Some in the media are terrified to learn that different groups can come together and support Israel. That is the case with San Diego City Beat reporter Dave Maass, who slammed Glenn Beck, his “Restoring Courage” event in Jerusalem, our Restoring Courage U.S. movement, and our participating groups.
Defending Israel transcends above ideological lines, religious beliefs, and borders. It is undeniable that love for Israel is omnipresent. Republicans, Democrats, independents, conservatives, liberals, Catholics, Jews, atheists, etc., can all come together and stand with Israel and her people. That is the beauty inset with being pro-Israel.
Nevertheless, there are people who thrive on pitting Americans against one another.
Instead of coming to our San Diego event and reporting about it, Dave Maass failed to live up to journalistic integrity and allowed his agenda to supersede the truth.
He initially contacted me to find out more information about our event:
Ms. Hoffman -
This is Dave Maass, staff writer at San Diego CityBeat. Quick question about your Israel solidarity event: Are there any Jewish organizations involved?
I later responded and extended an invitation to him to cover our event:
Are you interested in covering the event, as well?
Maass later asked me about Jewish participation in this event. Sadly, as any pro-Israel activist in Southern California knows, it is hard to unite many groups together. Most local Jewish leaders are not comfortable working with Christian and/or conservative groups, while others are afraid of being ostracized by their community. I was pleased that Christians United for Israel of California, StandWithUs of San Diego, Eagle Forum of San Diego, and Zionist Organization of America’s San Diego chapter participated.
Nevertheless, Mr. Maass tried to paint our event and movement as “right-wing” and “extreme”, although we were calling for ALL pro-Israel supporters to attend our event:
I just got off the phone with Audrey at SWU, and she was really excited about the event. The thing that jumped out at me, though, was that two of the three lead sponsors seem to be Christian groups, particularly the Eagle Forum, which has a pretty extreme position on certain issues, including homosexuality. Add that one of the other groups involved is run by John Hagee, it makes me wonder whether this is a pro-Israel event or a political, right-wing event.
Is there something you could tell me about this event that may make it more palatable for Jews/Zionists who aren’t on the right?
Both are pro-Israel groups, even though they have conservative undertones. Many conservative groups support Israel and focus on many issues.
Nevertheless, August 24th will be about Israel and not conservative politics.
Christians United for Israel is strictly a pro-Israel group. They are like AIPAC, but advocate Christian Zionism. I’ve been to their summit, seen firsthand.
Hope that clarifies everything.
Nevertheless, he went on to disparage our event and movement here.
He began his article with the following tagline: “Christian fundamentalists, Tea Partiers and a former Neo-Nazi are behind Glenn Beck-inspired events.”
He then proceeded to go after my friend and Restoring Courage U.S. co-founder Nicole Pearce for her past instead of focusing on our mission:
Now, here’s where it gets weird:
Hoffman’s partner in the event, Nicole Pearce, has an interesting history as an activist. In 2008, she campaigned for Democratic presidential candidates, but then, in 2009, she joined the Neo-Nazi movement.
“I went along and even attended meetings where they discussed many of the things that are being discussed by those who are pro-Palestine in the press now,” she writes on the Restoring Courage U.S. site. ”I was told that Israel and the Jews were the cause of all that was wrong in the world and that Hitler had it right.”
She claims she was “saved” by Glenn Beck last year when he coined the rallying cry, “Not Racist, Not Violent, No Longer Silent.”
“I prayed and thought on that, and came to realize that I had been duped into believing something that I had all along known was wrong just because I did not want to feel alone as a conservative in Boston,” she writes. “After that, I returned to being an active member of my church, began donating to Israel again, and overall became the person I was prior to the Neo-Nazi encounter, just conservative.”
Reporters like Mr. Maass desire to spin this situation in their favor. He created chaos where none was needed. Yes, Nicole had a brief affiliation with a Neo-Nazi group in 2009. Alas, she had an open mind, heard Glenn Beck speak, and decided–for herself–to become conservative and pro-Israel. (Read about her transformation here).
Beck has played an active role in unifying different people to great causes. He did that with Restoring Honor last year and with Restoring Courage last week. Sadly, many of his critics fail to see the good he has done. Beck didn’t simply “save” Nicole. He inspired her to think twice about her opinions and allowed her to see alternative viewpoints. (Reformed leftists drive dedicated activists nuts!)
Alas, Mr. Maass detracted from his journalistic duties and went on a bashing spree.
Additionally, he questioned the merits of our participating organizations and labelled them as “anti-gay” and “anti-Muslim” groups. So much for objectivity…
The driving force behind the events nationwide aren’t Jewish organizations, but rather churches and Tea Party organizations, at least according to Beck’s official watch party list, while many of the events organized by Hoffman’s group are based at universities. Not all, though: Hosts range from You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, a controversial anti-gay Christian group in Michigan, to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Connecticut.
Locally, no actual Jewish Zionist groups are lead sponsors of the event, though the local chapters of the Zionist Organization of America and StandWithUs, an organization that recently emerged from the San Diego Israel Coalition, will have a presence.
The San Diego event is hosted by two right-wing evangelical groups: Christians United for Israel, an organization formed by evangelist John Hagee (remember his controversial McCain endorsement from the 2008 election?) and the Eagle Forum for San Diego. If you’re not familiar with the Eagle Forum, you can visit their website. Of particular interest for progressives would be the page on the “Homosexual Agenda” and “America’s Muslim Threat.”
The problem inset with the main stream media today is that they have a leftist agenda. Reporters would rather stir the pot than give a fair account of a news story. The truth should have no agenda, especially a leftist one.
If Mr. Maass were genuinely interested in providing fair commentary, he would have come to the event and see for himself how unified it was. If Mr. Maass were a real journalist, he would admit his wrongdoing and issue an apology for misrepresenting this event.
His actions are morally reprehensible. Will he step up and admit his wrongdoing, or continue to defame his opponents?