Among other things, I'm drawn to Israel by its culture. By its music, its literature, its food. Especially the rhythm of daily life there. But one of my main criticisms of Israel is what it imports from the West, and by the West I mean primarily the United States. Going back to my first trip in 1988 I sensed in Israelis a hunger for all things American. For some reason, maybe economic, back then Israel didn't show first run American movies. I recall seeing a huge advertisement for a movie with a half dressed Morgan Fairchild painted on the side of a building in Tel Aviv. She was probably holding a gun. Well I had never even heard of the movie - and back in those days you pretty much heard of every movie. As far I as I could tell, it was never shown in theaters here in the US. It must have been one of those straight to video productions. And yet in Tel Aviv it was being shown as a "real" movie. Presumably Israelis paid to see it.
A couple years later when I was living in Jerusalem I remember reading about the opening of a Pizza Hut restaurant. That's right. Reading in a newspaper about the opening of one of the least appetizing fast food franchises ever conceived. In Jerusalem. Ok, I thought, it must be the first one and maybe it was a slow news day. But then the next day, the paper ran a second story. This time it was reported that droves of Jerusalemites lined up outside the restaurant before the doors even opened. Here you are with the opportunity to pick and choose what you import from the United States, I told my friends, and instead of taking only the best, you guys take in everything, including the crap.
Which brings me to Glenn Beck. As regular readers of this blog may have noticed, I stay away from the whack jobs. It would be easy to write about how absolutely insane they are and ridicule them for their stupidity. In America, we have no shortage of them. Neither does the Jerusalem Post op-ed page, by the way. But while I try to steer clear, sometimes I can't.
So here I am writing about one of the lunatics. This week it was reported that in August Glenn Beck will be holding a rally in Jerusalem under the banner of "Restore Courage" of the sort he held last summer on the National Mall in D.C. You see, my Israeli friends, Glenn Beck thinks he can restore your courage. I'm not sure whether enough Israelis understand what an utter joke this guy is. I'm just hoping they don't line up like they did twenty plus years ago outside the doors of Pizza Hut to gobble up the dreck.
What exactly is wrong with Pizza Hut? I've never been to one in the US, but in countries such as China, it is considered quite an upscale joint.ReplyDelete
Where does one start? Imagine the view from China as Chicagoans line up to eat at a Panda Express.ReplyDelete
I've been to Pizza Hut over there. It really is upscale.ReplyDelete
It's important the thesis of this post receive adequate attention; it cannot be over-emphasized, that Beck is a force for division, isolation, and reinforcement of the flawed status quo. One needn't look any further than this piece that ran in the Times of August, '09 following the rally.ReplyDelete
From the article, and in Beck's words, “'Something that is beyond man is happening,' Mr. Beck told the crowd, in what was part religious revival and part history lecture. 'America today begins to turn back to God'."
Sounds an awful lot like the rhetoric behind rephrasing the Israeli military prayer.
Adam, thanks for making the point. I take it for granted that every sane person who has heard of Beck knows that he is a crackpot and divisive. And I shouldn't assume that. More than being a whack job, his fanaticism added to what's already there could prove explosive. So I appreciate you coming with the goods.ReplyDelete