Glenn Beck's "Jews Killed Jesus" Claim Is a Classic Anti-Semitic Lie, Says ADL
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 10:58:43 AM EST
On Tuesday of this week during the Glenn Beck Show, Beck stated the following:

"Jesus conquered death. He wasn't victimized. He chose to give his life. He did have a choice. If he was a victim, and this theology was true, then Jesus would have come back from the dead and made the the Jews pay for what they did."

While the Anti-Defamation League has not been especially vigorous recently in opposing virulently anti-Semitic claims from Christian Zionists such as John Hagee, the ADL nonetheless can be considered an authoritative source concerning what anti-Semitism is. The ADL identifies Glenn Beck's claim that "the Jews" killed Jesus as one of the top four most destructive of anti-Semitic lies.

The ADL has chosen to call out Fred Phelps' virulently hateful Westborough Baptist Church for promoting the claim that "the Jews" killed Jesus but that church's media reach is miniscule compared to that of the Glenn Beck Show which reaches a national audience of millions.

In 2001 the organization chastised Christian conservative strategist Paul Weyrich for making the same claim, in an April 24, 2001 ADL press release with the following statement from Anti Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman,

"Paul Weyrich's statement that "Christ was crucified by the Jews" is appalling, historically false and deeply offensive. As a religious figure of national standing, he certainly knows that the accusation holding "the Jews" responsible for the death of Jesus is not true and has served as the basis and rationale for centuries of persecution of Jewish people around the world. He must know that the Catholic Church has emphatically repudiated the teaching of contempt, i.e., that Jews killed Jesus. He surely knows that such destructive myths stated as fact may well reinforce the bigotry of the ignorant and the uninformed, potentially leading to hateful anti-Semitic acts." [emphasis mine]

With Glenn Beck fast degenerating into a modern-day Father Coughlin, how much longer will the Fox channel and Rupert Murdoch continue to broadcast his ongoing blasts of racism, anti-Semitism, and hate speech?

[video clip, below: yes, Glenn Beck really said it.]

In all fairness it's impossible to evaluate this quote without knowing what he said after what is shown in the video.

by marktypos on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 08:35:02 PM EST
This should be viewed in context of the other outrageous statements and attacks that Glenn Beck has made in recent months.  Last month, for instance, he promoted a 1934 book by Elizabeth Dilling, a well known Nazi sympathizer, and writer of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.  David Duke credits Elizabeth Dilling's writings to his "awakening" to "Jewish supremacism."

Then Beck has the gall to claim that social gospel, liberation theology, and pretty much anything resembling social justice leads toward fascism.  Imagine a "news" program running something like this fifteen or twenty years ago and with so little outrage from those who are supposed to be monitoring racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry.  

I was shocked to see that Beck was touted in the Mormon Times this week as promoting "unity."  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 01:51:05 PM EST

I'm not seeing this quote the same way as you both do apparently. Maybe I don't listen to enough Glen Beck. So thankyou for doing that so  the rest of us don't have to. But, I went back and listened to the 17 min. on Huffington Post. This is a few seconds in the middle of a rant on liberation theology. The entire thrust of his monologue is against the idea of collective responsibility. He is rejecting the idea of white responsibility for persecuting black people and the lynchings of black people, and the comparison [in liberation theology] of lynched blacks with the 'lynching' of Jesus. Rejecting that idea is the whole point of what he is saying.

In that context you can also interpret his mention of Jews killing Jesus in just the opposite way - he says 'if you accept this [false] theology [about victimization] then you would blame the Jews. 'But that's an abomination'.

Look, as a Jew, I don't have any better standing than anyone else to interpret Glen Beck and what he may or may not mean.  Glen Beck is inciting people in a crude awful way and what he says is pernicious in the extreme. But, it surprises me that you and Bruce pick out this quote when both of you write so well and convincingly about what is the real and more dangerous new antisemitism---that trojan horse of christian zionism and the  faux Jew-philia that goes along with it.

by marktypos on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 03:54:34 PM EST

Not much Beck says is original and I guess that I am viewing this program (and the last few months of Beck's diatribes) in context of where I have heard all this before, particular in regards to black liberation theology and the way both Jews and African Americans, and anyone else fighting for social justice, have been accused of being communists. As can now be seen on the John Birch Society website, the director of marketing for the JBS magazine New American describes a "complete agreement between Beck and the JBS presentations of American history."  (Note that many of Rushdoony's early supporters were Birchers and his Christian nationalist histories share much with the JBS version.) Beck is channeling the JBS and worse by sourcing the overtly anti-Semitic narratives which JBS sanitized for their version of American history.  It is indeed impossible to capture what Beck is doing in just a few quotes.

I grew up in a time and place where "Get US out of the U.N." signs (John Birch Society's) were tacked on pine trees every few hundred feet down the road and we had white and "colored" waiting rooms and water fountains (into the 1970s). It was widely believed that minorities and women would be fine and happy if the communist activists (including the plants claimed to be in churches promoting social gospel) and the communist-inspired African American and Women's Studies programs were eliminated from colleges. These were said, of course, to be the source of all the problems, and communism, was, of course, sourced in Jews who rebelled against God and killed his son.

Beck puts enough out there so that those who already have exposure to these narratives can easily follow him, while I think those who don't speak this lingo may not fully comprehend where he is going.  I am shocked when I watch Beck, and as someone who spends hundreds of hours watching the most vile of conspiracy theory media, I am not easily shocked.  I guess my shock is because I speak the lingo and know the source material, and I can't believe that I am seeing this on network "news" in 2010.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 11:45:53 PM EST

Here is the link to the page at JBS titled "Glenn Beck Recapitulates The John Birch Society." -glenn-beck-recapitulates-the-john-birch-society

William F. Buckley denounced the JBS and is credited for ousting the organization from GOP circles.  As other bloggers have  commented, Buckley would not recognize today's conservative movement of race baiters and religious extremists.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Sun Jul 18, 2010 at 01:11:21 AM EST

FBI FILES ON BIRCH SOCIETY: This report explains why J. Edgar Hoover and senior FBI officials within the Bureau's Domestic Intelligence Division concluded in FBI memos that the JBS was "extremist", "irrational" and "irresponsible" CONSERVATIVE CRITICS OF ROBERT WELCH and BIRCH SOCIETY: Contrary to claims made by the Birch Society about the alleged "left-wing" origins of JBS criticism, the most potent adverse comments about the JBS have always originated from the right-side of the political spectrum. This report presents a representative sample of such comments. PERSONS DESCRIBED BY BIRCH SOCIETY AS "EXPERTS" ON COMMUNISM: Two former FBI Special Agents who endorsed the Birch Society after they retired from the FBI are often cited by Birch Society members and supporters as knowledgeable, reliable, and authoritative sources of information on the communist movement. However, their FBI personnel files reveal that senior FBI officials did not have a very high regard for their post-FBI endeavors. In the case of Dan Smoot, just prior to his retirement from the FBI he was censured, placed on probation, and transferred to a small, insignificant field office as a disciplinary measure. Both reports include detailed critiques of statements and assertions made by these former FBI Special Agents. DAN SMOOT: W. CLEON SKOUSEN

by ernie1241 on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 08:05:06 PM EST

I got (in a way) a laugh at your description of the attitude expressed during that period (and afterward).  I remember it well.

I was involved in the dominionist churches in the late 70's and early 80's in the "deep south" and grew up in Virginia in a more conservative area of town.  That was the best summation of the preaching and attitudes I experienced that I've heard in a long time- and accurately describes the attitude I heard from a lot of conservative people (in general) as well.

I see Beck's stuff as a form of programming- using "the Big Lie" and pandering to people's prejudices.  Typical brainwashing and propaganda techniques- and feeding on the same stuff that has been coming out of the right for decades.

by ArchaeoBob on Sun Jul 18, 2010 at 10:16:44 AM EST

but not from the south. from very conservative New Hampshire. The sign you remember...would that be this:

In any case, thanks for the context. But I'm still confused about this quote and what it means about Glen Beck and the ideas he's pushing. It seems to me that he is weaving a very complicated tapestry that is hard to unravel. But it's built around a conservative Christian framework and not a traditional racist anti-semitic one. Has the (new sanitized, postmodern) JBS  decided that conservative Christian values -  in support of their idea of conservative political and economic values - trump concerns about race and jews? Or not?

Glen Beck spent an hour of a recent show with the niece of Martin Luther King -herself a Christian conservative.

by marktypos on Sun Jul 18, 2010 at 12:50:34 PM EST

Keep in mind that anti-Semitism and racism are often tools for a totally different purpose.  For instance, incitement of racism was used to keep white and black workers from uniting and possibly forming powerful labor blocks in the South.  I think incitement is often opportunistic.

Also, much of the worst damage has been done by people who did not seem to be bigots in their personal lives, but incitement served their political or business purposes.  Henry Ford arguably did more harm to Jews than any other American who ever lived. Many Nazis, including Hitler, claimed to be inspired by Ford, and the contents of Ford's "The International Jew" was repeatedly republished in Germany.  Yet Ford had good rapport with some Jews, including a rabbi which he regularly gifted with a new Model T.

Third, there are intricate well developed narratives which have repeatedly been used through the last century or so to present a simplistic and dualistic history of good and evil in the world.  These are conspiracy narratives, often merged with end times prophecy, which describe the world as controlled by a cabal of elite who are intentionally trying to destroy Christianity and America.  The narrative can be told with or without naming Jews, Illuminati, Freemasons, Jesuits, etc.  Fortunately it is still socially unacceptable to openly target Jews, (unless you do it as a Christian Zionist).  But as this conspiracy ideology takes hold in mainstream society, it will be easier to demonize whatever minority group one wishes to target.

If I told you the story of Little Red Riding Hood, replacing the wolf with another villain, you would still recognize the story. And you would probably still picture the wolf even if I declared that the story had nothing to do with wolves, and that I dearly loved wolves and would never malign them.  The wolf can always be added back into the story when it is more socially acceptable.  Beck is trying to make the story more acceptable, not necessarily because he is a bigot or anti-Semite, but because it serves a purpose.

By the way, did you see Hagee on Glenn Beck's show a couple of weeks ago?

by Rachel Tabachnick on Sun Jul 18, 2010 at 07:31:42 PM EST

a beautiful talmudic answer that works quite well for me. Thanks.

No, I didn't see Beck and Hagee. But I'll look for it and will definitely watch...if you have a link? Full disclosure, the only reason I watched a full hour of Glenn Beck is because my 15 yo daughter had tivo'd it and insisted I watch so I could explain to her a: what in hell he was talking about and b: what MLK's niece was doing sitting down with that man. This was not easy to explain. Your note above will help.

Btw, on that JBS page you reference it is very interesting that down in the comments section there was lots of skepticism and mistrust of Beck...he may not be radical enough for the true believers.

by marktypos on Sun Jul 18, 2010 at 09:00:42 PM EST

Although many Mormons have been embraced as  political partners by the Right and the rhetoric has been restrained in public, Mormonism is still not considered to be Christian.  I've been in  religious bookstores that have a section of books attacking Latter Day Saints as a cult.  This includes the Lifeway stores of the Southern Baptist Convention which carry a large selection, including packets on how to witness to Mormons.  Of course this is also the case with the political partnership with right wing Roman Catholics, Jews, etc.,  The Catholic League forgave Hagee (clearly for political reasons), although his attacks from the pulpit on Catholicism are virulent and conspiracy laden.

You can link to Fox's transcript of the Glenn Beck program that featured Hagee, Barton, and others at,2933,595806,00.html

Media Matters covered the program at:

And quotes from Hagee's new book at Media Matters:

by Rachel Tabachnick on Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 08:23:17 AM EST

For anyone else asking the same kind of questions as I have here, I would recommend going back and
rereading this article of yours:

by marktypos on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 10:32:34 AM EST

I agree wholeheartedly with your interpretation of Becks remarks.  Obviously, I couldn't have said it better myself (as you will see from my post of a few minutes ago.)  You captured the full context and the point that it was the collective blame or salvation which Beck was railing against.  Thank you.

On your other points though, you could not be more wrong.  There are few who can compare with Beck as a defender if Israel.  Beck is no more anti-semitic than Benjamin Netanyahu.  I say this having listened to him on the radio for probably 10 years.  

The radio discussions are deeper than what Beck can present in one hour on TV.  Beck has show his true heart and I have never seen it to be anti-semitic in any way, shape or form.


by JohnH on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 07:07:48 PM EST

Perhaps I should have elaborated. I thought my first link, to a Huffington Post story with a 15-minute plus clip of Beck's tirade, helped contextualize this but, yes, I could have made my point more explicit.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 11:19:14 PM EST

Sorry I'm late to this but, I stumbled on it today and thought it bore comment.

Yes Beck said those words but, having been a radio listener since Becks syndication I would like to assure you that he didn't mean it in the way it is being interpreted.  I can also assure you that Beck does not believe that lie about the Jews killing Jesus.  (If you can, call the show and ask for clarification of the remark.)  

I think back to a poster on my HS Physics teachers wall, "I know you think you know what you thought I said but, what you thought I said isn't what I meant."

Beck was illustrating the teachings of Liberation Theology in the referenced program.  Liberation Theology teaches that Jesus was a "victim", the first "lynching", if you will, at teh hands of white oppressors.  Liberation Theology teaches that there are oppressors and oppressed- whites are oppressors and blacks are oppressed, victims.  

You likely already know the anti-semitism of Rev. Wright, a preacher of Liberation Theology and President Obamas pastor for 20 years.  Rev. Wright preaches Liberation Theology.

In order for Beck to illustrate his point against the teaching of liberation theology, the teaching that Jesus was a victim, he used a fictional scenario.  You will not the word "if" at the beginning of the offensive sentence.

In order to illustrate the "if" Jesus was a victim and "if" the teachings of Liberation Theology are correct, "then" why didn't Jesus take revenge on his oppressors, the whites of the time, dare I say "the Jews that killed him" (no, I do not believe that either.)  The offensive remark was part of a scenario used to illustrate a point and is NOT a belief of Beck.

I hope that helps clarify Becks remark and put it in context.

by JohnH on Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 06:58:08 PM EST

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