Jews who support the Christian right are "Uncle Jakes."
So says a pro-Israeli Jewish official in his recent column for the Israel Policy Forum, a pro-Israel organization. "Uncle Jake" is M. J. Rosenberg's term for Jewish equivalent of "Uncle Tom." Just as the left sees conservative blacks as traitors to African-Americans, so it sees conservative Jews as traitors to the Jewish people.
I am the "Uncle Jake" most criticized in the Rosenberg column.
That a Jew on the left would use this term to describe Jews who support conservative Christians gives one an idea of how irrational, how hysterical are the arguments of the Jewish (and non-Jewish) left. And lacking a rational basis, they frequently rely on name-calling.
Speaking personally, I have been called many things in my life, but "Jewish traitor" is a first. For the record, and offered with obvious embarrassment at having to list these things about myself, here is a brief review of my Jewish activities:
From 1969 onward I 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.
I have lectured in more Jewish communities in North America -- federations, synagogues of all denominations, Jewish community centers -- than almost any living Jew. And I have 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.
I co-wrote with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin perhaps the most widely used introduction to Judaism in the English language.
I am the recipient of the American Jewish Press Association's 2004 Prize for excellence in Jewish Commentary.
For seven years I was the director of the Jewish retreat center, the Brandeis-Bardin Institute.
I am a founder of a Jewish day school in Southern California.
I am the emcee of the annual Chabad telethon; I've been teaching the Torah at the University of Judaism for 25 years, and teach Torah at my Reform synagogue.
And I have brought tens of thousands of Jews back to Judaism and Jewish identity -- Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox.
How then does a Jewish writer call me, a man whose life has been so committed to the welfare of the Jewish people, a traitor to Jews?