Joel Rosenberg

Joel Rosenberg  is one of the most committed evangelical Christian supporters of Israel, and a man of fierce intelligence. I conducted a phone interview with Rosenberg to talk about his politics and how it relates to his understanding of biblical prophecy.

Rosenberg was raised in upstate New York by parents who became born-again Christians. He has had a twenty-year career in media and politics, having worked for Rush Limbaugh and the presidential campaign of Steve Forbes, and serving as advisor to both Natan Sharansky and Bibi Netanyahu. Rosenberg joked that he gave up on the career of a political consultant to become an author, in part due to his losing record in campaigns. Of course, routinely backing losers never stopped some consultants -- such as Bob Shrum, now 0-8 in presidential campaigns -- or Cubs fans.

Rosenberg has written five novels relating to terrorism, and in some of them he has depicted events that actually occurred after he wrote them (kamikaze plane attacks on American cities before 9/11, the discovery of huge amounts of oil and natural gas off the coast of Israel, a war between America and Saddam's Iraq, an Iranian leader vowing to wipe Israel off the map, Turkey abandoning  its  20th-century alliances and becoming a foe of the West). 

Rosenberg says that he studies politics and international affairs, and he does not claim that his forecasts reflect any specific personal  prophetic powers. However, as a very knowledgeable student of the Bible, Rosen has found links between certain Biblical prophecies and international events. In particular he pointed to Ezekiel 38-39 and the story of Gog and Magog.

Rosenberg stated that evangelicals are Israel's best friends, and their commitment does not require any quid pro quo. He referred to Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's book, Power, Faith and Fantasy, for the long history of evangelical attachment to a state of Israel. 

Rosenberg's father was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, so his conversion to Christianity was unusual. As Dennis Prager has argued, most Jews who abandon Judaism do not convert to another organized religion, but rather move to nothingness -- and fill the void with an attachment to secular humanism or some other "ism" -- environmentalism, communism, progressivism.

Rosenberg  does not believe that  evangelical  support for Israel is related to an attempt to proselytize Jews. At the same time, he said that evangelicals cannot check "Jesus at the door," since Jesus was so central to their lives, and  they would not want to shut the door to those who might find what Christian believers had found for themselves. Rosenberg said that while very few Jews convert to Christianity, there are many Muslims who became Christian -- a story that is not often told, which in part explains the ferocious response to Christian minorities in some Islamist states.   

Many on the left view right-wing Christians as the real threat to America, rather than radical Islamists or terrorists. The threat posed by evangelicals is not to America, but to the success and political primacy of the left-wing agenda, which many religious Christians oppose. The Christian right has meaningful political power in America, while Islamists do not (though no American president has ever been as committed as Obama to advancing the interests of the Islamic world). 

The Christian right helped elect the hated George W. Bush, so they can be blamed by the left for the Iraq war, limitations on abortion, and any and all other policy initiatives during the Bush years. The left despises organized religion of any form (though they give a  pass to radical Islam so as to combat any label of Islamophobia, because some on the left share with Islamists a hatred of many "Western values," and since the left supports a multiculturalism that is paternalistic about Islam -- we can't judge it by our standards). 

Rosenberg has no qualms about writing or talking about the threat from terrorism or radical Islam, and he has more books on the subject coming. Rosenberg makes an American case for supporting Israel in addition to a biblical one. He sees the concert of Western values, the ties between two liberal democracies, the common threats the two countries face, their strategic alliance, and the shared Judeo-Christian heritage in this country. Barack Obama was the first president to explicitly attempt to break that link in his Inaugural Address, when he referred to America as a nation of Christians, Muslims, Jews, and non-believers. He followed that with attempts in his speeches to Muslim audiences abroad to greatly inflate the Muslim population of the U.S. and overstate Muslim contributions in America. If the president's goal is to separate the U.S. from Israel so as to curry favor with the Muslim world, one way to plant the seeds for that is to attempt to replace Jews with Muslims in the nation's heritage and composition.

Rosenberg and his allies on the Christian right have been in the vanguard of those who see the current  threats to the U.S.-Israel alliance,  the danger of these new policies to Israel's security, and the menace of a nuclear-armed Iran. Rosenberg sees rapidly growing acceptance of evangelical support for Israel by American Jewish Zionists. While some secular Jews mock evangelicals, they also mock observant Jews. As Dennis Prager has argued, there are more links between the observant Christian and Jewish communities than between observant and secular Jews, or observant and secular Christians.

This Christian support for Israel will be on display at the upcoming Christians United for Israel conference, which will be held in Washington, D.C. July 20-22. Rosenberg will be speaking at a conference in Chicago in October.