Religion, and Moral Restraints, Are Necessary for Maintaining a Free Society

In the book of Exodus, God makes an explicit decision not to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into Canaan via the short way—that is, what is now the Gaza strip—but instead to take them the long way through the Sinai Peninsula, so that they will enter Canaan from the east bank of the Jordan. This path, noted Yuval Levin a 2014 essay, means the Jews will first have to receive the law in the Sinai wilderness before they can achieve sovereignty in their land. In conversation with Jonathan Silver, Levin explains the lesson for today’s America, whose political system is founded on the oft-forgotten assumption that institutions—and religion not least of all—will safeguard citizens from the temptations of unrestricted liberty. (Audio, 50 minutes.)

Read more at Tikvah

More about: American politics, Decline of religion, Exodus, History & Ideas, liberal democracy, Political philosophy, Religion

Spain’s Anti-Israel Agenda

What interest does Madrid have in the creation of a Palestinian state? Elliott Abrams raised this question a few days ago, when discussing ongoing Spanish efforts to block the transfer of arms to Israel. He points to multiple opinion surveys suggesting that Spain is among Europe’s most anti-Semitic countries:

The point of including that information here is to explain the obvious: Spain’s anti-Israel extremism is not based in fancy international political analyses, but instead reflects both the extreme views of hard-left parties in the governing coalition and a very traditional Spanish anti-Semitism. Spain’s government lacks the moral standing to lecture the state of Israel on how to defend itself against terrorist murderers. Its effort to deprive Israel of the means of defense is deeply immoral. Every effort should be made to prevent these views from further infecting the politics and foreign policy of the European Union and its member states.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Palestinian statehood, Spain