Glenn Beck Offends Jews By Depicting Mayor Bloomberg in Nazi-Style Salute

Glenn Beck appeas to compare Bloomberg, who is Jewish, to a Nazi.

ByABC News
May 6, 2013, 3:39 PM

May 7, 2013 -- 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 what appears to be a a Nazi salute.

The head of the Anti-Defamation League called Becks' 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.

Beck could not be reached for comment Monday night, but after ABC News' story was published today a source close to Beck said that the logo "was a joke based on a famous photo of [Russian communist Vladimir] Lenin" and was not a reference to Nazis. The photo shows Lenin in a similar pose.

On his radio show today, Beck said he wants an apology. "I would like to call for an apology now by the mainstream media, particularly ABC News, for smearing my name and saying that I am making Bloomberg look like a Nazi," he 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 chastised Bloomberg 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 what appeared to be a Nazi salute with 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.

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.

Others at the NRA convention lambasted Bloomberg, several spitting out the word "billionaire" to describe him.

"Take Michael Bloomberg," the NRA's Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said. "He's gone from mayor of New York to the title of National Nanny. From sugar to salt to trans fats to fruit drinks to sodas, to what you can and can't do or order in a restaurant, this guy can't seem to find enough ways to boss people around. And now he wants to tell us who to elect or not? Seriously, I ask you, if Michael Bloomberg weren't a billionaire, would anybody even bother to listen to him?"

LaPierre continued, "Now he's joined with the president, created his own billionaire Super PAC, ready to spend hundreds of millions to attack the NRA, demonize gun owners, destroy elected officials who won't bow down to his will, and obliterate the Second Amendment."

Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, accused both Bloomberg and the president of "see(ing) opportunity" when tragedies like the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Conn., take place.

"We 5 million men and women of the NRA, we might not have billions of dollars, but we have a common decency that his money can't buy," Cox said. "Mr. Mayor, go spend your money on another yacht or plane or Caribbean estate because our freedom is not for sale."

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."