US controversial talk host plans Jerusalem rally
WASHINGTON - Controversial television host Glenn Beck, who last year orchestrated a huge gathering of like-minded conservatives in Washington, is planning a follow-up "Restoring Courage" rally in Jerusalem in August.
Beck is the host of a once-popular television show which is to be canceled at the end of the month amid declining ratings.
He said on his show last month that he had decided after a recent visit that Israel would be the venue of his next massive public gathering.
"Last summer we set out to Restore Honor in Washington, DC. This summer it is time to Restore Courage. It is time for us to courageously stand with Israel," he said.
The conservative commentator is planning to invite an A-list of Republican celebrities to attend the main August 24 event, which has been billed as non-partisan and non-denominational.
News reports have said former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and US presidential contender Michele Bachmann will attend, while independent US Senator Joe Lieberman and White House candidate Herman Cain promised on Beck's show that they would be there.
Beck, who has been plugging the rally on his show, said last week that the event was meant to draw people who may not agree with his political views on other matters, "but we can agree on Israel."
Lieberman told Beck last week that the event comes at a key time during the ongoing US debate on Israel.
"It's to stand with Israel at a time when a lot of the rest of the world is attempting to delegitimize Israel," the US senator said.
The US lawmaker added that he hopes the events reprise the spirit of last year's "Rally to Restore Honor" in Washington.
"It was a magnificently unifying day that was all about American values and, frankly, about the faith in God that most Americans share," the lawmaker, who is an observant Jew, said on Beck's show, which airs on Fox News television.
Another prominent Republican Herman Cain, who is running for president, said on Beck's show last week that he would attend the rally as well.
"I love the fact that you are going to do 'Restoring Courage' in Israel, which has been one of the most courageous nations on the planet," the former pizza company chairman said. "We need some courage back here at home."
As his television show winds down, Beck is starting his own Mercury Radio Arts a multimedia company production managing his publishing, radio, television, and Internet ventures.
In August 2010, he attracted controversy for his rally in Washington which featured right-wing icons such as Palin and was held on the 47th anniversary of civil rights leader Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
The rally was staged at the Lincoln Memorial, where King spoke, and many of those in attendance belonged to the conservative Tea Party movement, which some African-American groups have accused of being racist.
Beck said the date of the event was coincidental and the rally was intended to be non-political.
In January, a group of rabbis published an open letter urging Fox to reprimand Beck for what they called repeated use of inappropriate references about Nazism and the Holocaust on his show.
Beck, according to the rabbis, has made "literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterizing people with whom he disagrees," and has compared US leaders he does not like to Nazis.