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.