The easiest moral place to stand is in the middle.
Standing in the middle is comforting. It grants you the illusion that you are being evenhanded, that you see nuance and complexity where others see black and white. It is flattering to be in the middle — no one hates your viewpoint enough to make you their opponent, and yet you get to stand apart from everyone, tut-tutting both sides.
When it comes to Israel and its terror-backing enemies, the West has, for some decades, taken precisely that position.
Sure, Israel should be able to defend itself.
But not too much.
Yes, Israel has the right to exist.
But it must make concessions to those who seek Israel’s destruction.
When Israel’s enemies pursue the worst atrocities in four generations, it’s difficult to maintain that position of studied neutrality, in which attacks on Israel are chalked up to political differences and shrugged away. It turns out that scenes of brutally massacred children, women and men tend to upset the moral stomach.
But then the stomach settles again.
All it takes to return to that sophisticated neutrality is a few false platitudes — a few comforting lies.
Three of those lies have been provided in significant supply by the hard Left and its allies in the legacy media.
The first lie is that Israel must be warned not to engage in human rights violations.
We hear this nostrum all the time: from the president of the United States, from the United Nations, from the media. The idea is that if Israel’s leadership isn’t reminded in the wake of the worst pogrom since the Holocaust, those rude Jews might carpet-bomb Gaza. The purpose of the lie is simple: to get Israel to stop defending itself at the first available opportunity. If you warn the world that Israel is likely to pursue atrocities, and then — as inevitably happens in war — something terrible happens, Israel can quickly be shoved back into the box of moral equivalence.
Voila! Status quo ante restored.
Of course, this lie is a lie. And it is a stupidly offensive lie, in the same way that it is a lie when the United Nations warns the United States about human rights violations. Israel is a professional military that abides by the rules of war. Its enemies openly cheer the death of civilians, both Israel’s and their own. By all rights, the entire political and media infrastructure ought to be using their supposed moral suasion on human rights to convince Hamas to release hostages and protect their own citizens. But, of course, there’s no real interest in that. The lie must be maintained. Israel has to be warned about human rights, because secretly, the Jews are just like Hamas.
Then there’s the second lie: that we must all remember the vaunted Peace Process. Yes, the Peace Process that was obviously and clearly a ruse undertaken by Yasser Arafat in order to provide the jumping-off point for a genocidal war on the Jews; the Peace Process that has ended in the election of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the leadership of Islamic Jihad and the terror-paying Palestinian Authority in the West bank. We must, the lie goes, remember the two-state solution!
Of course, this lie is dangerous, too. It’s dangerous because, once again, it inevitably places the blame on Israel for terrorism against Israel. If only the Jews had made more concessions — other than, you know, the partition plan of 1947 (rejected by the Arabs); the Egyptian-Israeli peace deal of 1979 (the Arab states boycotted Egypt after Anwar Sadat’s peace with Israel for almost a decade); the Oslo Accords themselves; Ehud Barak’s 2000 Camp David proposal (rejected by Arafat, and a violent terror war launched resulting in the death of 1,184 Israelis); the Gaza Withdrawal of 2005 (Hamas was elected and has been launching terror attacks ever since); Ehud Olmert’s 2008 peace plan (rejected by Mahmoud Abbas outright); and former President Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century (rejected before even being seen).
But Israel, the lie goes, must continue to make painful concessions. If they don’t, Jew-murder is inevitable. Moral equivalence restored!
Finally, there’s the third lie: that anti-Zionism has nothing to do with antisemitism. That lie is currently being encouraged by the equation of antisemitism with Islamophobia by many members of our elite. The antisemitism we see today on college campuses is part and parcel of the anti-Semitism that ended with the slaughter of 1,500 Jews in the Gaza Envelope: hatred of Jews is the driving force behind hatred of Israel. But in order to restore any semblance of moral cover for hating Israel, anti-Zionism must be separated from anti-Semitism. The easiest way to accomplish that is to downplay the obvious reflection between international Jew-hatred and attacks on Israel, and instead to subsume anti-Semitism under the broader rubric of lack of multicultural tolerance.
It’s a lie, and it’s an obvious lie. Yes, there are occasional acts of targeting of Muslims. They are nothing like the targeting of Jews. They do not follow the same logic, they do not occur anywhere near as frequently, and they are not spurred by a sort of cycle of violence in the Middle East.
All of these comforting lies are useful in allowing the morally idiotic to attempt to regain a high ground via a falsely restored moral equivalence. And how eager they are for that moral equivalence! That moral equivalence allows Leftist Jews to pretend that they won’t be lumped in with their fellow Jews by the intersectional coalition; it allows the intersectional to pretend that they are on the side of the righteous even as they make excuses for Hamas; it allows the international community to continue to pressure Israel after the mass murder of Jews.
Never Again doesn’t apply, after all, if the Jews are part of the problem.
And so, after approximately one week of global dyspepsia with the evil of Hamas, the world is gradually returning to its steady diet of moral equivalency. They’re doing so with eagerness and alacrity. And that should be terrifying to those who actually oppose genocidal Jew-hatred.
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