In the modern world cultural relativism is the thriving standard. Cultural relativism holds that no nation better than any other. No culture is superior to any other. This leads to the concept of moral equivalency between competing systems, nations, and cultures. In their embrace of moral equivalency, modern Western relativists argue against any moral distinction between rivals. All are equally valid: the Allies vs. the Axis powers in World War II, the USA and its European allies vs. the USSR and the rest of the Communist bloc; the West and Islam; Israel and Hamas.
Relativists seem unable to recognize the difference between civilized and uncivilized behavior. They would perhaps agree that the jihadist beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl, for example, was barbaric. But from a platform of moral and cultural relativism it is impossible to judge the culture that produces such behavior.
Moral relativists argue for a moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel
In fact, it is impossible, from such a perspective, to recognize that such behavior is in fact the product of a culture.
Moral relativists argue, either forcefully or tacitly, that a moral equivalency exists between Hamas and other jihadist groups on the one hand, and Israel on the other. They are wrong. In at least six dimensions. Note the absence of moral equivalence in,
- The political realm: Israel practices democracy while Hamas exercises a ruling tyranny.
- Defense strategy: Israel uses missiles to defend her people, Hamas uses Palestinian people to defend their missiles. The Israel Defense Forces places soldiers between civilians and Hamas fighters; Hamas fighters put civilians between themselves and Israeli soldiers. A Hamas urban warfare manual describes how to use people as human shields to protect their missiles and fighters.
- Military operations: Hamas places weapons, missile and mortar launchers, and tunnel entrances in schools, hospitals, mosques, homes, and UN facilities. They do so to draw Israeli counterattacks toward innocent people and exploit the results as propaganda. Israel puts its military sites away from civilian populations.
- The religious realm: Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims are expelled from Arab lands. Israel, a Jewish state, welcomes Muslims, Jews, Christians, Atheists, and Druses as full citizens with freedom to practice their religious convictions.
- The cultural realm: One culture celebrates life, the other, death. Osama bin Laden and other jihadists famously brag, “These [jihadist] youths love death as you love life.” Islamists are terrorists in nature and tactics. They use beheading, raping and stoning of women, and wanton execution of civilian populations to achieve their goals. Before the Israelis destroy buildings where Hamas has located military equipment they warn civilians to get away. After such attacks Israeli medical personnel treat enemy combatants. To see the reality of this Jihadist evil simply do a Google search of images: “beheading” or “ISIS ethnic cleansing.” Or see this ISIS propaganda video. [WARNING: BE PREPARED FOR GRAPHIC DEPICTIONS OF VIOLENCE.]
These images reveal the incarnation of evil in the acts of man. They are reminiscent of the images from Hitler’s death camps. This is cleansing of ethnic and religious minorities in the extreme. And what does it say about the jihadists that they take pictures of the beheadings and mass killings and use these in promotional films to attract new recruits?
- The goal: Hamas and other Islamist groups aspire to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. The goal of Israel is to live at peace with its neighbors, including Palestinians. As the vilified Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed it: “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.”
Hamas aspires to eliminate Israel
Much could be written about each of these six dimensions of disparity, and there are more contrasts besides these. Only those who refuse to see can suggest a moral equivalence. As Samuel P. Huntington argues in his controversial book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, conflicts are rooted in religion, culture, and ideological vision. We certainly see this in the conflict between Hamas and the Jews in Israel and groups like ISIS against Christians and the Yezidis in Iraq.
- Darrow Miller
NOTE: We rarely solicit funds at Darrow Miller and Friends. However, if you have been moved by the plight of ethnic cleansing among Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq, and want a way to help, here are a couple of worthy avenues. My friends, Dr. George Grant and Dave Dillard, have been working in northern Iraq for some 15 years and have contacts with the church in Kurdistan. If you would like to help, see the links below. These will provide you, or your church, a way to get resources to those who are suffering. Please pass this information on to your friends. And please pray.