Different Rules for Different Folks

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11 Responses

  1. Charles B. Hall says:

    Churchill may be a huckster, but in 1763 British/American defenders of the besieged Fort Pitt did try to use smallpox-infected blankets as implements of biological warfare against their native American opponents. Lord Jeffrey Amherst became famous in the 19th century when his advocacy of this became known. He seems to have believed the native Americans to be subhuman and worthy of extermination. Sound familiar?

  2. Nachum says:

    Kol Hakavod. You do understand, though, that you are now a right wing radical. What you have written is tantamount to incitement. Under Israeli law, you now face prosecution and a possible jail sentance.

    I am reminded of the election in Israel when Bibi was elected Prime Minister. A renowned Knesset member from the left was asked his opinion when the TV poll was announced showing that Peres had won the election. He praised Israel for it’s high level of democracy. The election was proof that Israel was indeed a democracy. Later that night the tides changed, and it was apparent that Bibi had actually won, this time based on the actual ballots. The same honorable Knesset member publicly stated that the results showed that there was no democracy in Israel.

    We learn from this, and your article certainly highlights this, if you agree with the left, it is democratic, and you have freedom of speech to say what you want. If you disagree with the left, anything you say is undemocratic, and you are guily of incitement.

    I hope to see more articles of truth on this great blog.

  3. Moshe says:

    Great article. Another Israeli Supreme Court case — relevant to the question of free speech — is the infamous Alba decision. A rabbi was found guilty of incitement because he published a
    halachic treatise.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    Is there any difference between what Jonathan describes and affirmative action in general, as opposed to the more worthy goal of creating a level playing field?

  5. Menachem Petrushka says:

    Nachum

    Every tribe in Israel has its buzzwords.

    If one is with the left, then your for democracy, if not your enemey of democracy

    If one is with the right, then one is an Israeli patriot, if not, one is a traitor.

    If one accepts Charedi leadership, then one is a G-d fearing Jew, if not, one is an apikores.

    Each member of a tribe views events solely through the prism of his tribe. No one is “objective” in a neutral sense.

    Rabbi Rosenbloom sees the world through Charedi glasses. The majority of his articles point out the faults of others. There is nothing wrong with that because every journalist in Israel spends does the same.

    It just gets boring,

  6. HILLEL says:

    Israel is not really a free country. It is ruled by a morally-corrupt secular oligarchy.

  7. Gershon Seif says:

    It’s a pretty sad situation and this isn’t the first article R’ Yonason Rosenblum has written on the subject. Is there no hope of change in the horizon?

  8. mkop says:

    This is a major difference between the US and Israel. In the US, politicians actually care about democracy. In Israel, no one cares about democracy. They care about advancing their own goals. The Chareidim will use democracy to advance Torah values, the leftists will use democracy to advance their leftist liberal values, and the Arabs will use democracy to advance their anti-Israel values.

    The problem is that the judges also have opinions. The court is open-minded to any values that fit within their liberal worldview. This includes the “struggle of the poor Palestinian people”. It doesn’t include anyone’s religious values. Anyone whose views don’t fit into their world view is anti-democratic or is inciting violence.

    The way in which the US is different (at least as far as government is concerned) is that the US govt. has lost sight of any values (including liberal ones) other than democracy. Democracy has become the absolute morality here. This reflects especially in medical ethics, where the principle of “autonomy” is now supreme over all other moral principles. The value of a “living will” is not just that since we can’t decide when the moment of death is, we’ll leave that moral judgment up to each individual patient; rather, the most moral decision is to follow the patient’s wishes. (This is a subtle distinction, but it’s significant. It’s the difference between inability to impose moral views and therefore being forced to revert to the patient’s wishes, vs. the patient’s wishes magically becoming the moral choice.)

    I’m not saying that problems like what Mr. Rosenblum describes don’t happen in America. But they happen much less than in Israel.

    Michael

  9. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    Michael,

    I am not so cynical as you, at least regarding the United States. (I don’t know enough about Israel to comment.) There are plenty in government who want to do good things for society. I am sure George W. Bush is one of them even though I disagree with him on practically every issue. Supreme Court justices here — both liberal and conservative — occasionally speak insightfully about their role; while they are sworn to uphold the Constitution they also consider their own values and the effects of their rulings. And there are many in Congress whose political positions are informed by their religious beliefs, including one Orthodox Jew.

    I also disagree with you regarding the distinction you make on patient autonomy. A diverse society such as the United States can not impose moral views unless they are held by the overwhelming majority of the population — and even then, it typically accommodates the differing views of small minorities. That is really good for us really small minorities like Orthodox Jews. We are much smaller than 1% of the US population but we really don’t have any barriers to us practicing Judaism.

    In addition, it a the government override of autonomy that led to the Tuskeegee and the Nazi medical atrocities. May we never return to those days!

  10. mkop says:

    I did not in any way speak out against autonomy. The use of living wills is something that has been encouraged by many groups, including Agudas Yisrael and the RCA. What I disagreed with is the prevalent moral reasoning behind it today. See http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/MedConsent.html. Also see http://depts.washington.edu/bioethx/tools/princpl.html which has an overview of what are considered the Four Major Principles of Bioethics. Autonomy is seen not as a practicality, but as a morality of its own. That’s what I’m rejecting.

    And I didn’t mean to say that Americans don’t have values. (Though looking over my comment, that certainly is what comes across.) What I meant was that the value of democracy is seen in America to trump other values. (Probably rightfully so in a democratic government. If the will of the people differs from some politician’s view, the will of the people should win.) Here, the talk about democracy is not just empty talk, the way it is in Israel. In Israel no one really believes in democracy the way Americans do.

    Why do Americans go to the polls? Because it’s patriotic, it’s democratic, etc. bla bla bla. Why do Israelis go to the polls? So that their party wins. (Actually, so the other party loses.)

    While on the topic of living wills:
    A man and his wife are sitting in the living room and he says to her:
    “Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state dependent on some machine. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.”

    His wife gets up and unplugs the TV.

    Michael

  11. mkop says:

    And yes, fine, perhaps I am a cynic. (At least as far as this goes.)

    Michael

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