The National Jewish Democratic Council denounces Fox News host Glenn Beck’s comments that compared the Reform Jewish movement to Radical Islam. Beck said on his radio show [transcription courtesy of Media Matters]:
OK, you have to—hang on just a second. When you talk about rabbis, understand that most—most people who not Jewish don’t understand that there are the Orthodox rabbis, and then there are the reformed rabbis. Reformed rabbis are generally political in nature. It’s almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way, to where it is just—radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at the reform Judaism, it is more about politics. I’m not saying that they’re the same on ... and they’re going to take it at that, but ... It’s not about terror or anything else, it’s about politics, and so it becomes more about politics than it does about faith. Orthodox rabbis—that is about faith. There’s not a single orthodox rabbi on this list. This is all reformed rabbis that were—that made this list.
Beck’s comments demonstrate a complete ignorance of Judaism and are offensive in the extreme. We implore other Jewish groups and individuals of all political and religious stripes to denounce Beck’s latest verbal attack on our community. Ignorant and borderline-bigoted comments cannot be tolerated as political speech by our community. We would call for a sincere apology from Beck, but as he has demonstrated before, he just does not take the concerns of the American Jewish community seriously.
NJDC also denounces the invocation of the Holocaust by George Soros that led to Beck’s offensive rant. As we have consistently said, invoking the Holocaust to make a political point is never acceptable. Period.
**Update February 24, 2011**
Beck has rightly apologized for his remarks. His apology is due to the community-wide uproar, which includes condemnations from the Union of Reform Judaism, the Anti-Defamation League, us, and others. We welcome Beck’s apology and applaud the members of our community who promptly denounced him.
However, the proof of a heartfelt apology will of course be in Beck’s actions, not his words. After so many profoundly disturbing and hurtful statements about Jews and Judaism, incorporating abusive Holocaust rhetoric and otherwise, the true test will be if Beck starts down a different path.