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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘justice’

Egyptian Christians Rally to Protest US Policy and Media

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A group of hundreds of Egyptian Christians from around the U.S. held a series of rallies in Washington, DC, on Thursday to protest U.S. policy in Egypt and Western media coverage.

The rallies were organized by an online campaign. One of the group’s organizers, Amro A. Gadd, wrote that the rallies are “intended also to expose the clear bias for the Obama administration and the American media in support of MB (Muslim Brotherhood) and its terrorism ideology,” according to a post on his Facebook page.

The rally began at the White House before marching to the office of the Washington Post, CNN and Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an American Muslim group which the protesters accuse of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We are against the Muslim Brotherhood,” protester Ramez Mossed told the Washington Free Beacon. “He [Obama] supports the Muslim Brotherhood. He has a big hand in Egypt and the mess in Egypt. We’re trying to tell him, ‘Don’t support the terrorists. Please be fair.’”

Meanwhile, a petition started by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a Washington, DC-based public interest Christian law firm, calls on Obama to condition American aid to Egypt on the protection of Christians.

“It’s time to take sides—for religious freedom and against the Muslim Brotherhood. Comply with human rights requirements. American aid must be conditioned on the protection of Christians, and it must be used to oppose our jihadist enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood,” the petition reads.

As of Aug. 22, the petition had garnered roughly 41,000 signatures.

The Parameters Of Justice

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

In Deuteronomy 24, we encounter for the first time the explicit statement of a law of far-reaching significance:

“Parents shall not be put to death for children, nor children put to death for parents; a person shall be put to death only for his own crime” (verse 16).

We have strong historical evidence as to what this law was excluding, namely vicarious punishment, the idea that someone else may be punished for my crime.

For example, in the Middle Assyrian Laws, the rape of a non-betrothed virgin who lives in her father’s house is punished by the ravishing of the rapist’s wife, who also remains thereafter with the father of the victim. Hammurabi decrees that if a man struck a pregnant woman, thereby causing her to miscarry and die, it is the assailant’s daughter who is put to death. If a builder erected a house that collapsed, killing the owner’s son, then the builder’s son, not the builder, is put to death (Nahum Sarna, Exploring Exodus, p. 176).

We also have inner-biblical evidence of how the Mosaic Law was applied. Joash, one of the righteous kings of Judah, attempted to stamp out corruption among the priests, and was assassinated by two of his officials. He was succeeded by his son Amaziah, about whom we read the following:

“After the kingdom was firmly in his grasp, he [Amaziah] executed the officials who had murdered his father the king. Yet he did not put the sons of the assassins to death, in accordance with what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses where the Lord commanded: ‘Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins’ ” (2 Kings: 14:5-6).

The obvious question, however, is this: how is this principle compatible with the idea, enunciated four times in the Mosaic books, that children may suffer for the sins of their parents? “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7 – see also 20:5; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:8).

The short answer is simple: It is the difference between human justice and Divine justice. We are not God. We can neither look into the hearts of wrongdoers nor assess the full consequences of their deeds. It is not given to us to execute perfect justice, matching the evil a person suffers to the evil he causes. We would not even know where to begin. How do you punish a dictator responsible for the deaths of millions of people? How do you weigh the full extent of a devastating injury caused by drunken driving, where not only the victim but also his entire family is affected for the rest of their lives? How do we assess the degree of culpability of, say, those Germans who knew what was happening during the Holocaust but did or said nothing? Moral guilt is a far more difficult concept to apply than legal guilt.

Human justice must work within the parameters of human understanding and regulation. Hence the straightforward rule: no vicarious punishment. Only the wrongdoer is to suffer, and only after his guilt has been established by fair and impartial judicial procedures. That is the foundational principle set out, for the first time in Deuteronomy 24:16.

However, the issue did not end there. In two later prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, we find an explicit renunciation of the idea that children might suffer for the sins of their parents, even when applied to Divine justice. Here is Jeremiah, speaking in the name of God:

“In those days people will no longer say, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes – his own teeth will be set on edge” (Jeremiah 31:29-30).

And this, Ezekiel:

The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: ‘The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son. Both alike belong to me. The soul that sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:1-3).

Bibi’s Choice

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

News item:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. law enforcement officials expressed outrage over the release from prison of Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero and vowed to continue efforts to bring to justice the man who ordered the killing of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

Caro Quintero was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 1985 kidnapping and killing of DEA agent Enrique Camarena but a Mexican federal court ordered his release this week saying he had been improperly tried in a federal court for state crimes. …

The Association of Former Federal Narcotics Agents in the United States said it was “outraged” by Caro Quintero’s early release and blamed corruption within Mexico’s justice system.

“The release of this violent butcher is but another example of how good faith efforts by the U.S. to work with the Mexican government can be frustrated by those powerful dark forces that work in the shadows of the Mexican ‘justice’ system,” the organization said in a statement.

So imagine how they would react if 104 “violent butcher(s)” were released from prison as a result of improper influence on the justice system, particularly if that influence came from a foreign power! This describes the prisoner release that Israel’s leaders have been coerced into accepting as the price for beginning talks with the PLO.

There isn’t justice in nature. Sometimes evil people do terrible things and escape punishment, even thrive. This brute fact has prompted countless pages of philosophical and theological discourse. But one thing that is not in doubt is that it is one of the functions of civilization to try to bring some order out of this moral chaos by imposing justice.

Hence one of the seven Noachide laws — one of the moral principles that Judaism recognizes as a requirement for any civilized nation, Jewish or not — is to establish courts of law. Subverting justice, then, is one of the worst crimes a person can commit.

PM Netanyahu fell into a trap set for him by Barack Obama, perhaps payback for the humiliation Obama suffered in May 2011, when Bibi dared to publicly instruct the ‘leader of the free world’ about “Middle East reality.”

Now Obama has handed him a “Sophie’s choice,” a moral dilemma in which both forks are horrible. Should he release the prisoners, cause immense pain to the families of their victims, damage Israel’s honor and deterrence, and subvert the legal system that condemned them (and by the way, destroy his own reputation and political career)? Or should he tell Obama to go to hell and expose Israel to whatever consequences were threatened?

Bibi has made his choice. History will judge him.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Temple Mount Closure And EU Boycott

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

On Tisha B’Av Prime Minister Netanyahu dramatically declared that Israel would not allow foreigners to interfere with our borders. This may have sounded like good news to local ears, but on the very same day the prime minister contradicted his own policy.

On the morning of Tisha B’Av, hundreds of Jews, among them three Knesset members, attempted to enter the Temple Mount – but were denied access. The next day Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin made a second attempt to enter the Mount but was turned away. When MK Yariv Levin asked about this fiasco in the Knesset plenum, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich answered, as usual, that there is no policy change regarding the Mount and that anyone who wishes to enter can do so. He said that Jewish visitors enter the Mount every day with no problem and that the closure of the Mount to visitors (including Knesset members) was the security decision of the local commander.

Aharonovich knowingly lied to the Knesset. Everyone involved with the Temple Mount issue knows that since Netanyahu acquiesced to the demands of the Muslim wakf and denied me access to the Temple Mount, police control of the holy site has rapidly deteriorated. The Temple Mount has become a staging ground for a vicious struggle, with cries of “kill the Jews!” becoming routine there. Jews are consistently distanced from the Mount and Israel’s police project unprecedented spinelessness, fear and defeatism in the face of the burgeoning brazenness of the Muslim wakf.

Israeli police have all the means at their disposal – if they choose to use it – to disperse the Arab rioters within minutes and to make it possible for the Jews to visit their holiest site. But, as it is wont to do, Israel’s police adopted the role of security fig leaf for the prime minister, who is giving the holy Mount’s sovereignty to Jordan and the Muslim wakf – while talking mightily about not allowing foreigners to interfere in Israel’s sovereignty.

Aharonovich claimed that the Mount was closed, due to security considerations, as per the decision of the local commander. But there is a truly reliable side to this story contrary to his version of events. Here is the relevant part of the Jordan News Agency’s July 16 report from Ramallah:

Israeli Police Prevent Jewish Extremists From Entering Al-Aqsa Compound Due To Demand By Jordan

Following the pressure exerted by [the] Jordanian government on the Israeli authorities, the Israeli police on Tuesday closed the Mughrabi Gate, one of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s doors, and prevented Jewish extremists from entering it.

Director of the Islamic Waqf in occupied Jerusalem, Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, told Petra [News] that the Israeli police closed the gate and prevented extremists and foreign tourists from entering Al-Aqsa compound today, “the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple,” after Jordanian pressure and intervention by the Department of Islamic Waqf and [the] Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv, Walid Obeidat.

He confirmed that the ban came as a result of the intensive communications undertaken by Jordan to prevent the desecration of Al-Aqsa during the holy month of Ramadan. Al-Khatib praised the vital Jordanian role in protecting Jerusalem and the holy sites.

This report, verified by additional sources, is nothing new. The prime minister has used the police, the attorney general’s office and the courts before in his quest to implement a political decision when wanting to cede sovereignty on the Temple Mount to the Muslims. And he’s done this without the Knesset’s authorization. This is how issues surrounding the Temple Mount have been disposed of since it was liberated. Netanyahu has simply expanded the practice.

The capitulation on the Temple Mount leads to the construction halt in Jerusalem. In other words, the organs close to the heart become infected with the same illness: the loss of sovereignty syndrome. In this manner, our existential legitimacy in the entire land is crumbling before our eyes.

What do we expect of the European Union? After all, for 46 years we have been saying that the land of Israel is theirs – not ours. We hurried to give the heart of Jerusalem and the nation, the Temple Mount, to the Muslim wakf. We refused to declare Israel’s sovereignty in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. We recognized another, conveniently invented “nation” as indigenous to the land, recognized its terrorist liberation movement, and armed it with Israeli weapons. We vowed to retreat so as to enable the establishment of a state for this make-believe “nation” in the heart of biblical Israel. We expelled and destroyed entire Jewish communities. We committed ourselves to the two-state principle.

But over the past 20 years not one of our leaders, at any level, has said that this is our land – no ifs, ands, or buts. This straightforward phrase simply does not exist in the lexicon of Israel’s political and military leadership.

So why are we surprised that the Europeans are tired of this entire subject? It took them 46 years to be convinced that we are serious that this really is not our land, that we are nothing more than foreign conquerors in Palestine. Perhaps the Arabs are not nice, they think, but they are very, very right on this issue. After all, Israel’s political Left and Right have both bowed to their claims and recognized the justice of their cause. Yitzhak Rabin shook the hand of their murderous leader, while Netanyahu hugged him with both his hands. So what can we expect: that after we have admitted that we are the problem, the Europeans will allow us to continue to threaten world peace?

We no longer have anywhere to run from the scales of justice. When you do not put your weight on one side of the scale, the other side is heavier. You can be prettier, nicer, more European – and even a peace seeker. But if you have abandoned your side of the scale, the other side will always win.

We lost the justice of our cause when we gave the Temple Mount to the Muslims. The only way to restore our justice is to remove the Muslim wakf from the Mount and to empower our holiest site as the center of holiness and exclusive sovereignty of Israel.

Enough with ‘Bibi’

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

What we call people matters.

After making aliya in November 2009, one of the first news articles I recall reading was a Jerusalem Post report titled “90 Fatah terrorists ‘pardoned’ to bolster Abbas.” The prime minister then was Binyamin Netanyahu, who went on to further incentivize terrorism with the Shalit deal.

On the latest 104 terrorists to be freed by Netanyahu, I have seen some shocked reactions along the lines of “This isn’t the man we elected.” Seriously? This would be like a tennis fan in the 1980s acting surprised to see Stefan Edberg go to the net or John McEnroe throw a tantrum.

The vileness of Netanyahu’s latest action was matched only by its predictability. There’s a point where being clueless becomes obnoxious, particularly when it results in nationally suicidal electoral behavior.

Some bloggers who have condemned the terrorist releases display a different problematic habit. Here are three examples:

  • “Bibi is making a mockery of our justice system.”
  • “Nothing exemplifies Israel’s looming civic disaster quite like Bibi’s recent announcement to free terrorists.”
  • “Shame on you Bibi Netanyahu. Shame on you for your fecklessness and lack of courage and backbone.”

I agree with all of the above, but the informal reference to Netanyahu undermines the writers’ intention. When you call someone by a nickname, how offensive and damaging can his acts really be?

By contrast, this informality doesn’t appear in Frimet Roth’s assessment of the latest releases. I don’t think that is coincidental. A mother doesn’t tend to call the man who freed the murderer of her child “Bibi.”

Years ago I wrote extensively about human rights abuses and anti-Semitism in Cuba, my work being cited by people including a National Book Award winner and a multi-Grammy Award winner. The apologists for Cuba’s despotic regime often refer to Fidel Castro by his first name. Several opponents of the regime have done likewise, unwittingly perpetuating the sympathetic attitudes they seek to reduce.

Like Cuba, Israel is a small country with an informal culture, and over time nicknames in Israel have become widespread—thus for example “Bogie” Ya’alon, “Buji” Herzog, “Arik” Sharon, and the prime minister. This implies endearing social warmth on the one hand, but excessive informality can also beget coarseness and cloud moral clarity—like using a man’s nickname in the context of him freeing our brothers and sisters’ murderers.

The man who expelled 8,600 Jews from Gush Katif and empowered Hamas is no Arik to me.

The man who tramples on justice and tells the world that Jewish blood is cheap is no Bibi to me.

The next time you’re about to call the prime minister by his nickname, consider the bereaved families whose pain he has increased. Consider how you would feel if you were one of them. Does “Bibi” still seem appropriate?

In Hebrew: ‘Justice’

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

צֶדֶק After yesterday’s fatal attack, one of the things on people’s minds in this part of the world is justiceצֶדֶק.

Here’s an example of צדק used in the context of a different series of events, from the summer of 2011:

הָעַם דּוֹרֵשׁ צֶדֶק חֶבְרָתִי! The people demand social justice! This three-letter word forms the root for other words such as the active-causative הִפְעִיל verb, לְהַצְדִיק- to justify, the word for righteous personצַדִּיק in the masculine and צַדִּיקָהin the feminine – and the Hebrew equivalent for charityצְדָקָה (in Biblical Hebrewצדקה means righteousness), among others.

It’s also part of the name of an upscale neighborhood in Tel Aviv, נְוֵה צֶדֶק- literally, abode or home of justice. צדק is also the Hebrew name for the planet Jupiter.

Visit Ktzat Ivrit.

Take Off the Kid Gloves: Time for the Death Penalty for Terrorists

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

In theory there already is the death penalty in Israeli Law.

In Israelcapital punishment is currently allowed only during wartime and only for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, treason, and crimes against the Jewish People. (Wikipedia)

It just has been used once, when the Nazi Adolf Eichmann was executed.

Israel and its citizens are under attack by Arab terrorists and their foreign supporters and ideologues.  Their aim is the murder of Jews and the destruction of the State of Israel.  That certainly fits the law’s criteria.

This may be a dumb questions, but: Why aren’t convicted Arab terrorists executed? What’s the Teflon?

The Palestine Media Watch is an excellent source of information about what tour enemies do, believe and aim. Listen to the Arab leaders whom the world and too many Israelis claim is our “peace sic partner” admitting how he sent terrorists into Israel:

The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a very dangerous man.  There’s no way we in Israel can have a true peace with him.  And even if he really wanted and was willing and ready, his cronies aren’t.  The Arabs support the terrorist’s and if they don’t, they’re afraid to admit it.  There isn’t enough power in the Arab “peace camp” at this point in time.

At present, ordinary Arabs fear the terrorists more than they fear Israel. Terrorists execute their opposition, while we Israelis coddle convicted terrorists in our jails. They get food, clothes, medical care, visits from family, opportunities for education and always a chance to be released in exchange for captured Israelis.

If the Israeli Government and Judicial System would start executing all terrorists convicted of murder and attempted murder of Jews, then there would be less terrorism.  And with time, the terrorists would have less power over ordinary Arabs.  With time and I’m talking decades, not days or months,  we’d find ourselves living with peaceful Arabs who wouldn’t be afraid to say they want to  live under Israeli rule, because Israel is a more just society than the Arab countries.

True justice requires punishing the criminals for the crimes and not rewarding them.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Jewish Destiny Or Iron Dome?

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

After the Pillar of Defense cease-fire, many now understand what we understood after the Zo Artzeinu demonstrations: The Israeli crisis is not on the continuum between Right and Left. It is on the continuum between Israelis and their Jewish identity.

We knew exactly where the Oslo Accords would lead. The huge amount of people who answered Zo Artzeinu’s calls and blocked traffic throughout the entire country understood the reality. Ultimately, we succeeded – against all odds – in electing the Right to rule. But Zo Artzeinu refused to “cash in” politically on the tremendous public credit that it had accrued. We understood that the Right also had no solution and that it was also incapable of getting off the Oslo track.

Many are angry with Prime Minister Netanyahu for signing the cease-fire. But Netanyahu’s predicament is a precise reflection of post-Oslo Israeli society. If Netanyahu had ordered a ground invasion of Gaza, soldiers would have been killed. After a short period of time he would have pulled the troops out of Gaza without significant achievements. After all, he had no intention of remaining. The retreat after many more fatalities would have ignited much more virulent criticism.

To remain in Gaza, we must first renounce the very essence of the idea of partitioning the land of Israel. We have to internalize that this is exclusively our land. We must, on a national scale, return to the land of Israel and to our Jewish identity. We must beg for the forgiveness of the Jews expelled from Gush Katif and rebuild their towns and villages with the forces that destroyed them – and bring them back to their rightful place with an honor guard.

We must vote with our feet, declaring to all that this is our land and proving to our enemies that this is not their land. Most important is that we must expel the Muslim waqf from the Temple Mount and restore exclusive Israeli sovereignty over the Mount – Judaism’s holiest site. We must encourage Jews to ascend the Temple Mount after the proper halachic preparations and to actualize their sovereignty over the beating heart of the Jewish nation.

If we do not take all these measures, there really is no reason to endanger our soldiers just so they can go into Gaza and retreat again. Every round of this type of fighting only proves the enemy’s claim that we are colonialist conquerors and not liberators of our own land. Security and pragmatic claims don’t convince the world anymore. The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial no longer does the work for us. It can’t be a replacement for the true justice of our cause. Just a short time after a hypothetical ground invasion of Gaza, international public opinion would come down squarely on the side that talks about justice – the very justice that we, with the cursed Oslo handshake, deposited into the hands of Yasir Arafat.

Is Israeli society ready for this type of return, the return to being ourselves?

Netanyahu expresses the dichotomy in Israeli society between the “Israeli” who wants to escape to “normalcy” by disengaging from the land of Israel and the “Jew” who wants to connect to his identity and national destiny – expressed by loyalty to the land of Israel.

Many will now try to escape this complex reality by voting for the rightist parties. If they are too successful, the result will be that the next government coalition will not be formed by Netanyahu and his allies, but instead by Shelly Yachimovich, Yair Lapid and Aryeh Deri. The political situation in Israel is also part of the same dichotomy. It expresses the same dead-end mentality – Oslo – that brought about the defeat.

The Israelis want the best of both worlds: security and normalcy. But it has become quite clear that it is specifically the mental servitude to Oslo, the flight from destiny to the enslavement to normalcy and pragmatism that has so severely compromised Israel’s security.

It turns out that it is actually the “delusional extremists,” the “propellers” (as Yitzhak Rabin derisively called those who opposed Oslo) who are the most realistic of all. It turns out that the choice that the Israelis are being forced to make is not between living under a bareheaded secularism or a kippah of observance. Their choice is between their Jewish destiny and living under an Iron Dome.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/jewish-destiny-or-iron-dome/2012/11/29/

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