Glenn Beck, the American Right and the myth of ‘the International Jew’

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
on 19 Comments

Glenn Beck will likely soon regale us all with the valuable lessons he learned in Israel. Perhaps the rally turnout was lower than expected, but you can bet that any book he writes about it will become a bestseller in the U.S.

Rather than wait for the inevitable write up of the tour, why not just get a copy of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and alternate among replacing every reference to “Jew” with your choice of the following categories: “the Left,” “African Americans,” “George Soros” (okay, he is Jewish) or “Muslims.” People like Beck are pamphleteers in search of a Dreyfus, a Trotsky or a Rothschild to pin the world’s ills on – someone on which to base a screed against the “liberal elite,” in the interest of demagogues, ultranationalists and corporate oligarchs.

Beck routinely gushes over with praise for the Jews – unlike African Americans and welfare queens, he argues, “the Jews conquered slavery.” But he also denigrates particular Jews with Holocaust references and suggests that Left-wing Israelis are self-hating Jews. I think that Beck has, unconsciously, incorporated anti-Semitism into his screeds because anti-Semitism is part of the foundation of modern anti-Left ideologies.

These ideologies have “evolved” from castigating Jews as subversive capitalist financiers to seeing their (now communist) hands in the civil rights and labor movements that the American Right despises so. Christian Zionism is useful to Beck and his cohorts because by loudly proclaiming their support for Zionism, they don’t have to look their anti-Left dogmas hard in the mirror and acknowledge that they have roots in early 20th century Western anti-Semitism. As the conservative Jewish magazine FrontPage puts it about anti-Semitism today,

“The International Jew” mythos “can be boiled down to an idea that still resonates: every attempt to achieve some kind of extra-national organizing, aka “globalization,” can be traced back to the Protocols.”

Beck has, of course, found his Dreyfus/Trotsky/Rothschild in the person of George Soros. Soros, as an “extra-national organizer” philanthropist, is depicted among the American Right as an accomplice in the Nazi Holocaust and a financial puppet master pulling the strings of “the Left” to achieve his sinister “liberal” agenda. The accusation prompted significant outrage, but Beck stayed in the saddle at Fox (as Soros is controversial enough anyway that Fox could fob off the resulting rabbinical condemnations and outcry from other media outlets). While the corporatists who bankroll the American Right are for corporate extra-national organizing, any other manifestations of globalization – i.e., what the Soros Foundation, the National Labor Relations Board or Amnesty International do – are anathema and Bolshevist. This is why anti-unionism and anti-regulation sentiment loom larger in GOP tirades than their bases’s well-expressed anti-globalization sentiments.

Some sources believe that Fox decided to cancel Beck’s show earlier this year after he attacked Simon Greer, head of Jewish Funds for Justice. When Greer offered his thoughts on charity, Beck called him out: “This [talk about the common good] leads to death camps. A Jew, of all people, should know that. This is exactly the kind of talk that led to the death camps in Germany.” “Elites” like Greer, Beck argues again and again, will seek to build a “Progressive utopia, that only ends in death camps.” But Greer is not nearly as partisan as Soros; and his faith-based approach is something the American right claims to support over “welfarism.”

Beck, who insists he is not anti-Semitic, isn’t above alluding to Jews as a whole being self-destructive, closet communists/fascists. Just before he held his “Restoring Courage” rally in Jerusalem, he said that the Tel Aviv J14 protests were Left-wing subversives. He sarcastically intoned the specter of “Islamocommunist” – J14 was presumably handing out flyers with Hamas reps – and suggested that the whole protest movement is being funded by an international conspiracy of Left-wing financiers.

The concept of a cabal of financiers funding world dissent – we’ve heard that before. Whether Beck realizes it or not, Adolf Hitler often prophesied that “if the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevisation of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.” And it’s a favorite propaganda theme of Iran’s bombastic Mahmoud Ahmadinejahd and other tinplate tyrants trying to distract their own publics from domestic problems.

But Beck’s ideological grandfather is Henry Ford, who gave “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” a print run in a national newspaper and was honored by Nazi diplomats, actions that have stained his reputation forever.

Ford, being an automaker, had a lot of interchangable conspiracies. He liked to interchange “the Jew” with “the union” or “Wall Street” in his post-WWI rants, a time period when he became increasingly close-minded and fatalistic. The industrialist claimed that unions were actually run by Jewish financiers and that he, ever the humanitarian, would not allow them to harm his workers (he had his own “Service Department” for doing that: Detroit gangsters armed with machine guns and lengths of pipe). Ford only publicly reputed his anti-Semitism after it became a serious PR problem for him, though according to those closest to him. “The Jew” became an implicit member of the elite, and Ford (despite his wealth), always saw himself as being outside that elite.

It is worth nothing that some of the most prominent Beck supporters have been opponents of civil rights legislation and opposed to the very principle of unionism. They claim that these things sap American greatness and are secretly tied to communism. Ford fought tooth and nail to keep the United Auto Workers Union out of Detroit – his scorn for them redoubled by the presence of Jewish union organizers. The union’s Detroit leader was Walter Reuther, was a socialist immigrant who worked closely with American Jewish leaders to organize workers in the 1930s. Reuther was also, in his later years, a supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil rights movement, along with many other secular Jews and reform-minded rabbis (Reuther, who was also a Zionist, clearly saw the Jewish struggle for equal rights playing out among African Americans in the 1960s).

The role American Jews played in organizing American workers and the early civil rights movement was significant – and all such organizing efforts have been and are loathed by conservatives. Red baiting, Jew baiting and black baiting increasingly came together, but this was approaching the fringes of respectability (and electability).

So, by the 1990s, pro-segregation and anti-labor forces had come together – consciously, in fact – to try and reverse the gains of organized labor and non-whites under the “anti-elitist” banner of restoring “states rights.” The anti-immigrant, anti-regulation, anti-labor populism in the U.S. today is very much the cloth that modern American conservativism is cut from. Gone is the wording “The International Jew,” but the spirit is very much there, and that spirit animates Glenn Beck’s ideologies: “liberal Jews” alias “the elite,” alias “the communists,” have once again become the enemies of American freedom and dignity – that is, they are Democratic sheeple and, in actuality, insufficiently Jewish!

One of Beck’s recommended readings for his listeners, “The Red Network,” is a good example of how “the Elite” can be easily conflated with “Jews.” Written in the 1930s by a pro-Nazi American historian named Elizabeth Dilling, Beck proclaimed on his show (starting at 1:10 in this clip) that the work is an authoritative volume on communism. He also noted that the book cogently demonstrates the links between organized labor and communism – then started castigating the U.S.’s “communist” teachers’ unions.

Beck seems to have missed the parts in the book where those labor activists were called scheming Russian Jews. “The Red Network,” when not railing against African Americans, portrays Jews as either self-defeating pacifists or militant Bolshevik agitators, responsible for Germany’s WWI defeat: “conspiring, revolutionary Communist Jews” betrayed Germany in WWI and then, according to Dilling (and Hitler), sought to take the country over in the 1920s on Moscow’s orders. Beck’s response to criticism of the book was to claim that he hardly remembered reading it a few days before and to denounce “the Left” for trying to paint him as an anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer.

Some of the Henry Ford pedigree is visible in the man the Jewish Journal calls Beck’s “mentor and guru, Mormon extremist W. Cleon Skousen, a hardcore racist and anti-Semite. Beck frequently totes Skousen’s writings on his show, even though Skousen has long been an ardent opponent of African-American civil rights and sees communists behind everything (including African-American civil rights, of course).

Then there are the bizarre sermons of American evangelical leader John Hagee, a man Beck has had on his show numerous times. Hagee blames the Rothschilds, the Federal Reserve and the Illuminati for America’s economic woes, seems to be taking a page from “The Eternal Jew,” a Nazi propaganda film that said that:

“The Jews are sitting at all junctions of the world’s money markets . . . their capital enables them to terrorize world exchanges, world opinion, and world politics.”

Hagee’s views are, on the surface, pretty straightforward. He is a Muslim-bashing, Christian Zionist. His favor has been courted by people like Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman (who once favorably compared him to Moses). And he believes that Christians are the shepherds of the Jews. What more could a Zionist ask for?

Well, a Zionist might want to ask what happens to the sheep in the long run. For the end of the world to go as Hagee envisons, all Jews must return to Greater Israel and prepare for the end times. After most of the world is destroyed, Jesus Christ will return to Earth and reign from Jerusalem for a millennium. And then, as a reward for their shepherding of the Jews up to this point, Jesus will send the good Christians into Heaven for a seven year grace period while the anti-Christ moves to destroy Jerusalem.

Perhaps because of the role Jerusalem must play in this scenario for the end times is why Glenn Beck is saying that:

“The last one to attack is Jerusalem. It is the symbol of so much power. It is not their [Muslims'] most sacred site. It is a sacred site and the root of all of us. It cannot be lost. It cannot be lost.”

This is the legacy of the tsarist spies who wrote the Protocols, of European fascism, of members of the American Right such as Father Charles Coughlin, David Duke and the John Birch Society, and most recently, of repressive foreign leaders who have used Israel’s depredations as a rallying point for their people to take attention away from their own.
 
And it is a legacy that Glenn Beck is part of. As the Jewish Journal rightly puts it, Beck and all of his cohorts are no friends of Israel (or Palestinians). They are a false front for reactionary racism and anti-labor agendas that have been blended together in DC backrooms. And, increasingly, American Jews are buying into this spiel as social conservativism and all or nothing pro-Israel politics turn traditionalists against liberals.

A Gay German Jewish anti-Christ. Illuminati, Alan Greenspan and the Rothschilds. Gestapo Soros and Kapo Greer. Socialism with Islamist Characteristics. All of these thoughts can fit comfortably inside Beck’s head because they come back to the original boogeyman of the 20th century whose specter has made his, and Hagee’s, careers possible: the enduring myth of “The International Jew” among the American Right.

With friends like this, who needs Ahmadinejad?

About Paul Mutter

Paul Mutter is a contributor to Mondoweiss, Foreign Policy in Focus and the Arabist.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

19 Responses

  1. American
    September 17, 2011, 11:40 am

    Beck is the Marat of the French Revolution.
    Next will come a list of all those he wants beheaded.
    Including his own who aren’t ‘loyal’ enough.

  2. Dan Crowther
    September 17, 2011, 12:19 pm

    So, it seems the real “self hating Jews” are the ones who invited this clown to Israel.

    He might not be a friend of “the Jews” but hes certainly a friend of “the Zionists” – they want the rest of the world to be unsafe for Jews.

    I also cant help but thinking that all this talk from people like beck about “saving Jerusalem” is just a ploy to get more and more American Jews to move to Israel – taking away a big funding apparatus for Democrats.

    • AhVee
      September 18, 2011, 7:11 pm

      “I also cant help but thinking that all this talk from people like beck about “saving Jerusalem” is just a ploy to get more and more American Jews to move to Israel – taking away a big funding apparatus for Democrats.”

      I think he’s trying to garner Jewish American votes by making out ‘the left’ to be an ‘enemy of the real Jew’ (-as opposed to the false, self-hating ones, obviously) in every single way he can think of, I honestly don’t think he wants to make them move to Israel as much as he wants to heighten American Jews’ emotional bond with the country. I think he’s trying many things; to shatter the image of the right wing being more Jew-hating than the left-wing in his own, insipid, bottom-drawer way, trying to make some room for them between the wingnuts and the soccer mums, trying to exorcise all potentially remaining socialist and humanist streaks, spitting in the faces of greats such as Adorno or Löwenthal…

      At the same time he doesn’t see how proclaiming that Jews who subscribe to different intellectual traditions to him and do not share his views are ‘pathetic self-haters’ is [extremely] anti-semitic in its own right. He’s so far removed from being a “friend of the Jews”, it’s amazing. More like someone who attempts to force a certain agenda upon a group of people, and is the first to put them down in the time-honoured manner if they don’t flock to him like good little lemmings.

  3. justicewillprevail
    September 17, 2011, 12:43 pm

    Tangentially related to this is the deliberate attempt to push the US into yet another war:

    link to theamericanconservative.com

    Beck is a useful fool for far more unpleasant, manipulative people who will happily sacrifice American lives and trillions of dollars while they sit safely in their gated homes.

  4. gazacalling
    September 17, 2011, 1:22 pm

    I don’t mind Beck being called out for the doofus that he is. I don’t mind the intellectual history of ideologies. Both of these things are great.

    Guilt-by-association, however, I don’t enjoy very much.

    Don’t give us all these connections we are supposed to put such great stock in, just stick to his actual words. That should be enough to rebut him! This post was just too weak.

  5. MRW
    September 17, 2011, 1:42 pm

    Paul,

    A couple of small quibbles: “The role American Jews played in organizing …the early civil rights movement [is] significant.” That’s a pat on the back that should be dialed back bigtime, as described in great detail in Charles Payne’s I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, University of California Press (January 15, 1997).

    It was a ground-breaking book that “challenges several widely accepted conclusions, such as overemphasizing a core cadre of male leaders while overlooking the important contributions of women and youth and the belief that the black church was an early leader in the movement. Much of Payne’s information is culled from oral interviews with actual movement participants.”

    Ella Baker and Septima Clark organized the early civil rights movement, decades before American Jews got involved. Ella Baker was born in 1903 and started organizing when she was 16 years old, eight years before MLK was born, and 16 years before Saul Alinsky got the bug. Of MLK Baker said, “The movement made Martin. Martin did not make the movement.” Here’s a Mondoweiss post on it:
    link to mondoweiss.net

    The other quibble is the Rothschilds. I wish these broad-brush painters like Beck, who throw terms like Federal Reserve and Illuminati around like short-hand symbols, would read real history instead of talking points or Internet cliff notes. It is absolutely true that the Rothschilds made their money backing both sides of wars from the late 1700s through WWII. I have no idea about since. And as for the Federal Reserve. It’s an uber-bank whose shareholders are other banks (according to a US Treasury official who was trying to describe its structure to me). The US should be creating its own currency under the full faith and credit of the US government, but it should be the US Treasury that does it. There is no good reason why we pay interest to the Fed for borrowing from it.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    September 17, 2011, 8:10 pm

    RE: “Glenn Beck, the American Right and the myth of ‘the International Jew’” ~ by Paul Mutter

    MY COMMENT: A truly superb analysis/commentary!

    RE: “Just before he held his ‘Restoring Courage’ rally in Jerusalem, he [Beck] said that the Tel Aviv J14 protests were Left-wing subversives.” ~ Mutter

    MY COMMENT: Or as Glenn Beck’s narcissistic-messianic-complexed “fellow traveler” Anders Behring Breivik would put it, the Israeli protesters in Tel Aviv are adherents of “Cultural Marxism”!

  7. DICKERSON3870
    September 17, 2011, 8:28 pm

    RE: “some of the most prominent Beck supporters have been opponents of civil rights legislation and opposed to the very principle of unionism. They claim that these things sap American greatness and are secretly tied to communism.” ~ Mutter

    FROM IMDb:

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk… ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children’s ice cream.
    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: [very nervous] Lord, Jack.
    General Jack D. Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?
    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: I… no, no. I don’t, Jack.
    General Jack D. Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Commie works.
    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen… tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first… become… well, develop this theory?
    General Jack D. Ripper: [somewhat embarassed] Well, I, uh… I… I… first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
    General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue… a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I… I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.
    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
    General Jack D. Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh… women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh… I do not avoid women, Mandrake.
    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No.
    General Jack D. Ripper: But I… I do deny them my essence.
    SOURCE – link to imdb.com

  8. DICKERSON3870
    September 17, 2011, 8:58 pm

    RE: “With friends like this [Beck, Hagee, et al.], who needs Ahmadinejad?” ~ Mutter

    ANSWER: Likudnik Israelis, hard-core Zionists and other Masada/Apocalypse-complexed types.

  9. jayn0t
    September 17, 2011, 10:07 pm

    “Beck has, unconsciously, incorporated anti-Semitism into his screeds”- no, he’s consciously incorporated philo-semitism. For all the efforts on the left to find instances of pro-Zionists who are anti-semitic, philo-semitism (sympathy for Jews more than other people) is far more important as a source of support for Israel among Americans than wierd beliefs about the rapture and the protocols and so on. It is this form of racial discrimination that is most important.

  10. POA
    September 17, 2011, 10:09 pm

    I’ve probably said it before here, but….

    The fact that Beck can acquire any sort of audience is a terribly sad statement about the state of our nation. One likes to believe the masses have at least a mote of intelligence, but when compiling a list of our media personalities, politicians, and celebrities, one is extremely hard pressed to find anyone worthy of a following, much less worthy of any kind of respect founded in healthy values.

    Lacking intelligence is no great sin, of course, but these abominations like Beck, or Perry, or Limbaugh, or Cantor, etc are the price our society pays for such collective ignorance. Sooner or later we’ll be stupid enough to hand our nukes to someone crazy enough to use them. Bachman kinda strikes me that way.

    • Mooser
      September 18, 2011, 12:51 pm

      “One likes to believe the masses have at least a mote of intelligence”

      That’s really very kind of you, quite gracious, and I want to thank you personally. I’ll sink back into the undifferentiated social protoplasm now, and bother you no more.

      • POA
        September 18, 2011, 8:16 pm

        Naaaah, its OK, Mooser.

        You’re allowed to evolve.

        We can hope, can’t we?

  11. MRW
    September 17, 2011, 10:24 pm

    A significant crack in the system, soda sprechen ;-)

    Chuck Baldwin, a major Evangelical Christian pastor—for the overseas crowd, we also call them the Christian Right, and often Christian Zionists—published this article on his site (the 15th) and at Veterans Today (today). He used to have his own national radio show, maybe he still does; I’m not that much of a devoted follower of this stuff. He is a major mainstream cheese in Evangelical Christianity. (rich b can weigh in if I’ve got this wrong.)

    Are Evangelical Christians Warmongers?
    link to chuckbaldwinlive.com

    But it’s easier to read at Veteran’s Today
    link to veteranstoday.com

    He has major loyalty with the Christian troops, Patriot groups, the don’t-tread-on-me crowd, and a lot of the Ron Paul crowd. This is going to be titantic at a certain level. Read it.

    • john h
      September 18, 2011, 4:43 am

      Thanks for that, MRW. Yes, it may well be significant.

      However, the piece he wrote has a glaring omission, Israel/Palestine. That may be because he’s sold on Christian Zionism, which would thus be a blind spot.

      I have just emailed him accordingly.

      • MHughes976
        September 18, 2011, 7:48 am

        And if Evangelical Christians have indeed become warmongers part of the reason is the rise among them of Biblical interpretations that look positively on war and destruction in Palestine. So an EC who wants to correct the drift to warmongering and militarism has a theological problem that (s)he needs to face – perhaps Chuck Baldwin is not yet ready to face it. His emphasis on the early Christian Church and pacific ideas rather than on the prophets and the Kingdom may even make him slightly unorthodox in EC circles.

      • MRW
        September 18, 2011, 9:26 am

        MHughes976,

        He’s ready to face it. That’s what he’s bitching about but he has to do that thing where he covers all his readers’ fears first. Check out his links. There is a schism going on the fundie world.

      • MHughes976
        September 18, 2011, 4:00 pm

        Thanks, very interesting. It’s nice to see a bit of a schism not (for once) in the Church of England.

      • MRW
        September 18, 2011, 8:37 am

        Check his second link, john h. ;-)

Leave a Reply