NEW YORK - The warm welcome extreme right-wing media personality Glenn Beck has receiving in Israel has led to criticism of the American pundit by Jewish leaders in New York.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, told Haaretz he believed that Beck was very extreme and controversial even among right-wing groups in the United States. Yoffie pointed to the Fox News television network, which had canceled Beck's show and distanced itself from him.
Yoffie said that Beck had mocked the distress of hundreds of thousands of protesters in Israel, referring to the right-wing pundit's comments about the tent protests in Israel earlier this month when he compared protesters' calls for increased social benefits to those of the former Soviet Union.
According to Yoffie, Beck's comments on the protest in Israel are a slap in the face to hundreds of thousands of protesters, and expressed dismay that such a man is holding events in Israel with the participation of cheering masses.
Yoffie, who said he prefered not to speak about Beck and lend him undue prominence, said the pundit had expressed himself hatefully and rudely against President Obama, who is Israel's important and faithful ally.
Seymour Reich, former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and a leading New York attorney, said Tuesday that he believed Beck was taking rude advantage of Israel in order to rehabilitate his television career and reputation.
Reich said he believed Israeli and Jews everywhere should be careful about embracing an extreme right-winger like Beck, who shows sympathy for Israel in order to hide his extreme-right ideology.
In contrast, Abe Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said Tuesday that Beck had come to Israel to show support and solidarity with Israel and he should be welcomed as a friend.
Foxman also said the fact that Beck expressed views people did not agree with was no reason to ostracize him.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now