The worst kind of moral equivalence can be seen in The Forward as they juxtapose the coldblooded murder of a 3-month-old baby and the killing of an Arab stone thrower.
The title? “A Tale of Two American Tragedies.”
In October, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed two American citizens over just three days. Three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and 14-year-old Orwa Hammad were born in Jerusalem and Ramallah, respectively, but both held citizenship in the United States.
Chaya’s parents were American Jews who immigrated to Israel. Orwa’s parents were Palestinian Muslims who immigrated to the United States and then returned to the Israeli-occupied West Bank to raise their children. Both families’ migrations reflected their desire to live lives steeped in their religious heritage. They then found themselves the inheritors of the conflict.
The Forward goes on to mention that Hammad was accused of preparing to throw a Molotov cocktail. It does note he was among a group of Arabs throwing stones at Israeli cars “at Highway 60, a West Bank thoroughfare used by settlers” – well, that’s an extenuating circumstance, isn’t it? It also mentions that Hammad had pro-terror photos on his Facebook page.
That same Highway 60 has been the scene of hundreds of terror attacks, including the shooting deaths of four Israelis – and a pregnant woman – in 2010.
But to The Forward, both deaths are “tragedies.” One person was a victim and one was an attacker; one was an innocent and one was a youthful criminal. But, hey, they are both American citizens, and their families are both sad, so that makes the terrorist-in-training and the terror victim part of the same moral universe – when your point of view is as skewed as that of The Forward.
We’ve seen this kind of lazy journalism before, this past summer in The New York Times and in an infamousNewsweek cover story that spawned an attempt to make a film juxtaposing the grieving parents of both the terrorist and the victim. Last week CNN made a similar equivalence between Chaya Zissel Braun and a Palestinian child killed by accident by a Jewish driver.
There is such a desire on the part of the media to turn the conflict into a “cycle of violence” where both sides have equivalent grievances. Yet scratching the surface only a little bit shows that one society raises their children to hate and to praise the murderers while the other one tries mightily to just live in peace.
These reporters, however, don’t want to show the reality. They want to create a shorthand for readers to agree with their own biases, and the “moral equivalence” meme is an easy, lazy way to get their point across without making readers think that maybe, just maybe, one side is right and the other side wrong.