Beck said that the Labour Party youth camp on the island, where 68 people were murdered, bore “disturbing” similarities to the Nazi Party’s notorious juvenile wing.
Beck, a multimillionaire darling of the Tea Party movement, said on his nationally-syndicated radio show: “There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler Youth. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics? Disturbing.”
Torbjørn Eriksen, a former press secretary to Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s prime minister, described the comment as “a new low” for the broadcaster, who has frequently been forced to apologise for offensive remarks.
“Young political activists have gathered at Utøya for over 60 years to learn about and be part of democracy, the very opposite of what the Hitler Youth was about,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “Glenn Beck’s comments are ignorant, incorrect and extremely hurtful.”
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a Washington-based campaign group, said the remark by Beck, a free agent after being forced out of the Fox News channel earlier this year, was “absolutely disgusting”.
Beck’s controversial statements and conspiracy-filled rants have made him one of the most divisive figures in US politics and media in recent years.
Last year he said he regretted calling Barack Obama a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture”. He later apologised for mocking Mr Obama’s young daughter Malia.
In February he apologised to Reform Judaism, a group that campaigns for the modernisation of the Jewish faith, after comparing them to “radicalised Islam”.
But he refused to apologise in May after mock-vomiting on his live TV show following a cancer-awareness advert starring a nude Meghan McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain.
Beck said that Miss McMcCain, whose father survived cancer before running for the US presidency, should “wear a burka” because she was apparently unattractive.
Despite Beck expressing surprise that political movements would hold camps for children, followers of his 9/12 Project – which aims to “recapture the spirit of the day after America was attacked” – have this summer been doing just that.
Organisers of the “vacation liberty schools” in several states told the Daily Telegraph how they taught children as young as eight a Tea Party-endorsed curriculum spanning religion, economics and political principles.