By Ari Abramowitz
By now, I would imagine that most Jews in Jerusalem know about the upcoming “Restoring Courage” Rally that Glenn Beck is staging in Jerusalemon August 24th. The fact that the reaction to this rally is as varied as the reaction to Beck himself is both tragic and embarrassing and in my mind is all too consistent with a rather self-destructive predisposition our nation has towards seeking the favor of our enemies and alienating our friends.
Glenn Beck is an opinionated and controversial guy and if he is trying to sugar coat his perspectives into being more palatable to his detractors, he is not doing a very good job. While I, personally, agree with him on most issues, there are others on which we disagree. But this rally is not about Glenn Beck or partisan politics. This rally is both about the fate of the State of Israel and the survival of the United States of America.
It’s not easy being a Jew. It takes courage. Today we are facing unprecedented challenges to the fundamental legitimacy of our existence, not only from the UN and the EU, but also from many of our longstanding allies who we have always regarded as our closest and most dependable friends. To add insult to injury, we are also facing greater opposition from within our own camp, primarily emanating from the myriad of far left organizations such as “Peace Now”, “Machsom Watch”, “J-Street”, etc. As I travel throughout the US, one of the most common questions I am asked is why the Jewish People seem willing to abrogate our national homeland and unilaterally surrender large portions of our small country to enemies who are openly committed to our destruction at all costs. And while these questions do, indeed, cut deep, they do not come from a place of belligerence or criticism, but rather of sincere concern and a desire to understand this rather counterintuitive tendency.
While this is a multi-faceted question which is beyond the scope of this article, the answer which I offer is nearly identical to the reason I feel that this rally is of such importance for Israel. As we all know, we are living in times in which it takes tremendous character and conviction to be a proud and unapologetic Jew. It is not easy to stand against the vast majority of world population and unequivocally declare what seems to be the glaringly obvious – that the land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel. For the very act of being a lone voice against the world takes a level of conviction and determination that conflict with the deep seeded desire for universal brotherhood and international acceptance that have been integral attributes in our national psyche and communal personality since biblical times. And while many Jews are up for undertaking this Abrahamic task, others simply succumb to the pressure and grasp the consolation and temporary illusion of security offered to those who will join the masses seeking their demise.
That is why a Jew with the same message as Glenn Beck may not have the same effect. A Jew calling for Jewish courage does not alleviate the sense of isolation and loneliness that a non-Jew with the same message does. That is why this rally, and the movement it represents, is a game changer. No longer are Jews who believe in the Jewish right to the Land of Israel alone. No longer are the masses in Israel confronted with the dilemma of either standing for the right of the State of Israel to exist and being labeled by the international community as racist, oppressive, and crazy or gaining the approval and acceptance of the world by joining their chorus of delegitimization and lies. For the majority of Israelis who are neither intimidated by the magnitude of our adversaries nor frightened to claim our right to our national homeland, this rally is less a critical stand of support, and more a friendly act of solidarity. But for those Jews who have begun to lose faith and clarity in our cause, this rally is, if nothing else, a license to believe in our right to exist.
We recently filmed a show in South Carolina in which State Representative Alan Clemmons joined us to explain what inspired him to pen the most pro-Israel legislation I have ever encountered, as well as Representative Mac Toole who explained why he supported and endorsed the bill. After the program, we brought the legislation to Glenn’s attention, and he immediately hosted Rep. Clemmons on his program to help disseminate this legislation to every other state in the country to encourage them to follow suit.
These brave leaders are not only taking such a strong stance because they support Israel but because they love America. Support and solidarity with Israel and the Jewish People is a gauge of the spiritual and moral health of any nation and is as sure a sign as any of their expected survival. The rise and fall of the superpowers of history can arguably be directly linked to their treatment of the Jewish People and the fate of the United States is no exception. This is not due to the fact that the US and Israel share common enemies and that Israel is on the front lines against foes who have America in their crosshairs as well, rather this is an issue of values. When a nation does not remain true to the fundamental principles upon which it was founded, its demise is all but guaranteed and those behind this rally understand that they are not only fighting for Israel, but for their own survival.
The Hebrew word for Jew, “Yehudi”, comes from the word “lehodot” which means “to thank”. An essential tenant of Judaism is to show gratitude. America has been one of the best countries in world history to the Jewish people, and it is incumbent upon us to show our gratitude by standing with them as they stand with us.