Monday was a crazier day than most in Israel.
Early Monday morning, over 100 European peace activists were still jailed by the Israelis, for having attempted getting to Bethlehem to visit Palestinian families who had invited them, from the Tel Aviv Airport over the weekend. The Israelis were refusing them access to attorneys.
Then, Glenn Beck addressed the Knesset, where KM Danny Danon, chair of the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, declared “If we didn’t have someone like Glenn Beck we would have had to invent someone like him.”
When Beck spoke to the Israeli legislative body, the audience was described by Ami Kaufman, who was there:
Outside the Negev hall, the atmosphere was like before a rock concert, complete with the pushing and shoving. Most attendees were religious, all the way from knitted kippas to haredim. After we sat down, it was only a few minutes wait till the star came in. Almost immediately the whole room stood up, including the Members of Knesset, and gave the man a standing ovation.
This was only the beginning of the biggest love-fest I’ve ever seen. At times, I was squirming in my chair. Considering how Beck has been accused of anti-semitism, the amount of love was particularly odd.
Kaufman goes on:
Just recently, pundit Dana Milbank of the Washington Post listed a few of Beck’s feats in this field:
“…hosting a guest on his show who describes as “accurate” the anti-Semitic tract “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”; likening Reform rabbis to “radicalized Islam”; calling Holocaust survivor George Soros a “puppet master,” a bloodsucker and a Nazi collaborator; touting the work of a Nazi sympathizer who referred to Eisenhower as “Ike the Kike”; and claiming the Jews killed Jesus.
But I guess it takes one to know one, which is why I wasn’t surprised to see Baruch Marzel (the notorious Kahanist and in my humble opinion one of the most dangerous people this country has seen) taking a seat to hear Beck’s sermon.
Kaufman managed to get cell phone pictures of Marzel with Beck and the latter’s personal aide.
Here’s some of Beck’s strange talk to the Knesset (MK Danon introduces him):
Just who is Baruch Marzel? Though Beck doesn’t appear to have spent much time with him, the hall was filled with Kahanists, and Kahanist members of the Knesset, such as Michael Ben-Ari, were prominent among those both questioning Beck, and applauding him heartily, in spite of Danon’s admonition for decorum in the legislative hall.
Kahanists are followers of Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League in the United States, and of the ideology that has become known as Kahanism, since Kahane’s death. Kahamism advocates an end to the notion of Israeli democracy, and full expulsion of non-Jews from Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Kahane and his closest followers were extremists on the issue of militant Zionist expansionism, proposing:
[A] Jewish state “according to the description given in the Bible.” He said, “the southern boundary goes up to El Arish, which takes in all of northern Sinai, including Yamit. To the east, the frontier runs along the western part of the East Bank of the Jordan river, hence part of what is now Jordan. Eretz Yisrael also includes part of Lebanon and certain parts of Syria, and part of Iraq, all the way to the Tigris River.
Although Kahane’s Kahane Chai, or Kach, political organization was banned in Israel in 1994 as racist, Kahanists have been responsible for a large amount of the most egregious settler violence in the West Bank. Most notably, Baruch Goldstein, who killed 29 and injured 150 Muslim worshippers in the West Bank; Yoel Lerner, who attempted to blow up the Dome of the Rock Mosque; and Yigal Amir, who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin.
While he was alive, perhaps Kahane’s closest follower was Baruch Marzel, who was Kahane’s secretary and assistant before the former’s assassination, and took over Kach after the death of the party’s leader. Marzel has been involved in a number of controversies:
Marzel has also advocated violence towards homosexuals in Israel, calling for a religious war against them during a radio interview. In 2006, in the days leading up to a planned gay pride parade in Jerusalem, Marzel reportedly stated that “The stabbing incident during last year’s parade will seem minor in comparison with what is anticipated this year. We have to declare a holy war”. Marzel also was involved in the controversial March 2009 flag parade through Umm al-Fahm. He led protests against the eighth Jerusalem Gay Pride parade of 2010, opining that “[homosexuality] is a disease of choice, and a man can change his taste and his ways. When someone has AIDS they tell them not to infect others, so why are these people allowed to march here in Jerusalem and infect us with their disease?”
In 2006, Marzel sent an open letter to Linor Abergil, asking her not to marry non-Jewish Lithuanian NBA player Šarūnas Jasikevičius; a similar open letter was addressed in March 2010 to Israeli model Bar Refaeli not to marry her non-Jewish boyfriend, American actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Representing the Lehava organization which works to prevent intermarriage, Marzel tried to remind Refaeli that she is the descendant of grandmothers who would not dream of seeing her marry a non-Jew and perpetrate assimilation.
Regarding Beck’s conversation with Marzel Monday, of chief concern should be that the political extremist organization Marzel once led, and whose causes he continues to openly espouse, Kach is Number 20 on the United States Government’s current list of terrorist organizations, placed right between Jemaah Islamiya organization (JI) and Kata’ib Hizballah (KH).
Short of Beck openly distancing himself from Marzel – which might be difficult, as Marzel is currently on the staff of MK Ben-Ari, serving as parliamentary aide – will we see the MSM going after Beck for “palling around with terrorists”?
All this happening Monday is a great example of how nutty things are getting in Israel: The Knesset declaring some free speech illegal, detaining peace activists without access to attorneys, and lionizing Glenn Beck as he embraces a known terrorist publicly. And Beck is merely there to warm the audience up for his upcoming August 24 “Restoring Courage” Rally in Jerusalem.