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Through rhetorical analysis of Glenn Beck's keynote at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Summit in Washington, D.C., and his subsequent "Restoring Courage" rally in Israel, this article examines the construction of a gendered and militarized "state of emergency" in which Israel and the United States stand together as brothers against their enemies in the modern era. In this discursive and political formation, Israel is constructed as a site of perpetual persecution, while anxieties about US global dominance are (mis)placed within its borders. This constructed emergency generalizes the nuances of Palestinian and Israeli experiences, while homogenizing Palestinians into a gendered and racialized terrorist Other. Offering a theorization of masculine assemblages, the authors analyze how, in the post-9/11 security state, the unification of US-Israeli interests is articulated through multiple interlocking discourses of masculinity. Through careful deconstruction of the masculine assemblages that bind together this epistemological and geo-political formation, this analysis contributes to postcolonial and transnational feminist theorizing by exploring how men embody and construct the nation-state, how discourses of race, religion, and nation assemble together through the concept of masculinity, and how these assemblages provoke states of emergency and impetuses for action.


Beck, Glenn, Evangelical Christian Right, foreign policy, Israel, masculine assemblage, terrorist[End Page 81]

On July 19, 2011, conservative television host and former Fox News personality Glenn Beck delivered a keynote address to an audience of over 5,000 individuals at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) National Summit in Washington, D.C. Aligning himself with Jewish interests, throughout his speech Beck juxtaposed the historical persecution of the Jewish people with their ongoing "persecution" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.1 In part, he accomplished this by invoking the trope of the Arab male-terrorist Other. Furthermore, throughout his speech, Beck consistently constructed Israel and the United States as brothers in Western modernity, stating that "[a]s Israel goes, so goes the Western way of life" ("Glenn Beck at CUFI'11" 2011, 28:58). Such a statement, juxtaposed with Beck's reliance on the terrorist trope, erroneously argues that the United States's and Israel's interrelated actions determine the fate of (post) modernity. As he constructs Israel as a site of perpetual conflict on the brink of disaster, anxieties about US global dominance are intentionally (mis)placed in the media construction of Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank.2 This evocation of urgency twinned with destruction reifies rhetorics of United States and Israeli exceptionalism that are themselves destructive to democratic public culture.

Less than five weeks after delivering this speech, Beck took his message to Israel for an event titled "Restoring Courage." This four-day event began in Caesarea on August 21, 2011 with a program called "The Courage to Love," which featured Beck alongside conservative religious leaders: Pastor John Hagee, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, David Barton, and Mike Evans. The following evening's program, "The Courage to Remember," took place in central Jerusalem, where a documentary film about the Holocaust was followed by a candlelight vigil. The next day's "Journey to Restoring Courage" consisted of a GBTV—Glenn Beck's online television network—exclusive broadcast of Beck's trip to Auschwitz several months before. The four-day event culminated on August 24 with the "Courage to Stand" program at the Davidson Center in Jerusalem, which is located by the Temple Mount and Western Wall. By situating his rhetorical performance in a space requiring mutual visibility, if not legibility, between Jews and Muslims, Beck's Courage to Stand speech enacted a politics that fashioned US-Israeli-Palestinian relations in a rhetorically combative manner. As he stood on contested ground to proclaim a pro-Israel stance, Beck further crafted the action of "standing" as requiring a particular kind of bravery that is associated with the militarized and masculinized body of the soldier. In this manner, the culminating event of Beck's Restoring Courage rally acted as a performative call to arms.

Beck's performances index a disturbing trend in rhetorics of the US conservative Christian Right: a resurgence of pro-imperialist policies driven by emotion-laden narratives of terror and emergency. These narratives gain power through gendered rhetorics that configure the United States as a benevolent paternalistic figure ready to step in to protect the women and children of the world. Such discursive configurations have important material effects, [End Page 82] bolstering US military involvement worldwide while replicating racial and gender inequalities both at home and abroad. Our analysis of the discourses evidenced in Beck's texts seeks to answer two questions: first, what are the gendered (re)configurations through which US-Israeli unity is rhetorically constructed? And why is this significant for an affective US foreign policy and contemporary geopolitics post-9/11? While Beck's texts serve as the primary vehicle through which we analyze this contemporary geopolitical configuration and its effects, these discourses exceed both the particularities of the specific texts examined and the authorship and intentions of any particular rhetor. However, by exploring the specific processes of signification through which Beck constructs the United States and Israel as "brothers" in the contemporary era, we argue that masculinity serves as a nodal point around which fundamentalisms, nationalisms, and the juxtaposition of Western modernity against the Islamic Other converge.3 Our argument extends existing analyses; while much notable scholarship has interrogated the role of masculinities in Zionism, Christianity, nationalism, and the post-9/11 rendering of a homogenized Arab enemy, these literatures seldom have been deployed together to investigate the rhetorical power of this assemblage.

Attending to this gap, we offer a theorization of masculine assemblages to explore the discursive construction of US-Israeli unity and its political impacts. Our analysis draws from Jasbir K. Puar's (2007, 2011) discussion of the assemblage as an analytic that can be held in productive tension with the theorization of feminist intersectionality.4 Puar argues that common deployments of intersectionality can uphold categorical and identitarian frameworks, ironically reifying the racial difference that the theorization attempts to overcome while continuing to prioritize sexual difference. Such deployments fail to fully meet the demands of postcolonial and transnational feminist theorizing. A primary concern is that while the mainstreaming of intersectionality has contributed a belated though necessary theorization of race to diverse fields of scholarship and research, "the category 'nation' appears to be the least theorized and acknowledged of intersectional categories" (2011).5 It could be argued that the state of Israel seems to resist a rhetorical forgetting of the national, given that it is continually branded as the "Jewish State," and global media coverage centers upon territorial, nationalistic disputes. However, we contend that the discourses of masculinity that mobilize the inter/national configuration of Israel serve to mask political and economic structures that contribute to US-Israeli exceptionalism. We argue that the emotionalized tropes of brothers, fathers, and terrorists that assemble in the texts below sediment a militarized narrative of emergency that constructs implicated polities as unable to reason and advocate in a state of peace. Deconstructing the gendered and racialized discourses of inter/national (non)belonging that inform this assemblage illuminates how contemporary global politics and hierarchies are constructed through affective alignments that exceed categorical identities like gender, race, and class. [End Page 83]

Our analysis proceeds as follows. We begin by briefly examining the role of the pro-Israel lobby in US politics and its entanglements with the Evangelical Christian Right, while also seeking to complicate a homogenous rhetorical construction of "the Israel lobby" and the US-Israeli relationship. By reviewing masculinities and foreign-policy literatures, we reveal how gender and emotion inform inter/national imaginaries, paying particular attention to how masculinities articulate with ideologies of civilization and US imperialism. Following this, we engage in a thematic analysis of the multiple masculinities evidenced in Beck's CUFI speech and a brief analysis of promotional materials from his Restoring Courage rally as they relate to the reconstruction of place. Finally, the implications of masculine assemblages for feminist theorizing and geopolitics are discussed.

(Re-)Configuring the US-Israeli Relationship after 9/11

The United States has historically had an ambivalent relationship with the pro-Zionist lobby, of which CUFI is a part. Despite early popular support for Israel, politicians wavered in their support for a Jewish state until the late 1960s (Ben-Zvi 1998). In the 1970s, US aid to Israel drastically increased, as did the size of the pro-Israel lobby. While this may appear as evidence of the lobby's strength, some argue that despite lobbying pressure, US financial—and, to a certain extent, rhetorical—support for Israel only began when the United States started to perceive its core interests in the region as under threat (Spiegel 1985, 18; Stephens 2006, 27). Others argue, amid tremendous controversy, that it is precisely the lobby that has skewed US foreign policy to heavily favor Israel (Mearsheimer and Walt 2006). However, despite the massive aid bestowed by the United States upon Israel, the former has never taken up arms to directly aid Israel's military. Still, Israel has remained a crucial piece of US Middle Eastern policy, providing a "Western" stronghold in the region.

Since 9/11, rhetorics of terrorism have troubled and reconfigured US relations with Israel. Periodic conflicts have erupted in Israel throughout its existence; notably, Israeli-Palestinian violence always has been accompanied by US congressional statements of Israeli support (see, for example, "Bush, Sharon Focus on Terror Groups" 2003; McDermott 2009). These statements of support follow Israeli sequestering of Palestinians in the West Bank, bombings of Palestinians in Gaza following Hamas-led Qassam rocket attacks, and the thwarting of aid and weapons en route to Gaza. Most statements of support for Israel cite unilateral, Palestinian terrorism as a major concern. For example, following Operation Cast Lead, US Representative Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) argued that "Israel has been under siege" and that the United States and Israel "are now engaged in a common struggle against terrorism" (McDermott 2009). This language was repeated in 2002, as well as in 2012, corresponding with heightened violence between Israel [End Page 84] and the Palestinian territories ("Bush, Sharon Focus on Terror Groups" 2003; "Senate, House Resolutions" 2012). Apart from official resolutions, US-Israeli relations continue to fascinate certain public spheres within the United States; the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) publicly applauds or condemns nearly every governmental statement or policy regarding Israel, and, at the time of this writing, former US Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) is facing a controversial nomination for Secretary of Defense due, in part, to his wavering support for Israel. The (false) construction of a common struggle against a homogenized Arab foe has contributed to the unification of disparate Christian Zionist groups under a new and more powerful organization: CUFI. Founded in 2006 by John Hagee, a longstanding cornerstone of the Evangelical Christian Right, CUFI has strengthened the Christian Zionist movement and deepened alliances with Israel leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Wood 2007).

In the meantime, pro-Israel lobbying forces, as well as skeptical authors, activists, and scholars, have found themselves in an increasingly heated debate. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (2006), for example, argue that "the Israel lobby" has had a profound impact upon US foreign policy, strong-arming the United States into devoting disproportionate amounts of financial and diplomatic resources to a very small country nestled in a conflict zone.6 While this argument has gained traction in both popular and scholarly circles (Finkelstein 2011; Levy and Thompson 2010; Marsden 2008), it has also been met with passionate claims of anti-Semitism (Foxman 2007; Rosenfeld 2006). This important debate heightens the notion of being in a state of emergency, while simultaneously revealing that the stakes of US-Israeli relations are every bit as emotional as they are political and economic.

Discourses of anti-Semitism that surround how Israel is constituted in the US public sphere(s) capture a crucial dimension of states of emergency. Insofar as contemporary discourses of anti-Semitism always already are concerned with the Holocaust and the prospect of further Jewish annihilation (Rosenfeld 2006), they serve as affective grounds upon which organizations like CUFI author their rationales and seek public support. Material and affective economies are interconnected, yet distinct. The US government has supported Israel with money and arms, relatively unwaveringly. This support occurred prior to the increasingly public coalition between Evangelical Christians and Zionist Jews, and we do not argue that this coalition is financially consequential—at least regarding large-scale policy. In terms of public emotionality, however, Glenn Beck's rhetoric brings affect to the fore, relying upon emotionally charged phrases at the expense of careful, reasoned argument. For example, in narrating himself as a "guy with God and guns," Beck identifies himself—and encourages identification—with white male Evangelicals. This identification does not occur on a level of debatable policy, but rather under the guise of innocuous, lovable privilege. Yet, Beck is wholly concerned with shaping public policy; he advocates [End Page 85] Israeli support and joining the NRA, exemplifying the affective power of the masculine assemblage. Emotion and rationality need not stand in opposition, yet, the connection forged between Evangelical Christians and Jewish Zionists fallaciously constructs what Daniel Gross (2007) describes as an economy of scarcity. In such an economy, certain groups have access to emotions like anger and frustration at the expense of others. This scarcity broadly mimics the debate about anti-Semitism and the Israel lobby. Material and affective entities—in one case Jews, and in the other, emotions—are necessarily limited; the resulting rhetoric thus becomes a battle for metaphoric resources—an emergency.

Given that neoconservatives have been highly active in pro-Israel lobbying activities, the choice of Beck to give the 2011 keynote at the CUFI National Summit is not surprising. What is interesting and problematic about his role in the summit, however, is the increasing influence of the Evangelical Christian Right in US politics (Davidson and Harris 2006), which suggests that, despite liberal dismissals of Beck as a raving lunatic, his support of Zionism cannot be simply viewed as an extreme and uncommon position. The Evangelical Christian Right, while arguably not a mainstream movement, has been a powerful force in US politics for decades. According to William Martin (1999), nearly 25 percent of US voters identify as white Evangelical Protestants. While a minority of these voters openly align themselves with the Christian Right, those who do tend to have more education and a higher-class standing than the party majority, which may help to explain how they have managed to wield significant political power, even given their relatively small numbers. While a detailed description of all the contributing factors to the rise of US Christian fundamentalism exceeds the scope of this analysis, it is important to note that the socioeconomic changes wrought by globalization and the backlash against women's and LGBTQ gains have been key factors.

In fact, according to Carl Davidson and John Harris, the Christian Right in the United States has used the economic stresses and identity reconfigurations wrought by globalization to build a "politics of resentment" that converges around the themes of race, gender, and class (2006, 50). The political efforts of white middle-class males, upset by changes in the social order that threaten to alter their privileged status, can, therefore, "take on the veneer of restoring manhood" (Kimmel 2003, 605). For the Christian Right, "masculinity" and "Israel" offer ideological resources and rhetorical lynchpins by which their interests are affectively propelled into more prominent political positions. These symbolic deployments extend beyond this minority group, entering into broader US discourses regarding the US-Israeli relationship. Dramatically exacerbating this discursive and geopolitical configuration is the racialized trope of the terrorist Other who seeks to threaten all that is godly and good, including democracy, family values, and "civilized" means of making war. Such strategies are evidenced in Beck's rhetoric. Seen through this lens, Beck's advocacy to protect the "rights" of US and Israeli citizens can be reread as the protection of [End Page 86] white male privilege and the global dominance of the US military. To further demonstrate the rhetorics around which these political formations hinge, we now turn to the role of masculinity in the "clash of civilizations" between the United States and Islam that has long bolstered foreign policy, but has gained particular strength during the post-9/11 War on Terror.

Masculinities, Foreign Policy, and the Clash of Civilizations

Arguing that there is not just one masculinity, but a proliferation of different masculinities, R. W. Connell ([1995] 2005) established new ground for the study of how masculinity is mapped onto different bodies in different contexts. Subsequent analyses (Gutmann 2006; Halberstam 1998; Nurse 2004; Pascoe 2007; Sedgwick 1995) have built on this framework to further dislocate masculinity from its "natural" association with male bodies. Instead of a gender identity belonging solely to male-bodied individuals, masculinity is now understood as a normative construct that is differently accessed and reconfigured by bodies, depending on their various social locations. Feminist international relations scholars and transnational feminist scholars have further illuminated how foreign-policy debates and doctrines hinge upon gendered discourses, performances, and practices (Enloe 1990, 2000; Puar 2007; Sjoberg 2011; Tickner 1992; Zalewski and Parpart 1998). By focusing on how international politics both rely upon and reproduce gendered ideologies and norms, these scholars have moved foreign-policy analyses beyond binary, identitarian mappings of gender onto male and female bodies toward more complex understandings of gender as a discursive phenomenon underpinning inter/national imaginaries and systems of governance. Narratives of masculinity and abject femininities have contributed to the processes of nation-building, war-making, and global empire, as demonstrated in Karen Hoffman's (2011) analysis of George W. Bush's post-9/11 "cowboy" masculinity. The more than decade-long focus on "women's rights" in the Middle East to justify US military invasion (Russo 2006; Young 2003) further demonstrates how rhetorics of gender in/equality have mobilized and justified much recent foreign intervention.

The inter/national political, economic, and social investments mobilized through these gendered discourses are saturated with public emotion. Working at the intersections of international politics and theories of embodiment, Sara Ahmed (2004) productively mobilizes the practice of national gender ascription with regard to foreign policy, arguing that nations are geopolitically constructed as possessing varying degrees of "hardness" and "softness"—or rather, existing on a spectrum of dominant constructions of masculinity and femininity. Beck's emotive rhetoric behaves similarly, as he simultaneously constructs himself as card-carrying NRA member and sensitive soul prostrate to a wise god. Writing about nations, Ahmed argues that "[the] soft nation is too emotional, too easily moved by the demands of others" (2). Soft nations, she writes, are feminized and [End Page 87] penetrable. Beck and CUFI thus find themselves in a bind as they seek to garner support through identification and emotion for what can be considered an act of penetration: entering another country for the purpose of affecting its politics. Mimicking the US-Israeli coalition, Beck attempts to create a visceral hero through masculine assemblages. The United States and Israel become brothers in democracy, united against the terrorist Other. Insofar as public emotion and sociality are co-constitutive, they create conditions of possibility for material bodies, masculinizing democratic heroes while feminizing evil terrorists.

In the project of nation-building, emotionalized discourses of masculinity are inextricable from discourses of race and class. In her historical analysis of discourses of masculinity in the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century United States, Gail Bederman (1996) explores the ways in which racial, classist, and imperialist discourses have historically been linked with manhood and civilization in the US imaginary, revealing how seemingly contradictory notions of masculinity as both violent and refined are assembled through the discourse of "civilization" in order to perpetuate white privilege and US imperialism. The discourse of civilization relies upon its Other—the savage. The notion of a primitive, savage Other was not only central to US foreign policy in the early twentieth century, as Bederman's analysis demonstrates, but is an indispensable component of the Anglo-European imperial imaginary, having funded both Western imperialism and European nation-building (Bowden 2009; Said 1993; Sen 2002). Also central to US foreign policy both before and after 9/11 is the notion of a clash of civilizations in which Islam is fixed in opposition to the West.7 This is often expressed through the notion of an irresolvable, and militarized, cultural difference between the United States and Islam. This discourse is constituted through both words and images: Dana L. Cloud describes the clash of civilizations as "a verbal and visual ideograph linked to the idea of the 'white man's burden'" (2004, 285).8 Furthermore, Cloud argues that the racialized imagery of the clash of civilizations "is imbricated with gender" (292).

In Beck's rhetoric, then, the clash of civilizations occurs as an assemblage of verbal, visual, and embodied texts that are powerfully saturated with emotion through discourses of masculinity. To show how the clash of civilizations is rendered through a configuration of masculine archetypes, including brothers, fathers, and terrorists, we offer a close analysis of Beck's texts.

Masculine Assemblages in the Rhetoric of Glenn Beck

Our analysis of Beck's keynote speech at the CUFI National Summit supports the argument for viewing masculinity as an assemblage through which other significations articulate. Beck performs a range of masculinities throughout the speech, at times becoming an Everyman, a father, a fighter, a prophet, a patriot, and even a Jew. His multiple deployments of masculinity in a single, discrete text challenges the idea of masculinities as identitarian locations. Beck's [End Page 88] embodiment of white masculinity is critical to the claims he makes about his own male status, as well as to how he constructs his message. A close reading of Beck's performance, particularly of how he assembles various references to masculinity, suggests that discourses of masculinity converge and assemble in ways that are inseparable from other discourses of power. In the following subsections, we undertake thematic analyses of the multiple masculinities that Beck navigates in his CUFI speech, focusing on four interlocking themes—the re-masculinization of the religious male body; the trope of the Arab male-terrorist Other; brotherhood; and masculine protectionism—before turning to his reconstruction of place in the Restoring Courage rally in Israel. We argue that Beck's post-9/11 rendering of US-Israeli unity occurs through the assemblage of these themes.

"God and Guns": Re-masculinizing the Religious Male Body

In the opening of his speech, Beck identifies himself as both a common man and a "man's man," stating that "I'm not an activist or a guy who speaks out, I'm a guy who watches NASCAR or sits on the couch in my underwear and eats Doritos. I'm a lazy American" ("Glenn Beck at CUFI'11" 2011, 0:58). Here, Beck depicts himself as the proverbial Everyman. However, he quickly moves into a more nuanced description of the kind of Everyman he is: "I've joined two organizations in my life. I have joined my church and I have joined the NRA. I guess that makes me a guy with God and guns" (1:17). While in some ways this may be merely an applause line for his predominantly conservative Christian audience, which indeed responds by clapping and cheering, the rhetorical work performed in this endorsement of God and guns extends beyond forging identification with his audience. This statement also serves to assemble religious masculinity together with a more militaristic and violent masculinity, a move that is key to the articulations that follow.9

The move toward a militaristic and violent masculinity is a pronounced change from how religious males have been presented in the past. As Yohai Hakak notes: "In many contexts, religious men and their bodies are perceived as 'feminine' by the surrounding society" (2009, 104; see also Kirkley 1996; Krondorfer 1996; Muesse 1996; Soucy 1999). Hakak identifies two sources for the tension between the concepts of masculinity upheld by religious groups and those of the greater society: "the commandment to restrain sexuality and restrict it to the marital framework, and the image of subjugation and submission—identified as feminine—expected of the male, relative to the masculine image of God" (104). Beck has been known to cry on camera, engaging in the emotive rhetoric that Edwin Black (1978) refers to as exhortation. These displays serve to increase Beck's demagogic abilities, evoking affective identification from the audience while masking the patriarchal articulations on which much of his rhetoric hinges. These emotional displays serve a joint purpose then: namely, promoting identification, while also suggesting that Beck is a postfeminist man [End Page 89] who is in touch with his feelings. At the same time, in order to avoid effeminization, he quickly maneuvers between pathetic displays and more "masculine" performances. In this context, Beck's God and guns quip interpellates the hyper-masculine Zionist body—a rearticulated religious masculinity that both converges with and diverges from Evangelical Christian masculinity.10

The historical feminization of the Jewish male (Boyarin 1997; Hakak 2009) is, as Sander Gilman notes, at the "very heart of Western Jew-hatred" (1994, 4).11 Daniel Boyarin's analysis suggests that the historical formation of Jewish masculinity as gentle, nurturing, feminized, and spiritual was a deliberate collective identification that arose in oppositional response to the Roman systems of sex and gender. He argues that in pre-modern Jewish society, the rejection of Western gender roles, including aggressive, violent masculinity, was a way of maintaining cultural autonomy in the face of an ever-growing Roman Empire.12 In the modern period, however, the link between anti-Semitism and the feminization of Diaspora Jews constructed the raced and nonnormatively gendered Jewish male body as primitive and Other.13 Understanding how Zionism (re) masculinizes—thereby also serving to whiten—Jewish male bodies is necessary, then, to understanding how Zionism allows the United States and Israel to be envisioned as brothers in modernity.

Because of the historical feminization of the Jewish male, early Zionist activists sought to create a new model of masculinity (Hakak 2009). According to Hakak, "[t]he body of the new Jewish male was supposed to be tall, muscular through exercise and tanned from physical labor under the hot sun; the Jewish male was supposed to be assertive and self-confident" (106). Through this discourse, Zionism reconfigured Jewish masculinity as hyper-masculine and militaristic. This cultural (re)imagining of the Jewish people and the state of Israel inscribed self-defense and military prowess as prized masculine values, a move that ascribed the values of the nation onto male bodies.14 In addition to redefining the relationship of gendered bodies to the nation-state, the Zionist redefinition of Jewish masculinity created a false binary between Jews and Arabs, stigmatizing Arabs as effeminate, superstitious, and weak (Gaynor 2006, 185). In this manner, Zionism reconfigured the relationship of the Jewish people with Orientalist discourses, rendering Jews as European by casting them against the exotic and inferior Palestinian Other (Massad 2006). September 11th further sedimented this realignment of Jews and Arabs in the US imaginary, rendering Israel Jews as an ally against an Arab Other that was no longer portrayed as weak, as in earlier Orientalist discourses,15 but rather as evil proponents of "uncivilized" violence.16

"Evil Always Wears a Hood": The Arab Male-Terrorist Other

Beck's Restoring Courage rally enacted a form of nation-building that was firmly situated within public memorializing of the Holocaust. Much like debates between progressive and conservative thinkers about contemporary [End Page 90] anti-Semitism, this rhetoric brings the prospect of complete Jewish annihilation to the fore. On the second day of Courage to Remember, a documentary of the Holocaust was combined with a candlelight vigil to commemorate "the life-long impact of the Holocaust on its victims" and "the strength of its survivors" ("Restoring Courage" 2011, 0:47, 0:41). In fact, a number of promotional videos for the Restoring Courage rally focus on the Holocaust and its survivors. However, Beck's "remembrance" of the Holocaust is not only about remembering this atrocity; by evoking images of the Holocaust, he compares Palestinian resistance to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. He describes how, on his visit to Auschwitz: "A fear began to grow in me, a fear that should have been eradicated when the Nazis were defeated. A fear that was growing more and more intense as I came to that opening where the train went through. The fear was caused by the understanding that the world is yet again turning a blind eye to evil, the same kind of evil" ("Glenn Beck at CUFI'11" 2011, 6:22). Through this metonymy, Beck renders Palestinian resisters as SS soldiers; he further renders the state of Israel as a passive and helpless victim, unable to fight back against the aggressors who would seek to destroy her. This has the effect of making Palestinian resistance seem more powerful than it is, masking both the drastic imbalance of the two nations' military resources and Israel's role as a mutual aggressor. Furthermore, the language of "evil" juxtaposed against the religious masculinity into which Christian and Zionist bodies are interpellated suggests that any violent action against this evil is therefore both moral and just.

That Beck's statement regarding the world "turning a blind eye to evil" could easily be confused with one made by George W. Bush about the "axis of evil" is not insignificant. In fact, through the rhetoric of good and evil, Beck homogenizes the Arab male-terrorist Other in a manner consistent with the discourses of the War on Terror. This is evidenced later in Beck's speech when he states that

[e]vil is taking the mask off. Evil always wears a hood like the KKK. It rarely comes in in a nice snappy uniform, but it has in the past. Only when it has scared everyone else into the shadows does it take the mask off. In Iran the mask is off. There is no amount of cloaking after a while, nothing, no mask can hide it from those people who have the courage to open their eyes and to stare the truth in the face.


Here, the language of hoods, cloaking, and masking, alongside the conveniently (mis)placed reference to Iran, invokes the Western image of the robed and masked Arab terrorist. Through this move, not only the Palestinians, but also the homogenized Arab male-terrorist Other becomes the persecutor of the Jews. In addition, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is neatly reconfigured not as a conflict over land and nation or a conflict over militarization, sanctions, and access, but a conflict between good and evil. In this conflict, Jews—symbols [End Page 91] of all that is good due to their belief in the Judeo-Christian God that presumably links Evangelicals and Jews—are once again persecuted for their religious beliefs. Beck's reference to courage is also important, given the context of his then upcoming Restoring Courage rally. Here, "courage" comes to mean the ability to stand with Israel in properly militarized masculine solidarity against the improperly masculine Arab terrorist Other.

This portrayal of the evil Arab Other also strengthens Beck's argument against negotiations and peace agreements with Palestinians. He states that:

no one should or ever would compromise and give up a safety barrier between themselves and a neighbor that would shout, that would whisper, that would teach their children to hate you and kill you. Which one of us, which one of us would give up more of their backyard to a neighbor who would look over the fence and every time you walked by said, "I'm going to kill you." Which one? I contend, no one in their right mind.


Here, Israel's refusal to negotiate is defined as the only sensible reaction to murderous Arab terrorist intentions; according to Beck, "no one in their right mind" would do otherwise. As opposed to the rendering of the Jewish nation-state as hyper-masculine, yet modern, the evil Arab male-terrorist Other is depicted as primitive and uncivilized. This trope renders a common enemy against which the United States and Israel are seen to fight while codifying the primitive Other against which modern Anglo-European nation-states are constructed.

Beck further serves US post-9/11 narratives of terror by building the connection between the United States and Israel in a manner that invokes the trope of the suicide bomber. While implicit in much of his discussion of the conflict between good and evil and in his framing of a generic Arab Other as "murderous" (16:28), his deployment of this trope and its political ends become clear in the following excerpt. To the members of CUFI, he says with sarcasm:

"Look I'm talking to a room full of religious wackos the media would tell me, none of which, [applause] as crazy, out of control, and dangerous as all of you are [applause], I don't see any of you willing to strap on a suicide vest on either you or your children because in your deranged mind you think God is telling you to do it"


Here, Beck effectively—and affectively—reconfigures Palestinian resistance as solely determined by Islamic fundamentalism. By sarcastically dismissing the notion that Christian fundamentalists are "crazy, out of control, and dangerous" or "deranged," he indicates that the terrorist Other is indeed all those things. His reference to strapping suicide vests on children further reinforces the Other's immorality and juxtaposes it with the paternalistic rhetoric through which the United States is configured as the masculine protector of women, children, and other innocents. Finally, this allows Beck to define religious zealotry as something foreign to, and outside of, modern Christianity. By linking such [End Page 92] zealotry with improperly masculine brown male bodies, he enables Christians and Israelis to appear as both masculine and modern.

"We Are Brothers": Imagined Communities of Masculinity, Modernity, and Whiteness

Gender, race, religion, and nation intertwine in complex ways in Beck's rendering of the United States and Israel as brothers in democracy. His rhetoric constructs Israel as the determining factor in the future of the West when he states that "as Israel goes, so goes the Western way of life" (28:58). This reference to the Western way of life and its possible loss relies upon the notion of an/other way of life that threatens to take over. As Cloud notes, "metonymizing the conflict in terms of 'our way of life' and challenges to it reduces a complex set of geopolitical motives, strategies, and outcomes to a cultural binary" (2004, 291). This cultural binary is certainly a powerful form that the rhetoric of the clash of civilizations takes. But Beck does not stop here. He says that this is "the test of our lives. The test of our civilization. . . . Darkness cannot be defeated by darkness, only light. Hatred cannot be defeated by hatred, only love. Let us be people of light and love. These are the answers. And they are the answers of a civilized world" (31:21). This rhetoric relies upon the already discussed notions of a righteous religious masculinity and an evil terrorist. As Bederman (1996) found in her analysis of US masculinity during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, here again, the discourse of civilization is used to reinscribe racial difference.

Ultimately, Beck's rhetoric contributes to the creation of a solitary "nation" that aligns US and Israeli interests around the fictive notion of horizontal comradeship, thus hiding the structures of power that are simultaneously in play. According to him, US and Israeli citizens are not only brothers in modernity and allies against a common foe, but they are one and the same people. In one particularly visually jarring moment during his speech, Beck held his left hand up before the predominantly white Christian audience and proclaimed: "Show me the Jews. I'm one. When we all raise our hand, we change the world." Audience members responded by raising their right hands. The camera sweeping around the room reveals audience members raising their hands in a shockingly Nazi-esque salute while waving, and being surrounded by, American flags (40:04). "When we stop seeing Israelis as apart from us, and instead as us," Beck said in the minutes leading up to this display, "we can move to the next level as human beings" (32:05). This sentiment should not be surprising; while in European contexts, Jews have long functioned as an Other against which the European self is defined, the US context has constructed Jewishness in a different manner. Daniel Itzkovitz argues that a synecdochal link exists between "the Jew" and "the Nation": "In twentieth-century America the Jews have often seemed a good metaphor for the notion of 'American' itself" (2008, 177).17 This helps to explain why Beck passionately identifies himself as a Jew—a statement that provokes the predominantly white Christian audience to proclaim that [End Page 93] they also are Jews—and the rhetorical significance of this act. Perhaps even more importantly, through his assertion of his and his Christian audience's "Jewishness," he deploys a religious narrative of simultaneous chosen-ness and persecution that appeals to US national ideology.18

Zionism's reliance upon a framework of nationalism deeply shaped by Anglo-European thought (Gaynor 2006) is another link in this masculine assemblage. According to Boyarin (1997), Zionism operated as a form of mimicry in which Ashkenazi Jews attempted to escape persecution and stigmatization by modeling themselves after European colonial nations. This required not only the re-masculinization of male bodies perceived as effeminate, but also enabled provisional and contingent access to whiteness. In this manner, Zionism became the primary vehicle through which Israeli Jews both "whiten[ed] their image" and gained access to modernity through the articulation of a modern nation-state (Balsam 2011, 24). The militarization of Jewish male bodies and of the nation-state itself was essential to this process. The establishment of the state of Israel was therefore a "civilizing" project that linked nation, gender, sexuality, and race together to form a new aggressive Jewish masculinity that would allow access into political modernity. That this configuration has not operated in the same way to interpellate diasporic Jews as hyper-masculine moderns in the Western imaginary is telling, revealing the necessity of the construct of the nation as an access point into this particular form of masculinity.

"How Do We Protect One Another?": Prophetic Masculinity, Paternalism, and Militarism

Another type of masculinity that appears in Beck's speech, and that is necessary to forging the mutual interests of the United States and Israel, is paternalism via the genealogy of the Judeo-Christian God-as-father. First, Beck identifies himself as a father: "I am an inadequate messenger, I am a man that is compelled to stand. I am a father who doesn't want to spend any more time away from my children. But again, I am compelled to stand because I love my children" ("Glenn Beck at CUFI'11" 2011, 22:45). In this statement, he is not just a father with the protection of his own children at heart, but a man and a messenger of God. Religion intertwines with discourses of family throughout his speech: "No matter who we are, all of us have a right to practice peacefully a religion. To raise a family" (5:15). The context of the greater masculine assemblage within which this statement appears makes it unlikely that it would be read as gender neutral; instead, it invokes an image of a beneficent patriarch and a universal, benevolent masculinity.

However, as Beck emphasizes throughout his speech, Israelis have been deprived of the "God-given right" to practice their religion and raise a family (15:33); for this reason, the Jewish people need the protection of the United States. The benevolent image of both the father and of the Godly Father thus becomes a discourse of militant and militarized masculine protectionism (Young 2003). [End Page 94] He states that "not a single American, not a single man in China, not even the Frenchy-French would allow rockets to be fired into their neighborhoods, schoolchildren to be shot on their own playgrounds, families murdered brutally in their sleep" ("Glenn Beck at CUFI'11" 2011, 16:01). Gendering the middle term in this statement—"a single man in China"—suggests that the American and French to whom he refers are also men.19 Referencing the savageness of the terrorist enemy within this constellation, Beck justifies Israel's military actions against the terrorist Other—and by extension, US military action as well—through his suggestion that any "man" in this situation would take up arms to protect the innocents. Elsewhere in his speech, he states that "the Jewish people have wisely learned not to trust anyone. Not to trust anyone but themselves to be the guardians of their God-given rights. I hope my fellow countrymen learn that lesson before our rights are taken as well. No one can protect your rights better than you. No one else will. No one else can. To rely on others is to ensure economic slavery at best, and death camps at worst" (15:17). In this way, Beck depicts the militaristic actions of the Zionist state as both their right and necessity. This sentiment relies upon the same masculine trope of self-sufficiency on which the Anglo-European model of nationalism is founded. Indeed, here, Beck uses his argument about the Jewish people's right to defend themselves against an ever increasing terrorist threat to slip into an argument about gun rights and free-market capitalism in the United States.

One of Beck's campaign images for his Restoring Courage rally further demonstrates his conflation of US support for Israel with neoconservative ideologies. He appears dressed in colonial garb, his powder-white wig visually calling forth the constitutional rhetoric that appears in his CUFI speech. Having built Israel's need for protection through the rhetoric of the terrorist Other, he articulates the solution that is visually called forth by this promotional image of him as a "founding father"20: "What is the answer Lord? What is the answer?" he asks. How do we protect one another? And it dawned on me I came back to my original answer—a declaration." In this manner, the declaration of individual rights, liberty, and the pursuit of free-market capitalism via the US Constitution becomes the word of God. Beck continues: "If I may, I'd like to see if I can clearly state why this old, dusty, outdated document that charted a new course for mankind should have brought us into World War I earlier and blown up the tracks to Auschwitz when we first saw them from the sky. It is the answer for Israel. It is the answer for the Jewish people. It is the answer for America and the entire world" (8:22). This endorsement of US imperialism through verbal and visual tropes of our national forefathers provides the final link in the masculine assemblage of religion, race, and nation in Beck's rhetoric. It also suggests that the neoconservative constituents active in the pro-Zionist lobby in the United States have more than the protection of the Jewish people in mind, a process that is further evidenced in the (re)configurations of place and time in Beck's Restoring Courage rally, to which we now turn. [End Page 95]

"This Is a Planet with a Lot of Space": Rearranging Bodies, Places, and Temporalities

Beck's performative "occupation" of Israel hinges upon the rearrangement of bodies, places, and temporalities. He states that "the Jewish people have gone back to where they came from. They are the ones that stacked the stones on the temple mound, and those same stones are being dropped on their heads today as they peacefully assemble to pray" (14:41).21 This one-dimensional narrative of the history of Jerusalem ignores the fact that the Jewish people were not the only ones who historically occupied these lands. By hosting the headlining event of the Restoring Courage rally outside of the Temple Mount, Beck concretizes this place as central to, and as the center of, Israel and the United States alike. In addition, his call to stand together, and his subsequent enactment of standing, functions as both a literal descriptor and metaphor. Beck does indeed physically stand, but the practice of standing is easily mapped onto other territorial structures in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. Settlement houses stand, as do checkpoints and strategically planted trees. Beck's affirmation thus aligns with Israel policies on a variety of levels.

Place plays an important role in social movements, and Danielle Endres and Samantha Senda-Cook (2011) offer the heuristic of place in protest for theorizing the rhetorical force of place in social action. Through their analysis of protest events, they demonstrate how (re)constructions of place operate as rhetorical tactics, conjoined with other tactics more traditionally associated with social movements, such as speeches, marches, and signs. For this reason, "studying how words and bodies interact in and with place allows us to see social movement rhetoric from a new perspective" (258). This theorization helps elucidate the rhetorical impact of Beck's Restoring Courage rally. Through the physical occupation of the Temple Mount, Beck uses place as a strategy for building coalitions between Zionist nationalism and the US Evangelical Christian Right. In doing so, he solidifies the imaginary in which the United States and Israel are aligned as brothers in a Western modernity that is haunted and constituted by the Arab male-terrorist Other. Drawing on this gendered state of emergency, Beck presents the US Constitution as a God-given solution to the "persecution" of Israel. His and his followers' physical presence in Jerusalem thus performatively sediments the claim that the US Evangelical Christian Right is ordained by God to protect Israel.

Beck further reinforces the construction of Israel as a Jewish place by abjecting the Arab Other from Jerusalem's physical and cognitive landscape. He argues that "there is enormous amounts of room. This is a planet with a lot of space" (17:32). By claiming Jerusalem as the center of both the US and Israeli nation-states, Beck casts Other bodies into the unspecified "enormous amounts of room" to which he refers. The wide-open spaces into which the Arab male-terrorist Other is cast form the constitutive outside against which the Anglo-European nationalist imaginary is constructed. In this imaginary, a [End Page 96] nation is built around a "chosen"—namely, white, modern, arms-bearing—race of men who take what is properly theirs under the province of a Manifest Destiny, while others are cast into an unspecified wilderness. "As long as you want to be a part of the family of mankind," he continues, "there is space for all of us who believe this declaration that all men are created equal and we have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (17:30). Through the language of the "family of mankind" who believe in the US Constitution and the casting of the Arab Other outside of this family, Palestinians—and the generalized brown male terrorist—are thrown outside of the modern and paternalistic nation-state. Furthermore, through rhetorics of civilization and good and evil, Beck constructs this choice as one that is willfully made by Palestinians, and likewise by the generalized and racialized Other into which they are collapsed.

Masculine Assemblages, States of Emergency, and Transnational Feminist Theorizing

We have argued that masculinity and civilization are inseparable in the contemporary US geopolitical imagination, and that their meanings assemble through words, images, and embodied affects. According to Cloud (2004), the clash of civilizations ideograph, which shapes contemporary US narratives about the ongoing state of emergency produced by the War on Terror, has remained surprisingly stable over time. And yet, while the clash itself remains firmly embedded in US national discourses, the signifiers through which the Islamic male Other is articulated have changed. Edward Said's (1978) interrogation of the way the Eastern, often Islamic, male Other was represented in European colonialist discourses as exotic, primitive, gullible, and incapable of dominance—and therefore easily dominated—informs subsequent analyses that explore the continued rendering of Islamic persons as Other to the United States, Europe, and Western modernity in general. However, the Muslim Other figures differently in contemporary US popular and political imaginaries: brownness, once the signifier of exoticism, has instead come to signify the menacing threat of the terrorist Other (Semati 2010).

Discursive shifts in the gendering of both the Islamic Other and its "opposite," US-centric modernity, further inform this assemblage. The trope of the terrorist Other is primarily, although not exclusively, mapped onto male bodies, rendering them as both feminized and irrationally hyper-masculine in a manner distinct from the "proper" hyper-masculinity mapped onto Zionist bodies through gendered, racialized discourses of religion and modernity. Puar (2007) argues that this contributes to the queering of the improperly masculine terrorist in the rhetoric of the post-9/11 security state. This shift in the gendering of the terrorist is made possible through assemblages of masculinity that present the United States—and the US-Israeli geopolitical formation that has been the focus of our analysis—as simultaneously a paternal protector, but also a victim of [End Page 97] the terrorists who seek to threaten "our way of life." The rhetorics analyzed here demonstrate that this narrative of emergency gains strength through discourses of religion and gender around which US citizens are affectively mobilized, and that these rhetorics are inseparable from US imperialism.

Mehdi Semati (2010) argues that (re)centering the instrumental role that global politics and conflicts play in defining the Islamic Other is important to understanding the changing configurations of Orientalism (see also Puar 2007). We do not contest such a claim. Although our focus has largely been on how masculine assemblages construct a homogenous Arab foe in Beck's and the Evangelical Christian Right's rhetoric, our analysis demonstrates that gendered evocations of terror and emergency affectively mask political and economic impetuses at the heart of the geo-political-epistemological formation of Israel's and the United States's mutual interests. We have argued that ideology can, and does, mobilize and justify political action in the eyes of the broader public. By strategically recycling rhetorics that, if not necessarily created by the Evangelical Christian Right, at the very least are perpetuated through their influential role in US and international public spheres, US policymakers are able to skirt the political and economic foundations of the US-Israeli relationship through their deployments of sedimented tropes.

Our analysis has demonstrated that re-masculinizing the religious male body enables the "liberation of a war-fighting masculinity from the constraints of multilateralism and diplomacy in order to 'get the job done'" (Tuathail 2005, 361). Moreover, the language of "courage" in Beck's rhetoric serves to moralize the militarization that is necessary to get the job of imperialism done. The rhetoric of evil that enables the casting of the terrorist Arab foe from the "family of mankind" further contributes to imperialist interventions. The language of evil in politics long preceded September 11th and the Bush administration. However, it was newly propelled into the foreground by the administration, which not coincidentally also saw the entrance of some of the United States's most influential neoconservatives into the White House. The ongoing proliferation of such rhetorics reveals the "interdependent relationship between neoconservativism and the religious right" (Kline 2004, 456).

While the narratives of emergency that construct Israel as a site of perpetual conflict bolster US military involvement worldwide and support racial inequalities and heteropatriarchal gender relations globally, they also support gendered inequalities within the US nation-state. In the United States, the Evangelical Christian Right is at the helm of many regressive gender policies and debates, such as women's rights to control their bodies and LGBTQ individuals' rights to marry. Race, class, and gender inequality is further bolstered by age-old processes in which "the elites who make the war plans and decisions are disproportionately white, male, wealthy and privileged, while those who fight and die are disproportionately non-white, poor and working class, and non-privileged" (Cunningham 2004, 565). Beck's rhetoric of a state of emergency [End Page 98] that necessitates his militarized call to stand with Israel conveniently hides his absence from the frontlines of any on-the-ground actions taken in Gaza, Israel, or the West Bank.

By using masculine assemblages to analyze Beck's construction of a gendered state of emergency necessitating US military intervention, we have focused on masculinity as a relation of patterns that order discourses and bodies in contemporary societies of control (Puar 2007, 115-16). Beck's deployments of masculinity are not merely discursive, but instead mobilize bodies through affective tropes and performances. While he certainly excels in his deployment of emotion, its role in politics is by no means limited to these texts: "The importance of emotion was significant in facilitating the construction of public support for the Bush war policies, particularly the emotion of fear, but also anger, desire for vengeance, grief and others" (Cunningham 2004, 565; emphasis in original). These affective relationships are thus the final link in the masculine assemblages we have analyzed.

The assemblage is well-equipped to examine the "spatial, temporal, and corporeal convergences, implosions, and rearrangements" (Puar 2007, 205) that are clearly seen in Beck's Restoring Courage rally. However, we argue that this theorization is also productive for a close-textual analysis of Beck's CUFI speech, shedding light on the way that he navigates multiple masculine rhetorics, creating identification with his audience through emotionalized tropes that exceed containment within his speeches, instead serving to mobilize religious, state, and imperialist practices. Our analysis therefore serves to explore how Puar's theorization might be utilized as a methodology for scholarship. We argue that when we truly dislocate masculinity from its "natural" adherence to male bodies and instead come to understand masculinity as a shifting and emotion-laden configuration of material and symbolic practices—an assemblage—we can better illuminate the ways in which religious, state, and (neo-)colonial practices are mobilized through gendered rhetorics and bodies. The notion of masculine assemblages is therefore well-equipped for interrogating the way that gender mobilizes and intertwines with other discourses in transnational and geo-epistemological formations.

Understanding masculinity as an assemblage can contribute to further research into the ways that religious, state, and (neo-)colonial practices are mobilized through gendered bodies and places, and to deeper analyses of the effects of such mobilizations.22 Given the power of affect in political discourse, future research might also ask in what ways affect can be productively and strategically deployed in order to better counter imperialist policymaking. In the case of US Evangelical Christian support for Zionism, as evidenced through the rhetoric of Beck, the post-9/11 unification of US-Israeli interests is articulated through an assemblage of masculine discourses, including brotherhood, fatherhood, masculine protectionism, religious masculinity, and the trope of the terrorist Other. This assemblage gains further traction through appeals to [End Page 99] emotion and embodied manipulations of place. While our analysis contributes to a deeper understanding of how US-Israeli exceptionalism is rhetorically constructed and politically consequential, we have also attempted to sketch out a theorization that can further contribute to postcolonial and transnational feminist theorizing by examining the way that "men" embody the nation, the way that discourses of race, religion, and nation assemble together through the concept of masculinity, and the manners in which these assemblages provoke states of emergency and impetuses for action. Foregrounding masculinity in this analysis, therefore, serves to extend feminist theorizing of gender and nation.

Roberta Chevrette

Roberta Chevrette is a doctoral student in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and the gender studies graduate certificate program at Arizona State University. Utilizing rhetorical and qualitative methodologies, her research explores the gendered, racialized assemblages through which bodies are abjected from or interpellated into national imaginaries and/or other publics. She can be reached at

Lisa C. Braverman

Lisa C. Braverman is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University Bloomington. Her research interests include the relationships among rhetoric and violence, biopolitics and necropolitics, and material rhetorics. She can be reached at


The authors extend their deepest gratitude to Karen Leong for her insightful contributions, Chema Salinas for his graceful editing, and two anonymous reviewers for their feedback. Roberta acknowledges the Local to Global Feminisms Research Cluster at Arizona State University for the thought-provoking conversations that further propelled this manuscript forward. Lisa acknowledges Jon Simons, John Louis Lucaites, Robert Ivie, Daniel C. Knudsen, and Norma Musih.


1. Glenn Beck supports Zionist Israel, which is certainly not supported by all Israeli or diasporic Jews; however, he represents the Zionist state as synonymous with Jewish interests. Adam Gaynor describes how Zionist ideology has conflated the terms Jewish and Zionist, thus homogenizing Jewish history to reflect "a specifically European Jewish movement" (2006, 184; emphasis in original) (see also Shohat 1988, 1999). In addition, the particular reading of Jewish history universalized by Zionism constructs a false binary between Arab and Jewish interests. Beck's rhetoric relies upon and sustains these false constructions. [End Page 100]

2. Each territory here is regarded as legitimate and is listed alphabetically. Labels like the Occupied Territories and Palestine, while certainly accurate in political if not cartographic terms, imply a unity that is not geographically or practically present.

3. In addition to his statements of brotherhood in the texts we examine, in December 2011, Beck also released a photo book of his trip to Israel titled We Are Brothers.

4. As Puar (2011) notes, to challenge and complicate mainstream deployments of intersectionality does not denigrate this germinal theorization and the important works done under this rubric, but rather interrogates the often unintentional reification of identitarian frameworks that can result from its deployment.

5. For further discussion, see Rita Kaur Dhamoon (2010) and Nira Yuval-Davis (2006).

6. While Mearsheimer and Walt (2006) treat the Israel lobby as a coherent and singular body, we utilize quotation marks as a means by which to trouble this construction. There are certainly passionate, pro-Israel organizations that lobby legislators, but their impact—and their unity—remains debatable, contrary to Mearsheimer and Walt's thesis.

7. Famously articulated by Samuel Huntington (1998).

8. Drawing from Michael McGee (1980), Cloud defines ideographs as "historically and culturally grounded commonplace rhetorical terms that sum up and invoke identification with key social commitments" (2004, 288). For a more detailed description of the theorization of ideographs, see McGee.

9. In calling himself a man with "God and guns," Beck further appeals to his conservative following by mocking one of Barack Obama's campaign gaffes. On April 6, 2008, at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, Obama addressed small-town America. Arguing that many people were falling through the cracks of big government, Obama said, "it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations" (Fowler 2008).

10. Our emphasis on the re-masculinization of male bodies through the militarized masculinity connected with secular Zionism runs the risk of homogenizing various types of gender performance in Israel. Ultra-Orthodox Jews offer a different type of masculine performance, a "softer," more gentile version of religious masculinity (but one that Daniel Boyarin [1997] argues has equally been connected with practices of gender inequality in the modern era). While secular and religious Zionisms are, in many ways, politically and culturally distinct from one another within Israel, the primary focus of our analysis is on Zionist masculinity as it is configured in the rhetoric of the US Evangelical Christian Right. We believe that the conflation of religious masculinities with militaristic masculinities is an important lynchpin in this rhetoric.

11. While this may seem overstated if taken beyond the colonial Roman context, our use of this quote is not intended to downplay the economic, political, religious, and ethnic foundations of anti-Semitism, but rather to interrogate gender's constitutive role in the discursive Othering of the Jewish people.

12. Boyarin (1997) focuses on the traditional culture of Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews, arguing that (pre- or a-Zionist) Judaism has a long history of offering alternatives to dominant gender norms. [End Page 101]

13. Boyarin suggests that this historical characterization of the Jewish male was occasioned by a specific nexus of forces in the late 1800s that included the pathologization of homosexuality and the racialization of the Jews. In this constellation, Jewish alterity became symbolically connected to Jewish men's failed masculinity (1997, 208-16).

14. Even the Haredi, in contrast to the Talmudic principles of nonviolence, have increasingly taken up arms against Palestinians (and, in some instances, against Zionists), supporting a "hawkish regional policy [that is] maximalist on questions of settlement and sovereignty" (Aran, Stadler, and Ben-Ari 2008, 34). See ibid. and Hakak (2009) for further discussion of changing masculinities among the ultra-Orthodox.

15. See Edward Said (1978) for further discussion.

16. As Laura Sjoberg and Caron E. Gentry (2007) argue, "irrational" violence has long been connected with women and femininity. Puar (2007) further argues that the discursive positioning of the terrorist Other as simultaneously violent (and therefore hyper-masculine) and sexually deviant (associated with femininity) renders the terrorist as improperly masculine, or queer.

17. According to Itzkovitz's analysis, the metaphorical rendering of the US "nation-as-Jew" is tied to "America's modern situation of rootlessness [and] disconnection from the past" (2008, 177). Hilton Obenzinger offers a further discussion of the Zionist intertwining of the United States's and Israel's national imaginaries, arguing that the establishment of the Jewish nation-state through settler colonialism invoked American discourses of democracy, while simultaneously "reaffirm[ing] the vitality of the American frontier" (2008, 655).

18. While it is impossible to know Beck's intent in defining himself as a Jew, he appears to be marking himself as a person with intimate knowledge of, and empathy for, Jewish suffering. As the Evangelical Christian Right has also portrayed itself as a persecuted group, it makes sense politically for Beck to align himself with the Jewish people's painful history as victims of violence and long-standing hatred.

19. The list of "men" Beck provides here includes not only his ideal-type of paternalistic, democratically oriented, white, modern American men, but also "lesser" men, as suggested by his pejorative queering of the French and his reference to the undemocratic nation of China. In this manner, Beck strengthens his argument against Arab Others by reference to their failed masculinity. This point was brought to our attention by an anonymous reviewer.

20. This promotional image was found on Beck's website during the time of writing the initial draft of this article. It has now been replaced by other patriotic images that appear as one browses the website, including one of him dressed as Uncle Sam. While the authors have saved a copy of this image for their personal records, it is not printed here due to a lack of copyright permissions. Some of the promotional information from the Restoring Courage rally can still be accessed at

21. The quote "the Jewish people have gone back to where they came from" has many potential readings. Implicitly, Beck is suggesting that the Jews belong in Israel, as opposed to the United States. He also invokes heritage-infused sacred spaces and a history of noble and just labor. These competing narratives simultaneously ostracize and elevate Jews, yet again suggesting that the true Others are the Arabs. [End Page 102]

22. Much notable feminist scholarship has investigated these issues, including, but not limited to, Jennifer Nez Denetdale (2009), Shahin Gerami (2003), Brendan Hokowhitu (2008), Penny Johnson and Eileen Kuttab (2001), Jason Karlin (2002), Jane A. Margold (1995), Nayan Shah (2005), and Eileen J. Suárez Findlay (2000). Our offering of masculine assemblages does not ignore the success of these and other interrogations, but rather seeks to contribute to this ongoing dialogue.


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