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Beck’s Holocaust revision is a threat to history
by Simon Greer
Guest Columnist
Nov 18, 2010 | 5098 views | 13 13 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Nov. 11, Glenn Beck and the leadership of Fox News made a mockery of their commitment to me and two rabbis. Let me take a few steps back to tell you why what happened scares me.

On Tuesday night, many in our community were gathered together, in Brooklyn, in Dayton, in Santa Barbara. Seventy-two years ago, the homes, shops, and synagogues of many of our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were ransacked, broken, and burned as Nazi storm troopers destroyed towns and villages across Germany and Austria. Many historians view Kristallnacht as the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.

Washington Post journalist Dana Milbank has observed that Fox News host Glenn Beck has a bit of a Nazi fetish. From Obama’s inauguration through June 2010, Beck had “202 mentions of Nazis or Nazism, according to transcripts, 147 mentions of Hitler, 193 mentions of fascism or fascist, and another 24 bonus mentions of Joseph Goebbels.”

On Nov. 11, he spoke again about the Holocaust. But it was not to commemorate Kristallnacht. It was to engage in an insidious form of Holocaust revisionism. His motivation? To score political points against George Soros, a prominent Jewish philanthropist and Holocaust survivor.

As many of you know, I was the subject of a personal attack by Beck in May of this year. Responding to an article I wrote supporting a government role to advance the common good, Beck scolded me, declaring that my words “are what led to the death camps in Germany” and that I “as a Jew, should know better.”

To discuss this and other, similar comments, on July 26, I joined rabbis Steve Gutow and David Ellenson, on behalf of 14 prominent leaders of national Jewish organizations, in a meeting with Fox News President Roger Ailes and the producer of Beck’s television show, Joel Cheatwood. We spoke for almost an hour about the concerns held by many Jews about Beck’s constant and often inappropriate invocation of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany on the air.

We were assured by Ailes and Cheatwood that they understand our concerns and would explain them to Beck. Two days later, I received a hand-written note from Beck, which stated: “Simon, Joel shared the details of your meeting yesterday. Please know that I understand the sensitivity and sacred nature of this dark chapter in Human History. Thank you for your candor and helpful thoughts.”

But on Nov. 11, Beck and the leadership of Fox News made a mockery of their professed understanding.

In his own words, “George Soros used to go around with this anti-Semite and deliver papers to the Jews and confiscate their property and then ship them off. And George Soros was part of it. He would help confiscate the stuff. It was frightening. Here’s a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.” (See story page 10.)

No one who truly understands “the sensitivity and sacred nature” of the Holocaust would deliberately and grotesquely mischaracterize the experience of a 13-year-old Jew in Nazi-occupied Hungary whose father hid him with a non-Jewish family to keep him alive. Many other Jews survived the attempted extermination of the Jewish people by changing their identities and hiding with Righteous Gentiles. With today’s falsehoods, Beck has engaged in a form of Holocaust revisionism.

I have had the privilege recently of getting to know Soros. During our conversations, he made it clear that his experience surviving the Holocaust seared a simple but profound truth in his brain. Jews suffer in nationalist societies and thrive in open societies. When Soros began his philanthropy, it was driven by this insight. It’s why he named his foundation the Open Society Institute. This year alone, he has donated $700 million in an effort to make the world safe for all outsiders, to protect the weak from being preyed on by the powerful. It is what motivated one of his sons to pursue a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies, with a focus on Modern European Jewish history.

Yet according to Beck, Soros “is a collaborator” who “saw people into the gas chambers.” So what’s the truth? It’s no secret. Here is the account provided by Michael T. Kaufman in his 2002 biography, Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire:

“This is what actually happened. Shortly after George went to live with Baumbach [the Righteous Gentile hiding Soros], the man was assigned to take inventory on the vast estate of Mor Kornfeld, an extremely wealthy aristocrat of Jewish origin. The Kornfeld family had the wealth, wisdom and connections to be able to leave some of its belongings behind in exchange for permission to make their way to Lisbon. Baumbach was ordered to go to the Kornfeld estate and inventory the artworks, furnishings, and other property. Rather than leave his “godson” [Soros] behind in Budapest for three days, he took the boy with him. As Baumbach itemized the material, George walked around the grounds and spent time with Kornfeld’s staff. It was his first visit to such a mansion, and the first time he rode a horse. He collaborated with no one and he paid attention to what he understood to be his primary responsibility: making sure that no one doubted that he was Sandor Kiss. Among his practical concerns was to make sure that no one saw him pee.”

Of all the new Tea Party leaders, Beck is one of the most vitriolic, and — with more than 800 hours of on-air time a year — the most visible. His portrayal of Soros today as the “Puppet Master,” as the special was called, evokes anti-Semitic stereotypes from the “devaluer of many currencies” to “advocate for one world government” from “anti-American” to “thinks he’s smarter than the rest of us.”

Beck’s words have consequences. They advance a worldview that ultimately places Jews like Soros in the crosshairs, not unlike what we saw with Father Coughlin in the 1930s or the John Birch Society in the 1950s. Byron Williams, a Beck acolyte who recently engaged in a shoot-out with police on his way to kill “people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU,” shares his hero’s hatred of Soros and other “progressives.”

Given the more than 40 percent of Jews self-identify as liberal, this hatred targets us.

 

(Simon Greer is president and CEO of Jewish Funds for Justice.)

Comments
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Agent of Truth
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December 01, 2010
People need to wake up the fact that Glenn Beck is simply another opinion pushing charlatan who is a product of mormon cult theology that he mixes with parts of Catholicism and his personal core as a dry alcoholic. And for the record, he is a Mormon and not a Christian. The two are not the same as one is a cult and the other is a religion. This makes Glenn Beck one very twisted screwed up moron who sold his soul to the lowest common denominator of personal stupidity. And for the record…the religion of Islam has far more in common with Christianity than the mormon cult.

The truth about Beck is that he a dry mormon alcoholic who never got the counseling required for alcoholics. Because he does not possess a single ounce of journalistic integrity, this makes him the perfect abortion poster child for Fox Network. Considering the fact that Beck’s personal views are extreme Marxist Libertarian, his form of patriotism is false and he is a person who has no real substance or depth.

Glenn Beck consistently demonstrates all the unstable behaviors of a dry alcoholic which include grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance, impulsivity, ADD, indecisiveness and blindness to truth. In short, Beck, Limbaugh, O Reilly, Hannity, Palin, O Donnell, Coulter and others like them frequently pervert truth, history, facts, religion and the US Constitution when they open their big mouths. Beck is simply part of a national league of pseudo-conservative idiots who make big money by selling lies and half truths to impressionable fools that occupy the lowest levels of society. Basically…tea baggers and registered republicans who are condemned to repeat the mistakes of history.

A concerned reader
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November 21, 2010
All you have proved, Mr. Wiseman, is that you support a man (Beck) who has more than once singled out and targeted a Jew. Whether or not you agree with or like George Soros, and/or what horrible or good things he has to say or has said, is immaterial.

Blaming Soros for issues, problems and events for which he is clearly not responsible, and claiming that he is manipulating and controlling governments are allegations lifted directly from "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The same allegations have been used to justify, incite and encourage anger and violence against, and murder of Jews since the books first publishing. The very title of "The Puppet Master" was used to show that George Soros, a Jew, was somehow controlling the fate of democracy, the economy, and the world.

Mr. Wiseman, you've not only sided with someone who has created his own modern adaptation of "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," but also a man who is comfortable using and distorting the history and imagery of Nazi Germany and the holocaust.
Dan Wiseman
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November 21, 2010
Soros is what would be called a "non-Jewish" Jew. He is totally comfortable being anti-Israel and is anti-Jews and anti-Judaism in philosophy. Beck has done extensive research on Soros, which you can find on Beck's website at:

http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/47856/

for just some of the comments, see below:

In a 1998 interview with Steve Kroft, Soros was asked if he felt guilty about confiscating property from Jews as a teenager. He responded, “No.” George Soros 60 Minutes Interview – 12/20/98

- “I don’t deny the Jews their right to a national existence–but I don’t want to be part of it.” That experience notwithstanding, Soros has chosen to exclude Israel and Jewish causes, by and large, from his massive philanthropy-a decision that has caused comment among one of his colleagues in the financial community, particularly those who are strong supporters of Israel. In Hungary, Soros has been subject to anti-Semitic attacks. Referring to being a target, Soros, in his book “Underwriting Democracy,” wrote, “I am ready to stand up and be counted.” When I mentioned that rather suggestive line to Soros during one of several extended interviews with him, he responded quickly, “Right. It took me a long time.”

He continued, “My mother was quite anti-Semitic, and ashamed of being Jewish. Given the culture in which one lived, being Jewish was a clear-cut stigma, disadvantage, a handicap-and, therefore, there was always the desire to transcend it, to escape it.” He confirmed what someone had told me-that his family name had long ago been changed from Schwartz. “So the assimilationist Jews of Hungary had a deep sense of inferiority and it took me a long time to work through that,” he said, adding, however, that he succeeded in doing so many years ago… “I am escaping the particular. I think I am doing exactly that by espousing this universal concept”-of open society. “In other words, I don’t think that you can ever overcome anti-Semitism if you behave as a tribe… the only way you can overcome it is if you give up the tribalness.”

(Source: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SOROS by CONNIE BRUC, The New Yorker, January 23, 1995 http://www.scribd.com/full/41008029?access_key=key-1akmk6l4oun8ydlm6yem)

Scott Garner
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November 20, 2010
Beck is an entertainer always looking for the next big trick, he is far from guiltless and has so much air time that he now tells the Reps and Tea types what to think and how to vote. He and FOX are policy drivers now. Sorry this isnt what the Constitutiional Fathers envisioned. He's a nutcase and simple minded anti-intelligencia types love him. Simple minds trying to oversimply complex times and problems. Sure detest critical thought and intellectualism, see how soon India and china leave us in the dust. Beck and his followers will claim to be saving America, but they hasten our demise.

pS all my Christian friends Jesus was Jewish -no room for hate
A concerned reader
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November 19, 2010
It's both frightening and offensive that so many have written in that seem to care little about Beck's revisionist holocaust history, and his misuse of holocaust history in order to paint situations and people as being like those murderers who carried out the atrocities of the holocaust.

Glenn Beck has more than once targeted Jews, and whether the ideology of these Jews is something that you, the reader, agrees with or not is immaterial. This man is only steps away from making the same accusations that were first seen in written form in "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and that have been used as propaganda to incite violence and murder against Jews for generations.

How do you think that neo-Nazis or Ku Klux Klan members view Beck's attacks on Soros or Greer? Do you think they discern Soros or Greer from all other Jews? I can tell you right now that they absolutely make no such considerations, and that Beck's attacks only fuel their fires of hatred.

If you are Jewish, instead of digging in your heels to defend a man who trivializes an abhorrent and terrifying part of the past, take a moment to reflect on what Glenn Beck has said and done, and to realize that Glenn Beck's words and actions could easily be, and may have already been used to justify hate or violence against Jews.

Do you really want to be guilty of supporting a man who could easily end up being the reason for a modern pogrom? Is it really worth it to side with this man just because he claims that he is "conservative" or "right-wing" and that you feel you espouse those political leanings? Many neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members claim to be "right-wing" as well. Should the difference being that Glenn Beck is on television and rich make it okay to side with someone who distorts, trivializes and desensitizes people to an important part of the history? "Never Forget"
Glenn Beck
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November 19, 2010
Eliza Howarth,

You argue that liberalism does not lead to “tragedy like genocide.” As a proof of your point you suggest that we should back off from supporting Beck as the guy is deceived by false religion. Nice political argument! Whose else religion is false? Should we also stay away from each Sikh, Hindus and Buddhist because they believe in false religion?

Just look at your defense of liberalism: Beck is bad political commentator because he is Mormon! I can’t see how your argument is different from a suggestion as e.g. “Levin is bad political commentator because he is a Jew,” which would be just as easy to suggest in Christian majority country as the suggestion you made. And if you are atheist and atheists are in majority ( as it would be in case when left liberal are majority), then all religions will become false and all practitioners become delusional and hence will have to be removed from social discourse. Why to deal with them when they are deceived by false theology?

Eliza, your own words and what they imply is a proof that liberalism has propensity for intolerance and may indeed lead to “tragedy like genocide.”

peter hay
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November 19, 2010
Open your your big blood shot eyes and read and study what soros is doing to America now! you complain about everyone except soros, get real
Eliza Howarth
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November 18, 2010
Amazing to me how blinded people are by Glenn Beck. Thinking "liberalism" opens the door to national socialism is one example. I wonder how many of you who rise in his defense are practicing Christians? If you think liberals are deceived, study the teachings of Mormonism. No one who believes those teachings is a Christian or is capable of discerning the truth. Glenn Beck is deceived, and he is a deceiver. And he is deceiving you.
Kyle Kinney
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November 18, 2010
Greer, because of publications like yours there should be a crime for using someone's commentary out of context. Beck's referral to Nazis, Jews, and the holocaust are all made to remind us all why Liberalism is wrong for this country. Liberalism in power will ultimately lead to tragedy like genocide.
Jan Keizer
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November 18, 2010
As a conservative (and a Jew), I find George Soros' politics wrong-headed and very very far to the left. However, I don't care for Glen Beck, think he's over the top, injects too much God talk in his politics, and I don't usually watch him. I was not aware of his seeming compulsion to compare every liberal issue to Nazis & fascism. But comparing him to Father Coughlin is absurd. Coughlin made no secret of his rabid anti-semitism; it was almost his raison d’être. Equally absurd is your reference to the "Beck acolyte" Byron Williams, an obviously demented person, as an example of a typical Beck watcher--perhaps a typical conservative? Lastly, regarding the last line in your column, it is offensive for you to say that a person is a hate mongering anti-semite if she/he doesn't agree with Soros' (or the 40% of Jewish liberals) far left ideology.

Beck's supporter
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November 18, 2010
Dear Mr. Greer,

My problem with liberals is that they spin things so much that things become lies. E.g. you say “ Yet according to Beck, Soros “is a collaborator” who “saw people into the gas chambers.” Nothing like this. Beck did not imply that Soros was willing collaborator of Nazi, some other people may be did. It was clear from Beck’s program that Soros has to do things to hide his identity. What was peculiar, however that Soros finds this time “happiest in his life.” That is important dash in his character which means that man likes risk.

My second problem with liberals is that they have no respect for our Constitution. We have first amendment to US Constitution and our rights of free speech are nonnegotiable. As many left liberals you do not give a dime about freedom of speech and you would love to trample it under load of grievances and sensitivities. If we start outsourcing our right to speak about sensetive political issues to special interest groups then nothing will be left from our freedom. Should we destroy our country just to please 40% of Jews like yourself? Sorry, Sir, it takes much more than 40% of Jewish votes to change constitution.

Most importantly I think your outrage is completely misplaced. I do not believe that by criticizing Soros Beck criticized Jews in general or a Jew in particular. How and why you still count atheist Soros as a Jew when he does not identify himself as such? The one chosen heir to Nimrod is too exalted and does not wish to remember that he is son of Abraham, lest he belittles himself. So why to insult Soros, by calling him what he does not want to be?

Ian Clarke
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November 18, 2010
I think its important to be clear on exactly your criticism of Beck is, to deny him the opportunity to claim that you are criticizing him for expressing a political disagreement with Soros (which would undoubtedly be his response to this article).

Of course the problem is not that Beck disagrees with Soros and the progressive movement politically, many intelligent people do and there is nothing wrong with them expressing their opinion.

The problem is that, rather than explaining the substance of his political disagreement, he is conducting the vilest of character assassinations on Soros, the ultimate ad-hominem argument.

Beck, of course is not a political commentator, he is what is known in Internet circles as a "troll", someone whose primary motive is not to persuasively advocate for a position, but to provoke outrage.

If all Beck did was to state his political view in a calm, rational, and honest manner, then none of us would have ever heard of him. He thrives on provocation, without it he is nothing. If you are asking him not to provoke, then you are basically asking him to give up his career, because its probably all he knows how to do.
Adolphus Bailiff
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November 18, 2010
If one wants to know the ideology of George Soros what better source than his own words. Do some in depth research and you will find the real Mr. Soros is much closer to the person depicted by Glenn Beck than the one presented in this article.