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The Middle

Posted on Wednesday, October 25, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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20 Comments
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The easiest moral place to stand is in the middle.

Standing in the middle is comforting. It grants you the illusion that you are being evenhanded, that you see nuance and complexity where others see black and white. It is flattering to be in the middle – no one hates your viewpoint enough to make you their opponent, and yet you get to stand apart from everyone, tut-tutting both sides.

When it comes to Israel and its terror-backing enemies, the West has, for some decades, taken precisely that position.

Sure, Israel should be able to defend itself.

But not too much.

Yes, Israel has the right to exist.

But it must make concessions to those who seek Israel’s destruction.

When Israel’s enemies pursue the worst atrocities in four generations, it’s difficult to maintain that position of studied neutrality, in which attacks on Israel are chalked up to political differences and shrugged away. It turns out that scenes of brutally massacred children, women and men tend to upset the moral stomach.

But then the stomach settles again.

All it takes to return to that sophisticated neutrality is a few false platitudes – a few comforting lies.

Three of those lies have been provided in significant supply by the hard Left and its allies in the legacy media.

The first lie is that Israel must be warned not to engage in human rights violations.

We hear this nostrum all the time: from the president of the United States, from the United Nations, from the media. The idea is that if Israel’s leadership isn’t reminded in the wake of the worst pogrom since the Holocaust, those rude Jews might carpet-bomb Gaza. The purpose of the lie is simple: to get Israel to stop defending itself at the first available opportunity. If you warn the world that Israel is likely to pursue atrocities, and then – as inevitably happens in war – something terrible happens, Israel can quickly be shoved back into the box of moral equivalence.

Voila! Status quo ante restored.

Of course, this lie is a lie. And it is a stupidly offensive lie, in the same way that it is a lie when the United Nations warns the United States about human rights violations. Israel is a professional military that abides by the rules of war. Its enemies openly cheer the death of civilians, both Israel’s and their own. By all rights, the entire political and media infrastructure ought to be using their supposed moral suasion on human rights to convince Hamas to release hostages and protect their own citizens. But, of course, there’s no real interest in that. The lie must be maintained. Israel has to be warned about human rights, because secretly, the Jews are just like Hamas.

Then there’s the second lie: that we must all remember the vaunted Peace Process. Yes, the Peace Process that was obviously and clearly a ruse undertaken by Yasser Arafat in order to provide the jumping-off point for a genocidal war on the Jews; the Peace Process that has ended in the election of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the leadership of Islamic Jihad and the terror-paying Palestinian Authority in the West bank. We must, the lie goes, remember the two-state solution!

Of course, this lie is dangerous, too. It’s dangerous because, once again, it inevitably places the blame on Israel for terrorism against Israel. If only the Jews had made more concessions – other than, you know, the partition plan of 1947 (rejected by the Arabs); the Egyptian-Israeli peace deal of 1979 (the Arab states boycotted Egypt after Anwar Sadat’s peace with Israel for almost a decade); the Oslo Accords themselves; Ehud Barak’s 2000 Camp David proposal (rejected by Arafat, and a violent terror war launched resulting in the death of 1,184 Israelis); the Gaza Withdrawal of 2005 (Hamas was elected and has been launching terror attacks ever since); Ehud Olmert’s 2008 peace plan (rejected by Mahmoud Abbas outright); and former President Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century (rejected before even being seen).

But Israel, the lie goes, must continue to make painful concessions. If they don’t, Jew-murder is inevitable. Moral equivalence restored!

Finally, there’s the third lie: that anti-Zionism has nothing to do with antisemitism. That lie is currently being encouraged by the equation of antisemitism with Islamophobia by many members of our elite. The antisemitism we see today on college campuses is part and parcel of the anti-Semitism that ended with the slaughter of 1,500 Jews in the Gaza Envelope: hatred of Jews is the driving force behind hatred of Israel. But in order to restore any semblance of moral cover for hating Israel, anti-Zionism must be separated from anti-Semitism. The easiest way to accomplish that is to downplay the obvious reflection between international Jew-hatred and attacks on Israel, and instead to subsume anti-Semitism under the broader rubric of lack of multicultural tolerance.

It’s a lie, and it’s an obvious lie. Yes, there are occasional acts of targeting of Muslims. They are nothing like the targeting of Jews. They do not follow the same logic, they do not occur anywhere near as frequently, and they are not spurred by a sort of cycle of violence in the Middle East.

All of these comforting lies are useful in allowing the morally idiotic to attempt to regain a high ground via a falsely restored moral equivalence. And how eager they are for that moral equivalence! That moral equivalence allows Leftist Jews to pretend that they won’t be lumped in with their fellow Jews by the intersectional coalition; it allows the intersectional to pretend that they are on the side of the righteous even as they make excuses for Hamas; it allows the international community to continue to pressure Israel after the mass murder of Jews.

Never Again doesn’t apply, after all, if the Jews are part of the problem.

And so, after approximately one week of global dyspepsia with the evil of Hamas, the world is gradually returning to its steady diet of moral equivalency. They’re doing so with eagerness and alacrity. And that should be terrifying to those who actually oppose genocidal Jew-hatred.

Ben Shapiro, 39, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.”

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Roger Ott
Roger Ott
5 months ago

Personly I hope they wipe hamas from the face of the earth

anna hubert
anna hubert
5 months ago

Unless Islam is open to reformation and questions about the teachings of a psychopath the poison will continue to spread

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
5 months ago

Good comment Ben , I have no doubt about your sincerity or your knowledge ( I am 73, have never been to the Middle East ) — I just thought that it should be considered ,in some circumstances , that there really is no Middle — that the concept of a middle is what could best be described as an illusion — that may be due to certain ideas that are not clear in understanding , or have not been presented properly. Hamas is Evil , commiting war crimes is evil , Those who stand for principles that involve Honor, Honesty, Integrity, Courage and Loyalty — are Good. With respect for Israel , and with the spirit of God bless America , land of the free and home of the brave. What I have in mind when when I stated doubt about the Middle idea is in agreement with what you wrote toward the end of the article — about the ” comforting lies ” that the anti – Jewish ,anti – Israel enemies of freedom promote . That stuff needs to be watched out for — Praise for your good work in this article Ben , Well Done !

Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
5 months ago

The U.S.literally pounded Germany and Japan flat during WWII.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
5 months ago

What gets me is how I keep hearing the term “two state solution” bandied about with ppl who clearly want to wipe Israel (and Israelis) off the map! They must all be A+ students of the Neville Chamberlain School of International Politics.

marty
marty
5 months ago

Nobody wants the “Palestinians” , Dementia Joe wouldn’t even go to East Palestine,Ohio ! Palestinians are the “N” word of the Arab world and as such, aren’t welcome anywhere. they lived for 70 years in tents, as cannon fodder for the P. A. ,Hamas, Hezbollah,and Iran. When Israel cedes land or homes to them, they destroy them ! An old saying goes “Give a Jew desert, he will make it grow, but give a Palestinian a piece of desert, he will throw it at you ” The dig up water pipes to build rockets to bomb Israel. Britain took this land from the Otterman Empire and in1948 set up a state for the Jewish people. The “Palestinians” were offered their own state, but refused. The Arab world promptly attacked Israel on 5 sides and lost on all fronts losing land to Israel. In 75 years the Arabs have learned nothing, so IDF have at it, Finish it this time !! .

James
James
5 months ago

Palestine is replaced by Israel rightly so because Israel is the historic name older than Palestine, a Roman name used by the British in the Palestinian Mandate that included Jordan. Palestinian Arabs that want to remain in the Land of Israel but don’t want to assimilate into Israel became isolated. Many fought against Israel and lost lives and lands. Arab nations don’t want them to immigrate into their nations either so technically Gaza is either a dependant state of Israel or the answer to a two state solution. Gaza is about to get 50% smaller as the people were asked to flee the current war zone in Northern Gaza. However as missiles come from Southern Gaza there will be a quick response taken there also. The purpose of evacuation is for some to survive as all maybe most will refuse to leave or cannot leave because they are hostage to HAMAS. HAMAS the government party ruling Gaza uses Gazan people as human shields and will kill their own people without hesitation if they seek to flee Gaza, I question any right of HAMAS to exist as they have always been a terrorist group. I cannot say where to move refugees from Gaza to but an American response if Israel agreed, to avoid friendly fire, would be to rescue those that flee to the Mediterranean Sea. Maybe even shooting HAMAS as they shoot refugees fleeing. Best answer for relocation of Gazan refugees is to let them decide where to go but keep the bulk of them that want to stay home as close to Israel as possible. Maybe build a peninsula from rubble into the sea and create islands off Gaza could be a place to go. The objective is no more HAMAS to protect both Israelis and Gazan people. Problem is HAMAS consists of uncles, cousins and brothers of Gazan people.

Tplorable
Tplorable
5 months ago

So ridiculous. These psychotic nutjobs attack Israel and do unspeakable things and then want a ceasefire. There is definitely something mentally wrong with them. All they care about is death and destruction. They love death!

Elizabeth S Misa
Elizabeth S Misa
5 months ago

Well, weather you are in the middle or not, it does not make sense to me to kill women and children on either side. The ones in Hamas who killed innocent people should be brought to justice. We should not be pushing hate and want to exterminate people. We should be seeking peace and punish those responsible. Two wrongs do make a right!

Ben
Ben
5 months ago

We should stand with Israel and The Ivy League colleges I feed these youngest kids brains with mush and all the false narrative from the major newscasting about what is going Over there. Just stirring inflaming anti bigotry towards Christians or Jews. who oppose Hamas a terrorist leader organization back by Iran who want to exterminate us because their leaders hate free societies like ours we know what they do to their women and children and especially homosexual’s it’s an abusive religion.

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