Opinion: Glenn Beck’s Jewish Problem


glen-beckBy Jeffrey Goldberg

It’s become clear to me that the Fox commentator Glenn Beck has something of a Jewish problem. Actually, he has something of a modernity problem, and people with modernity problems tend to have problems with Jews, who more or less invented modernity (Einstein, Marx, Freud, Franz Boas, etc.)

This is not, by the way, a post about Beck’s singular obsession with George Soros (read Michelle Goldberg — not a relative, except in an all-Jews-are-conspiring-against-Glenn-Beck sort of way — on this subject). This is a post about Beck’s recent naming of nine people — eight of them Jews — as enemies of America and humanity. He calls these people prime contributors to the — wait for it — “era of the big lie.” The eight Jews are Sigmund Freud; Edward Bernays, the founder of public relations, and a nephew of Freud’s (which Beck discloses as if this had previously been a secret); Soros, of course; Cass Sunstein, now of the White House; the former labor leader Andy Stern; Walter Lippman, who is no longer here to defend himself; Frances Fox Piven, who Beck believes is “sowing the seeds” of revolution; and, of all people, Edward Rendell.

It is fair to ask if Beck knows that these people are Jewish (It is not widely-known that Rendell is Jewish, I think). But Beck is a smart person, and has researchers at hand with access to Wikipedia. Further, most of these people on Beck’s “big lie” list are already the targets of straightforward attacks in the dark, anti-Semitic corners of the Web, so an extended Google search, in some cases, would show that much of the opposition to some of these people is motivated by anti-Semitism. That said, Beck has not crossed a certain line, by identifying his targets openly as Jewish. Nevertheless, this, to me, is a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling. Beck is speaking to a certain constituency, and the thought has now crossed my mind that this constituency understands the clear implications of what Beck is saying.

My modest suggestion to those Jews who fear the building of mosques in American cities is that they look elsewhere for threats that seem to be gathering against them.

{The Atlantic/Matzav.com}


  1. I’m not sure Beck is a real threat since a lot of those people he mentioned are all anti-Torah. We should be worried about those people who attack Judaism.

  2. O this is amazing. Do you mean to say that because they are Jews therefor they represent all Jews? therefor they can’t be wrong and distructive?

    At least they’re consistant. These are the same guys who call anyone who critisize Obama as “racist”….

  3. The only one on his list who is truly evil is Soros, who has made huge fortunes off the misery of others.

    Rendell is a conservative Democrat whose term of office as Governor of Pennsylvania ended TODAY. He is no danger to anyone, anywhere.

    Beck is either nuts or a menace. I hope it is just nuts.

  4. The three people who frame the 20th Century were Marx, Freud and Einstein. Jews tend to rise to the top of social movements. Unfortunately many of these pseudo-messianic movements are hostile to Torah. A Jew when he or she abandons a Torah based life to adopt another set of values becomes a round peg trying to fit a square hole, it just does not fit. The result is something mishapen.

    That Glenn Beck saw this is merely calling out these persons’ poor fit. Additionally once while giving an oversimplification of Israeli polotics Mr. Beck characterized Orthodox Jews Parties as protecting a non-working sector engaged in state supported religious study. The tone was snide and critical.

    However in fairness it is unclear if Gleen Beck is an Anit-Semite or just ill0informed.

    Mr. Beck once discussing Israeli polotics spoke harshly if not ignorantly about Orthodox Jews. Mr. Beck

  5. Glenn Beck is correct. I watch his show and he simply states exactly what our Gadolim like Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch ZTL wrote over a century ago. Jewish socialists and reformers destroyed the Torah Community of Western Europe with their hatred for Torah and HKBH. Their goal was the destuction of religion and the spread of socialism. Most of the above mentioned individuals are outright supporters of the socialist agenda and are radical secularists. They actively support the restructuring of our American society. It is so sad that they perhaps are from Jewish backgrounds. I don’t know their yichus but it is shameful that they might be Yidden. May they all do teshuvah.

  6. Reply to #3.

    We have just been tragically reminded in Tucson that nuts/menace are not mutually exclusive. The shooter of Congresswoman Giffords was both.

    Beck appears to be equally so in targeting Jews as “enemies of America and humanity”.

  7. The only reason there are so many Jews on his list is because there are a lot of left-wing Jews. I don’t think there’s any need to cry foul so fast.

  8. These people are all anti-Judaism and are no good. The religion of their ancestors makes no difference. They are all a threat to the country and are dreck.

  9. It takes a real psychopath to suggest that Beck has a problem with Jews because of this. I certainly do not have “a Jewish problem” and I agree that these people are terrible to society and humanity. Jeffrey Goldberg should stop with his conspiracy theories and try to understand what is really taking place with these people.

  10. At last someone has figured out that some of the people the frum community so admires don’t admire us so much.

    We like to think that it’s only those “left-wing liberal” Jews that people like Beck dislike, when it’s actually just the term “Jew” that’s operative. These types of people don’t know Reform from Conservative from MO from Chareidi. Or, for that matter, American Jew from Israeli Jew. To them the word that matters is “Jew” and they believe that we’re out to run the world, in the tradition of the “Protocol of the Elders of Zion” conspiracy theorists.

  11. Sorry, but our so called jewish brothers on the left have caused much havoc and destruction…that….is not Glenn Becks fault. I’m sure there are many Gentiles that he disagrees with. I don’t think it is a Jewish problem for him. He just calls the shots as he sees them, and unfortunately many on the left happen to be some pretty WISE, CLEVER albeit, misguided jewish individuals.
    To our credit, we are a minority with a majority in many areas that contribute to society….we need to make sure we bring blessings toward that mission and be a light onto the nations,not the opposite. And so, when our dear misguided brothers mess up, they will be taken to task….

  12. Charlie Hall: “Soros, who has made huge fortunes off the misery of others.”

    Please, elaborate. To the best of my knowledge, Soros made his fortune by speculating in the foreign currency markets. There is nothing illegal or unethical about that. What he spends his money on and what he says and believes, that’s something else.

  13. Hitler ym”sh was jewish – don’t attack him, AchmadiniJad may be jewish too – don’t attack him either and Bernie madoff is also jewish, so are we stuck? do we have to keep quit? the problem becomes when you attack him in a way that you blame his jewesness for his behaviour.

  14. Baloney, sure we have to be aware of “Eisov soneh es Yakkov’
    Beck is pro israel through his Mormon teachings, but its his millions of listeners who hear his pro Israel stance , so we have to take the good and the bad

  15. The most radical name on the list, more radical than Soros, is Frances Fox Piven who is not Jewish. I think it is anti Semitism that has Beck worry about Bernays’ development of PR while leaving Goebels, Hitler and Stalin off his list.

    I don’t hate lefties. I understand some of you do. But don’t be suckered by anti Semites who claim to love Israel while conveniently coming up with lists of Jews who are the source of all the world’s problems.

    Come on guys. Do you really think he can’t find a few more influential non-Jews to blame for the world’s problems.

  16. ‘Do you really think he can’t find a few more influential non-Jews’

    Are there any now? Check back in a few years. I think the last two were Ford and the Spirit of St. Louis guy, both anti-semites we’ve been told.

  17. You have to remember this is Saint Glenn speaking. I find it very funny that a man so adroit at the practice of the “big lie” accuses these brilliant men of such. Saint Glen is not in the same intellectual league of any of these great men.

  18. Sadly, many leftists are of Jewish stock. However, they do not beleive they are Jews. One cannot be a communist and a Yid at the same time. They are communists who will cite their Jewish roots out of convenience, so they can paint all non-leftists as “anti-Semites.” Wisen up, yidden. Stop drinking the kool aid. Glenn Beck is no threat to the Jewish People. Communists are and they always will be. Just ask Nathan Sharansky or any Lubavitchers who suffered in the gulags, HaShem Yeracheim.

  19. Mr. Beck gives a pretty good program, expousing good old religious/moral/social/American values. He is a religious Christian, and thus, understandably, he will often expouse religious values from the Christian point of view.

    In just the last few days, I mentioned the following point a number of times in the comments here, and it cannot be repeated enough. All of this outright sick nit-picking of every little word of non-Jewish officials and media reporters, to say that this statement that they made or that remark that they said or this speech that they gave was “insensitive” to Jewish people, is absolutely ridiculous!! It is a terrible Chillul HaShem, as it must certainly be severely irritating to the officials and the media people to repeatedly hear these baseless cries of “anti-Semitism.” At best, they will think that we are an annoying people who are totally paranoid.

    Now here, Mr. Beck did not even say anything at all that was anti-Semitic. What he did say though, was a list of a number of people who are very destructive of our society, and most of the people on this list do happen to be Jews.

    As many of the comments here, (specifically from “Ger,” “MDshweks,” “Anti-left wingers,” “MIESQ,” “Kotzk Truth,” “r,” “emes,” “Too True to Post,” “anonymous,” “david,” “AA,” “Anonymous,” “Anonymous,” “Jay smith,” and “doug” in Comments #1, #2, #4, #5, #8, #10, #11, #12, #14, #16, #18,#20, #21, #22, and #26) superbly point out, very tragically, very many of the radical leftest people who are actively promoting ideas tearing down basic moral values and standards do happen to be Jews!

    This problem has been extensively discussed; I mentioned it in a post at http://matzav.com/making-a-kiddush-hashem-social-issues-and-politics, and will repeat what I wrote here:

    When I began my career in the yeshiva world, I was privileged to attend Yeshiva Ner Yisroel in Baltimore. I was in a special Shiur – a special class – for beginners, which was given by by Rav Chaim Dovid Lapidus, Sh’lita. As it was a beginners Shiur, we often had little discussions about various general Hashkafa topics – topics about what our general outlook needs to be. One of these chats was about this phenomenon; the year was 1970, which was just at the end of the decade of the 1960s, that turbulent era of vehement rebellions against the “old order” of life. Rav Lapidus related how it was Jews who were at the forefront of all these radical leftist movements; I can never forget how he thus exclaimed:


  20. Now Mrs. “Rachel R,” in Comment #13, points out a certain phenomenon:

    “We like to think that it’s only those ‘left-wing liberal’ Jews that people like Beck dislike, when it’s actually just the term ‘Jew’ that’s operative. These types of people don’t know Reform from Conservative from MO from Chareidi. Or, for that matter, American Jew from Israeli Jew. To them the word that matters is ‘Jew’ and they believe that we’re out to run the world, in the tradition of the ‘Protocol of the Elders of Zion’ conspiracy theorists.”

    Now here though, Mr. Beck did not do this. He only mentioned a list of several LEFTEST people; he did not even point out that most of them are Jewish.


    One of the ways that a Chillul HaShem can develop is like this. Many non-Jews have a negative prejudice bias of a negative opinion of Klall Yisroel. They do not express it though, as being prejudiced is considered wrong. However, when they see or hear or read about a Jewish person who does something bad — what would be correct for them to do is to realize that EVERY GROUP has some bad people, but most of the group is not like that. However, since they already have this negative bias, they instead exclaim: “Ah! Ha! I was right all along! You see that these Jews are all a bunch of horrible jerks!!”

  21. (continuation of my previous comments)

    Several years after my term in Ner Yisroel, I was privileged to attend several of the weekly Thursday night lectures by Rav Avigdor Miller, ZT’L. The year was 1979, and one of the major issues in the Jewish world then was that a certain Nazi group had been given, by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, official government permission to stage a massive march and demonstration in the town of Skokie, Illinois. Skokie, Illinois is a large suburb of the city of Chicago; it has a large population of Jewish people, very many of whom are survivors of the World War II Holocaust.

    So this planned Nazi march was not some little secret gathering that they were going to make in some back woods enclave in a rural area countryside. Instead, it was to be a major demonstration right in the middle of one of the most major urban metropolitan areas of the world. It was thus obviously intended to be a public declaration of the great power and success of the contemporary Nazi movement. It was also to be done right in the face of a large Jewish community of people who had just recently endured the excruciating horror of the Nazi halls of sadistic torture. It was thus obviously meant to be a fiendish teasing and taunting of our emaciated people.

    Understandably, the American Jewish community was severely alarmed; in the back of everyone’s mind was the chilling thought of the anxiety of “‘It’ could happen here!!”

    During that time, Rav Miller gave several lectures in which he mentioned the problem and taught us many key principles of what our Hashkafa – our outlook – needs to be. He was especially incensed about the fact that it was Jews — lawyers of the A.C.L.U. (the American Civil Liberties Union) “with Jewish sounding names” — who had argued the Nazi’s case before the US Supreme Court and had thus pressured the court to grant the permit for the march.

    During one of the times when he was discussing this issue, the tape on which the lecture was being recorded finished. As we heard the closing click of the recording machine, Rav Miller remarked: “The tape has finished; that’s good, because what I am going to say is not to be public.”

    Then, he literally took off. In a voice chocking with anger, he bitterly related that in 19th and early 20th Century Germany, the Reform/secularized Jews actively attempted to push and promote various liberal trends which would weaken and break down German society. So when Hitler and his Nazis latter took over the government and began their campaign of propaganda of saying that “the Jews” were ruining the country, “the middle class Germans (thought in their minds that Hitler was correct and thus) did not stand up for them!”



    I recently saw a little bit of what Rav Miller had warned about. A couple of months ago, the (television) “History Channel” (web site: history.com) put on a documentary program about the growing problem of neo-Nazi hate groups in our country. The program showed a visit to the camp of one of these groups; the spokesman for the group bluntly stated and repeated several times, their philosophy:




  22. This is bogus. Beck is the biggest Philo-Semite in the media. Nobody came out more supportive to Israel after the flotilla raid than beck did. He did a multi episode dissecting the issue and identifying the players involved.

    When it comes to Iran, nobody has been more succinct in having empathy for the existential dangers that Israel faces today and he is critical of US policy visa Israel. He also has a long standing relationship with many Jews including Orthodox rabbis.

  23. The Jews’ worst enemies are the leftists such as those Glenn Beck described. They are the ones who use the entire Jewish population as human shields for themselves as they work their evil schemes.

    They are the ones who devastated the economies and societies of Europe in the first half of the last century, then winged their way to safety and luxury, leaving millions of innocent Jews behind to suffer the retribution they (the leftists) earned.

    They are the ones who then exploited the world’s outrage over that great atrocity (which they helped arrange), using it as an excuse to seize even more power, which they are now using to oppress the entire population of the world, propping up dozens of tin horn dictators who abuse the people with their police state sweatshops.

    They’ve sabotaged the education system, crippling the minds of millions of students, leaving them unable to think and understand what they (the leftists) are doing to them. They pollute the culture by bankrolling every filthy act that comes along.

    They plundered Wall Street with their fraudulent schemes, and bribed Congress (in advance!) to bail them out of the crash they knew they were creating. (When you screw up, you pay. When THEY screw up, YOU pay!)

    They are the puppetmasters behind the scenes who orchestrate wars and riots, pitting nation against nation, race against race, keeping all the people of the world fighting one another instead of stopping them, the leftists, who are the REAL enemy of ALL the people of earth!

    And they do it all in YOUR name! Not theirs! They do it all in YOUR name to make YOU take the blame and suffer the wrath that THEY have so richly earned! The proper Jewish response is to REPUDIATE the leftists (whose doctrines are the opposite of everything taught in the Torah) NOT to help them by volunteering to be their human shields by crying “anti Semitism!”