The people and state of Israel, and the Jewish community around the world, is mesmerized by the appearance of television commentator Glenn Beck in Jerusalem, both for his address to the Knesset and for his 'Restoring Courage' rally near the Temple Mount. Love him or hate him-it is impossible to avoid him.
Beck has been given the red-carpet treatment by Knesset members Danny Danon and Nissim Ze'ev, who showed him around the country and invited him to speak before the Knesset's Immigration and Absorption Committee. Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger has gone so far as blessing Beck's rally.
Have we gone mad?
We have been beaten upside the head by years after years of negative media punditry often akin to blood libels-not to mention boycotts, divestments, sanctions, solidarity movements, 'apartheid' walls, flotillas, flytillas, UN resolutions, nuclear threats, and good-old-fashioned wars and terrorism - that we have become slap-happy and punch-drunk.
Any voice in the wilderness sounding a note of support to us comes as a breath of fresh air, and we welcome it with such ardor that we are willing to overlook potential faults and pitfalls - namely, that his seemingly pure and good-hearted motives just barely conceal political agendas and religious ideologies that ought to give Jews much pause.
This has happened before: After the bloody massacres perpetrated against the Jewish people by the Cossack Chmielnicki, the messiah came. So many Jews had prayed for the arrival of the promised savior that they were willing to accept Shabtai Tzvi, despite his glaring inconsistencies and violations of Jewish tradition.
Martin Luther started his anti-Catholic Church career by publishing a screed that was on its surface friendly and sympathetic to the Jews, in the hopes that the Jews would convert to his new religion, the as-yet-undefined Protestantism. The outcome is well known: We did not convert, and Luther turned his full vehemence on us. The Jews of Germany during the Reformation played on Luther's name, transliterating into Hebrew: Lo-Tahor, i.e.not clean.
After such experiences, we Jews have earned the right to be more than a little suspicious.
First and foremost, Beck is an ENTERTAINER. Make no mistake about it-as a TV host, an entertainer is ALL he is. He is not an elected official in any government. He is not an ordained clergyman of any faith. He represents nobody but himself, and perhaps the media conglomerates that employ him.
So the question must be posed: What in the world is a media figure doing addressing a legislative body? Has Oprah Winfrey ever addressed a joint session of Congress? How about Rush Limbaugh? Dennis Prager? Michael Savage? Or even, for the liberally inclined, pre-Congressional Al Franken? Anybody?
It is particularly galling that Beck, a non-Jewish entertainer, is given the Knesset podium as a bully pulpit when REAL Jewish teachers of REAL Torah - Rabbi Dov
What in the world is a media figure doing addressing a legislative body?
Lior and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of Sephardic elder sage Rabbi Ovadia Yosef - are almost arrested and removed for questioning ignonimously from their cars.
Have we resorted to defaming and imprisoning our rabbis, figures who ought to be respected and revered even if we disagree with their teachings, while deciding to take direction from a foreign entertainer just because he happens to make some noises in our favor?
And now that Beck has spoken before the Knesset and is given the green light in the staging of his 'Courage' rally, he believes he has earned the right to pontificate about all matters Israeli.
Specifically, he has called the current 'tent city' protests in Tel Aviv and other locations the doing of 'communists,' calling into question the financing of these protests and suggesting a sinister connection between the protesters in Israel and world socialism, framing the whole matter in the context of the sort of anarchists who protest G-8 meetings, and squeezing the square peg of what should be an internal Israeli matter into the round hole of his us-and-them, liberal-versus-conservative worldview.
Whether he is right or not, let him go on back to where he came from and stick to things he might actually know a thing or two about, and let Jews and Israelis handle Jewish and Israeli matters.
The way so many Jews fawn on Glenn Beck is appalling, regardless of how pro-Israel he positions himself. Equally disgusting is the knee-jerk manner in which Beck supporters (Jewish or otherwise) condemn anyone who dares dissent as a 'liberal.'
Well, this avowedly nonliberal editor dares to dissent, but on Jewish grounds.
We are believers, the children of believers, and although we have no one to lean on other than our Father in Heaven, even believing Jews who ought to know better have found something less than Divine to believe in. We have made for ourselves nothing short of a new golden calf, substituting it for our holy Torah and the voices of those who teach it. There are seventy faces to the Torah, as our sages teach, but we seem to insist on adding a 71st from outside the fold.
And even if Beck were 100% sincere, without any hidden agendas, we would still be very wise to heed the words of King David, in Psalm 146:3-4, read by devout Jews every morning: "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goes forth, he returns to his dust; in that very day his thoughts perish."