Rabbis Debate Fox News Holocaust References

Friday, 28 Jan 2011 09:20 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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An Orthodox rabbinical organization spokesman said Thursday, in a debate with another rabbi on MSNBC, that a letter condemning Fox News’ Holocaust references is the work of liberal “homosexual-marriage-supporting, baby-aborting, abandoning, not-kosher-eating, Sabbath-desecrating,” rabbis.

While agreeing that Glenn Beck and Fox News were not anti-Semitic, rabbis Yehuda Levin and David-Seth Kirshner agreed on little else – taking dramatically opposite positions on whether Holocaust imagery is offensive when discussing American politics.

The two spokesmen for rabbinical organizations hotly debated the issue on MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” on the same day the Wall Street Journal ran a letter, signed by 400 rabbis, asking Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, which owns Fox and the newspaper, to condemn the references and sanction Beck.

In addition, the letter, published on what also was U.N. Holocaust Remembrance Day, requested an apology from Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (pictured), who attributed criticism of Beck to "left-wing rabbis who basically don’t think that anybody can ever use the word Holocaust on the air."

rabbis, fox, news, holocaustAiles comments got some extremely zealous support from Levin, spokesman for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, who started by saying he was no fan of Beck – because he was not conservative enough, “not by a long shot.”

“The liberal-left, homosexual marriage-supporting, baby-aborting, abandoning, not kosher-eating, Sabbath-desecrating, liberal rabbis have decided to use the Holocaust as a bludgeon, a baseball bat to beat and bash their right-wing political opponents,” said Levin, reading from a piece of paper. “This is scandalous.”

“The Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell asked Kirshner, of the New York Board of Rabbis, whether he was a left-wing rabbi who disapproves of the use of the word Holocaust at any time. Kirshner answered he was not.

“But I do disapprove of the way Glenn Beck and others have demonized the word and – I should rather say used the word inappropriately,” he said. “This is not a question of permissibility, this is a question of sensibility,” he said, adding that while Beck was a strong supporter of Israel and not an anti-Semite, he found trivialization of the Holocaust offensive.

Kirshner also took issue with Ailes comments.

“What bothers me is when Roger Ailes throws out, just dismisses the idea of this letter from 400-plus rabbis as making it a partisan issue,” he said. “So if we’re sensitized – especially on U.N. Day of Holocaust Remembrance, to be thoughtful and reflective of those who have survived and those who have lost loved ones – that he submits it and dismisses it as simply the left [then] this is not a partisan issue.

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