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Israel's Decency and Hamas' Cruelty Mean Nothing to 'The Left'

Dennis Prager on

The moral confusion of our time is therefore not new. Almost 3,000 years ago, the Prophet Isaiah lamented, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."

But at the start of the20th century, a new form of moral confusion was introduced. While there were always those who called good evil and evil good, shortly after Einstein discovered relativity in the natural order, Western civilization applied relativity to the moral order. As the late historian Paul Johnson wrote in "Modern Times": "At the beginning of the 1920s the belief began to circulate, for the first time at a popular level, that there were no longer any absolutes: of time and space, of good and evil, of knowledge, above all of value" (italics added).

Until then, though often poorly applied or simply ignored, there was the belief in the West that moral truths exist. Then, as Johnson writes, "Mistakenly but perhaps inevitably, relativity became confused with relativism."

Everything became relative -- you have your values, I have mine; what I think (or more accurately, what I feel) is good is good, and what I think/feel is bad is bad. This is even true with regard to truth: As the increasingly popular saying goes, I have "my truth" and you have "your truth."

Instead of good and evil, we now have a set of other "moral" categories: rich and poor, white and black, colonizers and colonized, strong and weak, oppressors and oppressed. Those in the latter groups -- the poor, people of color, the colonized, the weak and the oppressed (real or alleged) -- are, by definition, good, while those in the former categories are, by definition, bad. To cite one widely held example, blacks cannot be racist. I was taught that nonsense in graduate school in the 1970s, and it has become a truism among the well-educated.

This explains the widespread sympathy for the Palestinians and antipathy toward Israel.

 

In a morality-based world, Israel would be universally supported. But we don't live in such a world; we live in the world of substitute-categories, and Israel falls into every one of the "bad" categories. Israel is perceived as rich, strong, white, a colonizer and an oppressor.

This is morally backward.

Israel is a modern liberal democracy. It has a robust free press, vibrant opposition and an independent judiciary. Two million Israelis -- a fifth of the country's population -- are Arabs, who, in the words of the Council on Foreign Relations, "have the same legal rights as Jewish Israelis have." They have their own political parties, with 10 seats in Israel's parliament. Arabic, as any tourist to Israel sees, is, alongside Hebrew, Israel's official language. There have even been Arab supreme court justices.

In fact, Arabs in Israel are, even now, considerably more pro-Israel than the New York Times, most Democrats and, of course, the United Nations. Reuters, which leans left, reported in November that "The Gaza war has dramatically increased the sense of solidarity with Israel among its 21% Arab minority." And The Economist reported in mid-January, "Even as war rages in Gaza, Israel's Arabs are feeling more Israeli ... Two-thirds of Israeli Palestinians say they identified with their state, up from half before the war."

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