Note to the People visiting Via the Media Matters link. Welcome. Now that you have read the edited version of this post, read the full post. Your friends at the spooky dude’s media hit squad defended the JFJ by saying the quotes were public. How come they didn’t mention what the people quoted said about the JFJ effort. Because to Media Matters truth is nothing but an inconvenience to be ignored.
Carried in the January 27th edition of the Wall Street Journal was an advertisement/open letter from four-hundred Rabbis organized by a socialist Jewish organization called Jewish Funds for Justice (JFJ), with strong ties to financier George Soros (the full ad is embedded at the bottom of this page). As discussed the day the ad came out, the rabbis efforts brought shame upon themselves, their holy profession and the entire Jewish people, and even worse have committed a Chillul Hashem (desecration of God’s name). A conversation with one of the signers, Rabbi Steven Wernick , the day after my initial post raised more questions (which as of this moment the Rabbi still hasn’t answered).
The text of letter/advertisement in the Wall Street Journal offers quotations from outside sources as support of their case against the Fox commentator:
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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 anti-Semitic imagery.
The first one to weigh in was Jeffrey Tobin of Commentary who saw the letter as an overt attempt to silence someone with home they disagree politically:
In the body of their ad is a quote from a COMMENTARY Web Exclusive article written by me about Beck’s willingness to raise questions about George Soros’s behavior during the Holocaust. In it I made it clear that while we consider Soros’s political stands abhorrent, his alleged activities as a 14-year-old boy during the Nazi occupation of his native Hungary ought to be out of bounds for his critics. As the Jewish Funds for Justice ad states, the piece said Beck’s attack on Soros on this point was marred by ignorance and innuendo, and I stand by that characterization….
The difference between COMMENTARY and the rabbis who speak in the name of the Jewish Funds for Justice couldn’t be clearer. We agree that Holocaust imagery and related topics ought not to be abused for partisan political purposes, though we have to say in passing that Beck’s idiotic attack on Soros is nowhere near as great an offense as Rep. Cohen’s calling his Republican opponents Nazis on the floor of the House of Representatives. But unlike those rabbis, we do not do so only when the offenders are people we disagree with on other issues. Had these rabbis sought to denounce both right-wing and left-wing figures that have called their foes Nazis or made specious comparisons to Adolf Hitler or Joseph Goebbels, they might have done so with some credibility. But since they have invoked their status as spiritual leaders as well as the prestige of the Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist movements solely to silence a conservative political speaker whom they dislike, they have none.
Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal there were two letters published from organizations named in the JFJ open letter:
Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld Vice President American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors wrote:
I suppose that I am to rest easy now that these rabbis and the individuals they quote in their advertisement find Glenn Beck and Roger Ailes… represent a greater threat to the welfare of the Jews than George Soros. I have no position on Mr. Beck, but I am frankly puzzled as to how he merits so great an expenditure by this group. What a waste of communal resources this represents when there are so many needy people, Holocaust survivors and others.
This absurdity and the fact that these rabbis have never seen fit to comment on Mr. Soros’s support for entities that have harmed Israel and Jewish interests (and in my view, Western interests generally), force me to speak out. [my emphasis]
Elan Steinberg is quoted in the advertisement in his capacity as vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors. He has no more right than I do to speak in the name of the survivors on this topic. I know this because I, too, am vice president of the American Gathering. I also know that in my 30 years of participation in large-scale annual commemorations I have yet to meet a survivor who expressed support for Mr. Soros.
Most surprising was the second letter which was from Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, who has often used his organization as an arm of the progressive movement. Foxman defended Beck and Fox News as friends of Israel :
I was surprised to see my name and statements attributed to me used in the advertisement from Jewish Funds for Justice calling on Rupert Murdoch to “sanction” Glenn Beck for his repeated use of Holocaust and Nazi images on his Fox News program.
I want to make it clear, for the record, that I do not support this misguided campaign against Fox News, even though my name was used.
While we have said many times that Nazi comparisons are offensive and inappropriate when used for political attacks, in my view it is wrongheaded to single out only Fox News on this issue, when both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, can share equal guilt in making trivializing comparisons to the Holocaust.
Furthermore, the open letter signed by hundreds of rabbis is a trivialization in itself—bizarrely timed for release on United Nations’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. At a time when Holocaust denial is rampant in much of the Arab world, where anti-Semitism remains a serious concern, and where the Iranian leader has openly declared his desire to “wipe Israel off the map,” surely there are greater enemies and threats to the Jewish people than the pro-Israel stalwarts Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck.
A fourth person sited in the letter Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University, said that she didn’t disagree with the thrust of the letter but felt it was distorted because of it was one-sided:
I don’t disagree with the thrust of JFSJ’s ad. That said, I do worry that it is a distortion to focus solely on the conservative end of the political spectrum.
During his term in office, President George W. Bush was frequently compared to Hitler. A 2006 New York Times ad from a group called the World Can’t Wait, signed by a number of prominent leftists (as well as five Democratic members of Congress), cited a litany of complaints about the Bush administration’s policies and concluded: “People look at all this and think of Hitler — and rightly so.” British playwright and Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter, who signed onto the ad, went to so far as to call the Bush administration “more dangerous than Nazi Germany.” (Emphasis added.)
Similarly, references to Israelis as “Nazis” and claims that Israel is committing genocide abound in left-wing discourse. Because of their ubiquity, we have almost become inured to the horror of such comparisons.
One need not minimize the danger of Beck’s rhetoric in order to wonder why JFSJ — which has significant credibility among progressives — has not mounted an equally passionate critique of misbegotten analogies on the left. Is this about principle, or is it about politics? Is this about anti-Semitism, or about Rupert Murdoch? (Of course, there are also some conservatives who have no trouble spotting anti-Semitic innuendo except when it is appearing on Fox.)
Rev. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance has not commented on the JFJ effort, perhaps because he is so busy. After all the Reverend is also on the Faith Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations an organization tied into George Soros on many levels (Soros is a former board member, his Corporation is a sponsor and one of the council’s resident experts, Morton Halprin is also an adviser to Soros’ Open Society Foundation).
Despite its best attempts to attack Fox News’ Glenn Beck, the vast majority people/organizations cited by the Jewish Funds for Justice as corroboration for their slander have labeled their open letter for what it is, a hypocritical effort on their part and by the 400 rabbis, to exploit the Holocaust for political purposes. I said it before and I will say it again, each and every one of those Rabbis should feel ashamed for their attempt to libel Glenn Beck and Fox News.