Barack Obama and the Moral Equivalence of Holocaust


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.

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Erick Erickson

1 comment

  • After reading your post, I went back to reread the full text of the President’s speech in Cairo. While I agree with much of what you say, I don’t see where you are getting this moral equivalency argument? Picking separate paragraphs that talk about totally unrelated subjects and putting them together as if they are presented as some kind of comparison is in an incredible stretch. The President made it very clear that the Arab world must recognize Israel’s right to exist. He has stated it during his campaign, in his speeches in the US, and in his speeches in Arab countries. He has also clearly stated that the US has a special relationship with the State of Israel that will not be denied and that those who oppose this position had better get over it. He has further stated that the dispute between the nations in that region must be resolved by those nations and cannot be imposed by outside countries. Is this all not true?

    The fact that he states that the situation in Gaza and the West Bank is intolerable is also one that cannot be denied. Where there is difference is what has caused that situation and what can be done about it. President Obama apparently believes that continued negotiations between the parties with a larger US presence can result in a peaceful solution in the near term. History is not on his side. But he is correct that many inside Israel believe this to be true. However, he is ignoring the fact that the majority of the people in Israel no longer believe that is possible as long as the Palestinian territories are controlled by those who do not seek peace. That was proven by the latest elections in Israel.

    Here is where we agree. If peace is to be obtained the Arab nations throughout the Middle East must stop their charade. They must put pressure on the Palestinians. They must step up the plate and provide the financial support necessary to provide economic balance. It is not Israel’s responsibility to do so. It is not the US’s role to do so. Only then does peace have a chance in the near term.

Erick Erickson

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