What Made Western Civilization Great Can Also Save It

Surveying the current state of affairs in American and British politics, as well as the problems facing the West more generally, Daniel Johnson diagnoses a civilizational crisis, of which anti-Semitism is a symptom and neglect of the moral principles of the Hebrew Bible is a cause:

[Currently], neither the right nor the left is doing a good job of defending, representing, or embodying the values of our civilization. Those values come into play if, for example, the state treats human beings merely as a means rather than an end, or if executive authority is elevated above the law, or if the rights of conscience are subordinated to the sensibilities of groups or the imperatives of society. . . .

Our politics would still be recognizable to citizens of the Greco-Roman polis; we have not improved on the Enlightenment’s injunction to be ready to make the supreme sacrifice for the sake of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, just as we still divine the moral law encoded in our hearts and enshrined in the Hebrew Bible. The story of the West is the exegesis of that incomparable, inexhaustible diamond mine of the intellect. . . .

Only those who know what it is to live in exile, under the yoke of servitude, can teach others what tyranny is and what is needed to overcome it. May the leaders of the West, whether they hail from right or left, reach deep into our collective memory, resurrecting and drawing on the bitter experience of an exiled nation. In Psalm 137, perhaps the most memorable of all, the Psalmist sings: . . . “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem: let my right hand forget her cunning.” If we were to forget the origins of the West in [the] great city of God, our right hands, too, would forget their cunning—the conservative cause would be lost and the machinery of capitalism would grind to a halt. Our harps, too, would fall silent, as the cultural achievements of the centuries lose their meaning. If the Bible is the testament of the human race, the Jewish people are the living embodiment of that collective memory. The West’s commitment to Israel’s existence is, or should be, a matter of self-interested survival: we stand or fall together.

Read more at Standpoint

More about: Anti-Semitism, Hebrew Bible, History & Ideas, U.S. Presidential election, United Kingdom, Western civilization


Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security