Resolution on Civil Liberties in the United States

Whereas the most treasured values of Americans as enshrined in the laws and Constitution of the United States are under attack;

Whereas among the most revered of these is America’s regard for civil rights and civil liberties;

Whereas Jewish tradition teaches of one’s obligation to defend oneself against those who have and/or will attack;

Whereas Jewish tradition supports the establishment of a basic normative order and governance that ensures peace and security for the citizens of all lands as exemplified by the instructions of Moses to Jethro in Exodus 18;

Whereas Jewish tradition establishes the principle of hezek ri’ah – damage done by looking into the private property of another person; and

Whereas the domestic surveillance programs that have come to light demonstrate how the Administration has weakened a number of Constitutional and statutory protections through it's interpretation of the Patriot Act as well as by its assertion of "implicit authority" in its interpretation of the Congressional Resolution of September 14, 2001 (which authorized the use of force against those responsible for the attacks of September 11).

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the United States government to abide by the letter and spirit of its Constitution;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly applaud the efforts of the United States Congress to seriously examine the implications of all aspects of the Patriot Act so as to guarantee that the very values those who attack us seek to destroy are not undone from within; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly look to the United States Congress to provide appropriate review of such acts that might weaken our civil liberties thereby providing the necessary “checks and balances” that are the hallmark of American governance.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, March, 2006