In Condemnation of Thane Rosenbaum’s Discriminatory Article

Thane Rosenbaum proudly proclaimed that, “Europe now finally has its very own 9/11” in a blog post he wrote on the Times of Israel.  Now, to be honest, Rosenbaum never explicitly implied happiness at what happened in Paris. This he surely would never do. But there was a disturbing implicit undertone to the whole article. In fact, it appeared that Rosenbaum’s euphoria came from a sense that Europeans would finally come around and support the oppression of the Palestinian people out of a common concern shared with the Israelis over terrorism. Some might feel this is an exaggeration, but his article’s title (“We are all Israelis now”) is proof enough.

Furthermore, the article attempts to equate two sets of events which are not related. While stabbing attacks against Israelis and the attacks against people in Paris are both tragedies, they are still two very different types of events. The attacks in Paris were not in the context of any sort of present occupation (although they were in the context of American destabilization of the Middle East with the Iraq war). In contrast, the tragic stabbings of Israelis are happening within the context of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians. This is, of course, not to justify the stabbings but rather to explain their origins. The people who are stabbing Israelis have lost hope for their future. The attackers against the Parisians were never under occupation (in their lifetimes) by the French. Furthermore the attack against the Parisians was far more bloody.

It is absurd to link these two events together whether it be to accuse Israel of being responsible for the attack due to a failure to resolve the conflict or whether it be to justify the occupation due to the attack. These two tragedies are inherently different, something which Rosenbaum in his performance of incompetence fails to understand.

However what is most disturbing about this article is its outright xenophobia and Islamophobia. Hiding behind an intellectual persona, Rosenbaum engages in vile hatred. Rosenbaum complains that ,”Muslims tacitly accept the cult of death that has engulfed the Islamic world.” For one, this is false due to the fact that many Muslim individuals have objected to terrorism and to the Islamic State especially. We have seen the condemnations by CAIR and Muslim organizations. We have seen the valiant efforts by many Muslim individuals to stand up against extremism in their communities and to distance themselves from dangerous nationalists inside of their communities (like I as a Jew hope to be doing in writing this article with relation to Mr. Rosenbaum). It is true that there are problems with radicalization among a minority of  Muslims, but all communities have extremists. It is unfortunate that Mr. Rosenbaum will not acknowledge these efforts.

However (and quite sadly), Rosenbaum’s discriminatory rhetoric regresses from that very sorry point. Rosenbaum was not content to slam Muslims in general so he condemned European Muslims in the particular as well saying (and I believe this to be the most vile component of this vile article), “The Muslims of Europe have shown little interest in being good neighbors or grateful citizens. Some are hoping for regime change, a continental sweeping away of democracies to be replaced by one vast theocracy, the rule of law forsaken in favor of Sharia and its corrosive effect on human freedom and dignity.”

If this sounds like classic anti-Semitic rhetoric to a person then their ears are sadly not deceiving them. Rosenbaum is accusing the Muslims of Europe of not being good citizens and of wanting to push their own agenda for the good of themselves over what is good for all of Europe. In short, he is accusing them of dual loyalty, just as the anti-Semites accused the Jews of having dual loyalty. He is spreading absurd rhetoric about how the Muslims of Europe want to institute Sharia law, while failing to recognize the fact that a large portion of the Muslims of Europe were fleeing this type of extremism in the first place. In this situation, Rosenbaum is in agreement with far-right wing Republicans in this country.

This article is a dangerous incitement to violence. Although never directly mentioning attacking Muslims and probably not wanting that result himself, Rosenbaum nonetheless has done his part in spreading dangerous and discriminatory rhetoric against Muslims. This is the same rhetoric that leads to people attacking Muslims and committing hate crimes against them.

Thane Rosenbaum might appear to be an intellectual and he appears to be well adept at acting like one. But at the end of the day, Rosenbaum is spreading rhetoric similar to that of Ben Carson and Donald Trump but this time in an intellectual tone which easily deceives. But the truth is that Rosenbaum is a dangerous breed of intellectuals. The type who use their mental capabilities for evil. Rosenbaum should not be celebrated inside or outside of the Jewish community as an accomplished individual. Rather we the Jewish community should reject his ideas and isolate him from ourselves. Society as a whole should do the same.

About the Author
Zachary Kolodny is a senior in high school. He lived with his family in Israel for almost a year. His passions include politics and civil rights. He is a liberal Zionist who cares deeply about Israel.