I’ll never forget the heated debate on Facebook about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict I had with a left-wing Jewish acquaintance back in Philadelphia several years ago. Upon attempting to confirm that, regardless of how critical she may have been towards the Israeli government, she wasn’t suggesting anything resembling a moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas, she wrote:
“That question is a red herring.”
What my friend was saying, in effect, was that the question I was posing wasn’t relevant and/or was merely meant to divert attention from the particular issue we were discussing.
Of course, what this really meant was that she wasn’t prepared to concede my argument that democratic Israel (whatever its imperfections) was inherently morally superior (by even the most rudimentary liberal standards) to the reactionary, Iranian backed Islamist terrorist group who rules Gaza.
My friend’s post-modern rejection of the modest proposition that Western-style liberal democracy is inherently superior to Islamism – an idea which more than a few far left Jews have succumbed to – also represents, to be sure, an intellectual paradigm which characterizes the Guardian-style left.
The Guardian’s Middle East editor, Ian Black, wrote the following, upon news that a deal for Gilad Shalit’s release may be near, in “Gilad Shalit exchange deal could boost both Hamas and Israeli government“, Oct. 11:
Shalit’s lonely, five-year plight has moved and angered Israelis who, by and large, still accept the burden and risks of compulsory national service.
Palestinians face the problem on a far larger scale: they count some 11,000 security prisoners in Israeli jails, the admiring Arabic label “factories for men” masking the toll this takes on families. [emphasis mine]
No, it’s not surprising that the Guardian’s Middle East editor equates Gilad Shalit with Palestinians who have either planned or carried out murderous terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians.
But, the fact that such moral comparisons are routine at the Guardian doesn’t render them any less abhorrent.
Palestinian terrorists being held in Israeli jails do, of course, vary considerably in their motivations.
Most are religious and inspired by Islamist theology, and others more secular and motivated by political ideology.
But almost all of those who have wed themselves to a Palestinian terrorist movement share one common belief: that Israel has no right to exist and that it is therefore morally justifiable – indeed laudable – to murder Israeli Jews.
This is the moral thread which links Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), and other terrorist groups.
All you need to do is briefly survey Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI to understand how widespread and socially acceptable hatred towards Jews – and not merely Israelis – is within Palestinian society.
The fact that sixty-six years after the Holocaust there are individuals, groups, and nations who, as in every generation, seek to destroy Jews should come as no surprise to anyone with even the most cursory understanding of world history.
But, what is at most appalling – and what this blog continually strives to expose – is the fact that it has become respectable within certain liberal circles to ignore, excuse, or rationalize such annihilationist antisemtism.
I live little more than 1 km away from the Gilad Shalit tent on Azza (Gaza) Street in Jerusalem, and routinely walk by Gilad’s father, Noam, on my way to work.
As the tent is open and Noam is often there and open to visitors, I’ve often considered introducing myself and expressing my support.
However, there was something about it which didn’t quite seem right. Who was I, I’ve thought, as a new Oleh (immigrant), to intrude?
How could I, as an American-Israeli, possibly understand his pain?
As a new Israeli, I sincerely try to avoid the hubris of imagining that I could possibly understand the sacrifices of native-born Israelis – those without the privilege of escaping to another nation in times of trouble.
For five years, Noam and his family have been robbed of the joy of celebrating Shabbat, Jewish holidays and festivals, and the ineffable beauty of everyday life, with their son, Gilad.
Unlike the terrorists being held in Israeli jails, Gilad, at the time of his abduction by Hamas, had not committed, nor was contemplating, any actual crime.
Gilad’s five years of captivity in Gaza was, however, a consequence of the moral – and immutable – crime of being an Israeli Jew.