The British Christian Political Theorist Who Found the Answers in the Talmud

June 20 2022

In 1628, the English lawyer, scholar, and parliamentarian John Selden found himself confined to the Tower of London, and allowed access to only one book. He requested a copy of the Babylonian Talmud, knowing that its many volumes could keep him occupied for a lifetime. A man of immense erudition who had mastered Hebrew and Aramaic, despite likely having never met a Jew in his life, Selden henceforth dedicated most of his spare hours to studying this text. As the historian Ofir Haivry explains in conversation with Ari Lamm, he found therein the basis for a political and legal philosophy that could reconcile tradition with reason and universalism with particularism. (Audio, 59 minutes.)


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More about: Britain, Christian Hebraists, John Selden, Political philosophy, Talmud

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy