Morally Equivalent Emptiness

In the comments under a recent Times of Israel piece entitled, Netanyahu: Islamists taking us back to the ‘Dark Ages’, we read this:

Louis Arpino · Knoxville, Tennessee

“The more isolated from the world that Israel becomes, the more hysterical Bibi becomes. Radical Judaism, with whom Bibi is politically in bed with, is no better than radical Islam.

The both preach the same hate.”

It is hard to know just what is behind this kind of stupidity.  For some people the moral equivalency canard derives from a liberal desire to be evenhanded.  For others, as I suspect with the gentleman above, it derives from a desire to kick the Jews in the teeth.

Whatever the reason for this kind of thing, however, we see it all the time and it is always wrong.

One cannot even begin to compare radical Islam with “radical Judaism.”  It’s a matter of having a rational sense of proportionality and of recognizing that Jews are not flinging their women into potato sacks or flinging acid into their faces for disobeying their men or shooting 12 year old girls in the head for wanting an education.

On the first matter, there are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world so that if even a relatively small portion of them, say 10 percent, favor radical Islam that is 150 million people, which represents more devotees than either Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union ever dreamed of having.  Furthermore, unlike radical Islam, “radical Judaism” (whatever that is exactly) is not a prominent international political movement.  There is no Jewish equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood running around the world, supporting terrorism, and seeking to hijack entire countries.

The moral equivalency canard has a corrosive and highly toxic influence within the conversation around the long war against the Jews in the Middle East, as well as western foreign policies, more generally.  People, particularly on the left, will say things like, “Well, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”  When it comes to the Arab-Israel conflict, this is entirely false.  You cannot compare the efforts of a small, traditionally persecuted, minority to defend itself from a much larger hostile population, with the efforts of that much larger hostile population to slaughter or subdue the minority.

The problem is that this attitude is pervasive throughout the western world, including the United States.  One evening I was chatting with a friend of mine who happens to be gay and of a Christian background from Texas.  We were, not surprisingly, discussing politics.  I was making the case to him, and to the others in the room who were, to a person, on the left, that political Islam is an actual political movement that we need to take seriously.  My friend responded with words along the lines of, “Oh, yeah?  Well, what about the Evangelicals?  What about the Christian conservatives in this country?  What about those racist Tea Party people?!”

At the time I just looked at him slack-jawed.

It amazes me that so many people do not comprehend the vast moral distinction between a conservative American Christian who opposes abortion and gay marriage with a political movement that quite literally hangs gay people from cranes.  The ideological blinkertude of someone who would morally equate conservative American Christians with political Islam is just staggering in its failure of rational comprehension.

In conservative Christianity we have ministers who tell their congregations that he who blesses Israel shall be blessed and he who curses Israel shall be cursed.

In radical Islam we have imams and ayatollahs screeching to the heavens for Jewish blood.

In conservative Christianity we have mothers and fathers who do not want their children to run away to San Francisco, stick a bunch of metal in their faces and then come down with a sexually transmitted disease.

In political Islam they simply kill gay people outright.

In conservative Christianity we sometimes have men who would prefer it if their wives stayed at home with the kids.

In political Islam we have men who force their women into sack-cloth and refuse to allow them to leave the house without a male escort.

In conservative Christianity we sometimes have prominent preachers who sleep with prostitutes or who turn out, themselves, to be gay.

In political Islam we have preachers who call quite literally for genocide.

To suggest that either conservative Christianity or “radical Judaism” is in any way equivalent to what we see with political Islam is to reveal a deep and troublesome moral confusion.

Whatever its faults and flaws, conservative Christianity is a friend to the Jewish people and we should treat it as such.  In my view, we Jews have treated our conservative Christian friends like dirt.  We malign them and claim that the only reason they support Israel is out of an eschatological longing for the End of Days and the punishment of the Jews at the hand of Jesus.

This is to assign a malicious intention onto people who simply do not deserve it.  Democrats and progressives encourage this hatred toward conservative Christians because they see conservative Christians as their Number One Enemy for cultural and electoral reasons.

In the mean time, blood flows from the Koran through the streets of Cairo and Damascus and Benghazi and Khartoum.


Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

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  1. Michael

    I wont tell you what ( or who ) is responsible for this, but what you are saying here is: unless you understand the causes , will never eliminate the unwanted effects. More synthetically, once you found malice you are half way to identifying ignorance and so on.

    Logically, mathematically there is NO such animal, PARTICULARLY in conflicting behaviour, as equivalence.

    In fact, those who rattle the dialectical circus with the absurdity of equivalence, proclaim implicitly the JUSTIFICATION of one opposing side by virtue of the fallacy of “moral equivalence”.
    Moral constructs are based on specific determinants, some we can even call “desiderata” and function on persuasive fallacies. How can I generalise?

    Yes I can, simply because the very RELATIVITY of moral concepts deny the proclaimed UNIVERSALITY of the tenets conceived, their DIVINE, in many cases, imprimatur, therefore unassailability of the iron cast principles.

    Here the sanctity of religion is imminent. Here we are not dealing with what would easily be denounced as man made concepts but with the infallibility and critical inaccessibility of the Holy Books. One does not dispute the Koran, for instance, but follows it AS interpreted consistent with non-Koranic agendas.

    Here we are dealing with the reality that we DO have strands of intensity of Islam, the most pernicious are, of course, the fundamentalists.

    One more things and then….. more. It is absurd, therefore unacceptable, to exclude the POLITICAL fundamental element in ANYTHING man conceived at the conceptual level.

    A car or computer has no political essence, anything MAN utters within the perimeters of defining ( and imposing ) behaviour IS POLITICAL.

    So, whoever engages in discussions of “pure” ethics ( don’t even look at Kant or Hegel !!!) argues a definite political stance. We are dealing, therefore outside the oxymoron called OBJECTIVITY.
    As such, any discussion from distinct positions is a statement of open conflict, irrespective if protocols which falsely define a conflict as such are observed. Hence you would have friendly and civilised discussions over a beer or cappuccino but those opposite you are using the lure of philosophical expression and false notions – such as equivalence – to combat the effects of your thinking/ethics worth defending.

    Next I may indulge in saying why I find Judaism imperatively RIGHT. And when so, it will be as the ecstatical result of objective realisation of the phenomenon, an acquired realisation unaided by any imposed indoctrination, quite the opposite.

    Anyways, I am only happy that we are discussing this, because this are the essentials, while Dershowitz is also doing a fine job in his merry ways………

  2. Thanks for the article Michael. Moral equivalence is certainly one of the big lies of our time. While individuals may all err, whatever their religious or political bent, we should be recognising the religious legitimacy given to much of what is referred to as ‘political Islam’ which institutionalises and perpetuates so many human rights abuses.

  3. Otto,

    “those who rattle the dialectical circus with the absurdity of equivalence, proclaim implicitly the JUSTIFICATION of one opposing side by virtue of the fallacy of “moral equivalence”.


    Not the way that I would have put it, but that is precisely the point. It becomes the current iteration of the ongoing justifications – generation upon generation – for violence and, in truth, emotional abuse.

    The main question is how to deal with it? What I say is that we counter with arguments and discussions grounded within the long history of Jewish persecution under Arab imperial rule.

    We fight fire with fire, but the difference is that we have actual history on our side.


    “we should be recognising the religious legitimacy given to much of what is referred to as ‘political Islam’…”

    What I call “political Islam” is grounded within the primary sources of the religion of Islam.

    I do not know that I am addressing your point, exactly, but it is nonetheless unquestionably the case that “radical Islam” or “political Islam” is perfectly consistent with normative Islam.

    Among those of us in the west who actually dare to have this conversation, that is a crux of contention.

    Is the problem the politicalization of Islam or is it Islam, itself?

    That question is central to the discussion.

  4. An insightful article indeed. There can never be moral equivalence because Islam does not recognize the Golden Rule and at its core calls for the slaughter of all Jews who are apes and the destruction of Christianity and the killing of Christians who are called pigs.
    I avoid terms like moderate, radical and extreme because there is only one Islam.
    Mohammed said that Jihad to establish the religion is the best duty for a Muslim.
    Mohammed bragged that using terror made him victorious and Muslims follow Mohammed as the best example. Islamic law states it is a communal obligation to fight Jihad and calls for unbelievers to be slaughtered wherever they are found.
    The Quran, the first pillar of Islam and Islamic law call for Muslims to hate unbelievers.
    Islamic scripture gives Muslims seven ways to kill people. Unbelievers, apostates, homosexuals, adulterers, Muslims not following the true path (Sunni kills Shia etc) must be killed. Honour killing and killing those who insult the religion or the prophet is allowed.
    How can we ever have peace when the ideology is so slanted to hatred and violence?

    A survey in the USA in 2011 found 81% of mosques teach violence and 51% teach extreme forms of violence and most mosques are funded by the Saudis who push wahhabism.
    Luckily the majority of Muslims just want to get on with their lives and don’t take these teachings seriously, but how can we ever know who is serious about their scripture?
    Dr Masjid al-Balushi stated a few years ago that any Muslim can become a terrorist overnight by studying the verse of the sword, Q9:5, and the associated hadith.

    A mosque is not like a synagogue or a church in that every mosque is modelled on Mohammed’s mosque in Medina where military battles were planned, terrorists trained, Sharia law punishments dealt out and so on. Monitoring mosques may be a small part of anticipating future acts of terrorism but our “moral relativistic” politicians are reluctant to do this.

  5. Michael

    I hope you will at least see my point of view. :

    To be sure, I have been involved in the study of history for a very long time, so I would “organically” be expected to subscribe to the historicity of the argument.
    Of all people, I am very, very tempted to leave history at the door – particularly at least two generations back – and concentrate on closer, actually very current tangible facts.
    I’ll tell you why. One of the quite persuasive arguments is the “dymanics” in the “evolution” of mankind, the inevitability of change according to , yes, historical circumstances. It works dialectically in two complementary modes. One would be the changes operating on the “activator” of the events, the other corresponding side is on the “recepient”. Causalities would alternate depending on each of the proponent. In our case it could be argued that the Jew of the 1938 Germany/Austria is no longer the Jew of Israel 2013, irrespective of the causal 2013 Jew. Once we attempt to include, propose/use the historicity of the 2013 in relation to 1938 we are accused of exploiting 1938 in order to justify the inequities for which the 2013 Jew is responsible. We may use the argument that there is consistency between the prejudice demonstarted on both 1938 and 2013, prejudice which would justify our reaction, this time from a radically different position. No good. It reeks of revenge particularly upon people NOT resposible for the 1938 events. More so, it could also be noted that the 1938 source of prejudice has been reconciled with, Israel and Germany/Austria are on excelent terms while Israel and the Palestinians ( a completely distinct entity and land ) are well into radical conflicts.
    Here we arrive, however, at the point of relevance as exacted by you , anyway.
    Islam and its quest for domination and aggrandizment ( see De Gaulle re the Jews !!!) are the main objects of our, Jewish, concern and the same should be the concern of ANY non Islamic entity. Israel is used with incredible effectiveness as the “causa belli” of Islam against an entire non Islamic civilisation and some of the REAL losers in it haven’t got a clue, more so, they are helping Islam toward the demise of their own free non-Isamic world.
    Iran is currently scoring big time with your Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry ( who, by the way, has some Jewish herritage, ain’t he !!??) on behalf the Universal “Green Front” onslaught against the dhimmy world ( that’s in ….historical refference to the Commie “Roth Front” ).
    Here, it seems, we have the indelible obligation to alert this imbecile world that Israel and the Jews in general are, for G-d’s sake, the carriers of justice and reason and that we are doing it not for our egotistic, inward looking, reasons, but to safeguard, protect the entire civilised world. Bloody idiots………………..

    In my next “instalment” I shall bore you strictly with historical histories.

  6. Otto – short & sweet would be better – your point is lost in diatribe. Islam is the enemy of every non-muslim. Jews, Christians, Hindu’s, Moonies, Scientologists, gays, aethiests – everyone non-muslim needs to know just how much of a threat muslims are to their cultures, religions, beliefs or lifestyles. Muhammad may have written “Jews & Christians” in his books of hate, as they were the only ones he knew about – but we are all never safe whilst islam is allowed to fester. We are their enemy, so they are our common enemy. This is spoken through their words, their actions & taught to their children. So what do we do about this significant, growing threat? You would be naive to believe they are not a threat – significant growing evidence mounts every day through muslim words & actions. “Moderate” muslim parents have given birth to extremists. The problem grows worse every day. Until we all wake up – it will grow like Nazism until a final conclusion. The problem is – islam is growing like a cancerous tumour in every country, a growth envisioned by many imams, by Gadaffi, by Obama, through halal sponsorship & ME oil. Our politicians are seemingly unaware or turning a blind eye. Our MSM reports but does not condemn muslim actions. What can we do?

  7. Yes, sir, Master Darryl. Sorry if my diatribe was melting the message YOU wanted delivered.
    Howz about a bit of largesse and delve into more than the ONE point you detected in my succinct “expose” on a few points I thought relevant and, actually, quite complimentary to the mono tribe you offered. Deal?

    Admin note: Otto please try to be polite!

  8. Deal Otto.