Esor Ben-Sorek

An Appeal to North American Readers

In 1887, two men, Mr. Sears and Mr. Roebuck, opened a small shop in Chicago, Illinois. In 1895, Julius Rosenwald became a partner in what was then a company called Sears & Roebuck. Mr. Rosenwald was an observant Orthodox Jew and one of America’s leaders in the development of the Zionist Organization of America. Rosenwald was committed to Theodor Herzl’s dream of a Jewish state in Palestine.

Over the years, Sears & Roebuck (now called Sears) expanded, becoming today the 18th largest retailing company in the United States with 1,503 stores across North America, employing 178,000 employees.

It is one of the most outstanding and loved retail stores in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Guam. Its products are renowned for efficiency and excellency and its Customer Care department is courteous and helpful.

Because of these factors I was shocked and very disturbed to read in today’s edition of the JERUSALEM POST, an article featuring Sears’ newest article for sale. It is a T-shirt whose front bears the following logo: “End the Occupation. Free Palestine”.

Julius Rosenwald would turn over several times in his grave. The great chain of stores which he, as a partner, helped to develop, grow and prosper now offers for sale an item which contradicts his love of Zionism and his everlasting belief in a Jewish state in Palestine.
Regrettably he died in 1932 and did not live to see his dream fulfilled.

It is simply intolerable that one of North America’s leading chain of stores would promote the sale of such an offensive item.
There is no occupation. There is simply a return of the Jewish people to the Jewish nation after an exile of two thousand years. Palestine does not need to be freed. It is free now, in spite of the fact that it has not declared its national statehood, pending on agreements with Israel concerning land and borders.

Arabs living in Israel have a far better life than if they were to live in an Arab country. Recent polls indicate that 64% of Palestinian Arabs interviewed stated that they prefer living in Israel rather than in a future Palestinian state. Here in Israel they have full freedom and rights. If they are citizens they can vote in national elections for the Knesset. If they are not citizens they have the right to vote in their municipal elections.

Arabs are represented in our parliament (Knesset) and they serve as judges in our Supreme Court. Many are Israeli diplomats in consulates and embassies around the world. Our universities and medical schools provide thousands of Arab students with the highest quality of education anywhere in the Middle East.

To produce and to sell an article of clothing which boldly states “End the Occupation. Free Palestine” is highly offensive. The product should be recalled, removed from the shelves, followed by an apology to consumers.

I appeal to Jews living in North America to protest against this Sears product. Boycott the Sears stores if necessary. But please, in the name of fairness, contact Sears on their website: and express your anger and disappointment with this disagreeable product.

We must fulfill the dreams of Julius Rosenwald… a Jewish state for the Jewish people in Palestine (Israel).
It costs nothing to e-mail your protest but if thousands of Jews do it, we may hopefully witness an honest decision by Sears to end the sale of the offensive T-shirts.

As one very wise reader wrote to me: Let us make our own T-shirts with the logo in bold letters…
“Support the British. Endorse the Balfour Declaration and free Israel from Palestinian terror”.

Would Sears agree to sell them? Only Julius Rosenwald could know.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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