At rally in Israel, Glenn Beck calls for courage

FILE- In this Feb. 20, 2010 file photo, T.V. host Glenn Beck addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. The Anti-Defamation League posted on its website, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010, that Beck's comments on billionaire financier George Soros and the Holocaust were "inappropriate, offensive and over the top." Beck described Soros this week as a "Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps." (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File) AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File

Glenn Beck, whose "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington one year ago generated massive media attention, on Wednesday held a rally in Jerusalem dubbed "Restoring Courage" in which he called for Israelis and their allies to overcome their fears to face a world "adrift."

"You don't have to be a prophet to know that things are not going well in the world. The threats are mounting. Darkness is falling," said the former Fox News talk show host, according to a transcript of his prepared remarks. "Far too many politicians are willing to look away. The shape shifters are at work. They have turned day into night, good into evil."

Beck added that it is still possible to "alter the course of history" if people are "willing to speak truth." He called on people to "link arms with others and stand with courage, and walk behind the pillar of fire." Only "individuals who would not abide convenient lies," said Beck, can return the world to the path dictated by God's laws.

Wednesday's rally was the culmination of a controversial three-day visit by the conservative political commentator, whose rhetoric has become increasingly religious in recent years. Beck, who is seen by some critics as anti-Muslim, held the rally next to the disputed compound that Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary.

The Associated Press estimated that hundreds of supporters attended the event, including Likud lawmaker Danny Danon. A small group of anti-Beck protesters - holding signs reading "Glenn Beck go home" and other messages - were also present. 

In his remarks, Beck, who is Mormon, hailed the Israeli people for being willing to stand "against the entire tide of global opinion, for what is right and good and true." He complained that "so-called leaders of the world" criticize Israel for human rights violations while ignoring Libya, Syria and North Korea. Beck, who supports, West Bank Jewish settlements, cast human rights organizations as "bullies and grotesque parodies of the principles they pretend to represent."

Beck emerged to the sound of the Shofar, a rams horn used for Jewish religious ceremonies. In his remarks, he repeatedly referenced the Holocaust and said he will not wait for a new generation to "rise up to kill Jews." He said he has received death threats for his support of Israel but greeted them by vowing no fear.

"One day, your children and grandchildren will ask you: 'What did you do when the world was on the edge again? What did you say when the West, Israel and the Jews were blamed again?,'" Beck concluded, welling up. "You will look them in the eye and say: I had courage."

Among those who opposed Beck's event were a rare coalition of right-leaning religious Jews who feared he was trying to spread evangelical Christianity and left-leaning proponents of the Middle East peace process.

One critic, Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater, criticized the event as "nothing more than a media driven, money-making, self-serving, end-of-times messianic-lunacy circus show." Beck told the Jerusalem Post he was actually losing $1 million on his events in Israel and said his goal is "to show the world the courage of Israelis and the choice between good and evil and life and death, and to remind people that life's not a spectator sport."

Though a number of American politicians had been expected to attend, many who were expected did not show up. Senator Joe Lieberman said he could not keep his promise to attend because of family obligations, while House majority leader Rep. Eric Cantor, who was in Israel and who Beck said would be there, did not attend.

According to Rep. Joe Walsh, the House Ethics Committee called on members not to attend the event because it appeared to have a political affiliation, prompting Beck to accuse House Speaker John Boehner of "playing politics" with Israel "in their hour of need." The event did attract Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.

"God is not indifferent to Israel," Beck said Wednesday. "He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant he made with your forefathers." Beck exited the stage to a version of the song "Sabbath Prayer," from the musical Fiddler On The Roof.

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