Jewish Funds for Justice's Simon Greer: Beck broke his promise to respect the "sensitivity" of the Holocaust
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Simon Greer, President and CEO of Jewish Funds for Justice, is the latest prominent Jewish voice to condemn Glenn Beck's smears of philanthropist George Soros, calling them "a form of Holocaust revisionism."
Greer, who was targeted by Glenn Beck on May 28 of this year, says he met with senior Fox News executives in August concerning Beck's statement that putting "the common good" first "leads to death camps," and soon after received a handwritten note from Beck, although one of the Fox News executives reportedly claimed they stood "1000%" behind Beck.
From Simon Greer's op-ed today:
Yesterday, Glenn Beck and the leadership of Fox News made a mockery of their commitment to me and two rabbis. Let me take a few steps back to tell you why what happened yesterday scares me.
On Tuesday night, many in our community were gathered together, in Brooklyn, in Dayton, in Santa Barbara. Seventy-two years ago, the homes, shops, and synagogues of many of our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were ransacked, broken, and burned as Nazi storm troopers destroyed towns and villages across Germany and Austria. Many historians view Kristallnacht as the beginning of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.
As many of you know, I was the subject of a personal attack by Glenn Beck in May of this year. Responding to an article I wrote supporting a government role to advance the common good, Beck scolded me, declaring that my words "are what led to the death camps in Germany" and that I "as a Jew, should know better." To discuss this and other, similar comments, on July 26, I joined rabbis Steve Gutow and David Ellenson, on behalf of fourteen prominent leaders of national Jewish organizations, in a meeting with Fox News President Roger Ailes and the producer of Glenn Beck's television show, Joel Cheatwood. We spoke for almost an hour about the concerns held by many Jews about Glenn Beck's constant and often inappropriate invocation of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany on the air.
We were assured by Ailes and Cheatwood that they understand our concerns and would explain them to Beck. Two days later, I received a hand-written note from Beck, which stated: "Simon, Joel shared the details of your meeting yesterday. Please know that I understand the sensitivity and sacred nature of this dark chapter in Human History. Thank you for your candor and helpful thoughts."
Yesterday, Glenn Beck and the leadership of Fox News made a mockery of their professed understanding. In his own words, "George Soros used to go around with this anti-Semite and deliver papers to the Jews and confiscate their property and then ship them off. And George Soros was part of it. He would help confiscate the stuff. It was frightening. Here's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps."
No one who truly understands "the sensitivity and sacred nature" of the Holocaust would deliberately and grotesquely mischaracterize the experience of a 13-year-old Jew in Nazi-occupied Hungary whose father hid him with a non-Jewish family to keep him alive. Many other Jews survived the attempted extermination of the Jewish people by changing their identities and hiding with Righteous Gentiles. With today's falsehoods, Beck has engaged in a form of Holocaust revisionism.
Of all the new "Tea Party" leaders, Glenn Beck is one of the most vitriolic, and - with more than 800 hours of on-air time a year - the most visible. His portrayal of Soros today as the "Puppet Master," as the special was called, evokes anti-Semitic stereotypes from the "devaluer of many currencies" to "advocate for one world government" from "anti-American" to "thinks he's smarter than the rest of us."
Beck's words have consequences. They advance a world view that ultimately places Jews like Soros in the crosshairs, not unlike what we saw with Father Coughlin in the 1930s or the John Birch Society in the 1950s. Byron Williams, a Beck acolyte who recently engaged in a shoot-out with police on his way to kill "people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU," shares his hero's hatred of Soros and other "progressives." Given the more than 40 percent of Jews self-identify as liberal, this hatred targets us.
I will be sending a letter with other Jewish leaders to Glenn Beck, Roger Ailes, and Rupert Murdoch, expressing to them what I have expressed to you. I will be in touch with you again tomorrow as we begin to respond to this most recent outrage. Thank you in advance for your continued support in the days and weeks to come.