Fox News provocateur Glenn Beck announced on his radio show Monday that he is staging a "Restoring Courage" rally in Jerusalem in August to "stand with the people of Israel." Beck, who is ending his daily Fox News show this year, suggested that God had called him to warn that a two-state Mideast peace agreement that divides Jerusalem between Israel and the Palestinians would be disastrous for Israel. Beck's star has waned since his "Restoring Honor" rally drew more than 80,000 people to Washington, D.C., last August. Will the Jerusalem rally prove Beck still has it, or that he's irrelevant?
This rally is a flop in the making: If Beck wants to attract large crowds, Jerusalem is an odd choice, says Justin Elliott at Salon. He doesn't appear to have a big listenership in Israel, and, despite his "right-wing pro-Israel stance," he hasn't always had the best relationship with the Jewish community, partly because of his vaguely anti-semitic criticism of liberal philanthropist George Soros. Even with all Beck's "messianic rhetoric," this rally probably won't be "anywhere near as well-attended as the event in Washington last year."
"Glenn Beck to hold Jerusalem rally"
Israel should be grateful for Beck's support: "This is a bold, accessible and positive event" that will be a credit to Beck — who is Mormon — and a welcome boost for Israel, says Moshe Phillips at NewsReal Blog. The mainstream Israel advocacy organizations in the U.S. are getting stale. Beck can get across a message they can't, and gain sympathy for Israel's point of view in the debate about a future Palestinian state. "All lovers of Israel everywhere should say thank you to Glenn Beck."
"Glenn Beck, Pastor Hagee, and Israel's real 'Amen Corner'"
Beck shouldn't burden Israel with his sideshow: Beck promised the rally would be a "life-altering event" and that the "gates of Hell" would have to open to keep him from staging the event, says Allison Hantschel at Firedoglake. What drama! But this "seems kind of unfair." Israelis have it hard enough already, without being expected to "give meaning to Glenn Beck's life." And if the event succeeds, they'll have to watch "his be-visored hordes of pasty followers put out their cigarettes in ancient ruins and ask how much everything is in dollars."
"Late night: Because if Jerusalem needed anything, it was Glenn Beck"