The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche posited, “You have your way, I have my way. As for the right way, it does not exist.” Such moral relativism underpins the double standard that allows international leaders and powerful media to promote a crusade against ISIS terror while at the same time cast a blind eye to barbaric targeting of Israel and Jews.
The problem is that moral relativism—or, more accurately, immoral relativism—empowers terrorism and inevitably dooms any campaign to defeat global terrorism.
Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic World headquarters in Tehran is busy forging its latest "blame the Jew" big lie -- that Israel and "Zionist aggression" lurk behind the 11/13 Paris attacks. Iran’s FARS New Agency has “once again confirmed that French Jews were informed that the tragedy would happen. Just as it happened in the September 11 attacks 14 years ago.”
And while most of the world mourned innocents murdered on a Friday night in Paris, Gaza erupted in a pro-ISIS celebration, allowed by supposedly anti-ISIS Hamas. They burned the French Tricolour in celebration of the Paris terror attacks as a blow for ending Zionist oppression. In an interview to the Iranian news agency, Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki praised “the heroic acts being carried out by the young Palestinians against the Israeli enemy,” while equating Israelis and Nazis. Each of these murderers immediately enter the Palestinians' online Hall of Fame of Terror.
The sickness and evil of anti-Israel bigotry is nourished by Mary Hughes-Thompson, co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement. She tweeted, “I haven’t accused Israel of involvement. Still, Bibi is upset about the European settlement boycott. So who knows.” And then posted a cartoon showing a grotesquely caricatured Jew saying “Merci [Thank you]” to an ISIS fighter, because “Everything is working out as planned. Soon those White goyim will be on their knees.”
What is shocking is how important leaders in democracies, wittingly or not, actually undermine the anti-ISIS campaign. In Sweden, where the Jewish community had to cancel all evening activities and shutter its synagogues until further notice, Foreign Minister Margot Allstrom has linked Paris terror to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in an appalling way. She refers to the Middle East, “where not least the Palestinians see that there is no future. We must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.” Her use of “we” suggests moral solidarity, not with Jews under threat in Israel or in her own country, but with Palestinian terrorists.
Secretary of State John Kerry further muddied the waters by declaring at the U.S. Embassy in Paris: “There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo [last January in Paris], and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of—not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, 'OK, they're really angry because of this and that’.” Back in Washington, he tried to dial back the comment, but the damage had been done.
A few days earlier, State Department spokesman John Kirby reacted to the unending terrorist stabbings and shootings of innocent Israeli civilians by stating: “Individuals on both sides of this divide are–have proven capable of, and in our view, are guilty of acts of terrorism.”
The first post-Paris terror incident in France was the stabbing of an Orthodox Jewish teacher by an ISIS sympathizer. The world reacted with a collective yawn.
In the Jewish State, a year and a day after two Palestinians used meat cleavers to literally butcher Rabbis at prayer in a Jerusalem Synagogue, terrorists murdered Jews at prayer in Tel Aviv and gunned down an American Yeshiva student and two Israelis on a West Bank road. Much of the reportage defaulted to the “cycle of violence” in the Holy Land and listed statistics of how many died on “both sides.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote on Facebook: “Behind these terrorist attacks stands radical Islam, which seeks to destroy us, the same radical Islam that struck in Paris and threatens all of Europe. Whoever condemned the attacks in France needs to condemn the attacks in Israel. It’s the same terror. Whoever does not do this is a hypocrite and blind.”
But while leaders quietly appreciate the real-time intelligence Israel is providing to France and the media dutifully reported that Israeli radar was the first to detect evidence that a bomb brought down the Russian jet over Sinai, sympathy for Israelis cut down by terrorist is rarely expressed and Palestinian terrorism is rarely condemned.
The war on terror is indivisible. After France’s 11/13, the world has another opportunity to launch a global action plan.
A key starting point is to reject the “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” mantra that provides moral cover for those who direct or benefit from terrorism. It has worked especially well for Palestinian leaders. Why stop terror, when millions keep flowing in from donor nations, when human rights NGOs maintain a stoic silence when Jewish blood flows and when diplomatic legitimacy continues to expand?
Hopefully, ISIS will disappear at some point. But if the scourge of our time is to defaeted , civilized civilized people must set a single standard in the war to eradicate terrorism. Otherwise, new deadly acronyms of terror will emerge. And we and our children will be no safer.
Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.