(Biden) Power & Law (Israel at War in Gaza

President Biden delivered a powerful speech outlining support for Israel in this war against the Hamas terror regime in Gaza. The 12 minute speech, which you can read here was unlike anything said by anyone in the current government in Israel. First, because the government in Israel under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the weakest and most ineffectual government in the history of the country. The government under his leadership has led the country into the worse military fiasco suffered by the State in half a century. Second and not incidentally, this government is the most lawless government in the history of the country

The words by Biden were spoken from the heart and rested on values. They were the words of a true friend of the Jewish people and political ally of Israel, backed up by real power. But what is the source of power? You can see it here in the words of warning from the American President to the leadership in Israel. These words come after a lot bellicose language expressed by political and military leaders in Israel, including the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister.

One doubts that any of the members of this government understand that power is only powerful when it rests on law, in this case international law and laws of war. This was the point made by the President here in the speech. “I just got off the phone with — the third call with Prime Minister Netanyahu. And I told him if the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive, and overwhelming.” These lines refer to power. They were followed immediately by these words relating to law. “We also discussed how democracies like Israel and the United States are stronger and more secure when we act according to the rule of law. Terrorists purpo- — purposefully target civilians, kill them. We uphold the laws of war — the law of war. It matters. There’s a difference.”

These are words to remember as Israel hurtles into an abyss in some-to-large part of its own making.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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2 Responses to (Biden) Power & Law (Israel at War in Gaza

  1. dmf says:

    thanks for the update, about to listen to ben wittes’ lawfare interview with noah efron but otherwise trying to limit my media intake in these early moments.

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