Op/Ed: Glenn Beck’s revealing visit

by Caroline Glick

Read the original article from The Jerusalem Post here. Watch the Restoring Courage event here

American media superstar Glenn Beck’s visit to Israel this week was a revealing and remarkable event. It revealed what it takes to be a friend of Israel. And it revealed the causes of Israel’s difficulty in telling its enemies from its friends.

Many world leaders, opinion-shapers and other notables protest enduring friendship with Israel. From Washington to London, Paris to Spain, policy- makers and other luminaries preface all their remarks to Jewish audiences with such statements. Once their declarations are complete – and often without taking a breath – they proceed to denounce Israel’s policies and to deny its basic rights.

US President Barack Obama exemplifies this practice. Obama always begins his statements on Israel by proclaiming his enduring friendship for Israel. Then he tells us to deny Jewish property rights, accept indefensible borders, or desist from defending ourselves from aggression.

The Israeli Left habitually embraces self-proclaimed friends such as Obama. Often leftist leaders encourage such friends to harm Israel in the name of helping it. For instance, in 2007, speaking to then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice – who had a habit of comparing her friend Israel to the Jim Crow South – then-Haaretz editor David Landau asked her to “rape” the Jewish state. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni recently encouraged Obama to increase pressure on Israel.

When anti-Semitic public intellectuals such as the late Nobel laureate Jose Saramago compare Israel to Nazi Germany, the Israeli Left makes light of their remarks. For instance, when at the height of the Palestinian terror war in 2002 Saramago said Israel was worse than the Nazis and that Jews had no right to speak of the Holocaust, Yediot Aharonot’s Ariella Melamed referred to Saramago as “one of the most beloved foreign novelists in Israel.”

On Thursday, Israeli Arab actor and filmmaker Muhammad Bakri was the subject of a two-page hagiographic profile in Yediot. Bakri’s libelous 2003 film Jenin, Jenin, in which he falsely portrayed IDF soldiers as murderers and war criminals, was brushed off as merely “controversial.”

Making no mention of Bakri’s family ties to terrorist murderers or supportive statements regarding terrorism and war against Israel, Yediot portrayed this foe as a hero. Bakri, who has used his considerable talents to criminalize and demonize the country and to support its terrorist enemies, was lionized as an unwilling culture warrior who would much rather be acting than fighting, but feels he cannot escape his duty to fight for the great causes he holds dear.

Also Thursday, Yediot ran a story about Beck’s Restoring Courage Rally beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The headline read, “Glenn Beck’s Messianic Show.”

In general, the Israeli media responded to Beck’s visit to Israel either as a non-event, or they distorted who Beck is and what he is trying to do. Thursday’s print edition of Ma’ariv sufficed with a photograph from Beck’s rally in Jerusalem the previous day.

By casting Beck’s visit as insignificant, Ma’ariv disserved its readers. Beck is one of the most influential media personalities in the US today.

Unlike the leftist public intellectuals such as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman who are celebrated and obsessively covered by the Israeli media, Beck exerts real influence on public opinion in the US. His calls for action are answered by hundreds of thousands of people. His statements are a guidepost for millions of Americans. Aside from radio host Rush Limbaugh, no media personality in the US has such influence.

It is highly significant that thousands of Beck’s supporters followed his call and came with him to Israel for a week to express their support for Israel and the Jewish people. It is similarly significant that millions more of his supporters followed his actions on Internet.

Those media that did not seek to downplay the importance of Beck’s visit opted instead to distort who he is and what he is doing. As the Yediot headline indicated, the media portrayed him as an unstable messianic, or they castigated him as an extremist and marginal force in the US. Haaretz and Globes both ran articles attacking Beck as an anti-Semite.

These claims are outrageous and represent yet another gross disservice to Israeli news consumers who do not have an independent means of judging Beck, his message and his actions for themselves.

Beck came to Israel to launch a global movement of activists committed to supporting Israel, not in order to “rape” it, but in order to empower it to defeat its enemies and to stand up to an increasingly hostile world. In his speech under the Temple Mount, Beck roused his audience – which contrary to media reports was a mix of American Christians and American Jews joined by scores of Israelis – to action. With gripping prose, Beck told his audience to disregard the “convenient” lies about Israel and embrace the truth.

That truth, he said, is that “In Israel, there is more courage in one square mile than in all of Europe. In Israel, there is more courage in one Israeli soldier than in the combined and cold hearts of every bureaucrat at the United Nations. In Israel, you can find people who will stand against incredible odds, against the entire tide of global opinion, for what is right and good and true. Israel is not a perfect country. No country is perfect. But it tries, and it is courageous.”

From Israel he proceeded Wednesday night to South Africa to tell the true story of Apartheid and to dispel the popular falsehood that Israel bears any similarity to Apartheid South Africa. From there he will continue on to Latin America to meet with communal leaders and mobilize them to support Israel. And from there he will return to the US where he will launch his global movement to support Israel before a mass audience in Dallas early next week.

What was most remarkable about Beck’s message was its rarity. Beck did not say anything factually inaccurate. The vast majority of Israelis certainly would find nothing controversial in any of his assertions. Yet despite his honesty, and his reasonable interpretation of Israel’s strategic and diplomatic circumstances, Beck’s is a voice in the wilderness. One almost never comes across a foreigner – or even an Israeli – who is willing to speak such basic truths in public.

Both the rarity of truthful assessments of reality such as Beck’s and the gross distortion of his message and importance by the media are the consequence of intellectual and social intimidation that has led to groupthink among members of the media and of the cultural elites in Israel and throughout much of the Western world.

As Beck put it, “The grand councils of the earth condemn Israel. Across the border, Syria slaughters its own citizens. The grand councils are silent...

“These international councils, these panels of so-called diplomats, condemn Israel not because they believe Israel needs to be corrected. They do so because it is convenient.

“Everyone does it. In some countries, it’s a crime not to.

“The diplomats are afraid, and so they submit. They surrender to falsehood. The truth matters not. To the keepers of conventional wisdom, a sacrifice of the truth is a small price to pay. What difference does it make if we beat up on little Israel? These are the actions of the fearful and cowards.”

And in the face of this cowardice, Beck organized his visit to Israel under the banner “Restoring Courage.”

He told his audience, “I stand here to tell you this: Fear is the pathway to surrender. And to overcome fear, we must have courage.”

Beck is rare, because he refuses to bow to the intellectual intimidation and groupthink that plagues the discourse on Israel in Israel itself and throughout the world. He refuses to play by the rules in which friends of Israel are castigated as messianic crazies and extremists and Israel’s enemies are praised as friends and great artists and courageous dissidents. He is an exception to a demented rule.

Israel’s media didn’t come to their hatred of Beck on their own. Most of it is fueled by American Jewish leftists. Beck ran afoul of the liberal American Jewish establishment through his outspoken attacks on George Soros. In January, Beck ran several shows on Soros, the extremist leftist anti-American and anti-Zionist global financier who has given more than $100 million to radical leftist groups.

Among other things, Beck ran a 1998 interview that Soros gave to CBS News’s Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes. During the course of the interview, Soros admitted that as a boy in Nazi occupied Hungary he collaborated with the Nazis in confiscating Jewish property. Beck dwelled on Soros’s statement and his stated lack of guilt for his actions. Beck considered its impact on the shaping of Soros’s personality.

For his actions, Beck was attacked as an anti- Semite by the Soros-funded Jewish Funds for Justice. The group which conducts community organizing in liberal Jewish congregations collected the signatures of several dozen rabbis and ran a $100,000 ad in The Wall Street Journal asking Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch to take action against Beck. According to JCCWatch.org, New York’s UJA-Jewish Federation has given more than a million dollars to the Soros-funded organization.

The Left’s attacks on Beck are fueled by the fact that he is a Christian Zionist. The Left’s default mode is to accuse Christian Zionists of a hidden agenda to convert Jews and a secret desire to see us killed in an Armageddon.

But in truth the media’s embrace of Israel’s enemies, their rejection of Beck, and most important Beck’s refusal to bow to their conventional wisdom that Israel’s enemies should be praised and its friends should be condemned all reveal the reason that Christian Zionists can be trusted and embraced by Israelis.

Christian Zionists – like Jewish religious Zionists – are unmoved by the media’s intimidation because of their faith in God, and their reliance on scripture. Their faith provides them with a means of judging reality that is independent of the largely post-religious intellectual commissariat that runs the media and the cultural elite in the Western world. They don’t seek or care about receiving the accolades of the New York Times or other post-religious totems for their actions. And Beck’s message to Israelis is that we shouldn’t care either.

For most Israelis, this message rings powerful and true. But for the media, in Israel and throughout the West, it is dangerous sedition that must be marginalized and destroyed.

Beck said that his movement will be one of individuals who work together to defend Israel and the Jews from those who seek our destruction. He argued that regular people are far more capable of understanding what needs to be done than the well-heeled experts who lead us down the garden path of weakness and demoralization.

And he is right.

And in bringing this message to Israel, he demonstrated his friendship. We should return the favor by taking his advice. We should trust ourselves and our instincts and stop listening to the “experts” who preach weakness and surrender.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.