Moral equivalency is only possible in a world where there is no God. Without belief in a Supreme Being, all values are subjective. Absent a fixed, higher order of what we generally term â€œgoodâ€ or evilâ€ all values are subjective. Therefore, what is good to one may be bad to another. Â Once you begin down that slippery slope you inevitably arrive at moral relativism.
Yesterday, I was part of a web conference call with Gil Troy, a professor of history at McGill University speaking from Jerusalem where he is a Shalom Hartman Institute Engaging Israel Research Fellow. The purpose of the call was to give a real time update on conditions in Israel as that country enters the 8th day of conflict with Hamas, a designated terrorist organization based in Gaza.
Professor Troy described the psychological impact upon himself, his children and the citizenry in general when sirens sound, giving them 60-90 seconds to find shelter from incoming rocket attack. He also described how quickly life returns to â€œnormalâ€ once the threat has passed. How his children continued on to their soccer practice, shopping excursion and hike as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. He lamented how after two or three such occurrences over a three day period his 15-year-old daughter had at first been reduced to tears but by day three, seemed to have accepted it as a part of life.
In particular, he expressed compassion and remorse for the loss of civilian life, particularly the children, on both sides of the conflict. Which brings me to my point. As a Jew, I know many Jews and a fair amount of Israelis. Nowhere among all of them do I ever hear anything but sorrow over the loss of civilian life. As with Professor Troy, they always express particular sorrow over the loss of life when children are the victims.
Yet, this is not the case in reverse. Hamas, and the Palestinian people, celebrate the loss of innocent life, regardless of age. They celebrate not only the loss of Israeli lives, they celebrate the loss of their own when itâ€™s in service to killing innocent Israelis. As I post this, the most recent example is the bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv this date where 21 civilians have been wounded with Hamas taking credit for the attack.Â In Gaza, they are passing out candy and celebrating in the streets. This is not the aberration for Gaza and West Bank inhabitants under such horrific circumstances. Disgustingly, itâ€™s the norm.
As for moral equivalency, the Western media makes no distinction between the two societies. Yesterday I watched a U.S. news anchor condemn Israel for bombing a building in Gaza that housed a known Hamas leader and some Palestinian â€œjournalistsâ€â€¦one of whom lost part of his leg in the bombing. Where was that anchor to condemn Islamic extremists when terrorists beheaded journalist Daniel Pearl, a Jew, while he was still alive then posted the video through Al Jazeera?
Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir summarized the pain Israeliâ€™s experience best when she said, â€œWe can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. But we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill theirs.â€ Â I know of no such morally equivalent sentiment ever expressed from any representative of Hamas. Such is the obscenity of the moral equivalency expressed by the world in relation to this conflict and its two participants.
If the world does not recognize and stand for what is good while identifying and standing against what is evil, then Israelâ€™s continued existence is not all that is at stake here. It is the continued existence of humanity.