Speaking of the litany of vociferous condemnations that have been leveled against him for his stalwart support of Israel, Beck said, “No one wants to be on the point, the person that sticks out. My first death threat came in 2002 after my first visit to Israel and my declaration of support of the Jewish people and state. My latest death threat was today. And so I say: LO IRA. (Hebrew for “I fear not”). Condemn me. Target me. I will stand with Israel. I will stand with the Jewish people. And if they want to round us up again, I will proudly raise my hand and say, ‘Take me first.’”
Beck’s rally has generated a rancorous polemical debate in Israel with all sides weighing in. Standing outside the Dung Gate near the site of the rally, several dozen members of “Peace Now,” an arm of Israel’s radical Left faction, staged a vocal protest against Beck. Holding aloft signs saying, “Glenn Beck: Go Home” and “Peace Takes Courage” they called on the right-wing American broadcaster to leave Israel and take his message elsewhere.
Jerusalemite Danielle Blumenstyk, 25, said that she came to the protest because “we think Glenn Beck is a racist and an extremist. He claims to be a friend of Israel but he is only causing more and more damage to Israel’s image in the world.” She said that Israel “is unfortunately so unpopular in the world right now that the second someone says they like us we’re quick to say he’s our friend. But Beck is not our friend, he’s a lunatic.”
Danny Danon, deputy speaker of the Knesset and prominent member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, was one of the first Israeli legislators to embrace Beck, having invited him to address the Knesset Committee on Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs last month. Attending the rally along with other right-wing elected officials and leaders of the settler movement, Danon said, “We have too many enemies around the world, so even when true supporters of the State of Israel come to visit – there are those among us who don’t know how to honor and appreciate them. Despite criticism from left-wing organizations, we must say that Glenn Beck represents dozens of millions of people who support him and his opinions. We are proud of this relationship and not embarrassed by it. Anyone who supports Israel in such a brave way must be supported.”
Former Jerusalem city councilwoman, Mina Fenton, also went on the offensive in attacking the “Restoring Courage” rally. Known for her outspoken criticism of Evangelical Christian aid to Israel, Fenton asserts that Beck and others like him harbor missionary motives. “The exclusivity for the source of holiness of the Temple Mount, the site of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, and was so for about 1,700 years before anyone even heard of the idea of Christianity,” Fenton said, adding that, “holding a Christian event near the southern wall will help in strengthening the Christian ‘Returning to Zion’ project that any Christian organization that respects itself initiates. They actually say that this area belongs to them.”
Concluding his address with an appeal for action amongst his supporters, Beck said, “You were not born so someone else could rule over you. God did not create you, endow you with rights so you could remain silent while injustice and evil grow. You have a purpose and it is rooted in love, compassion and responsibility. There are many reasons to hear my words, leave here and do nothing. We all have been trained to believe that we are not strong enough, smart enough or powerful enough. Abraham was old, Moses was slow of speech, Ruth was a widow, David was a little boy, Joseph was in prison, and Lazarus was dead. What is your excuse?”
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