "I am replacing you."
A quick study of Glenn Beck's speeches before non-Israeli audiences and a simple internet search of his biography show that he is a believing Mormon who is motivated by a deep religious consciousness. In a live broadcast from the Temple Mount, Beck theatrically shows his audience how in that very place, Jesus turned over the tables of the Jewish money-changers who served the pilgrims to the Temple. He forgot to mention that with this act, that man created one of the most blatantly anti-Semitic Christian legends that lives on to this very day.
The problem is not Glenn Beck's beliefs. Beck is a good person who believes in what he is doing. The problem is that the most loyal Jewish public is giving him its support without thoroughly checking his message. They are unwittingly abetting a very gentle and heartwarming type of modern crusade. From a religious point of view, there is no difference between the Western Wall and the Southern Wall, where Beck's event is planned. They are both walls of the Mount of G-d's House. Would we allow a group of Christians to spread its message at the Western Wall?
As long as Glenn Beck and his friends support Israel from the outside, understanding that your nation is your nation and my nation is my nation; that your god is your god and my G-d is my G-d, all is well and good and it is important to cooperate with them. But when it turns out that the agenda is actually replacement theology; a theology that aims to bring waves of Christian aliyah here and to use the Jewish renaissance in Israel as a springboard to a Christian renaissance – I cannot lend it the legitimacy of Manhigut Yehudit.
Glenn Beck speaks a lot about our obligation to tell the truth, so let us do just that: The Temple Mount is the home of the Holy Temple of the Jews – exclusively. All the non-Jews who understand that are invited to come to the Temple Mount (in the area where they are permitted according to Jewish law) to pray to the Master of the Universe, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Esau and Ishmael have their own holy places. Please honor our exclusive sovereignty over Jerusalem, including our spiritual sovereignty, just as we respect your spiritual sovereignty in your lands.
On Monday, my jacket remained in my car. And so did I.