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Glenn Beck Apologizes for Reform Leaders-Muslim Radicals Analogy

Glenn Beck apologizes for “the worst analogy of all time” in which he compared Reform Jewish leaders with Muslim radicals.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/27/2011, 2:21 PM / Last Update: 2/27/2011, 3:03 PM

Glenn Beck has apologized for what he called “one of the worst analogies of all time,” in which he compared Reform Jewish leaders with Muslim radicals.

Last week, the popular talk show host said on that Reform leaders are "generally political in nature,” but continued, "It's almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way, to where it is just -- radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at the Reform Judaism, it is more about politics. I'm not saying that they're the same.

“It's not about terror or anything else, it's about politics, and so it becomes more about politics than it does about faith. Orthodox rabbis -- that is about faith."

In fact, the Reform stream of Judaism rejects the concept of  G-d given commandments,  takes the Torah and adapts its contents for political and social issues, while rejecting the authority of Torah sages. However, Beck's comparisons with Muslim radicals got him in trouble with all of the American Jewish community, including leaders of the Orthodox and Conservative movements.

It was Beck’s second run-in with Jewish clergy.  Last month, a group of 400 Conservative and Reform rabbis  posted a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal, condemning Beck for negative comments about secular anti-Zionist Jewish billionaire George Soros, whom Beck described as collaborating with the Nazis.  At that time Orthodox and Zionist leadership came out for Beck and it was the clergy's ad that was severely criticized. A letter by ADL director Abe Foxman against the ad was printed in the NY Times.

Beck’s apology for the analogy of Reform leaders and Muslim radicals focused on what he called his own ”ignorance” and the need to apologize when one is wrong. He did not address the issue of Reform leaders’ concentrating on political issues.

“I was admittedly misinformed on Reform rabbis, and made a horrible analogy that I immediately attempted to clarify – quite honestly, I blew it on this one,” Beck stated in his apology, which the Anti-Defamation League accepted.

“We welcome his words of apology and consider the matter closed,” ADL director Abe Foxman said.. However, the Jewish Funds for Justice stated, “Glenn Beck’s apology for comparing Reform Judaism to ‘radicalized Islam’ is welcome but incomplete. He still has not acknowledged the letter signed by 400 rabbis.”

In his six-minute apology, Beck said, "I was having a conversation with a few friends the night before, one of whom I trust on things like this, and I'm not even sure if I misunderstood him or misheard him or what but I certainly had not done enough homework to go on the air and haphazardly make a comment like I did.

“It was a nightmare.  Halfway through [his on-air analogy], I knew no way, [but] I am on the air for four hours every single day, live. That is a recipe for disaster; that is trouble."

Concentrating on his relationship with listeners, Beck commented, “We have been together for so long, and you know me, and I feel that I know you. And when you have that kind of relationship, you are talking like in a cubicle.

“I told you to guard your credibility. There is no way you will never be wrong, and the people around the cubicle know that if you make a mistake, you have to correct it…. Abe Foxman brought this to my attention, I don’t agree with Abe Foxman [on issues], but on this one he is right. If I offended to you, it was not my intent.”