Gaza, Liberals, and Moral Equivalence

Gaza conflict

Written by Michael Medved

A big majority of Americans say Israel is justified in its response to Hamas, but a CNN/ORC poll shows revealing ideological differences in attitudes toward the Middle East.

Among Republicans, 73% stand with Israel, and among Independents that support remains strong at 56%. But among Democrats, only a minority – 45% – feels the Jewish state is justified in its military response in Gaza to stop rocket attacks and terror tunnels.

This attitude indicates that liberals have not only lost touch with public opinion but they’ve disconnected from reality. If Dems withhold their high-minded approval to a measured, targeted mission to prevent rocket assaults and to block kidnapping missions through the terror tunnels, then what Israeli response would they accept and recommend? Do they expect the Jewish state to absorb countless missile attacks without complaint, and to accept terrorist invasion of their towns and farms, in order to impress the enlightened souls of the international community with their moral superiority? At what point would Democrats deem a military reaction appropriate? After 1,000 rocket attacks? Or 5,000?

This is insanity, of course. Across the spectrum, Americans who back Israel outnumber those who don’t by nearly two-to-one (60-34%) but the reaction of demented Democrats reflects the leftist embrace of moral equivalence- their rejection of clear distinctions between right and wrong. Liberals love to prance and preen, advertising their own above-the-fray arrogance by citing imperfection on all sides. But there’s a difference between imperfection and painful mistakes in the fog of battle, and deliberate evil and blood lust.

Fortunately, conservatives feel far more comfortable with moral absolutes, and so rally to the support of Israel in this hour of need. Yes, sometimes distinctions are obvious between right and wrong, while some conflicts do come down to a struggle behind good and evil. American Jews, who fatuously gave 70% and more of their support to Barack Obama in both his presidential races, should keep this contrast in mind on the next Election Day.

Those tender souls who believe that the two sides share joint responsibility for the civilian casualties must meanwhile confront two questions.

First, what could Hamas do to stop the violence immediately? The answer should be obvious: If they halted their rocket attacks, and cooperated with destroying or incapacitating the terror tunnels into Israel, this brutal war would end quickly. Israel has already accepted two cease fires, one sponsored by Egypt and the Arab League, the other by the UN. Hamas rejected both offers.

Which raises the second question: what must Israel do, considering the Hamas intransigence, to bring the killing to an end?

For those who criticize current Israeli policies, what plan of action would advance the cause of peace more effectively? If Israel rewarded Hamas with some face-saving concession for the war the terrorists started, it would only encourage more wars-of-choice by the Gaza gang. If the world accedes to their demands because Hamas unleashed an orgy of deliberate destruction, that makes violent outbursts all the more likely in the future.

Rula Jabreal on MSNBC and other public apologists for murderous jihad claim that American media tilt overwhelmingly toward Israel. But the only positive treatment of the embattled Jewish state stems from its ability to describe war aims while no one on the other side will explain the aims of Hamas. Instead of explaining why Gaza thugs opted to launch a major war, Hamas sympathizers cite meaningless and false clichés about the way that pressure on any population necessarily generates violence and hatred. Yes, 100 rocket attacks a day may express such hatred but it has no purpose whatever other than satisfying the bloodlust of crazed killers and fanatics.

In this contest, the distinction between the two sides isn’t fuzzy, difficult or obscure. Israel is fighting to put an end to violence; Hamas is fighting to perpetuate and intensify terror aimed at random civilian targets. If Hamas disarms, there’s a chance that brutality would give way to some form of wary coexistence. If Israel disarms, it’s obvious that her residents would bear the brunt of increased attacks and looming disaster.

The moral contrast remains so clear that only the most stubborn and blinded relativist could refuse to acknowledge it. One war aim is admirable. The other is evil.

It shouldn’t be difficult for any individual or organization to decide which of the two sides deserves passionate support.

This article was originally published at