International law is not a suicide pact. Israel's distinctly measured use of force against terrorist bases in Lebanon is entirely consistent with international law. Although some would mistakenly contend that Israel's essential actions express "aggression," the incontestable right of individual self-defense is plainly codified in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Indeed, by persistently allowing its territory to be used as a base of terrorist operations against Israel, it is Lebanon that is in flagrant violation of the charter.
"Just like Hitler fought the Jews, we are a great Islamic nation of jihad, and we too should fight the Jews and burn them." - Hisham Shamas, political science student, at a symposium hosted by Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV at Lebanon's largest and only government-run university, Université Libanaise, November 29, 2005.
I hate making this call about my Orthodox Jewish brother Joe Lieberman, but he almost certainly will lose next week's Connecticut Democratic Senate primary. He will be defeated, as predicted by the polls and pundits, primarily because of his support for the Iraq war and his refusal to join in the demonization of George W. Bush.
The news that I, along with Rabbi Avi Weiss (Rav Avi), would be embarking to the north of Israel on a mission of solidarity and unity was met by many friends and colleagues with a myriad of responses. Many were supportive of the mission, all were apprehensive about the dangers, and yet some were cynical about our motives and chances of success.
The Washington Post's Richard Cohen, in a July 18 op-ed on the current fighting between Israel and Hizbullah ("Hunkering Down With History"), declared that Israel's creation was a "mistake." He based this judgment of Israel on its Arab Muslim neighbors' opposition to its existence.
Media coverage of the fighting between Israel and Hizbullah has gone largely as expected – CNN, The New York Times and other liberal outlets see events largely through a prism of Lebanese civilian casualties, while Fox News, the New York Sun and other conservative organs present a broader picture of Hizbullah provocations and the suffering of civilians on both sides.
Every Jew is familiar with Deuteronomy 30:19: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants may live." This Torah obligation is binding not only upon individuals, but also upon states - especially the always imperiled State of Israel.
Northern Israel is a vacationer's paradise. From hiking trails to walk on, to rivers to swim in, to luxury hotels to bask in, to mystical sites to seek inspiration from, it has something for everyone. This is why, when last week I took my first vacation in four years, I made my way to the North.
The fires that consumed the First Temple on the Ninth of Av continued to burn until the middle of the following day. The Talmudic sage Rabbi Yochanan stated, "Had I been alive in that generation, I would have fixed [the day of mourning] for the Tenth [of Av] because the greater part of the Temple was burnt on that day."
Next week the Monitor will examine aspects of the media coverage of Israel’s war on Hizbullah. This week, we take a stroll down memory lane, revisiting an early Monitor column from October 1998 (yes, the Monitor’s been around for nearly eight years now). The piece was titled “The Times Reverts To Old Hab-its,” and its conclusions should be kept in mind as one reads the paper’s editorials on the current fighting:
For the president of Iran, threats to annihilate Israel are now a daily ritual. Were it not for his country's complementary capacity to inflict genuinely existential harms, these threats would not be worrisome. But Iran's capacity to become fully nuclear is now more imminent than had ever been recognized by our own intelligence communities. It follows that a persistent refrain of genocidal intent issuing from Tehran must now be taken with utmost seriousness in Jerusalem.