In a Washington Post op-ed last month, Simon Greer — the president and CEO of Jewish Funds for Justice, an organization that helps people achieve social and economic security by investing in healthy neighborhoods — bluntly rebuked Glenn Beck for his war against social justice.
“Mr. Beck, you are a con man and America is not buying it,” Greer wrote. “When churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship across this country advocate for social justice, advocate for the common good, advocate for America, they, and we, walk in God’s path.”
Yesterday on his radio station, Beck responded the only way he knows how — with hyperbolic, extreme rhetoric referencing Nazi imagery. Beck said that Greer’s advocacy for the common good and social justice “leads to death camps.” “A Jew, of all people, should know that,” Beck added. “This is exactly the kind of talk that led to the death camps in Germany.” (Media Matters has the audio.)
After hearing Beck’s radical rant, Greer responded with this statement yesterday afternoon:
Glenn Beck has a history of recklessly invoking Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in order to advance his political agenda. But never before has Beck accused Jews – including survivors of the Holocaust and their children and grandchildren – of paving the way for fascism. Through his comments, Beck has demonstrated that he has no idea what leads to fascism. Jews and others, who were victims of the Holocaust, do not have the luxury of his ignorance.
Beck’s reflexive hatred for government is rejected by Americans of all backgrounds, who have seen the powerful role government can play in providing us with greater freedom, security, and opportunity. I am proud of the work we do at Jewish Funds for Justice, where our belief that we are all made in the image of the divine compels us to petition private enterprise, charities, and yes, the government, to do their part to ensure our shared divinity.
Just last month, Beck was deploring the use of Nazi comparisons when invoked to describe the anti-immigrant Arizona law. “You’re out of your mind!” Beck said of those drawing such parallels. But as many have noted, throwing out Nazi comparisons is specialty of Beck’s. Mocking Beck’s Nazi obsession, Comedy Central’s Lewis Black commented, “Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette’s.”
American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris is now calling on Beck to apologize, saying, “We agree with Simon that Beck unconscionably crossed the line by invoking Nazi and Holocaust imagery to advance his political agenda. Exploiting the most painful and tragic period of the twentieth century diminishes Holocaust victims and survivors, and cheapens the millions of Americans who sacrificed their lives to defend our nation’s cherished values and to defeat Hitler.”