I was watching Fox News this evening, when I saw Dennis Prager defend himself against M.J. Rosenberg, of the Israel Policy Forum, who named Mr. Prager “Uncle Jake” – M.J. Rosenberg’s term for the Jewish equivalent of “Uncle Tom.” According to M.J. Rosenberg, just as the left sees conservative blacks as traitors to African-Americans, so he sees conservative Jews as traitors to the Jewish people.
For the record, I pronounce that M.J. Rosenberg does not speak for me.
That a Jew on the left – M.J. Rosenberg – would use this term to describe Dennis Prager, a Jew who supports conservative Christians, gives me pause.
Dennis Prager “is an American who fights to preserve Judeo-Christian values as America’s primary value system and preserve Christianity as the specific American faith that embodies those values”. That’s how Mr. Prager defined himself in Presbyterian Church defames Christianity, an article he wrote about the The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) which has called for the economic strangulation of Israel. They have equated the Jewish state with South Africa during apartheid and called for a universal divestment from it.
Mr. Prager is hardly a Jew traitor. Instead, he is a valiant champion when it comes to the defense of Israel, clearly established in his June 26, 2002 article entitled Why does the left support the Palestinians?
From 1969 onward Mr. Prager was one of the leaders of the Soviet Jewry movement, beginning with being the national spokesman for the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, the leading activist group in that cause.
Dennis Prager has lectured in more Jewish communities in North America – federations, synagogues of all denominations, Jewish community centers – than almost any living Jew. And he has spoken at the national conventions of virtually every major American Jewish organization – including Hadassah, the General Assembly of Jewish Federations; the United Jewish Campaign; AIPAC; and the American Jewish Committee.
He co-wrote with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin perhaps the most widely used introduction to Judaism in the English language.
Dennis Prager is the recipient of the American Jewish Press Association’s 2004 Prize for excellence in Jewish Commentary.
For seven years he was the director of the Jewish retreat center, the Brandeis-Bardin Institute.
Dennis Prager is a founder of a Jewish day school in Southern California.
Dennis Prager is the emcee of the annual Chabad telethon; he has been teaching the Torah at the University of Judaism for 25 years, and continues to teach Torah at his Reform synagogue and he has brought tens of thousands of Jews back to Judaism and Jewish identity – Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox.
How then does a Jewish writer like M.J. Rosenberg call Dennis Prager, a man whose life has been so committed to the welfare of the Jewish people, a traitor to Jews? For the same reason that the left supports the palestinians against Israel. Nearly all the causes the left speaks for are noble-sounding covers for its real agenda — the overthrowing of Western, especially Judeo-Christian and capitalist, values.
Mr. Prager wrote three responses to why he has led the fight to keep the cross on the Los Angeles County Seal. This is what he wrote:
First, I fear those who rewrite history.
As I noted in a previous column on this subject, when I was a graduate student at Columbia University’s Russian Institute, I learned that a major characteristic of totalitarian regimes is their rewriting of history. As a famous Soviet dissident joke put it: “In the Soviet Union, the future is known; it’s the past which is always changing.” Given the relationship between changing the past and totalitarianism, those who love liberty ought to be frightened by the ACLU and the Board of Supervisors.
Second, I fear intolerance. And the move to expunge the singular Christian contribution to an American county and city is intolerant to the point of bigotry. No religious Christians, despite their deep opposition to paganism, ever objected to the pagan goddess that is many times larger than the cross. I have found over and over that most Christians who preach faith are more tolerant than most leftists who preach tolerance.
Third, and most important, I fear the removal of the Judeo-Christian foundation of our society. This is the real battle of our time, indeed the civil war of our time. The Left wants America to become secular like Western Europe, not remain the Judeo-Christian country it has always been. But unlike the Left, I do not admire France and Belgium and Sweden. And that is what the battle over the seal of America’s most populous county is ultimately about. It is not about separation of church and state. It is about separation of a county from its history. And it is about separation of America from its moral foundations.
M.J. Rosenberg, you best remember that it was Christians who allowed Jews to freely be Jews in this country, and it was Christians who voted overwhelmingly to authorize the statehood of Israel in 1948 and it is Christians in this country today who overwhelmingly support Israel against her barbaric enemies.
M.J. Rosenberg does not speak for me when he writes about Dennis Prager. M.J. Rosenberg, I do hope that our own internal culture war will sort itself out, but it won’t when epithets of abuse such as racist, Jew-traitor, “Uncle-Jake”, etc. are used to silence reasoned men who love and defend Israel.