Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Did State Dept. Target Beck's Israel Rally?

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In anticipation of Glenn Beck’s Restoring Courage rally in Jerusalem last week, the U.S. State Department warned American citizens in the city to avoid the event, according to newly discovered evidence.

On the day of the rally, August 24, the State Department released this message:

The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem notes that, according to local security sources, Jerusalem is under a heightened Security Alert. The police have established roadblocks in various sections of the city and increased their personnel on the streets. Vehicle inspections are being conducted, and suspicious individuals and bags are receiving further scrutiny.

U.S. citizens in Jerusalem are advised to exercise extra vigilance and avoid large crowds during upcoming rallies and religious holidays, particularly in and around Jerusalem’s Old City.

On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, there will be a rally held near the south east corner of the Old City. The areas between Dung Gate and Lions Gate are off-limits to official U.S. Government personnel from 4:00pm until 10:00pm on that day due to recent clashes in that area.

There were indeed threats made against those who were behind the rally in Jerusalem — threats which necessitated a number of changes before the event began.

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For example, the choir that was scheduled to perform canceled just days prior to the rally because they were told that they would be dismissed and never permitted to work again if they sang at the event. Therefore, despite the choir’s support of the rally, they gracefully bowed out, forcing the Beck team to piece together another choir quickly.

“I have to tell you some of the stories that I wasn’t able to tell you before and let’s start with this,” Beck explained. “Yesterday, if you watched the broadcast on GBTV, if you watched the whole event that unfolded at the Temple Mount, what you may not know is how many people canceled at the last minute, and not because they were, you know, ‘I’m not going to stand with him,’ none of that. The reason why they canceled is because they were under [a] death threat.”

Despite these circumstances, however, some analysts are pondering if perhaps it is bias that caused the Consulate to single out Glenn Beck’s rally.

Several days before the event, there was an elevated threat of terrorism in Jerusalem as a result of the Eilat attacks, which killed eight Israelis. However, two days before Restoring Courage, the security alert was changed to a general Level 3 watch with an “emphasis on Jerusalem and Southern Israel." But as noted by The Blaze, “The specific alert for the city of Jerusalem had been lifted,” thus — as the website observed — calling into question the Consulate’s warning.

According to the Jerusalem Post, there may be a level of ideological bias at work in the case of Beck’s rally, as there has been evidence of such in recent years. The Post claims that the U.S. Consulate of late has “gone native,” displaying a pro-Palestinian bias. The paper asserts that because the Consulate is located near Palestinian territories, it has worked more closely with Palestinians and therefore developed a bias in favor of their events and causes.

The Blaze reports:

The Post and others have noted a multitude of Consulate-sponsored Palestinian outreach and cultural events over the past year that appear to outpace any similar offerings for the Jewish community in Jerusalem (or the Christian one, for that matter).

For instance, The Post points to the Consulate’s assistance in helping to set up a performance by a Muslim musical group NativeDeen in Palestine:

This visit, arranged by the Consulate which, I can confidently presume is participating financially in this "entertainment and cultural event," is taking place, I emphasize, in "Palestine." Is that a country? A real country?

We are all well aware that President Obama is on record in favor of an independent state of Palestine as is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and also Israeli leaders. However, as far as I am aware, it doesn't yet exist. I am also fairly sure that promoting a religiously-motivated music show is the prerogative of the US government...

Still, the U.S. Consulate asserts that the warning that targeted Beck's rally was in response to “recent clashes in the area.” 

Photo: Glenn Beck takes part in a rally in Jerusalem's Old City, Aug. 24, 2011: AP Images