Jewish Justice or no Justice
By Moshe Feiglin
“Today the world is being born, today all the creations of all the worlds stand in judgment.” “And it will be determined for the countries, which for the sword and which for peace.” (Rosh Hashanah liturgy)
As we enter the gates of our synagogues this Rosh Hashanah, it looks like we will also be entering the gates of the International Court in The Hague. This is the inevitable destination of a nation that insists on detaching its Judaism from its national life. If we are not interested in Jewish justice in Jerusalem, we will be treated to Western, Christian justice in Spain, England or The Hague.
When a Swedish newspaper reported that Israel’s soldiers slaughtered “Palestinians” so that they could sell their organs, we didn’t believe that anybody would take the bizarre story seriously. But it is actually making quite a few waves. Soon an international investigative committee will be established to reveal “the truth.” After all, such serious charges must be investigated thoroughly. And who, if not the judges of enlightened Europe, are more worthy to reveal the truth with clarity and complete objectivity?
Blood libels are nothing new. There is nothing more logical about selling “Palestinian” organs than about slaughtering Christian children to use their blood to bake matzahs. So how do these absurd claims become legitimate? It is not really a matter of legal fact. It is a matter of the location of the judicial body.
When a Jew is in exile and the Christians are the judicial authority, the blood libel becomes a possibility. The question is not if the Jews slaughtered Christian children to use their blood to bake matzahs. The question is if the issue is justiciable. In the Christian courts of the Middle Ages the answer was affirmative.
Likewise, in the current organ harvest story, there is no question of revealing the truth. The only question is if the judicial tribunal that we have accepted upon ourselves will decide to judge these ludicrous accusations.
Then – in the days of the blood libels, the Jews did not have the option to choose which judicial authority they would accept. They lived under the dominion of the judicial authority that considered these libels fact. But today, the Jews willingly surrendered their own judicial authority. They chose, of their own free will, to forgo their ethical sovereignty and to deposit it in the hands of the Western world and the International Court in The Hauge.
“What is the problem in Azoun?” my frustrated neighbor asked me the other day, after a steady stream of rocks and firebombs has continued to emanate from this ‘peaceful’ Arab village. “They bring in an entire IDF division and they still can’t stop the violence? Wouldn’t it just be easier to cut off their electricity?” Technically, my neighbor is right. We could easily leave the reserve soldiers at home and enjoy quiet nonetheless. But the State of Israel and the IDF are fettered to the Christian judicial dominion that we have brought upon ourselves.
As the Beijing Olympics approached, I wrote that the State of Israel, as the representative of the Jewish Nation, should boycott the games. The Chinese have established concentration camps for opponents of the radically leftist regime there. Next to the concentration camps there are “medical centers” that specialize in supplying human organs by order. No lines, no problems finding the proper match, any organ can be supplied; kidneys, corneas, hearts – the organs are always fresh and plentiful. They belong to “criminals” who have been executed but who, at the last minute repented and donated their organs as an act of atonement. How noble. In reality, the organs are harvested while the victims are still alive. That is probably the best way to keep them fresh.
I claimed that Israel – the representative of the Jewish Nation, the People of the Book who herald the ethics of the prophets – must see itself as a lighthouse of morality for the world and should not lend legitimacy to the regime of horrors in China by attending the Olympic Games.
The reactions that I received were more or less: “America, England and France are not boycotting the Olympics, and you expect Israel to boycott them?” In other words, it cannot be that we bear a more fundamentally ethical insight than the Western world. Furthermore, we are so small, so who are we to boycott the Chinese giant if the US and Europe are not doing so? In other words, morality is measured in square kilometers and the size of a country’s population and army.
When charges of organ harvesting by Israel’s soldiers began to emerge, I thought that it was quite “measure for measure.” We rejected our universal role and refused to take a stand on the Chinese organ harvesting issue, and got it right back in our own collective face.
We are the children of the King. We do not have the privilege to stand passively at the sidelines and to be “just another country.” We have only two options: One is to judge the world according to Jewish justice – the ethical justice of the prophets that must be restored to Jerusalem. The second option is, right after Rosh Hashanah, to re-lock our universal responsibility safely in our synagogues and to leave Judaism strictly in the domain of religion. If that is the option we choose, we will not be judging the world according to the ethics of the prophets. The world will judge us – in the International Court in The Hague.