Chaza"l set forward a regulation that "dina demalchuta dina," the law of the land is the law (Bava B'atra 54b).

International law is a set of near-universally recognised modes of conduct between states.

Is International law binding upon a Jewish-led state where it does not cause Jews to violate a negative mitzvah?

Example: A signatory to the Geneva Convention is legally required to adhere to the precepts therein. If a nation violates this, it is in breach of international law, as it has affirmed the binding status of such a statute within International Law.

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    Based on the way nations behave, "International law" is not a set of laws but a propaganda device to follow an agenda. A law is something that is part of a legal system and can be enforced as well as being recognized as required. Jan 6, 2017 at 10:58
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    @sabbahillel, as a student of international relations, I disagree. International law exists and, although it is difficult to enforce, it is still considered binding (see for a non-controversial example the Russian annexation of Crimea, about which I've written a few pieces) Jan 6, 2017 at 14:48
  • I would think only as far as that law is binding in the country where he resides. International laws are much less straight forward but if you live in a country that enforces a particular international law then I would think based on that it would fit into the characteristic of dina demalchuta dina. Thee question I have is how far does this go? What if for example it is a law within a country that violates the framework of laws in that country or is highly unjust even if it doesn't lead to directly having a Jew violate a mitzvah?
    – Dude
    Jan 6, 2017 at 16:37
  • @Dude, to give what is probably the most controversial example in our circles, which would be a particularly fraught issue, is that of Israeli settlements in lands captured after the Six Day War. Under the 4th Geneva convention (to which Israel is a party, thus making it legally binding), the settlements are illegal, although so was the prior occupation under Jordan and Egypt (despite the fact that they were not signatories until after annexxing the West Bank and Gaza). If a gov't signs a treaty, it is considered legally binding (although Russia, a fellow signatory, has violated it as well). Jan 6, 2017 at 16:45
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    @sabbahillel "A law is something that is part of a legal system and can be enforced as well as being recognized as required." I'm confused which part of that doesn't apply to international law. (I'm also not sure why that is a relevant definition here.)
    – Double AA
    Jan 6, 2017 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


Here is a source, providing an opinion based on that Rabbi's understanding of Dina Dimalchusa. This answer is assuming all criteria for Dina Dimalchusa applies in today's world in accordance with the assumption in question.

Rabbi Shlomo Kluger in his Chochmas Shlomo on shulchan aruch siman 369 writes that Dina Dimalchusa does not apply to a king who has control over the entire world. His reasoning is that since one cannot leave the king's jurisdiction, his living there is not an acceptance upon himself of the king's laws.

This logic would lend itself to absolve someone from heeding international law as well. (Just don't complain if caught.) It would seemingly also allow one to ignore Dina Dimalchusa in a totalitarian government which does not allow it's citizens to leave. (Again, don't complain if caught.)

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    Commentless downvoters don't help anyone.
    – user6591
    Jan 10, 2017 at 20:37
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    Good mekor, but seemingly your logic would not apply in cases like the Geneva convention, like the OP mentioned, where the law is only binding to the signatories
    – Silver
    Oct 30, 2019 at 16:21

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