Straining for moral equivalence where there is none

Normally, when a gunman enters a school and treats students like birds in a turkey shoot, the media covers the matter obsessively, dwelling for days on the horror of those trapped in the carnage — and this is true whether the shooting takes place at home or abroad. Such was not the case when it came to the high school massacre in Jerusalem. The press reporting it spoke of the killing in distant terms, made sure to reference how bad life was for the Palestinians, and then promptly ignored the whole thing. Jonathan Medved (who is, I believe, Michael Medved’s brother), has written the best article I’ve seen yet on the utter evil behind this viewpoint that there’s just a “cycle of violence” and that there is no meaningful difference between Jews and Arabs (and he’s not just talking about the inhuman and inhumane celebrations in which the Palestinians routinely engage when Israelis die at their hands):

[T]he real story is the failure of much of the world’s media to report this story in context, and to see it for the pure evil that it really is. Moral relativity has caused an amazing inability to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys in this story. Most media pundits see the attack as part of a larger and endless cylce of violence, with each side, the Israelis and Palestinians constantly hitting back at each other. The NY Times worried that the attack “seemed likely to continue or intensify the surge of hostilities between Palestinians and Israelis in recent days.” But little attention is ever given to the particular nature of these hostilities and what drives them.

The Palestinian terrorists are simply trying to destroy Israel by killing as many Jews, especially children, as possible. While Israel is talking peace and trying to negotiate the establishment of a Palestinian state, Hamas and their allies have launched almost 8000 rockets at Israel from the Gaza territory from which Israel withdrew over two years ago. Hamas, Hizbullah, and Iran call repeatedly for the destruction of Israel (and ‘Death to America’ as well). Even the relatively moderate Palestinian President Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, or finally and forever renounce the “armed resistance option” in case peace talks don’t satisfy his demands for a full right of return for millions of Palestinians. Palestinian terrorists have for decades since the massacre at Maalot in 1974 which killed 16 Israeli school children regularly and deliberately targeted Jewish schools and Jewish kids. In January of this year another pair of armed terrorists entered another high school library in Gush Etzion near Jerusalem, but in that case they were shot as they began their attack and they were stopped before they could kill anyone Palestinian terror whether from rockets, suicide bombers or gunmen always and specifically targets Jewish civilians—trying simply to kill as many of us as possible in as gruesome a fashion as possible.

Israel on the other hand is waging a war against Palestinian terror and trying hard to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties. Israel is trying to stop the attacks on its territory by attacking those who are planning these attacks before they can carry them out. Israel is attacking the Palestinian terrorists directly in their cars and jeeps, in their training bases, in their weapons storehouses, or hitting them when they are out launching their rockets. However, these terrorists launch their rockets from within schools or crowded neighborhoods and send kids to retrieve the launchers in so doing hoping that when Israel tries to prevent or respond to these attacks the maximum Palestinian civilian casulties will result. Despite this cynical attempt to cause harm to their own civilians, its amazing that the vast majority of those killed by Israeli anti-terror attacks are still the terrorists themselves. No country in the world would sit idly by and not respond to a massive rocket bombardment of its sovereign territory. No country would allow hundreds of thousands of its citizens to suffer dozens of daily rocket attacks without fighting back . No one can ask this of Israel when we are openly threatened with extinction, and facing enemies who not only deny the holocaust but are busy planning how to carry out a new one with advanced weapons –including missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

When the media reports the death tolls on both sides of this Israel-Hamas conflict, it always makes a false comparison-as though this was simply a football or baseball game where its important to keep score and if one side looses more then maybe we should be sympathetic to that side or wait until the toll evens up. However no matter what the death toll, one side wants to make peace, has withdrawn its troops, wants to compromise, wants to live quietly, and to celebrate life. The other side wants to destroy, to wipe out a last refuge, to kill , to maim and to celebrate a sick culture of martyrdom and death that seeks all or nothing.

The only impossibly wrong thing about Medved’s article isn’t the article itself, but is the fact that its words will not reach the best audience.  The ones reading it are the people like you and me who already know the truth of what he’s saying. The ones who ought to be reading it — the reporters and politicians who continually impose a false moral equivalence on the combatants — would never dream of reading this type of “stuff” and proceed blithely unaware of the deadly fallacy in their thinking.