Israel & Hamas Are Not Morally Equivalent

Member Group : Let Freedom Ring, USA

I was born in 1946. Therefore, I grew up in the shadow of World War II, and in the dawn of the new nation of Israel. When we learned about the holocaust in school, we thought that the wanton murder of millions of Jews at the hands of the Nazis was one of the most atrocious acts of war ever perpetrated in all of human history. If there was anything positive that came out of it, it was the lesson that all civilized people appeared to agree it must never happen again, and that Israel . And yet, nearly 80 years later, we are seeing the return of the kind of intense, widespread antisemitism that fueled the fires of the holocaust. Worse, much of it is happening this time not in Germany but here at home in the Unted States, at many of our most esteemed colleges and universities. Students and faculties alike are not only tolerating it, they are also making false arguments of moral equivalence between the actions of Hamas and those of the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF.

In the conflict that began with Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians on October 7, and the IDF’s response to it, innocent civilians have been killed, and it is proper for us to openly regret their slaughter, but there is no comparison between the IDF and Hamas from the standpoint of morality. The IDF never intentionally targets innocent civilians. Hamas does so every day. They use innocent civilians as human shields, placing them in harm’s way. They co-locate weapons installations and hospitals. They actually want large numbers of their civilians to die, because they want pictures and videos of their deaths to spark international outrage against Israel, while they celebrate the innocents’ deaths as glorious heroes. They view their civilians as expendable, as pawns in the war between Muslims and Jews. There is no moral equivalence between those who target civilians and those who don’t.

As Chicago-born writer G.P. Gottleib has written, “You are morally right to wish for a Palestinian state that recognizes Israel and seeks peaceful coexistence … It’s ethically caring to wish that Israel destroyed only Hamas militants — the world is right to be upset about the deaths of ALL innocent civilians.

“But you are morally bankrupt if you don’t demand that Hamas return all hostages. You are morally bankrupt if you don’t demand the eradication of the Hamas terror regime, which began this war …  with the horrifying and barbaric massacre of 1200+ babies, children, women, and elderly, and the kidnapping of over 240 civilians. [And you are] especially [morally bankrupt] because the Hamas charter …advocates the … destruction of Israel and the death or expulsion of all its Jews. I’ll repeat: MORALLY BANKRUPT.”

[On Tuesday of this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, not always the most stirring of orators, was right on pitch when he said on the Senate floor, “For months, the most elite corners of American higher education have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, they’re still finding new ways to embarrass themselves with vile, anti-Semitic radicalism…. The hateful ideas pouring out of campus encampments are not new to America’s universities. The world’s oldest form of hate has been alive and well in higher education for some time now. From the vile ‘boycott, divest, and sanction’ movement that began over a decade ago, …the forces of bigotry have been on the move… Unfortunately, the President … refuses to render an unqualified rejection of campus anti-Semitism. In fact, when asked about it, he seemed to say – well, there are good people on both sides.

It’s hard not to see this mealy-mouthed equivocation for what it is: a President prioritizing the feelings of his political supporters over moral clarity. Anti-Semitism is not a nuanced academic theory. … It is not justified by political disagreements with Israel and its government. It is not entitled to take over campuses and make life miserable for Jewish students… Leaders must lead. Administrators must take charge of their institutions. The basic objectives here couldn’t be clearer: On campus, protect Jewish community members. Clear the encampments. Let students go to class and take their exams. And allow graduations to proceed… If moral clarity does not prevail – in the ivory tower and in the Biden Administration – this could go down as a particularly shameful moment in our history.”Top of Form

Permitting antisemitism under the guise of freedom of speech is the first step towards excusing Jewish genocide.  McConnell and Netanyahu are correct: this has to stop. It must be exposed for what it is: moral bankruptcy.