The former appears in his posthumous magnum opus on the Parsha. He basically calls the spies “gedolei ha-dor” whose flaw was that they wished to remain in the idyllic desert existence where they could focus on spiritual pursuits and bask in God’s presense instead of engaging in agriculture and fighting wars.
The latter appears in the chapter entitled “Promised Land or Permitted Land” in Nine Talmudic Readings where he explicitly calls the spies “European leftist intellectuals” for whom engagement in the business of nation-building and putting ideals into practice sullies the pristine, ideal philosophical concepts at they exist in the academy.
I believe that, although the targets differ, the approach is essentially the same. Both groups wish to keep the Torah (which, in Levinas’ writings, is an ethical system) pristine, and fear that “bringing it to life” would damage and sully it.
Another approach which resonates today is that of the Zohar. It says that these men were, indeed, leaders, but they felt that they would lose their power once they came to
The Syrian peace thing is a throw in. The only thing that
I really want