How to Read the Bible Politically

Aug. 30 2019

While the Hebrew Bible can’t tell you whom to vote for, argues Joshua Berman, much of it can and should be understood as addressing political questions, as it is a work deeply—perhaps primarily—concerned with national and civic life. For instance, the book of Exodus depicts the people of Israel as descended entirely from slaves; it also reports every man, woman, and child hearing the word of God at Sinai. Berman sees these two teachings as the foundation for the Western idea of equality, in which no person can claim a superior bloodline or a monopoly on a connection with the divine. He also explains how the book of Joshua teaches that “it takes a village to make a sinner.” (Interview by Dru Johnson. Audio, 22 minutes.)

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Read more at Center for Hebraic Thought

More about: Exodus, Hebrew Bible, Joshua, Religion & Politics

The Palestinian Prime Minister Rails against Peace at the Council of Foreign Relations

On November 17, the Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, appeared at the Council on Foreign Relations, America’s most prestigious and influential foreign-policy institution. While there, Shtayyeh took the opportunity to lambast Arab states for making peace with Israel. Dore Gold comments:

[Perhaps Shtayyeh] would prefer that Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates declare the end of their conflicts with Israel only after all Palestinian political demands are met; however, he refused to recognize that Arab states have a right to defend their vital interests.

Since 1948, they had suspended these rights for the sake of the Palestinian cause. What Shtayyeh ultimately wants is for the Palestinians to continue to hold their past veto power over the Arab world. Essentially, he wants the Arabs to be [like the] Iranians, who supply Palestinian organizations like Hamas with weapons and money while taking the most extreme positions against peace. What the Arabs have begun to say this year is that this option is no longer on the table.

Frankly, the cracks in the Palestinian veto of peace that appeared in 2020 are undeniable. Shtayyeh is unprepared to answer why. The story of that split began with the fact that the response of the Palestinian leadership to every proposal for peace since the 2000 Camp David Summit with President Clinton has been a loud but consistent “No.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian Authority, U.S. Foreign policy