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

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.)


Read more at Good Faith Effort

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

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria