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Nicholas Kristof's column this morning reminded me of one of the sadder things about Israel today. It is that Glenn Beck is emerging as one of its most prominent American defenders. And not only prominent -- he is emerging as the Israeli right's favorite American friend. In other words, a man considered too extreme and unstable to appear on Fox News is invited to speak at the Knesset, and hold rallies in Jerusalem. I realize the expression "jump the shark" has itself jumped the shark, but nevertheless, I fear that Beck's August 24 rally in Jerusalem might mark the moment when the cause of Israel itself jumps the shark.

This is not to say that there aren't still liberal, and centrist, supporters of Israel in the U.S. Nor does Beck's adoption of Israel as a pet cause reflect the only reality about Zionism today (I would argue that Zionism today is also on display in the call for social justice made by affordable housing protesters across Israel; in people who fight for a Jewish homeland while criticizing the expansion of settlements; in Haiti and other developing-world countries, where Israeli technology and medicine are helping poor people, and so on). But: The Israeli government's budding alliance with a conspiracy-mongering cable-television extremist does not fill me with hope.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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