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Thursday, January 27, 2011

400 Rabbis Publish Letter Protesting Glenn Beck's Attacks on Jews and Holocaust Survivors


Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a child survivor of the Holocaust, described Beck's attack on George Soros as "not only offensive, but horrific, over-the-top, and out-of-line". Commentary magazine said that "Beck's denunciation of him [Soros] is marred by ignorance and offensive innuendo." Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, called Mr Beck's accusations "monstrous". Rev Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, called them "beyond repugnant". And Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University, says Beck is using traditional antisemitic imagery.
(Reuters)
Four hundred rabbis will publish a letter tomorrow (NZT) calling on Fox News to sanction host Glenn Beck for repeated use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery and for airing attacks on World War Two survivor George Soros.
In an open letter to Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, which owns Fox, the rabbis also demand an apology from Fox News chief Roger Ailes for characterising Beck's Jewish critics as nothing more than "left-wing rabbis".
The letter will appear as an advertisement in the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal tomorrow for which the rabbis spent more than $100,000, a spokesman said.
In the letter, the rabbis cited "unacceptable attacks" by Beck against Soros, a billionaire financier who grew up in Nazi-occupied Hungary and is a frequent target of conservative commentators.
"And 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," Beck said in November.
"Here's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps. And I am certainly not saying that George Soros enjoyed that, even had a choice. I mean, he's 14 years old. He was surviving. So I'm not making a judgement. That's between him and God."
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Beck, according to the rabbis, has made "literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterising people with whom he disagrees," compares American leaders he does not like to Nazis and has said putting the "common good" first leads to "death camps".
"In the charged political climate in the current civic debate, much is tolerated, and much is ignored or dismissed," the letter said.
"But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organisation you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only 'left-wing rabbis' who think so."
Dear Mr Murdoch

We are rabbis of diverse political views. As part of our work we are devoted to preserving the memory of the Shoah, and to passing its lessons on to our future generations and to all humankind. All of us have vigorously defended the Holocaust's legacy. We have worked to encourage the responsible invocation of its symbols as a powerful lesson for the future.

We were therefore deeply offended by Roger Ailes' recent statement attributing the outrage over Glenn Beck's use of Holocaust and Nazi images to "leftwing rabbis who basically don't think that anybody can ever use the word, Holocaust, on the air."

In the charged political climate in the current civic debate, much is tolerated, and much is ignored or dismissed. But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organization you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only "leftwing rabbis" who think so.

Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a child survivor of the Holocaust, described Beck's attack on George Soros as "not only offensive, but horrific, over-the-top, and out-of-line". Commentary magazine said that "Beck's denunciation of him [Soros] is marred by ignorance and offensive innuendo." Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, called Mr Beck's accusations "monstrous". Rev Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, called them "beyond repugnant". And Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University, says Beck is using traditional antisemitic imagery.

"I haven't heard anything like this on television or radio – and I've been following this kind of stuff," Lipstadt said. "I've been in the sewers of antisemitism and Holocaust denial more often than I've wanted."

We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen atFox News. It is not appropriate to accuse a 14-year-old Jew hiding with a Christian family in Nazi-occupied Hungary of sending his people to death camps. It is not appropriate to call executives of another news agency "Nazis". And it is not appropriate to make literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterising people with whom you disagree.

It is because this issue has a profound impact on each of us, our families and our communities that we are calling on Fox News to meet the standard it has set for itself: "to exercise the ultimate sensitivity when referencing the Holocaust".

We respectfully request that Glenn Beck be sanctioned by Fox News for his completely unacceptable attacks on a survivor of the Holocaust and Roger Ailes apologise for his dismissive remarks about rabbis' sensitivity to how the Holocaust is used on the air.
Lead supporters (organisational affiliation listed for purposes of identification only):
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Vice President, American Jewish University, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Dean, Jewish Theological Seminary Rabbinical School
Rabbi Yael Ridberg, President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Steven Wernick, Executive Vice President, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President, Union for Reform Judaism


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