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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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A World With Enemies

July 23, 2014

It has been a great ambition of modern political thought to bring about a world without enemies. But Hamas’s ruthless quest to slaughter Israeli civilians and to reap the public-relations boon of Palestinian deaths is a reminder that both the civilized world, and Israel more specifically, still has enemies. Two years ago, after Operation Pillar […]

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Both the traditions of Greek philosophy and rabbinic Judaism place an emphasis on questioning. But, as National Affairs‘s Yuval Levin, the Hoover Institution’s Peter Berkowitz, and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik discuss, Socrates’s mode of questioning is not the same as that of the four sons of the Seder. Socrates stands outside the tradition to question it, often […]

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Neoconservatism

July 21, 2014

What does it mean to be a neoconservative? William Kristol of The Weekly Standard explains how the one-time liberals differed from the classical conservatives. After first laying out differences between the neoconservatives and the classical conservatives on issues like the welfare state or foreign policy, Kristol examines the more foundational differences. And what about the Jewish character […]

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The Meaning of Matzot

July 21, 2014

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik reminds us that the Jews are a people who unite politics and food—or soul and body—and that the matzot carry a specific political meaning. Baked with haste, they are a reminder of the preciousness of time and the impermanence of life. A freedom that begins by recognizing these truths will find itself […]

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What, if anything, does the thought of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine have to do with Judaism? National Affairs editor Yuval Levin looks at the question of change and continuity over the generations, certainly an issue of great importance for Jews.  Burke’s and Paine’s opinions are rooted in ideas of human nature. Do these ideas have […]

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