Why the Torah Isn’t a Law Book

The Pentateuch contains hundreds of laws, which today still govern the lives of Jews around the world. Nonetheless, explains Jeremiah Unterman, comparison to the legal codes of the ancient Near East—of which thousands have been uncovered by archaeologists—show various ways in which the Torah is entirely unlike these works. Above all, it is the only one where laws are embedded in narrative. The Torah is also unique in presenting law as something given by God rather than a human ruler; in telling of the law being delivered to the people and regularly read publicly, rather than being the sole domain of royal scribes and officials; and showing concern for the poor. (Interview by Dru Johnson. Audio, 34 minutes.)

Read more at Biblical Mind

More about: Ancient Near East, Jewish law, Torah

Using the Power of the Law to Fight Anti-Semitism

Examining carefully the problem of anti-Semitism, and sympathy with jihadists, at American universities, Danielle Pletka addresses the very difficult problem of what can be done about it. Pletka avoids such simplistic answers as calling for more education and turns instead to a more promising tool: law. The complex networks of organizations funding and helping to organize campus protests are often connected to malicious states like Qatar, and to U.S.-designated terrorist groups. Thus, without broaching complex questions of freedom of speech, state and federal governments already have ample justifications to crack down. Pletka also suggests various ways existing legal frameworks can be strengthened.

And that’s not all:

What is Congress’s ultimate leverage? Federal funding. Institutions of higher education in the United States will receive north of $200 billion from the federal government in 2024.

[In addition], it is critical to understand that foreign funders have been allowed, more or less, to turn U.S. institutions of higher education into political fiefdoms, with their leaders and faculty serving as spokesmen for foreign interests. Under U.S. law currently, those who enter into contracts or receive funding to advocate for the interest of a foreign government are required to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement is embedded in a criminal statute, and a violation risks jail time. There is no reason compliance by American educational institutions with disclosure laws should not be subject to similar criminal penalties.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American law, Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus