It is one thing to be a historically ignorant layman, but to be an ignorant rabbi who proudly professes to be a non-Zionist based on a convoluted rationale is yet another thing. The rabbi is Brant Rosen, 53, who for 17 years served as rabbi at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) in Evanston, IL. Now, Rosen is the spiritual leader of Tzedek Chicago, located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago.
Rabbi Rosen responded to a Times of Israel reporter who asked what it means to be a non-Zionist, saying,
“Let me read from our core values: While we appreciate the important role of the Land of Israel in Jewish tradition, liturgy and identity, we do not celebrate the fusing of Judaism with political nationalism. We are non-Zionist, openly acknowledge that the creation of an ethnic Jewish nation in historic Palestine resulted in injustice against its indigenous people – an injustice that continues to this day.”
In the mind of rabbi Rosen, Jews were not the “indigenous” people but rather it was the Arab-Muslim Palestinians. Had he consulted history he would have found that the indigenous Jews were the only people who ever established a government, a culture, a religion and a land variously called Judea and Israel. The name Jew is derived from Judea, and Israel was the name given to the biblical Jacob after he struggled with God’s angel.
The Roman conquerors of Judea and destroyers of Jerusalem’s holy temple exiled almost a third of Judea’s population and changed the name of the land to Palaestina in the 2nd Century CE. The original name probably goes back to the Aegean people called in the Bible Philistines (pleshtim in Hebrew). The current day Arab-Palestinians have no connection to the Philistines of old. Moreover, in the years prior to the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, the Jewish community members (the Yeshuv in Hebrew) were called Palestinians, while the Arab migrants from Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt were simply called Arabs. The other semi-indigenous people were the nomadic Bedouin tribes.
It was the Jews of Palestine, or Palestinian Jews who revolted against British colonialism and colonial rule. The international community, under the auspices of the League of Nations recognized the Jewish connection to the land. Fifty-one member states or the entire League of Nations unanimously declared on July 24, 1922: “Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”
Perhaps the most important factors to consider are the following: the true colonial usurpers of the land were the Arab-Muslim hordes who burst out from Arabia in the 7th Century CE. They conquered and colonized the lands of the Middle East, including Palestine. With a sword in one hand and the Holy Koran in the other, the followers of the Prophet Muhammad overwhelmed the people in the region and the indigenous people of Palestine. The indigenous Jews and Christians were compelled to convert to Islam for survival’s sake. The same was true for the rest of the region, where Arabic replaced Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew, and Judaism and Christianity were largely replaced by Islam. Today’s Arab-Palestinians are descendants of the conquering colonialists from Arabia or indigenous Jews and Christians who converted to Islam.
Rosen charged that “An ethnic Jewish nation in historic Palestine resulted in injustice against its indigenous people – an injustice that continues to this day.” To that unfortunate and libelous remark one must invoke Max Nordau (1849-1923), a Zionist leader, physician, author, and social critic. He was a co-founder of the World Zionist Organization together with Theodor Herzl. Nordau said that the “Greatest success of anti-Semites is that some Jews see themselves as the anti-Semites describe them.” That fits precisely with the ideological outlook of Brant Rosen. He has bought into the anti-Semitic, radical-left BDS crowd who accuse the only democracy in the region – Israel, of oppressing the Palestinians. In 2010, Rosen co-founded the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council, “a group that promotes boycotts of Israel and has been listed by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the top 10 anti-Israel organizations in the US.”
Rosen could use a lesson from Bassem Eid, an Arab-Muslim Palestinian civil rights activist who admitted to this reporter that the worst kind of oppression Palestinians suffer is from their Palestinian leadership. He added that without Israel, Palestinians would starve. He accused the BDS movement of sheer hypocrisy and pointed out that their boycott of Israeli products only hurts the Palestinians. Bassem Eid further charged that these self-serving radical leftists do not care for Palestinians but rather seek to implement their ideological agenda mixed with anti-Semitism “on the backs of the Palestinians.” Max Nordau rightly observed that the likes of Rosen see themselves as the anti-Semites describe them, and use their anti-Zionism to parade their progressive credentials and attempt to appease the victimizers of Jews.
In a typical multiculturalist elitist way, Rosen rejects the facts and the truth about Palestinian terrorism and its intention to replace the Jewish state rather than live side by side in peace with Israel. He ignores the Oslo Accords of 1993, which could have led to a Palestinian state had Arafat agreed to “end-the-conflict” instead of rejecting it, and launching the Second Intifada. Rosen does not care about the fact that Israel’s Prime Minister Olmert went even further than Prime Minister Barak at Camp David (July 2000) which Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas walked away from. Apparently, for Brant Rosen, Israel defending itself against Palestinian murderous terror is considered “Israeli oppression.”
Rosen must know, if he does not know already, that his so-called “indigenous people” rejected self-determination time and time again. They (Arab-Palestinians) walked away from the 1937 Peel Commission, which sought to divide Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state with the Arabs getting over 70% of the land. The Arabs wanted it all, with no self-determination for the Jews. The Arabs once again rejected the UN Security Council Partition Plan of 1947, which sought to give then an independent state, and again like in 1937, they waged a war of terror against the Jews, and this time, along with the invading Arab states who aimed at squashing the newly born Jewish state in 1948.
So called Jewish “Progressives” of Rosen’s ilk like to think of themselves as morally superior to others, especially Zionist Jews. They like to flaunt their support for Black Lives Matters and open immigration, all of which are tickets that certify them as “fully accredited progressives.” Yet, they must know that there is no better designation for them than racist. Yes, their denial of Jewish rights to live in a Jewish state is both intolerant and racist, as well as morally repugnant. Rosen doesn’t believe that the Jewish state should exist – which is blatantly racist.
Speaking of “Tzedek,” (justice in Hebrew) the misguided congregation of Brant Rosen must know that the only place they would find social justice in the Middle East is in Israel. They would most certainly not find it in the Palestinian Authority nor in the Arab or Muslim world. Therefore, the deliberate singling out of the Jewish state for boycotts and criticism can and would be considered racist and unjust. Rosen’s stance on Israel can be summed up as sheer perfidy.