Why Moral Persons Should Hate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Oct. 31 2019

While the Torah contains a commandment to “love your neighbor,” it has no equivalent of Jesus’ call to “love your enemies.” This difference, writes Ari Lamm, creates a very different Jewish answer to the question of whether it is moral to celebrate the recent demise of the head of Islamic State. Citing a sermon given by his grandfather, Rabbi Norman Lamm, in 1973, he clarifies Jewish position:

First, there are some ideas, movements, or even people who are so profoundly, unusually evil that hatred is not only justified but required. All decent people should feel hatred for a Haman, or a Hitler, and no contextualizing or relativizing will exempt us from this basic requirement. There is nothing that we can learn about Stalin’s background, or Pol Pot’s childhood, that can earn them our love and forgiveness.

By the same token, Jewish tradition has also understood hatred’s wildly destructive potential. It has thus sought deliberately to circumscribe it as much as possible, reserving it only for those singularly evil individuals who unquestionably deserve it. As [the elder] Lamm concluded, “We must live our lives so that the commandment of hatred becomes the most difficult of all to observe. And by restricting our hatred to evil and those who personify it . . . we shall learn to act lovingly to all God’s creatures.”

So, may we hate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? . . . [N]ot only may we; we must. In [Lamm’s] words, “monsters who seek sadistically to wipe out whole populations—such people remain deserving, on purely moral grounds, of actual contempt and hatred.”

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Christianity, ISIS, Judaism, Norman Lamm

The UN’s New Blacklist of Israeli Businesses Threatens Palestinians Most of All

Feb. 18 2020

Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council publicized a database of 112 companies—94 of which are based in Israel—that do business in “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory [sic], including East Jerusalem.” This list, three years in the making, evidently serves as a guide for those wishing, or promoting, a boycott of the Jewish state. As Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik explain in a detailed report, such a boycott would above all hurt Palestinians:

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Read more at Palestinian Media Watch

More about: BDS, Palestinian economy, UNHRC