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Judaism and Individuality

August 6, 2014

In a discussion of the political thought of the Haggadah, Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution notices a recognition of the importance of the separate person—the individual—in the Passover teaching. Rabbi Meir Soloveichik concurs and offers a beautiful homily on the biblical preference for building with unique stones rather than uniform bricks. The best communities, […]

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Does the Jewish tradition offer resources for thinking about political questions? Editor of The Weekly Standard William Kristol offers a hedging “yes” to that question. There are certainly lessons in the Bible and other texts, but, because the Rabbis did not hold political power, they rarely interpreted texts in this way.

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To begin a close reading of one of Karl Marx’s most important early works, “On the Jewish Question”, Hoover Institution fellow Peter Berkowitz identified two kinds of emancipation Marx is concerned with. The first is political emancipation, or liberal democracy. But Marx sees that kind of freedom as insufficient; what is needed is “human emancipation.”

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Two hundred and twenty-five years ago, Parisian radicals stormed the Bastille. To Thomas Paine, this inaugurated an “Age of Revolutions.” As part of Tikvah’s advanced institute on “Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews”, Hoover Institution scholar Peter Berkowitz and National Affairs editor Yuval Levin reflected upon Thomas Paine’s arguments for the French Revolution and on the nature of […]

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George Mason University’s Jeremy Rabkin reviewed Hoover Institution Scholar Peter Berkowitz’s Israel and the Struggle Over the International Laws of War in The Jewish Review of Books‘s Summer 2012 issue. Rabkin praises Berkowitz for his cogent defense of Israel against spurious claims that Israel violated internationally accepted laws of war, but Rabkin takes the debate one step further. […]

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Why are Jews liberals? One plausible answer lies in the Jewish experience in Europe. European conservatives, as Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution points out, differ greatly from American conservatives. European conservatism has sought to conserve “altar and throne”—the non-democratic ancien régime that oppressed the Jews. American conservatism, on the other hand, has sought to conserve liberty […]

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At its core, the disagreement between left and right can be explained as a rift between those who hold the injustices of their society in contempt and advocate radical change and those who are grateful their society is as good as it is and seek to preserve what’s good about it. This is National Affairs editor Yuval […]

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A War for Moral Wars

July 25, 2014

This week, former Tikvah fellow Yishai Schwartz offered an idiosyncratic moral defense of the ongoing Gaza war in The New Republic. Schwartz first posited that justice requires the reasons for the war be “morally compelling” and the “less-destructive alternatives” be ruled out. To the first demand, Schwartz answers that, yes, Israel is right to defend […]

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Tikvah’s executive director Eric Cohen, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and Hoover Institution scholar Peter Berkowitz ponder the question of whether Judaism offers political wisdom in addition to a code of familial and communal ethics. Scholars are often inclined to argue that Jewish texts—most of which were written at a time when the Jews had no state—fail […]

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Just War in Gaza

July 24, 2014

In a thorough Azure essay in the wake of Operation Cast Lead, Israeli ethicist Asa Kasher inquired into the principles of “Just War” theory and the reality of the 2008-2009 operation in Gaza. There are obviously differences between today’s war and that one—Israel now possesses a remarkably effective missile-defense shield, for instance, and the threat of […]

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