The Latest Secularist Best-Seller Attacks Not Just Religion, but Human Rights and Human Equality

June 25 2020

Published in Hebrew in 2011, and in English three years later, Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens—which attempts to tell the history of mankind in a mere 400 pages—has earned numerous plaudits, and gotten its once-obscure author invited to Davos and to meetings with Mark Zuckerberg, and even a television deal. To Mark Leib, many of the book’s arguments are indeed “eloquent and informative,” even “ingenious.” But few reviewers seem to have noticed its assault—made quite explicitly—on the values of the Declaration of Independence:

Throughout the book, Harari propagates a philosophy that is nihilistic to the core, disparaging every major religion, every claim of human rights, even the existence of meaningful altruism. The philosophy of Sapiens is so contemptuous of Western values that the reader is left with a stark choice: to be shocked or seduced. Which makes Harari’s adoption by readers in the millions worrisome.

[I]f, as Harari believes, . . . there’s no Higher Being to choose between Thomas Jefferson and Hammurabi, we have to admit that human rights are up for grabs, like fashion, cuisine, and television miniseries. The laws that protect individuals from false arrest, torture, and political murder are just someone’s fallible opinion.

Perhaps the response to Harari’s book is a kind of bellwether. Maybe the doubt, the disbelief, the void is more widespread than anyone dared think. With 12 million copies sold and the author lionized, what’s a reviewer who believes in the Torah and who reveres the Declaration of Independence to feel? In a word: grief.

Harari, born and raised in the Holy Land of Israel, thinks that God and God-given rights are a fiction. It’s true that his positions aren’t shared everywhere and that belief in divinely given rights can claim a certain momentum after three-and-a-half millennia. But as the familiar metaphor reminds us, cut flowers can retain their vigor for only so long. Sooner or later, a generation that has lost all faith in the God of the Torah will think that human rights are just one arguable opinion among others. And if that occurs, there’s no end to the possible damage.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Charles Darwin, Declaration of Independence, Human Rights, Judaism, Nihilism, Religion

 

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank