Holy Land Farce

GLENN BECK’S THREE-DAY “Rally to Restore Courage” in Jerusalem in August was an exercise in “exploiting Israel” in an effort at “restoring his credibility,” according to M.J. Rosenberg of Media Matters Action Network. Beck’s pilgrimage pledged to support Israel, a nation that Beck portrayed as challenged by misguided critics and “Islamic socialism.” Fusing entertainment and marketing, Beck promised the hundreds of fellow-travelers who would buy tickets for the event’s August 24 keynote a “life-changing, and I think planet course-altering, event” that “could be miraculous.” As it turned out, at the keynote he essentially declared himself founder of a global movement to take back the phrase “human rights” and stand up for “our responsibilities to our fellow man [sic].”

Ironically, Beck chose to do so on behalf of a country where human rights violations are severe. In reality the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” has become a “pieces process” of land seizures and displacement. Upward of 350,000 settlers in the Occupied Territories receive generous government housing subsidies, tax breaks, infrastructure, and security, all of which markedly reduce resources available to municipalities inside Israel proper. That’s just one source of frustration driving the recent street protests in Israel.

Public discourse is threatened when there is no critique of Israeli policies and Christian Zionist prejudices. Land heresy (“it is all ours”) and xenophobia (“all Palestinians want to destroy us”) fuel the illegal occupation of Palestinian and Bedouin land. This, and other oppression by a fragile Israeli coalition government, is supported by $3 billion in annual U.S. aid.

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