Glenn Beck has announced that he will be holding the “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel this August. This is a bold, accessible and positive event that the American Jewish establishment could not possibly bring about.
There has been a significant graying of the American Jewish community’s mainstream Israel advocacy organizations in the last two or three decades. In a Jewish world where “young leadership” means under 40, this has been especially alarming. Intermarriage, assimilation and indifference have taken a toll on many pro-Israel groups.
As proof of this changing reality many in the community have pointed to the creation of groups such as J Street, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom and Jewish Voice for Peace to indicate where the vitality in the pro-Israel community can be found.
For the sake of this the article, let’s leave aside the very real question of whether J Street and their allies can be truly considered pro-Israel when they were created by and large with the sole purpose of lobbying for the creation of a Palestinian state in the land of Israel.
A survey of social media paints a very different picture. It is true that much of the pro-Israel establishment has failed to embrace and profit from social media. J Street and the left have fully embraced social media but in actuality they have very, very little to show for it. To be fair the Zionist right in the U.S. has fared worse, but they have not made the effort that their competitors have.
The reality is that Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI), founded in 2006, has more backers of Israel engaged in debate concerning Israel and a future Palestinian state.
For evidence of this let’s look at the top social media sites and overall Internet traffic stats.
- 12,629 users have “Liked” J Street on Face Book while 328,539 have “Liked” CUFI on Face Book.
- Jstreetdotorg has 4,397 Followers on Twitter. CUFI has 1,422 Followers on Twitter and AIPAC 4,387 Followers on Twitter.
- Isaac Luria is the Vice President of Communications and New Media for J Street. The J Street group Luria is the owner of on LinkedIn has six members. CUFI does not have a LinkedIn group. The AIPAC group on LinkedIn has 414 members. The AFSI / Americans For A Safe Israel LinkedIn group (of which this author is the owner) has 91 members.
- Alexa.com website traffic statistics show jstreet.org‘s Alexa Traffic Rank in the U.S. as 228,817; cufi.org’s Alexa Traffic Rank in the U.S. is 66,472. It is also worth noting that israelnationalnews.com’s Alexa Traffic Rank in the U.S. is 3,864. Israel National News is also known as Arutz Sheva and is known as the Religious Zionist / pro-Israeli settlements media network.
What also has to be pointed out here is that Pastor Hagee achieved this all the while enduring years of personal attacks from both liberal Jews and liberal non-Jews while steadfastly growing support for Israel not just in Texas but nationwide. The founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Hagee started the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) organization in 2006 and wrote the book In Defense of Israel in 2007. CUFI has sponsored well over 150 “A Night to Honor Israel” events since 2006. Criticism of the pastor by Abe Foxman and the ADL have been especially shocking and over the top. Here’s Hagee, for example, at the Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend:
No one in the U.S. has impacted support for Israel in the way Pastor Hagee has in the last half decade except for perhaps…Glenn Beck.
It has also been announced that Glenn Beck will give the keynote speech at the “A Night to Honor Israel” banquet on Tuesday evening, July 19 during the Christians United for Israel’s sixth annual Washington Summit. It is well worth noting here that Abe Foxman and the ADL have criticized Beck too.
Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg wrote the following in his introduction to In Defense of Israel:
For many years, Pastor Hagee has lived and labored selflessly for the people of Israel. In 1981, when the world condemned Israel for bombing a nuclear reactor in Iraq, Pastor Hagee’s response to (critics of Israel) was to start “A Night to Honor Israel.” That night Pastor Hagee proclaimed, “Israel, you are not alone; Christians support you and America supports you. We love you, and we shall stand by you.”
When Israel critic Pat Buchanan stated on The McLaughlin Group on August 26, 1990 that “There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in The Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States” it caused a sensation. By “amen corner” everyone thought Buchanan meant Jews (and he most likely did) but now two decades later the stronger amen is coming from Christians.
Abe Foxman and the ADL should take note. And all lovers of Israel everywhere should say thank you to Glenn Beck, Pastor Hagee and everyone who is a part of CUFI.