This is perhaps one of the most disturbing parts of Barack Obama’s speech to the muslim world.
While insisting on the reality of the holocaust, something many muslims deny, Barack Obama puts the genocide of 6 million Jews in the same category of what has happened to the Palestinians — something largely inflicted on themselves through their suicide bombings, calls for the destruction of Israel, etc. He treats them as morally equivalent.
Read this passage from today’s speech:
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. ….Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today.….
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable.
The American Heritage Dictionary notes that the idiom “on the one/other hand” refers to “two sides of an issue”, that is two sides of the same issue.
How is what happened to the Jews the same issue as what is happening to the Palestinians?
The Palestinians have been willful terrorists gladly willing to hinder and harm their own interests and those of their future generations to see Israel wiped off the map. Israel has attempted to give Palestinians some sovereignty, but the moderate elements within Palestinian territory were overrun by terrorists.
There can be no moral equivalence here. Treatment of the Palestinians is largely in the hands of the Palestinians. Treatment of Israel by arabs and others is not in Israel’s hands, unless you assume Israel is happy to commit national suicide.
But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.
We do not have to look at this conflict from either side to see there is something profoundly wrong with a culture that encourages its elementary school children to be suicide bombers.
It is profoundly naive to think Palestinians want to peacefully co-exist with Israel. And it is morally wrong to treat the treatment of Jews and the treatment of Palestinians as morally equivalent.
(H/t to Paul Seale for pointing out this part of the transcript, which I had initially missed while listening to the speech)