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Brother Beck Jumps the Shark

For sheer entertainment, Glenn Beck is at the top of his game.

His characteristic sarcasm, his irreverent, over-the-top humor and his undeniable passion have propelled him to rightful status as a top talk radio personality.

Beck is reminiscent of a young Rush Limbaugh, who tackled the topics others dared not and gleefully skewered every sacred cow of the smug political class.

On some issues, Beck has led out where even Limbaugh feared to tread.

He’s called into question the Federal Reserve and the soundness of our nation’s current monetary policy.

He has blown the whistle on political operatives like Van Jones who might otherwise have found sanctuary in high government positions.

Beck has been especially passionate about need for each of us to make a stand, to rectify our own hearts and to put our houses in order spiritually as well as temporally.

As with most commentators and pundits, I’ve found myself in violent agreement on some points and quietly discarded those points with which I could not agree.

I’ve tried to be particularly magnanimous where Beck is concerned because he is a respected and beloved figure of many of my listeners here in Southern Utah.

He’s done a great deal of good and I cannot dismiss the fruits of his efforts to awaken an apathetic public from his bully pulpit.

But I can no longer consider Brother Beck to be a friend of liberty.

It is one thing to be sincerely mistaken or to espouse a particular point of view based on incomplete information.

It’s quite another to subscribe to and promote a deliberately distorted ideology that seeks to subjugate others through fear-mongering and pandering to humanity’s basest tendencies.

The targets of Beck’s dogmatic vilification are the Palestinian people whom Beck and other nationalistic propagandists have reduced to a caricature of a wild, violent people who pose an existential threat to Israel.

All it takes to transmogrify Beck from thoughtful, impassioned commentator to outraged spittle-flinger is the mention of the word “Palestine.”

Cheered on by his studio sycophants, Beck loses any pretense of nuance or fairness in his portrayal of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that has raged on since before he was born.

Beck’s version of this conflict follows this approximate line of thinking:

  • Israel is good and cannot be faulted for any actions undertaken by its government to protect its interests against the evil of those who would deny its existence.
  • Palestinians (sneer) have no business claiming victim-hood because they lost the land now occupied by Israel fair and square when the UN recognized Israel as a nation.  It’s not like there was ever an officially recognized nation-state called Palestine, right?
  • Anyone who bears even the slightest sympathy for the Palestinian people must have some kind of ulterior motive or wish to see Israel “wiped off the map.”

The problem here is that Brother Beck’s take on this conflict is long on emotion and hyperbole and very short on historical clarity.

It’s part and parcel of the dismissive outrage so often exhibited by Americans who simply cannot fathom that acts of government ruthlessness toward innocent people can indeed spark incidents of violent retribution.

This is even more true when a people feel they no longer have anything to lose.

As Charley Reese once pointed out, If ever a people has been steam-rolled by history, it’s the Palestinians.

Their lands were first absorbed by the Ottoman Turks and then wrested away by the British Empire following WWI.

When the Brits chose to give up their Palestinian Mandate as a home for European Jews following WWII, the occupation of those lands continued, though under new ownership.

It’s ironic that Jewish radicals like Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir used terrorist tactics including bombings to ultimately dislodge the British from what would become the nation of Israel.

In 1948, nearly 700,000 Palestinians were stripped of their lands and became refugees who were forbidden to return to their homes, their businesses and their orchards.

A Christian Palestinian named Elias Chacour unflinchingly chronicles his own family’s experience in his book “Blood Brothers.”

Chacour tells of being forced from his home and beaten by Israeli soldiers.

He writes of the machine-gun and grenade attacks in which those same soldiers murdered entire villages of Palestinians.

Chacour’s recounting of the tale isn’t a call for sympathy and vengeance, but a plea for Palestinians and Jews alike to learn from the atrocities and stop the cycle of revenge being carried out by both sides.

A true peacemaker: Elias Chacour at right

He has been a peacemaker in every sense of the word, though his book tells a side of the conflict that would prove highly inconvenient to the “Israel uber alles” narrative preferred by Beck and others.

Prior to reading this book I was highly Zionist in my thinking.  Reading it didn’t make me hate Israel, but it clearly illustrated that true peacemakers are few and far between in this conflict.

There are enough bloodstained hands and innocent lives lost in both camps to merit a mixture of outrage and sympathy for Israelis and Palestinians.

Beck’s willingness to downplay the plight of hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians is as pathological as the unjustified hatred he claims these refugees are directing towards Israel.

The truth of the matter is that people who started the Israeli/Palestinian conflict have long since passed away or are approaching the end of their lives.

Most of the young people dying for land on both sides of a conflict they were born into are very deserving of our sympathies.

Beck’s stereotyping isn’t helping their plight.

Glenn Beck could use his considerable influence as a peacemaker—if he was willing to remove his ideological blinders.

Instead he is choosing to foment that conflict by acting as a willing propagandist for the Israeli government.

This particular blind spot on Beck’s part reveals a nationalistic streak that is wholly incompatible with liberty.

It seeks to persuade listeners to hate a group of people they’ve never met and to find purpose in exercising dominion over others.

It excuses government actions and policies that would be considered inexcusable if they were happening to ourselves.

Pointing out how aggression and injustice by Israel’s or America’s governments is not the same thing as saying that the Israeli or the American people deserve terror attacks.

When government ruthlessness reigns, innocent people will suffer on all sides.

Beck has led out admirably when discussing many topics, but on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, he’s become part of the problem.

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bryan-hydeBryan Hyde is a husband, father, disciple, teacher, guardian, reader, writer, truth seeker, stirrer of pots, radio talk show host, and PITA to those who seek dominion over others. He’s also a proud member of the Pro-Freedom Conspiracy.

He does professional voice work through his company One Clear Voice. He is also a frequent and popular contributor to St. George News.

Bryan and his wife Becky are raising their six children in Cedar City, Utah.

Subscribe to Bryan’s blog here.

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Comments

  1. Scott Elliott says:

    I do agree that Beck should be painting this conflict more fairly. In fact, I was just thinking that today during a commercial break. I don’t think I have heard him say much of anything concerning the death of many Palestinians by Israeli hands. However, I do disagree with a couple things you wrote. You said that Beck believed, “Anyone who bears even the slightest sympathy for the Palestinian people must have some kind of ulterior motive or wish to see Israel ‘wiped off the map.'” But this is a strong exaggeration and I think you know it. If that was the case, then Beck must, by your definition, think me and many others I know horrible people. Which I doubt he would think. When he talks of the Palestinians he usually is talking about those that wish to see the utter destruction of Israel, not those who simply wish to have a Palestinian state. “Israel is good and cannot be faulted for any actions undertaken by its government to protect its interests against the evil of those who would deny its existence.
    Palestinians (sneer) have no business claiming victim-hood because they lost the land now occupied by Israel fair and square when the UN recognized Israel as a nation. It’s not like there was ever an officially recognized nation-state called Palestine, right?” Come on, why this spin? Why is it necessary to exaggerate this? Again, I agree with your general message and by using less misrepresentation could become a masterful article.

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  1. […] had strong disagreements with Brother Beck myself. But this kind of tabloid smear tactics are devoid of any moral authority. Beck has strong […]

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Brother Beck Jumps the Shark