Right-wing Israelis are protesting the arrest of two rabbis who supported the King's Torah, a book that seeks to exempt nonbelievers from religious prohibitions against killing:
Rabbis Dov Lior and Yacob Yousef had endorsed a highly controversial book, the King's Torah - written by two lesser-known settler rabbis. It justifies killing non-Jews, including those not involved in violence, under certain circumstances.
The fifth chapter, entitled "Murder of non-Jews in a time of war" has been widely quoted in the Israeli media. The summary states that "you can kill those who are not supporting or encouraging murder in order to save the lives of Jews".
At one point it suggests that babies can justifiably be killed if it is clear they will grow up to pose a threat.
If this sounds a bit familiar, it's because al-Qaeda's "moral philosophers" did something similar back in the mid-1990s in order to provide a religious justification for the killing of civilians and thus a moral basis for terrorism.
The first time I heard about the King's Torah, actually, was at last year's CPAC from Marshall Breger, a Jewish Catholic University law professor on Suhail Kahn's religious freedom panel (at the time, Khan was being cited as proof CPAC had been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood). Breger was attempting to explain to some Gaffneyite Islamophobe that extremism does in fact take root in other religions. He was speaking to an extremely small room however -- nothing compared to the crowd that had assembled for Pam Geller's film declaring the so-called Ground Zero mosque the "second wave of the 9/11 attacks."
At any rate, this stuff is truly ugly, but I think the right-wingers have a point: Israel's hate speech laws are an anathema to personal liberty, and we shouldn't be throwing people in jail for merely holding, or expressing extremist beliefs. But let's not pretend that elaborate rationalizations for murder are unique to Islam.
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