The law is an ass

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17 Responses

  1. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that I saw at least one recent article in Commentary that basically stated that the noble purposes of international law were hijacked by the Communist world and its successors of influence within the UN to serve as a means of destroying the sovereign rights of both the US and Israel to act in self defense. Given the rather fraudulent record of how “human rights” is applied today, this would explain why we see such a large crescendo of alleged “human rights violations” lodged against both the US and Israel.

  2. Charles B. Hall says:

    Rabbi Rosenblum could also have mentioned the firebombing of Tokyo and the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Had CIHL been followed during World War II by the allies regarding civilian casualties, the other side would likely have won.

    Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also been very loud in their criticism of the Arab terrorist groups for their violations of CIHL as well. The difference is that Israel actually pays attention to some of the criticisms. Neither HRW nor AI have made realistic suggestions as to how Israel SHOULD deal with the terrorism.

    I would not have included the reference to the “New World Economic Order”. The issue is much too complex and not necessarily related.

  3. Daniel says:

    Israel is free to disregard customary humanitarian international law and kill as many non-combatants as it wants. But as long as it does so, it will receive (and deserve) the moral opprobrium of people who respect international law, including Jews like me. If Israel wants respect it should play by the rules.

    Willfully killing non-combatants is wrong, whether in Dresden, Hiroshima, Moscow, Israel, Gaza or Lebanon.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    Since the PR in today’s stupefied media will be bad in any case, why don’t today’s Israeli leaders brush aside this body of “law” designed to disarm and defeat them? Because they have bought into the same ideas that underly these “laws”, and because they fear the wrath of their similarly confused allies more than the wrath of their own citizens or of G-d.

  5. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Moderators: I already posted it, and it got deleted. If that was an editorial decision, I apologize for bugging you again. If it was the result of a software bug, here it is. Also, please delete last message – I forgot to add something. Sorry.

    For a view of the actual laws of war, from a lawyer who served as an infantry officer, click here. The relevant part starts with Where the laws of war have worked to mitigate the horror.

    Daniel, do you have a better solution to stop terrorists who use civilians as human shields? If so, please enlighten us. If not, I think Israel would be wise to prefer your moral opprobrium to the Kassam and Katyusha rockets. It is less dangerous.

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    Daniel-Dresden was hardly just a civilian center with medieval architechture. Contrary to Kurt Vonnegutt, recent studies have shown that it was a crucial part of the German war effort. If the bombing of Hiroshima and Hagosaki saved the enormous casualties expected from a conventional invasion of Japan, it serves its function as a tool of war. WADR, your comments remind me of George Will’s comments re the American press and how if it had covered the American Civil War, we would still have slavery in the US. Like it or not, war is hell.

  7. Ahron says:

    “Were Syria to fire missiles at Israeli cities, and Israel to strike back at Syrian cities with even greater force, the international community would undoubtedly condemn Israel.”

    Certainly that’s partially a reflection of the fact that most Westerners simply don’t have any expectation to begin with that Arab nations will fight morally. Therefore in the public mind they’re held to a much lower measure of conduct.

  8. Bob Miller says:

    As regards Dresden:

    What more would the Germans have to had done during WW2 to merit that their cities be razed to the ground?

  9. Moshe Schorr says:

    Daniel, you wrote “Willfully killing non-combatants is wrong, whether in Dresden, Hiroshima, Moscow, Israel, Gaza or Lebanon.”

    Where did you see in anything Jonathan wrote, a call to willfully kill
    non-combatants? If these non-combatants are used as human shields, then any suffering they undergo is completely the responsibility of those who
    _use_ them as such human shields.

    But Israel is held to a higher standard than any other nation in the world, and much higher than the non-existant standard that the Arabs are (not) held to.

    I imagine you reside outside of Israel, so from the safety of your armchair, you can pontificate as how Israel is to conduct itself against those who seek its annihilation. Not everyone has that luxury.

  10. Bob Miller says:

    Above (July 16, 2007 @ 8:19 am), should I have written “had to have done”? This is an SOS to grammarians.

  11. Garnel Ironheart says:

    Firstly, “were Syria to fire missles at Israeli cities” is not hypothetical conjecture by R’ Rosenblum. One must recall that from 1949 to 1967 Syria regularly shelled the northern part of Israel from the Golan Heights and whenever Israel responded, the UN condemned them.

    To paraphrase Hillel in Mas. Shabbos – there is only one law – Eisav hates Yaakov. The rest is commentary. Go learn it.

  12. David says:

    Did you actually take the time to read the article? It doesn’t sound like you are addressing any of the points mentioned.

  13. Joe Fisher says:

    But Rabbi Rosenblum–we really are dependent on other countries’ support and aid! We can’t ignore their opinions of our actions. If they really start opposing us we’re sunk.

    You don’t walk into the path of a truck that’s obviously not recognizing the crosswalk laws. Even if you are legally in the right.

    If we turn off too much public opinion, however justified our self defense might be in our eyes, then England, Europe, and the other countries that help us–even the US–will turn the screws in ways we can’t resist. Rabbi Rosenblum is recommending too dangerous a path for the world we live in today.

    He made the same kind of ultimately erroneous recommendations with Iraq and the Lebanon war. He gets off on a tic that he is convinced is righteous, and urges us to take moves that are very damaging when the big picture unfolds.

  14. Bob Miller says:

    Joe Fisher,

    If its powerful “allies” were to decide that Israel was too much trouble and should fade away, G-d forbid, should Israel accept and implement that?

    Is this not already the policy of some “allies”?

  15. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Joe Fisher, you’re right that Israel is dependent on other countries. However, public opinion tends to have a very short attention span. A short embargo might be worth it to stop the Katyushas and Kassams. Also, a few big actions might look smaller on the TV than constant small actions.

  16. YM says:

    I totally agree with R. Rosenblum on this, and I have expressed this thought on multiple occasions. None of us really knows the consequences of his/her actions, but I speculate that both Israel and the Palestinians would have been better served if Israel had crushed the Palestinians in 2000.

  17. Daniel says:

    Ori: I don’t have a military solution against terrorists who use innocents as human shields. This is precisely what makes terrorism such a horrifically effective weapon. It puts countries like Israel in the unenviable position of either (a) allowing its citizenry to be slaughtered, (b) slaughtering other innocents or (c) acceding to the terrorists’ demands. In other words, you either surrender to the terrorists the military advantage, or become as bad as they are. And, as Rabbi Rosenblum correctly indicated, sparing innocents used as human shields only creates an incentive for terrorists to put further innocents in jeopardy.

    All that said, the murder of innocents is still wrong. Israel and other countries that are victimized by terrorism need to find another way. My advice is to minimize the benefits of terrorism by returning to the negotiating table. But there will still be terrorists who want to wipe us out, and no negotiation will stop that. I don’t have a solution.

    Steve: A large part of humanitarian international law is to make war less hellish.

    Bob: I haven’t polled the 35,000 Germans killed in Dresden to determine whether they deserved death. All I can say is, all of Sodom would have been spared if there had been 10 righteous people. I’d like to think Dresden had that many.

    It’s “have to have done.”

    Moshe: If victims used as human shields by terrorists are killed by Israeli soldiers, both the terrorists and the soldiers are to blame. Just as if bank robbers take hostages and the police shoot the hostages, both the police and the bank robbers are to blame.

    Yes, I have the luxury of living in relative safety (although sadly, no armchair). It’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like to live in Sderot, with concept Qassam attacks. And it’s even harder for me to imagine what it would be like to live in Gaza right now. I still condemn the killing of innocents, whether by terrorists or soldiers.

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