Glenn Beck offends Jews by depicting Bloomberg in Nazi salute

May 7, 2013 3:20:02 PM PDT
Glenn Beck roused the National Rifle Association's annual convention this weekend with his attacks on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but he also aroused criticism by a major Jewish group for depicting the mayor giving a Nazi salute.

The head of the Anti-Defamation League called Beck's comments "deeply offensive on so many levels," and B'nai B'rith called for Beck to apologize.

"Glenn Beck, the keynote speaker at the NRA's annual convention, trivializes the Holocaust when he compares New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Adolf Hitler," B'nai B'rith told ABC News.

"The casual use of Nazi imagery or words serves to undermine the atrocities of the Holocaust. Glenn Beck should apologize," the organization said.

Bloomberg, who has spearheaded a new effort to have wider background checks for people buying guns, was a popular target for NRA speakers this week, seemingly displacing President Obama as the group's newest bogeyman.

At his nearly two hour keynote address Saturday night Beck likened the mayor to a Nazi for his campaigns to limit the size of sugary drinks, salt intake, curb tobacco displays and gun control.

"I've come up with a new advertisement for New York, we all know 'I heart New York.' I'd like to show you my new advertisement for it, new slogan... 'You will love New York!'" Beck said.

And with that he unveiled a massive new logo for New York City to the thousands in attendance. It showed Bloomberg giving the Nazi salute with what appeared to be a Nazi armband on his sleeve.

Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, objected to the image and Beck's comments.

"While he doesn't say it, it seems Glenn Beck is implying through an image of Mayor Bloomberg in an apparent Hitlerian salute is that the mayor's policies on gun ownership and other issues are turning New York city into a Nazi-like state. That suggestion is outrageous, insensitive and deeply offensive on so many levels," Foxman said.

"Glenn Beck should know better. He has drawn similar inappropriate analogies to the Holocaust before. We wish he would stop trivializing the history of the Holocaust to score partisan political points," he added.

The office of Mayor Bloomberg, who is Jewish, declined to comment on the comparison to a Nazi or to the other criticisms at the NRA convention. A spokeswoman for the Super Pac created by Bloomberg, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, also would not comment on the personal shots at the mayor.

Beck could not be immediately reached for comment.

B'nai B'rith said, "This is yet another example of the increasingly loose use of Holocaust-era imagery to denigrate one's opponents. No matter how heated an issue becomes, such provocative comparisons are always inappropriate and unacceptable."

It was also Beck's latest comment to earn the rebuke of Jewish groups. In 2011, a coalition of rabbis took out a full page ad calling on Beck to stop talking about the Nazis and the Holocaust. At that time, Beck was working for Fox News and the rabbis were responding to a series he did in 2010 on billionaire Democratic donor and Holocaust survivor George Soros. Beck accused Soros of aiding the Nazis while a boy in Hungary.

Bloomberg has put millions of dollars in the fight for gun control through Mayors Against Illegal Guns. An ad campaign in 13 states in mid-March spent $12 million and they have field campaigns in several states.

The group is out with a new ad in New Hampshire targeting Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) for voting against the Manchin-Toomey amendment which would have required expanded background checks for gun buyers. In the ad a series of New Hampshire voters scold Ayotte for her vote and a woman warns, "New Hampshire voters will remember this."

The group also brought victims of shootings in Newtown and Tucson, Ariz., to the NRA conventionwhere they engaged in conversation with NRA members and the media about gun control. It's part of a campaign to keep pressure on through the month of May, with the possibility of the Senate voting again for expanded background checks before the Memorial Day recess.