A group of 400 rabbis today published an open letter to News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, condemning his cable network for making "literally hundreds" of references to the Holocaust that it characterizes as casual and inappropriate. The letter, published in the Wall Street Journal (a News Corp. publication) and the Jewish newspaper Forward, specifically criticizes Fox News President Roger Ailes and conservative television personality Glenn Beck.
"In the charged political climate in the current civic debate, much is tolerated, and much is ignored or dismissed," reads the letter, signed by heads of the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, as well as prominent Orthodox rabbis. "But you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organization you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks."
The letter calls out Beck for describing on air liberal billionaire financier George Soros as a "Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps." Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary as a teenager by living with a Christian family. In his authorized biography, Soros described accompanying his Christian "father" as he delivered Nazi orders to Jewish residents and once inventoried some property confiscated from Jews.
The letter, sponsored by the group Jewish Funds for Justice, also takes Ailes to task forafter they fired Fox News contributor Juan Williams. Ailes later walked back his remarks but also defended Beck's use of Holocaust rhetoric, dismissing the criticism from "left-wing rabbis who basically don't think that anybody can ever use the word, Holocaust, on the air."
The rabbis who signed today's letter said they were "deeply offended" and asked for Ailes to apologize and for Beck to be sanctioned by Fox News.
"We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media," the letter says. "But that is not what we have seen at Fox News. It is not appropriate to accuse a 14-year old Jew hiding with a Christian family in Nazi-occupied Hungary of sending his people to death camps. It is not appropriate to call executives of another news agency 'Nazis.'"
The Jewish Funds for Justice published the letter today in conjunction with International Holocaust Remembrance Day and as part of its anti-Fox News campaign, the primary goal of which is to get Beck off the air.In a recent interview following the mass shooting in Tucson, Ailes said that Fox and other networks should .