Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sign of the Times: Glenn Beck to address the Knesset

David Seaton's News Links
We do live in a society in which things have become almost inscrutably complex. (...) I think the rise in autism diagnosis has a lot to do with children coming into a society that no longer makes much sense socially and contains within all the incentives for behavioral meltdowns, social misunderstanding and anxiety. When you consider high unemployment, high divorce rates and general unhappiness in the culture, the complexity that we've accepted and nurtured as somehow being representative of a more advanced and healthy society seems much less so. Orion
“In the quest for growth, many countries have neglected to build a reliable system of social security that will help citizens buffer the market's volatility.(...) Democratic capitalism’s greatest problem is not that it will destroy itself economically, as Marx would have it — but that it may lose its political support.” Raghuram Rajan  
Despite so many ethnic, religious and social conflicts, over the years America has plowed on in reasonable harmony because the economy provided jobs and a reasonably predictable outcome for anyone willing to work hard... That has ground to a halt and now, in America, like at some family dinner from hell, when much too much has been drunk, all the built up spleen and resentment is spewing out and things are said that can never be taken back. 

With jobs disappearing for months beyond any unemployment coverage and with health insurance coverage dependent on having a job, out, Americans live with an intolerable level of anxiety, complicated, as Orion points out, by an enormous, tectonic shift of ever increasing social changes that shake up the familiar relationships of the generations, the ethnic groups and the sexes.

This is the perfect time for someone like Glenn Beck and he knows it... In a horrible sort of way he is a genius, someone who was just waiting to happen... he doesn't need Fox or any other network or master: all he needs is to channel America's mood and it to make it his bitch. 

To take the temperature of that mood, have a look at the following from the BBC:
The difficult truth for Spokane, for Washington State, for neighbouring Idaho and for all of the US, is that hate groups - anti-black, anti-Jew, neo-Nazi - are on the rise again. And nearly everyone, including members of those groups, agrees that the election of Barack Obama has been a catalyst for the increase in support. "I wouldn't say it surprises me," says Spokane's mayor Mary Verner, "though it is alarming to me". "We are seeing a resurgence in hate groups because we are seeing democratic activity and empowered citizens who are not Anglo-Saxon Protestants." There was the same sort of reaction from the local sheriff, Ozzie Knezovich, when he heard that a bomb had been left beside the route of the Martin Luther King Jr Day march. "Surprised? No," he says. "We live in a different world now - hate seems to be a widespread phenomenon right now." And there are ordinary citizens - and their children - who are at the receiving end of hate group activity in Washington and Idaho. A sign questioning the legitimacy of Barack Obama as president Barack Obama has faced repeated questions about his legitimacy as president Rachel Dolezal, who teaches art and African-American studies, has been repeatedly harassed since word got out about what she taught. Her homes - she has moved several times - have been broken into. Nooses have been left for her, and a swastika was left on the door of her workplace. And she has acted to protect her son. "I actually bought him a pair of earphones for the bus," she says, "because he hears the word 'nigger' every day. "It seems things were kind of hush and sanitised and cleaned up, or something, and then Barack Obama just brought things to the surface that were already existent within people."
Now one the most curious manifestations of Glenn Beck's peculiar genius is to appeal simultaneously to both antisemites and to the Zionist right. You may remember this news item from back in January:
Four hundred rabbis, including the leaders of all the main branches of Judaism in the US, have signed an open letter calling on Rupert Murdoch to sanction the head of Fox News and one of the channel's most famous hosts for frequent inappropriate references to the Nazis and the Holocaust.(...) In the letter, the Jewish coalition calls on Murdoch to take action against Roger Ailes, the bombastic president of Fox News, as well as against Glenn Beck, the channel's most notorious rightwing commentator. "We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen at Fox News," the letter says. Guardian
And now, only a few months later, this:
News Item: Glenn Beck to address Knesset panel in July - Jerusalem Post
Conservative pundit Glenn Beck will advise MKs on fighting the delegitimization of Israel abroad during a trip to Israel in July. Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee chair MK Danny Danon (Likud) invited Beck, a Fox News and radio host and an outspoken supporter of Israel, to address the committee on how to recruit friends of Israel in the US to defend Israel’s right to exist. “When we face an international wave of hatred of Israel and Jews – which is expressed in Facebook pages and films calling for our destruction – it’s good that Israel has talented friends that can contribute to our public-relations efforts,” Danon said.
This is not quite so mysterious as it might first appear.  Glenn Beck is someone who spots all the fault lines in American society... even the Jewish ones.  Right wing Zionists are quite ambivalent about antisemitism, they always have been: obviously more antisemitism leads to more people emigrating to Israel.  Also, the Zionist right wing of Israel, would like to put pressure on progressive or liberal American Jews, who are getting rather lukewarm about Israel of late. Beck is a "wild card", the joker in the deck for them to play. Glenn Beck, knows what he is doing and so do they.

Really, Glenn Beck is nothing more than a symptom, like toadstools are a symptom of a wet spring. When the conditions are right both the Becks and the toadstools pop out of the ground overnight. The true dilemma is to face and  to overcome those conditions. DS

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