Immoral equivalencies

All these decades after Hitler, the Big Lie tradition is alive and thriving in our region.

Fogel Itamar Attack 311 (photo credit: Courtesy Yesha Council)
Fogel Itamar Attack 311
(photo credit: Courtesy Yesha Council)
The term “Big Lie” was coined by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, where he argued that a sufficiently colossal lie is likely to be believed precisely because of the perception that nobody “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” His propaganda minister Josef Goebbels employed the tactic effectively because “when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it.”
All these decades later the Big Lie tradition is alive and thriving in our region, adjusted to suit postmodern idioms. The latest example is afforded by likening the deliberate slaughter of the Fogel family in Itamar to the results of a battlefield error in Gaza.
On March 11, five members of the Fogel family were hideously knifed in their own home at Itamar – the parents Udi and Ruth, 11-year-old Yoav, three-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas. The throats of Udi, Yoav and tiny Hadas were slit in their beds. Elad suffered two stab wounds to his heart.
This was anything but a chance mishap.
This was premeditated, beyond cold-hearted.
The homicides were the handiwork of terrorists who encountered their blameless victims face-to-face and, with malice aforethought, did not shrink from piercing an infant’s neck.
On Tuesday an IDF unit struck a terror cell, killing its four members who were behind a recent Grad attack on Beersheba. One of the shells accidentally and unfortunately hit civilians in Sajaya, killing four people, aged 11, 17, 20 and 51. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu immediately expressed regret for the unintentional loss of life, stressing nonetheless that Hamas continues to rocket “Israeli civilians intentionally, while using [their own] civilians as human shields.” He added that Israel has no alternative but to defend its population. A similar statement was issued by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Israel’s ostensible peace partner, the Palestinian Authority, however, rushed to hone the spurious Itamar-Gaza analogy, which besides falsely implying premeditated Israeli murderous designs, also disingenuously downplays the bestiality of what took place in Itamar.
Speaking at a Tel Aviv University gathering sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki portrayed the Itamar and Gaza incidents as morally equivalent and asked whether Israel’s prime minister was as willing to apologize for the Gaza deaths as Israel demands that the PA do vocally, without equivocation and in its own media, for Israeli deaths.
Malki studiously ignored the regrets already expressed by Israel, but even more so the fact that although deaths resulted from both incidents, they were inherently different.
Israel categorically does not target noncombatants.
Israel’s enemies deliberately target Israeli civilians, as was bitterly re-emphasized yet again with Wednesday’s bombing opposite Binyanei Ha’uma in Jerusalem, and as the unprovoked indiscriminate rocketing of Israeli population centers clearly demonstrates. Indeed, the aim is to kill as many innocents as possible; the Gaza rocket warheads, like Wednesday’s Jerusalem bomb, come packed with steel ball-bearings for maximal murderous impact.
The inescapable fact is that had no attacks come from Gaza, an area from which Israel has fully withdrawn, with no civilian or military presence, there would be no call for Israeli self-defense.
The deceptive equation was amplified by Arab-Israeli MKs hectoring from the Knesset podium on Tuesday.
After Netanyahu called for more forthright Palestinian condemnation of the Itamar atrocity, MK Ahmed Tibi (Ta’al) demanded furiously: “Why don’t you condemn the IDF’s murder of children in Gaza?” MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) weighed in on the same theme.
It would be a minor consolation were the false moral equivalence only an Arab idiosyncrasy. But it resonates elsewhere, too. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon harshly and vehemently condemned the IDF action in Gaza, again placing offense and defense on an equal plane.
Nobody noted the celebrations that erupted in Gaza when news of the Itamar outrage was broadcast, nor the anomaly that Malki himself had doubted aloud that Palestinians had perpetrated the Itamar massacre. PA President Mahmoud Abbas deplored the Itamar attack on Israel Radio but he and his hierarchy continue to fete terrorists, demand their release, reward them financially, name streets and schools after them, extol them as role models and tolerate pro-terror indoctrination in the media, mosques and classrooms.
DELIBERATE KILLINGS of civilians, perpetrated in a climate of hatred, on the one hand, and inadvertent killings, the unfortunate consequence of the need to defend civilians against unprovoked attack, on the other. Utterly dissimilar motivations, circumstances and goals.
To draw false parallels between them is a shameful variant on the despicable Big Lie.