The Israel-Hamas War: The False “Moral Equivalence” of John J. Farmer, Jr.

The last three weeks have been a time of agony and nightmare for not only Israel but for World Jewry as well.  The breakdown in Israeli security and intelligence has resulted in a level of unprecedented wartime endangerment of Israeli civilians.

It also for me personally revived a torrent of nightmarish memories from my youth and early adult years of killing of Jews by Palestinian Arabs.   These included the bloodthirsty murders in the 1950s and 1960s of Israeli farmers by Palestinian Arab fedayeen invading from Gaza, the Nazi-like execution of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by Black September, an affiliate of Yasir Arafat’s Al-Fatah, and the slaughter of 22 Israeli school children by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in May, 1974 in Ma’alot, Israel.

I remember how a few days before my high school graduation and the start of the Six Day War in June, 1967, Ahmed Shukeiri, the predecessor of Yasir Arafat as the first chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization boasted of the Palestinian Arab intention to “throw the Jews into the sea” and claimed that “no Jews would remain alive” after the anticipated Arab destruction of Israel.   Of course, it must be said that the Palestinian Arab terrorist leaders always made one concession:  They gave us Jews the right to be buried in our own cemeteries.

So I concede my emotional torment during this period.  As a member of an extended family with numerous Holocaust victims and survivors, many of whom found new lives and hope in the State of Israel, I could hardly be expected to remain dispassionate.

Yet there are two other features of the impact in America of the Israeli war with Hamas that are unprecedented.

The first is the number of leftist Jews who have taken up the cause of the supposedly “innocent” Palestine Arabs as their own.  Most notable in this regard is Sarah Schulman, a leftist New York Jewish activist and playwright who is the archetypal “useful idiot” from the Jewish community for the Palestinian Arab cause.  These Jewish defectors cherish the “human rights” of those who want to kill Jews.

The second is the embrace by a large portion of the American academic community of the notion of “moral equivalence” between the Israelis and Palestine Arabs.  These misguided individuals dishonestly neglect an inconvenient truth: That the original and persistent cause of the conflict since the United Nations partition vote authorizing the establishment of Israel in November, 1947 is the implacable refusal of the Palestine Arabs to recognize the very existence of Israel as a Jewish State.

And now, the ranks of the “moral equivalence” school have been bolstered by the addition of John J. Farmer, Jr., the former Attorney General of New Jersey and now a prominent academic at Rutgers University, most recently the Director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics.  He made clear his adherence to the dubious “moral equivalence” school in his October 23, 2023 column in the Star-Ledger, “In Israel and Gaza, the ultimate failure of politics.”

The article begins innocuously enough with Farmer describing his participation as a legal advisor to General Jim Jones, the Special Envoy for Middle East Regional Security on a fact-finding mission to Israel and Gaza during the Bush 43 administration.  He expresses empathy with Jews, Christians, and Muslims he met on the trip.  He was at least factual enough to concede that the recent Hamas invasion was “the largest systematic massacre of Jewish civilians since the Holocaust, it was a crime against humanity and should be treated as such, and certainly not celebrated or justified or explained away.”

He then expresses the hope that the prospects for a just and lasting peace will be improved if the “current armed struggle is conducted with care for innocent lives.”

All reasonable enough.  But then in his last two paragraphs, Farmer displays his adherence to the “moral equivalence” doctrine in a grotesque distortion of the reality of the conflict between Israel and the Palestine Arabs, as follows.

“But it will be achieved only if this struggle proves a turning point, ending the outsized influence of the nihilist death cultists of Hamas among the Palestinians and the deluded far-right fantasists among the Israelis, whose visions for the future are remarkably congruent. Each wishes for the obliteration of the other population so they never have to see each other again.”

“We must ensure that neither gets its wish.

Note the use by Farmer of the word “obliteration.”  Roget’s Thesaurus defines “obliterate” and “exterminate” as synonyms.

I defy Farmer to find any Israeli political element of even the most infinitesimal significance who advocates extermination of Arab civilians, Palestinian or otherwise.  Even the most extremist elements in Israeli politics, the Kahanists, whose support among Israelis rarely exceeds three percent, refrain from any rhetoric advocating extermination or genocide of Arab civilians.  Farmer cannot produce a scintilla of evidence supporting his assertion that “deluded right-wing fantasists” in Israel wish for the obliteration of the Palestinian Arabs so that they never have to see them again.

As for mainstream right-of-center Zionist leaders, including Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Menachem Begin, and even Bibi Netanyahu (whom I have criticized severely and even called for his removal) they have denounced in no uncertain terms those who have called for expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from Israel or the West Bank.  And Menachem Begin was an outspoken advocate for the human rights of Arabs, both within pre-1967 Israel and the West Bank.

The reverse is true of the Palestinian Arabs.  As noted by the renowned Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, the Hamas rhetoric is an incitement to genocide of the people of Israel. And the spiritual ancestral godfather of Hamas is the late Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the leader of the Palestinian Arabs prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948.  He was an ally of Nazi Germany who was feted by Adolf Hitler in Berlin in 1941.

And let there be no question that Hamas is a mainstream Palestinian Arab entity, reflective of the Arab Street.  It came to power in the Palestinian legislative election of 2006, in which it finished first with 44.45 percent of the vote and a majority of 74 of the 132 seats.

The Palestinian Arab voters in that election had absolutely no doubt as to the genocidal intention of Hamas towards Jews.  Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant of 1988 proclaims the following:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

So Farmer’s statement that there are “deluded far-right fantasists among the Israelis, whose visions for the future are remarkably congruent” with those of Hamas constitutes a gross and obscene distortion of reality and in fact, a blatant falsehood.  He cannot produce any evidence whatsoever of congruence between Hamas and the goals of the Israeli extremist right.  The conflation of the two is profoundly intellectually dishonest.

What Farmer has done is to find a moral equivalence between the Palestine Arabs, who have a tradition of leadership with a genocidal message, and an Israel whose leadership emphatically repudiates and condemns genocide.  Farmer is embracing a false equation.

To be sure, Farmer has achieved political correctness in academia with his embrace of “moral equivalence” of Israel and the Palestine Arabs.  The following quote of Golda Meir makes clear how meaningless this political correctness is:

“If we have to have a choice between being dead and pitied, and being alive with a bad image, we’d rather be alive and have the bad image.”

Before you mischaracterize Israel again, Mr.  Farmer, please consider that quote.

Alan J. Steinberg of Highland Park served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

 

 

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4 responses to “The Israel-Hamas War: The False “Moral Equivalence” of John J. Farmer, Jr.”

  1. I have a major problem with those who support Hamas and the Palestinians. According to history, for almost 4000 years, the Jewish people have lived in the land that that Palestinians and Hamas say belongs to them. The Jews gave Palestinians Gaza and the West Bank as a peace offering. All the Jewish people have gotten in return is rockets, death and destruction.

    What people don’t understand is that the Israelis are the only ones that gave Palestinians a place to live (Gaza, West Bank), because no other Middle East country, whether it be Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, etc., wanted them. Many of those Mid-East countries kicked the Palestinians out of those countries because Palestinians are hereditarily terrorists, the dregs of society, troublemakers, lazy, and mentally deranged.

    The more advanced Muslim countries do not want these people in their societies. The corporate leftist mainstream media keeps saying that 1/2 of the population is terrorists. But, the other 1/2 voted them in to power. Palestinians teach their own children to hate Israel and America from the time they start school. So, Palestinians are ALL terrorists. They created their own situation and now want to kill others that they do not like, e.g., Israelis, Americans, women, gays (that they throw off the roofs of tall buildings).

    As noted by the renowned Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, the Hamas rhetoric is an incitement to genocide of the people of Israel. And the spiritual ancestral godfather of Hamas is the late Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the leader of the Palestinian Arabs prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948. He was an ally of Nazi Germany who was feted by Adolf Hitler in Berlin in 1941.

    And let there be no question that Hamas is a mainstream Palestinian Arab entity, reflective of the Arab Street. It came to power in the Palestinian legislative election of 2006, in which it finished first with 44.45 percent of the vote and a majority of 74 of the 132 seats.

    The Palestinian Arab voters in that election had absolutely no doubt as to the genocidal intention of Hamas towards Jews. Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant of 1988 proclaims the following:

    “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

    The United States should NOT allow any Palestinians, Gazans or West Bankers into this country whatsoever. They are terrorists, criminals and anti-freedom. Just look at our Congresscritter Rashida Tlaib. She is a Palestinian. Apparently, she has serious mental disorders and hates everyone not Palestinian. It must take a lot of energy out of her, and others like her (Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, AOC, etc.) to hate and be stupid.

  2. So true. The Jewish leftists as noted need to have have their brains examined through an advanced colonoscopy. Israel, American Jews, all with compassion and hopes of a permanent and meaningful peace gave the Palestinians Gaza and the West Bank. That is their own country so to speak. For what? To be constantly crapped on, demeaned, and attacked. You are right. The Hamas desires to destroy Israel and they are voted in by the Palestinians.
    It’s really a terrible set of circumstances, but it’s the reality.
    Sometimes hatred, and behavior demonstrated in furtherance of that behavior, simply needs to be abruptly stopped. This is one of those times that placators such as Bidon and his weak ilk need to be swept aside and and strong leaders that believe in America and American Exceptionalism need and must be elected. Strong American leadership along with stronger Israeli leadership need to stoke and end this nonsense.
    Anyone with a working brain knows history repeats itself. We have experienced very dark and stormy history. If we do not change course we find ourselves back in very difficult and stormy times. Ask Neville Chamberlain.
    We must support Israel, support a firm and unequivocal peace option with economic prosperity for all involved, Palestinians and Israelis and the entire world will benefit.
    We cannot allow the Hamas, Hezbollah, Iranian Mullahs and Islamic religious fanatics to continue to propagate their terroristic ambitions. Theirs is not a valuable, moral, forthright beneficial ideal. Theirs is for the destruction and extermination of whole groups of people. The State of Israel and and the Jewish people. That mentality must be eradicated. Fanaticism leading to violence should not be tolerated on any level on any side. Fanaticism breeds intolerance, hatred and as we have witnessed violence. That applies across the board. Tolerance, understanding, appreciation, for our individual differences must taught, encouraged, engendered, and accepted! Comparing, contrasting and accepting our vast socio religious and political differences, our differences in upbringing should be taught and fostered at schools, community centers and hopefully at home. Not hate, ignorance and destruction.
    At times hate, ignorance and destruction must be met with force, and enough force to overcome evil. The rules of engagement must be geared to victory.
    Those college professors, universities and colleges supporting such anti American, anti Israel ideas and mentality here and abroad must be identified and public funding must must cease to those bastions of poorly directed education and their very much unenlightened and lost so called educators. Reasonably minded donors must must close checkbooks to those so called educational institutions and entities.
    We have First Amendment rights, but to a reasonable degree. Disagreement over political and social issues are desirable, but not to the point where such …ideas.. foster violence, hate and death.
    These protestors in America’s City’s and on campuses must be identified and we must learn why they are so misguided.? Who or what is backing them?
    And why.
    Now is not the time for the meek. But it is time for the strong. The time for the strong to rout the enemy from within, from without and standby our natural and historical allies for our safety and way of life. For peace and sanctity here and elsewhere. For our children and their children. For our prosperity.
    L’est history will repeat itself.

    Stuart Alterman

  3. Arabic speakers know that ‘From the Rivers to the sea…’ “Free” speaks of pure-Arab: Arab racism / supremacy, ethnic cleansing and genocide of Jews -non-Arabs

    Without going into Arab-Palestinian oppressive regimes’ nature of PA or Hamas and the ironic term “free” or “freedom” chants.
    But in Arabic, it is the ARAB – to be of the area, which is the yearning by this and such slogans. [1]
    Worse than merely Arab-apartheid of Arab republics but it’s about Arab ‘purity.’

    It is no different from Hitler’s helper [2] Ahmad Shukeiri that wanted to establish in Jerusalem a “purely Arab government” for all of Palestine. [3]
    Or today (SJP/WOL) Nerdeen Kiswani known for interrupting Holocaust ceremonies [4] that push that ‘Palestine is Arab’ chant. [5]
    In fact, the very basis for objecting a Jewish State by the Arab Higher Committee in 1947 was exactly that: Arab racism – as expressed [6] by its spokesperson Jamal Husseini, only months after he and Shukeiri justified the Holocaust. [7]
    What’s amazing is that with Google translate age Israelophobes have still the audacity to go Arafat style ‘Double Speak’ [8] – that is, to lie in English to the West.
    Including Rashida Tlaib.

    ______

    NOTES

    [1].
    Imam of Peace @Imamofpeace:

    Rashida is a liar. Why? Because the chant “From the river to the sea” is a translation of the original Arabic chant “from the water to the water, Palestine will remain Arab.” This is a genocidal call to ethnically cleanse the land from all non-Arabs i.e. the Jews.
    The original Arabic chant: من المية للمية فلسطين عربية

    Nov 3, 2023

    Sam Halpern, “Noa Tishby slams Rashida Tlaib for ‘from the river to the sea’ claim.” The Jerusalem Post, Nov 4, 2023.
    https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/article-771642

    [2]
    Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the …, Volume 107, Part 24, United States Congress 1961, p.5735:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=ijg4AQAAMAAJ&pg=SL1-PA5735&dq=#v=snippet&q=%22all%20out%20for%20Hitler%22&f=false

    Shukairy joined the Arab Higher Committee which was also headed by the ex Mufti. Shukairy got his start in politics in the early 1930s when he belonged to a group of fanatical extremists led by the ex-Mufti. This gang cooperated with the Communists and prior to the Hitler-Stalin Pact sought in every possible way to sabotage the Allied war effort against the Nazis in the Middle East. However, when Soviet Russia joined the Allies, Shukairy’s group split with the communists, and went all out for Hitler.

    The Detroit Jewish News. Friday, February 03, 1967 (p. 9)
    https://digital.bentley.umich.edu/djnews/djn.1967.02.03.001/9

    ‘Antiwar Group Warns Public of PLO Leader Shukairy.’
    In a letter to the editor published in Wednesday’s New York Times, Dr. Albert Simard, secretary of the Society for the Prevention of World War Three warns of the “dangerous” background and activities of Ahmed Shukairy, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization who, he said, had expressed hatred of the West.
    Recalling the pro-Hilter activities “highest levels of government” of Shukairy when he was associated with the notorious Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

    [3].
    The Progress-Index from Petersburg, Virginia, June 13, 1967, p.4.
    https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/47754873/

    ‘Palestine Liberation Group Badly Mauled.’ By Michael Goldsmith, Beirut, Lebanon (AP).

    The Arab defeat in the Middle East war leaves a big question mark over the future of the Pafestine Liberation Organization and its firebrand leader -leftist Ahmed Shukairy. Shukairy narrowly escaped capture by Israeli forces in Jerusalem and many of his “Liberation Army” are now prisoners of the Israelis. “We will wipe Israel off the face of the map and no Jew will survive,” Shukairy declared two days before the war broke out June 5. He vowed to lead the vanguard of his troops into the Israeli sector of Jerusalem and set up a “purely Arab government” there for all of Palestine.

    [4].
    “Jewish leaders demand termination of CUNY Law dean.”
    Haley Cohen, The Jerusalem Post, Jun 14, 2023.
    https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/article-746278

    Gunz, a former classmate of Kiswani’s at CUNY Law, has said that Kiswani has been criticized “because she interrupts Holocaust memorial ceremonies and says that she hopes the last thing Zionists hear in their life is ‘pop pop.'”

    [5].
    “Anti-Israel Groups Stage Days of Resistance Protests.” ADL, Aug 13, 2020.
    https://www.adl.org/resources/blog/anti-israel-groups-stage-days-resistance-protests-0

    At the rally in New York City, a few protesters prominently displayed flags of the terrorist groups Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Among the chants were “Hey-hey ho-ho, Zionists have got to go” and, in Arabic, “From the river to the sea, Palestine is Arab.” One speaker spoke glowingly of the “growing militant struggle of Palestinians to avenge their homeland” and of Palestinians and others around the globe “taking up the armed struggle of revolution because they have no other choice, they have no other way to fight for their struggles.” The event’s MC, Nerdeen Kiswani of the anti-Israel group Within Our Lifetime-United for Palestine, referred to Jewish people who immigrated to Palestine and later Israel in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as exclusively European, despite the large percentage of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews who came to Israel, often in response to persecution, from the Middle East and North Africa, and currently make up the majority of the Israeli Jewish population.

    [6]
    Herf, J. (2022). Israel’s Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945-1949. India: Cambridge University Press, p. 65.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=vHRUEAAAQBAJ&pg=PA65
    https://www.meforum.org/63545/jeffrey-herf-what-was-behind-the-miracle

    Jamal Husseini claimed the Arab world’s “territorial continuity” served as a “natural bulwark for peace, homogeneity, and race” that a Jewish state in the region would destroy.

    [7]
    Behind the British Conspiracy.” B’nai B’rith Messenger. 12 July, 1946, p.6: .
    https://www.nli.org.il/en/newspapers/bbh/1946/07/12/01/article/47

    Achmed Shukeiri, chief of the Arab office, who restituted in his conversation the words of Goebbels, justified the murder of six million Jews of Europe “because Hitler could not be all wrong.” I met Jamal el Husseini; he issued the same warning as Shukeiri (he being Shukeiri’s chief) … and reiterated his justification of the mass murder of six million Jews “for Hitler couldn’t be all wrong . . .

    [8].
    “Listen to Arafat in Arabic, Not in English.”
    David Eliezrie, The Los Angeles Times, Feb 27, 1996.
    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1996-02-27-me-40531-story.html

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