Reflecting on 9/11 | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 9, 2011

Reflecting on 9/11

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Eugene Levy image
Rabbi Eugene Levy of Temple B'nai Israel in Little Rock sends along an editorial with a worthy message: As we consider the anniversary of Sept. 11, we should urge the government to end torture.

In just a few days, I, along with hundreds of clergy throughout the country, will be participating in ceremonies which will honor and memorialize the more than 3,000 men and women who lost their lives in the attacks of 9/11. We will be reading names and honoring heroism. We will be reviewing video and continuing to comfort the families permanently affected by this tragedy. And no doubt, there will also be some in our country who will use this occasion as a time to rekindle their anti-Arab feelings and champion unwarranted xenophobia.

As for me, I am also hoping that we can add to the memory of the day a revisiting of the issue of any use of torture (or lesser forms of coercion) to obtain information from prisoners.

In 2005, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, meeting in Annual Convention in Houston, Texas, adopted a resolution that basically denounces and opposes the use of torture and other forms of prisoner coercion in violation of the Geneva Conventions. While there are Jewish legal and moral arguments that can be made to justify some coercion in times of war and in opportunities to save lives, as the resolution states, for the most part, the weight of Jewish tradition acknowledges that “all human beings are created in the image of G-d,” and therefore, torture and prisoner abuse defile that image. If it is bottom-line absolutely necessary for some coercion to take place, then, the resolution goes on, it must be done with ”humility and with full respect for the human dignity of those upon whom it exercises discipline.”

As I see it, the weight of Jewish tradition tilts away from using any kind of torture to extract vital information, even when such information could be used to save the lives of innocent people. Even after 9/11, this principle should be upheld as strongly as possible, especially as we have seen abuses in the name of preserving or furthering national security or fighting terrorism.

Furthermore, the use of torture is not compatible with the leadership standards for which the United States should be striving. Thus, from Reform Judaism’s perspective, we should use 9/11 to reaffirm the continued validity of the Geneva Conventions and its laws of war as we promote adherence to its guidelines. The final statement in the CCAR’s resolution on torture reads:

“Therefore, the Central Conference of American Rabbis urges that the President and the government of the United States resolve to … create an independent commission to investigate and report on the detention and interrogation practices of U.S. military and intelligence agencies deployed in the global ‘war on terror.’” The call for such a commission aligns well with the ongoing call by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, a coalition of religious organizations committed to ending torture that is sponsored or enabled by the United States, for a commission of inquiry into the same issue.

9/11 should give us the opportunity to reaffirm the dignity of all.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (26)

Showing 1-26 of 26

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-26 of 26

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • The Future of the LRSD Edition

    The Little Rock School District settling a racial bias lawsuit, the state board of education approving three new charter schools in Little Rock and the latest news on DACA — all covered on this week's podcast.
    • Sep 15, 2017
  • Walmart plans to build new HQ in Bentonville

    Walmart will build a new headquarters in Bentonville, CEO Doug McMillon said today. The project is expected to accommodate 14,000-17,000 employees, who are now spread among 20 buildings in Bentonville, Arkansas Business reports. It's expected to be built in stages and take five to seven years to be completed.
    • Sep 15, 2017
  • Huffington Post turns spotlight on Little Rock

    Huffington Post's Listen to America project is in Little Rock today. Along with KARK/Fox 16, it's hosting a panel discussion at Philander Smith College at 7 p.m. tonight. The stop-through coincided with a series of stories published on the HuffPost website
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • The two cities of Little Rock: East/west, black/white

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated this week a community divided over public schools, another blow to the Little Rock School District and another illustration of the need for ward elections to the board.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • Rapert challenger faults his reference to her

    Sen. Jason Rapert, the Faulkner County Republican, spoke to an NAACP session in Conway yesterday and encountered a question from his announced Democratic opponent, Maureen Skinner.Her campaign took offense

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation