The thing about right-wing talk show hosts is that their whole shtick is outrageousness; attacking them for their hyperbolic anger is sort of like attacking Natalie Portman for being beautiful and talented.
Still, that hasn’t slowed down the Jewish Funds for Justice, which is continuing its intense criticism of Beck – who has responded as… well, as expected.
In a recent Washington Post op ed, JFSJ president Simon Greer again slammed Beck for claiming that a “social justice” religious focus is the first step toward Nazism.
“Mr. Beck, you are a con man and America is not buying it,” Greer said in the article. “When churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship across this country advocate for social justice, advocate for the common good, advocate for America, they, and we, walk in God’s path.”
Tikkun Olam, of course, is a major focus of the entire Reform movement, the largest Jewish religious stream. it’s a significant focus for many Conservative Jews, and I haven’t heard Orthodox leaders argue in favor of Beck’s view of the world. Social justice is a core function of the huge network of Jewish community agencies around the country, the major Jewish defense agencies, dozens of Jewish community groups like the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs and countless individual synagogues.
Which means that Beck perversely believes that pretty much the whole Jewish communal establishment is on a path that leads to Naziism
Greer’s essay prompted a new outburst from Beck, who said on this program that Greer’s defense of social justice activism is the kind of thinking that “leads to death camps.” (listen to Beck’s response here)
For good measure, Beck added that “A Jew, of all people, should know that.”
Read Greer’s response here. He said: "Beck’s reflexive hatred for government is rejected by Americans of all backgrounds, who have seen the powerful role government can play in providing us with greater freedom, security, and opportunity."
I wonder about that. Beck and the other right-wing talk show hosts remain enormously popular; you can’t tune through the AM radio dial without hearing their anti-government rants. Isn’t the problem that Beck, et al, both fuel and tap the rage that has beset the nation and caused virtual paralysis in our political system?
The latest exchange has led the cautious, mainstream American Jewish Committee to blast Beck for “his verbal assault” on Greer and to “use his program to apologize for invoking Nazi and Holocaust imagery.”
“Glenn Beck’s assertion on his radio program that Simon Greer’s advocacy for social justice ‘leads to death camps’ is outrageous and inexcusable,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “We agree with Simon that Beck unconscionably crossed the line by invoking Nazi and Holocaust imagery to advance his political agenda.”