The Magazine

The Boys in the Cave

Murder by stoning and the fallacy of moral equivalence

May 28, 2001, Vol. 6, No. 35 • By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
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When practiced during the Cold War, moral equivalence (between East and West) was a form of moral obtuseness. As practiced today in the Middle East, it remains so. The plain fact is that Israelis are not raised on bloodlust. They are not taught to hate Arabs. On the contrary. On the 50th anniversary of independence, Israel TV produced a historical series so sympathetic to the Palestinians as to raise the question whether Israel had taken sympathy to the point of self-flagellation.

When Baruch Goldstein committed a massacre of Palestinians in Hebron, he was vilified by every major leader in Israel. His name became anathema to Jews everywhere. When the "Engineer," the terrorist behind a string of deadly suicide bombings, was assassinated, Arafat declared him a martyr and national hero.

When that child in Gaza was accidentally killed by Israeli gunfire, Prime Minister Sharon immediately expressed his regrets and apologized. What of the lynching of the two boys? Utter silence from Yasser Arafat.

Charles Krauthammer is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard.