Earlier this week Fox news commentator Glenn Beck compared Reform Judaism to Radical Islam - not surprisingly, he angered many people.
On his February 22 radio show, Beck said that Reform Judaism is like "radicalized Islam" because both movements are "less about religion than... politics." His comment was a response to a full-page ad recently published in the Wall Street Journal, wherein 400 rabbis condemned Beck's use of Holocaust imagery to attack George Soros. Many of the rabbis on the list were affiliated with the Reform movement.
STU BURGUIERE (executive producer): And now remember, this is all fueled by an organization that Soros funds, that has a bunch of progressive rabbis that came out against Glenn and said --
BECK: OK, you have to -- hang on just a second. When you talk about rabbis, understand that most -- most people who are 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 --
BURGUIERE: No, obviously not.
BECK: -- and they're going to take it at that, but -- stand in line.
BURGUIERE: "Glenn Beck says --"
BECK: 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.
BURGUIERE: Yeah, I don't know that for a fact. I know that certainly this organization is a progressive political organization. And that's fine.
While many people are decrying Beck's comparison of Reform Judaism and radical Islam, not everyone is doing it for the reason you would imagine. In the Jewish Week, Jonathan Mark wrote:
When Glenn Beck says that Reform Judaism is like radical Islam, insofar as both are more about politics than faith, he's being unfair to radical Islam.
Yes, both are deeply involved with politics and confuse their own politics with God's.
But radical Islamists seems to be much more serious about their religion.
Reform rabbis often lead congregations whose overall culture is indifferent to Shabbat and kashrut, indifferent to daily prayer and intermarriage, and indifferent to religious literacy.
A radical Islamic leader, by contrast, is passionate and conscientious about prayer, the Islamic Sabbath, Halal food, and Islamic family purity. He would not be indifferent to intermarriage or classical Islamic teachings.
Only a Reform rabbi would officiate at an intermarriage on Shabbat itself, as did Rabbi James Ponet at Chelsea Clinton's wedding. A Radical Islamist wouldn't do that.
You can read Mark's full article here.
What do you think about Beck's comment? Mark's response?
Glenn Beck comments on Reform Judaism slammed [Haaretz]
Rabbis demand Fox sanction Glenn Beck for 'diminishing memory of the Holocaust' [Haaretz]
Beck: Reform Judaism Is "Almost Like ... Radicalized Islam" In That It Is "More About Politics" Than Faith And Religion [Media Matters]
When Glenn Beck Compares Reform Judaism To Radical Islam, He's Unfair To Islam [Jewish Week]
Image via NYTimes