BY MICHAEL FREUND, JPOST—
In a week filled with drama for Israel and its supporters, there was one event which stands out.
In a Manhattan studio, a popular radio and television host made an announcement on Monday that could be a watershed in the battle for truth.
Speaking to millions of viewers and listeners, Glenn Beck declared that he was organizing “Restoring Courage” – to be held in Jerusalem this August.
The aim is simple: to persuade as many people as possible from all faiths that the time has come to show support for Israel and the Jews.
“I believe I’ve been asked to stand – in Jerusalem,” Beck said, noting that “many in the history of man have had the opportunity to stand with the Jewish people. Time and time again they have had the opportunity, and they have failed. I choose to stand and be counted.”
And just what does standing with Israel have to do with courage? Coming as it does when the Jewish state is under siege in the international arena, and is often unfairly portrayed in the mainstream press, Beck’s message is as refreshing as it is inspiring.
He refuses to be cowed by the elites, many of whom have embraced the Palestinian and Arab narrative regarding the Middle East.
Beck sees through their muddled notions of truth and justice, pointing out their bewildering refusal to recognize the threat to Western civilization posed by Islamic extremism.
And that is what makes the “Restoring Courage” event so important. Though many details have yet to be disclosed, it will clearly be far more than just another rally. It promises to be an expression of faith, a call to defy the prevailing notion that Good and Evil are purely subjective terms.
Nowadays, it takes courage – and lots of it – to stand and declare that Israel and the West are right, just and moral, and that our foes are simply wrong.
It takes nerve and daring to challenge ourselves, to heed the voice of God and recognize the righteousness of our cause.
For far too long, Israelis have been battered by criticism and disapproval – so much so that we have begun to internalize it, with many coming to see themselves as the aggressor and occupier.
Slogans such as “a two-state solution” have become standard fare, and anyone opposed to the idea is quickly labeled a reactionary extremist.
Beck’s event offers us all an opportunity to come to our senses.
As he put it, “things in Israel are going to get bad… it’s only a matter of time. They are going to attack the center of our faith – our common faith – and that is Jerusalem. And it won’t be with bullets or bombs.”
The timing of this message could not be more crucial.
THE PALESTINIAN threat to seek UN recognition in September hovers ominously, as does the possibility of a third intifada. Hamas has joined the Palestinian government, and Iran continues working to build nuclear weapons.
Yet despite the turmoil sweeping the Arab world, Israel is under increasing pressure to make additional concessions.
If it succeeds, “Restoring Courage” will be a boon to the beleaguered Jewish state, and provide a much-needed shot in the arm.
In calling on people to join him, Beck is openly invoking crucial values such as faith, reminding us that every person will ultimately be called to account for their actions – and inactions – by the Creator. He has forthrightly reminded humanity that we can’t stand and do nothing in the face of evil. Israel, he made clear, matters.
Now, I know what some of you are probably thinking: Glenn Beck? Isn’t he an eccentric purveyor of conspiracy theories, outlandish assertions and brash conservatism? What can Israel and the Jewish people possibly gain from his backing? The answer is: quite a lot.
You don’t have to agree with Beck on everything, or even much at all, to see the inherent and overwhelming value in his latest initiative.
For a country that doesn’t have all that many friends out there in the world, Israel should be grateful for those willing to stand behind us, even if they are not necessarily your cup of tea. It will be particularly interesting to see how American Jewish organizations react. In the past, various liberal Jewish groups have denounced Beck, with whom they have little in common politically.
How easy it would have been for the television host to say to himself: “After the way some Jews have treated me, why should I speak out for them?” But in rising above the pettiness of his critics, the Fox News personality has taught us all a lesson in not losing sight of what really matters.
As a man of faith, I was especially moved when Beck read on air from the Book of Ruth.
He choked up when he quoted Ruth the Moabite’s appeal to her mother-in-law Naomi: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God.”
This, he said, had helped inspire him to stand with the Jews.
This brings to mind a verse in Genesis (12:3), where God made a promise to Abraham and all of mankind: “I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you shall be cursed.”
Notice how there is no middle ground. Each person is presented with a clear and unequivocal choice: You either bless Abraham’s descendants, the Jews, or you curse them.
Glenn Beck has courageously chosen to bless them, and to bring Jews, Christians and others together to take a stand.
Here’s hoping that many heed his call.