Resistance activists are working to thwart Rightist American broadcaster Glenn Beck’s planned rally in Israel’s capital this coming Wednesday.
Yehuda HaKohen of the Semitic Action movement told Indy News Israel that although he understands the temptation of Israelis to accept conservative support, such support “comes with a dangerous price that rivals the military threats we face from our neighbors and the diplomatic threats we face from foreign powers.”
“Rightwing Americans like Glenn Beck may support the State of Israel,” said HaKohen in a phone interview with INI from his speaking tour of the United States. “But that support is based on a flawed view of Israel as an American client state in the Middle East. Beck wants to see an Israel that serves as a Western satellite in the region and this directly conflicts with the Zionist goal of a politically independent Jewish state that expresses our authentic Hebrew culture and is capable of making peace with the other indigenous peoples of the Middle East.”
“Zionism is about Jewish liberation and not about creating a ‘Robin’ to America’s ‘Batman’ in the region.”
When asked about the support Israel receives from Christian Evangelical groups in the US, HaKohen argued that the same Evangelicals who voice strong support for Israel are also working to fund missionary activities aimed at converting Israelis to Christianity.
“At the end of the day we’re talking about a cultural imperialism trying to rob us of our indigenous culture, which is just as big a danger to our nation as the diplomatic imperialists who try to rob us of our homeland.”
Former Jerusalem city councilwoman Mina Fenton, a long-time leading activist in the fight against the Evangelical Christian community and its attempts to convert Israelis to the Christian faith, called for Zionist figures and spiritual leaders to boycott Beck’s event.
Fenton is famous in political and activist circles for exposing the missionary motives behind Christian donations to Israeli institutions and families.
Beck, a leading spokesman for religious fundamentalists in the US who has visited Israel several times, is holding a “Restoring Courage” rally near the southern wall of Jerusalem’s old city on August 24. The event is expected to be attended by many Christian “Zionist” groups seeking to convert spiritually vulnerable Jews.
“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 told Israel National News in an interview on Monday.
“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,” she added.
Fenton successfully enlisted rabbis from all sectors of the Jewish population to voice their opposition over Jews participating in Beck’s event. She revealed that among the spiritual leaders who joined her cause were Rabbis Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Simha Kook, Avigdor Nebenzahl, Dov Lior, Elyakim Levanon, Shlomo Aviner and Elhanan Bin-Nun.
Fenton told INN that the intervention by the leading rabbis resulted in Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who previously expressed his support for the rally, canceling his participation as well as that of a choir of cantors from Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue.
“Inflaming the thousands of Christian listeners who listen to Glenn Beck, who is a Mormon, is done by bringing in Christian elements and highlighting their importance,” she said. “It is important to Beck that Christians feel, as he does, the spiritual exaltation and sense of belonging, but we must not forget that we have sovereignty in the city of Jerusalem and that the holy places are ours and not theirs. It is just a matter of time before the Christians expect some sort of reward in return for their support. There are no free gifts and no free gestures.”
“The Christians in Israel feel as though they are saviors, or consolers without whom we cannot survive. Look at the event which was held in Caesarea this week. It was meant for Christians only. Glenn promised them a special spiritual experience. He mentioned Jesus, Paul, Pontis Pilate and the historic relationship to Caesarea during Roman rule. What connection does this kind of event have to Jews?”
Fenton’s comments echoed similar concerns from activist Moshe Feiglin, head of the Jewish Leadership faction within the ruling Likud party.
Feiglin recently stated that he had decided to turn down an invitation to a reception for Beck in Jerusalem’s Maale Zeitim neighborhood earlier in the summer.
“I must admit that when a friendly non-Jew starts to quote the Bible, I get a bit nervous,” he wrote.
“It is not just the long history of anti-Semitism that has developed a genetic mutation in the noses of Jews, giving them great sensitivity to anything that smells of Christianity – but also my own personal experience with avowed lovers of Israel and ‘the settlers’ who took great pains to mask their Christian motives.”