Are There “Democratic” and “Republican” Books of the Bible?

July 18 2017

Senator Marco Rubio (or his staff) is in the habit of tweeting biblical verses on a near-daily basis; lately most of these have come from the book of Proverbs. In response, a Yale Divinity School professor of Hebrew Bible penned an essay explaining that this book of Solomonic aphorisms is “the most Republican part of the Bible” and reflects “an almost social-Darwinist worldview.” Charlotte Allen points out that, in fact, Proverbs is “not all diligence and righteousness—in Proverbs, faith in God, too, will keep you away from things like poverty and failure.” Then she proceeds to have some fun at the professor’s expense:

All of this set me to wondering: if the book of Proverbs is the most Republican book in the Bible, what’s the most Democratic book? So I scoured the Good Book and came up with some candidates: . . .

The book of Ruth: “And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter” (Ruth 2:1-2).

A whole congeries of Democratic party themes here, from grabbing what you can from the rich via sky-high taxes to the welfare state (free food!) to possibly illegal immigration (what is Ruth the Moabitess doing in the land of Israel?).

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More about: Bible, Book of Ruth, Marco Rubio, Proverbs, Religion & Holidays, U.S. Politics

Palestinian Acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State Must Be a Prerequisite to Further Negotiations

Oct. 19 2018

In 1993, in the early days of the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat accepted the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But neither it nor its heir, the Palestinians Authority, has ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Robert Barnidge explains why this distinction matters:

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the [UN] General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab state, the Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem.”

Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution—in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, [the precursor to the Israeli government], also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights—it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. [Instead], the PLO [has been] playing a double game. . . . It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a people, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national liberation movement that it is.

The U.S. government, Barnidge concludes, “should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state” and refuse to “press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.”

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Peace Process, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat