King Ahab’s Biblical Kangaroo Court

Dec. 16 2016

In the book of Kings, the Israelite monarch Ahab, egged on and assisted by his wife Jezebel, has a man named Naboth tried and executed on trumped-up charges so that Ahab can then inherit his vineyard. As Shalom Holtz notes, the trial, although clearly a sham, follows several procedures of biblical justice:

Jezebel convenes the “elders and nobles” before whom Naboth is to be denounced and Naboth’s accusers testify against him “in the presence of the people” [in keeping with court proceedings described in Numbers and Deuteronomy]. . . .

For an accusation to stick, it must not only be made in a proper venue; it must also follow the proper procedure. To this end, Jezebel specifies that there be two witnesses, not just one, to accuse Naboth. This brings the process into line with biblical laws that explicitly prohibit punishment on the basis of just one accuser’s word. By requiring corroborating testimony, these laws guard against false accusations and a rush to punishment. Thus, Naboth’s two false accusers subvert these laws’ very purpose. . . .

By convicting Naboth in a kangaroo court before his execution, Ahab and Jezebel attempt to launder their corruption in the machinery of justice. Their accusation is rooted in law, but so is the punishment God [eventually] metes out to them. False accusation, according to the Bible and other ancient legal sources, entailed “do to the false witness just as the false witness had meant to do to the other.” Moreover, abuse of royal power, in the Bible and elsewhere, was subject to punishment directly from God, the ultimate judge.

Read more at Bible Odyssey

More about: Ahab, Ancient Israel, Hebrew Bible, Jewish law, Religion & Holidays

Israel Has Survived Eight Years of Barack Obama’s False Friendship

Jan. 20 2017

In his speech justifying America’s decision to allow passage of the UN Security Council resolution declaring it a violation of international law for Jews to live in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Golan Heights, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “friends need to tell each other the hard truths.” John Podhoretz comments:

The decision in December by President Obama to abstain on the UN Security Council vote . . . marked the moment he crossed the finish line in the course he had charted from 2008 onward. The turn against Israel was complete. And, as he had when he began it, in farewell interview after farewell interview he characterized his assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish presence in the Holy Land as an act of tough love. . . .

Which raises the key question: why [only] abstain [from the resolution]? If “hard truths” define friendship, then by all means they should have made the truths as hard as possible. If Barack Obama and John Kerry truly believe the Jewish presence in east Jerusalem is illicit, then they should have voted for the resolution. Instead, they took the coward’s way out. They opened the vault to the criminals and placed the jewels in their hands while wearing white gloves so there would be no residual trace of their fingerprints. The abstention was in some weird sense the mark of their bad conscience. They wanted something to happen while maintaining some historical deniability about their involvement in it.

In the eight years of the Obama presidency, war broke out twice between the Palestinians and the Israelis and nearly broke out a third time. In each case, the issue was not the West Bank, or east Jerusalem, or anything near. . . . The idea that the settlements and the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem are the main barrier to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was proved to be a lie right before Obama’s eyes in 2009, and 2012, and 2014. And he didn’t care to see it, because he is blinded by an antipathy he wishes to ascribe to Israeli action when honesty would compel him to find it in his own misguided leftist ideology—or within his own soul.

Israel has survived the horrendous blessing of Barack Obama’s false friendship.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Barack Obama, Israel & Zionism, John Kerry, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations