Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Battle of the Rallies: Beck vs. Tents

Next Wednesday, August 24, Glenn Beck will hold his Restoring Courage rally in East Jerusalem. He'll hold a few more events during the days leading up to the RC event. In a way, I think the Tent Cities and popular protests calling for social justice have made Glenn Beck's rally quite irrelevant. Many had thought the biggest political gathering in Israel this summer would be Beck's right-wing extravaganza. Instead, that prize might have already gone to the rally in Tel-Aviv on the weekend before last, which attracted 300,000 people. Since this movement doesn't seem to be going anywhere, a future rally for social justice just might be even bigger.

Will 300,000 people attend Glenn Beck's rally? I seriously doubt it. During the Restoring Honor rally in DC he had anywhere between 80,000 and half a million people in attendance (reports varied wildly). The crowd in Jerusalem won't be as large as the one in Washington, for two reasons. First of all, less Americans will attend. Flying overseas for a rally is much more complicated and expensive than visiting your own nation's capital. Second of all, the places of Americans staying home will not be filled by a lot of Israelis. Beck might be oddly popular among right-wing politicians here, but he isn't very popular among the Israeli general population. I'm not sure how many Israelis even know who the hell he is.

Another factor working against Beck is the fact that this seems to be the summer of socio-economic issues. Beck, like most people (including myself), expected that with the upcoming unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, this would be a summer centered around the Middle East conflict. Not so. This means Beck will probably get less Israeli media attention than he would have otherwise. If Americans see this isn't as central an event as Beck would have liked it to be, perhaps American media would give it less attention as well.

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