Thursday, February 09, 2006

Mideast Moral Relativism. (Joseph Farah)

Thursday, February 9, 2006------------------------------------------------------------------Mideast moral relativism
By Joseph Farah------------------------------------------------------------------

The term "moral relativism" often comes to mind in the discussion of certain domestic "social issues."But I've been seeing more and more evidence of it in the context of the Middle East conflict.This week I had the pleasure of debating on the radio the evangelical teacher Tony Campolo, Bill Clinton's former spiritual guide.

Campolo has been out lecturing on all kinds of topics - condemning U.S. action in Iraq, condemning America for not doing enough for the poor and, most of all, explaining that American Christians don't care enough about the human rights of Palestinians.
Had we tackled all these topics, the debate might have raged for days. Fortunately, the contest of worldviews was limited to the Middle East.

Campolo began by complaining that I had portrayed him as a moral relativist in the past. And I decided to use the issue on the table to make the case.
I asked a few simple questions, which you can ask yourself:

Do Arabs in Israel have the right to vote?
Do Arabs in Israel have full citizenship rights in every way?
Do Arabs in Israel have the right to speak out, dissent, publish newspapers?
Do Arabs in Israel have the right to worship as they please?

In case you don't know, the answer to all these questions is "yes." Even Tony Campolo answered affirmatively in most cases, once with a conditional yes.
Then I asked him if Arabs in most Arabic countries had these same rights. He agreed that Arabs in most Arab countries did not have these rights.
Then I asked him if Jews in most Arab countries had any of these rights. And he agreed that Jews in most Arab countries do not have these basic human rights.
Nevertheless, he explained that we need another Arab country in the Middle East - a homeland for the "Palestinians," to ensure that these disfranchised people have the right to self-determination.
I explained that what I wanted for my brothers and sisters in the Arab world is freedom - the kind of freedom they know in no other country in the Middle East but the Jewish state.
He accused me of having an unbalanced view of the region and explained that "both sides have blood on their hands."
That's when I knew I had him.
That is exactly the line I would expect to hear from a moral relativist.

Is it technically true? Sure.
It is also technically true that both the U.S. and al-Qaida have blood on their hands.
The nature of conflict and war is that both sides get blood on their hands.
But it is an argument designed to suggest there is no good guy and no bad guy - no right and wrong.
I know there are people who believe this. Bu! t it is still shocking to me nonetheless. I can understand how someone truly uninformed about the Middle East would chalk up the debate to "both sides have a legitimate grievance" or "both sides have blood on their hands." But when people who have actually studied the history and viewed the present reality come to that conclusion, there are only three possibilities:
They are guilty of incredibly bad analysis of the facts.
They are evil and want to excuse evil and rationalize it.
They are moral relativists.
Here's the truth. Here's the bottom line. Here's the part of the Mideast conflict that most people ignore.

Israel is not perfect. But it is a pluralistic country that provides more freedom even for Arabs and Muslims than any other country in the region. I say this, remember, as an American of Arabic ancestry who has covered the Middle East as a journalist on the ground.


Meanwhile, her enemies, especially those in the so-called Palestinian Authority, have a no-Jews-allowed policy. That's why they insist that all Jews be evacuated from the territory. They are racial and ethnic and religious cleansers. They would like nothing better than to commit genocide against their neighbors.
How anyone can look at those two facts and find a comfortable middle ground is beyond me - unless they are moral relativists.
© 2006
Joseph Farah is founder, editor and CEO of WND and a nationally! syndica ted columnist with Creators Syndicate. His latest book is "Taking America Back." He also edits the weekly online intelligence newsletter Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, in which he utilizes his sources developed over 30 years in the news business.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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