Left and right join forces against Glenn Beck's Western Wall rally
The rally, entitled 'Restoring Courage', is expected to include nationalistic Israeli sentiments as well as Christian content.
Conservative commentator Glenn Beck is scheduled to hold a widely advertised rally Wednesday at 5 P.M. near the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Beck, a former commentator for Fox News, expresses resounding support for Israel at all times, and the rally, entitled "Restoring Courage," is expected to include nationalistic Israeli sentiments as well as Christian content.
The combination of Israeli nationalism and Christian subject matter has led to a surprising alliance against Beck. His critics include Israelis who normally oppose each other, including religious figures and political personalities from both ends of the spectrum.
"We all have the same reasons for opposing Glenn Beck," said Etai Mizrav of Peace Now. "This is a person who seems to support Israel, but he is a fanatic. I don't know how the right wing intends to protest, but if they want to join us they are welcome," he told Haaretz. Supporters of Peace Now wrote a letter to the cantorial star Dudu Fisher urging him to cancel his performance at Beck's rally Wednesday night. "The area near the Western Wall is no place for a political event. We call on you not to lend your rare voice to such an unclean event."
Peace Now activists are expected to hold a protest during the rally outside the Dung Gate, which is near the Southern Wall Archaeological Park, where the rally is being held.
"The demonstration is against the Israelis who are embracing him there, [Likud MK] Danny Danon and others like him," Mizrav said.
Left-wing Knesset members are also expected to take part in the protest - among them, Ilan Ghilon (Meretz ) and former Meretz MK Mossi Raz.
Beck's opponents in Israel also include radical Likud member Moshe Feiglin, who has on more than one occasion said Beck is leading "a modern-day crusade." Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Hebron; Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, leader of the Lithuanian stream of ultra-Orthodoxy; and Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger also oppose Beck.
Metzger was invited to the rally but declined after Elyashiv came out against the American pundit, and the cantorial choir of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem canceled its participation in the rally for the same reason.
Former Jerusalem City Councilwoman Mina Fenton, another Beck opponent, said, "Anything good said about Israel is good for all of us. But my sensitivity and that of others like me leads me to ask what the motives are that lead to such sympathies. ... The event is a clearly Christian event. Glenn Beck says so himself. And now he is giving the Southern Wall [Archaeological Park] Christian significance? That is unacceptable to Jews."
The Jerusalem Municipality is supporting Beck by allowing him use of Safra Square in front of City Hall, so that people who were were unable to get a ticket to see Beck in person at the Southern Wall Archaeological Park will be able to watch him live on a giant screen.
Fenton's sharply worded letter to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat over Beck's appearance - in which Fenton decried "desertion of the walls" - went unanswered, she said.
Peace Now activists said Beck's activities will cause foment in Jerusalem. However, the public relations firm representing Beck in Jerusalem described this evening's rally as "a non-political event."