Louis René Beres: Peaceful Civil Disobedience in Israel

tags: Israel, Louis René Beres, peace movement, civil disobedience, Israel National News



Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Middle East security matters.  His writings on Israel, military strategy, and jurisprudence appear regularly in many major newspapers and magazines, and also in more than a dozen major law journals.

Sometimes, tragedy and irony may arrive together. Now that it is reportedly back “on track,” the so-called Middle East Peace Process threatens Israel with additional dismemberment, and eventual disappearance.

Aware of these intolerable prospects, thousands of Israelis who are opposed to any further existential surrenders may soon prepare for an appropriate response to “Palestine.” Whatever its particular shape and expression, this "post-peace" response to a new Arab state, one that would be carved out of Israel's own still-living body, may take some recognizable form of civil disobedience.

To be sure, the Netanyahu Government, inexplicably confident in Palestinian compliance with pre-state agreements on “demilitarization,” will object strongly to any such tactics. Nonetheless, civil disobedience has a long and distinguished tradition in jurisprudence and democratic theory.  In part, as the following argument will make clear, certain roots of this tradition actually lie in Jewish Law.

From its  beginnings, Jewish law has been viewed as a manifestation of God's will.  Biblically, the law is referred to as the "word of God,” never of humankind.  God, therefore, is the sole authentic legislator, and righteousness necessarily lies in observance of His law.  Moreover, for ancient Israel as well as for the ancient Greeks, the absence of righteousness is expected to place at risk the lives and fortunes of the entire community....



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