Michelle Moshelian

From Texas to the BBC: Stop the moral equivalence when there isn’t any

After the recent terror attack in Texas, the brother of the hostage-taker put out a statement that included the following: “We would also like to add that any attack on any human being be it a Jew, Christian or Muslim etc. is wrong and should always be condemned.” That is an admirable statement with which I fully agree.

However the statement continues “It is absolutely inexcusable for a Muslim to attack a Jew or for any Jew to attack a Muslim, Christian, Hindu vice versa etc.” At face value there is no problem with that statement either. It is inexcusable for a Muslim to attack a Jew or for any Jew to attack a Muslim, Christian, Hindu etc.

However, dig deeper and there is the implication that there is some sort of moral equivalence between the two; that his brother’s attack was merely an instance of a tit-for-tat exchange; And that there is a phenomenon of Jews attacking Muslims just as there is a phenomenon of Muslims attacking Jews. However, that simply isn’t the case.

There is a wealth of attacks by Muslims upon Jews while vice versa is simply not true. The list below proves it beyond reasonable doubt.

Even in the conflict zone of Israel/the Palestinian Territories, I could reasonably argue that attacks by Jews upon Muslims are insignificant compared to Muslims targeting Jews. (And since that discussion or argument could go on all day, attacks in the ‘conflict zone’ are not included in the list below.)

However, outside that ‘conflict zone’, no doubt remains that these attacks ARE one-sided. Whatever the excuses/explanations for such attacks, there is no logical reason that the same excuse/explanation couldn’t apply equally to Jews as well: If the excuse for an attack is plain old racism, then there is no reason why a Jew couldn’t attack a Muslim due to racism. If the excuse for a Muslim attacking a Jew outside the conflict zone is because of an Israeli Jew killing a Muslim Palestinian, then equally there is no reason why a Jew couldn’t attack a Muslim because a Palestinian Muslim killed an Israeli Jew.

For every excuse given, you will find that the same explanation could equally be applied to Jewish perpetrators. But in real life that doesn’t happen. Because in real life there is none of the moral equivalence implied in the statement of the Texas hostage-taker’s brother.

Why on earth shouldn’t a Jew outside the ‘conflict zone’ respond to a perceived offense in the same manner as a Muslim? Why do the Jews do not do that? It’s certainly not because Jews are incapable of killing or revenge or whatever, but because of a conscious choice that ‘we don’t behave like that’. Or perhaps ‘we are better than that’. Or even ‘we are better than them’. That last statement has some implication on the nature of the ‘them’. Would such a statement be regarded as racist to the ‘them’ in today’s cancel culture? Undoubtedly. But where is the balance between that, and being able to proudly say ‘we don’t do that. We are better than that’? Because without that balance, the moral equivalence stands when it clearly shouldn’t.

When the BBC recently falsely alleged that Jewish victims of an attack by Muslims responded with an anti-Muslim slur, thus drawing a moral equivalence that simply wasn’t there – just like the brother of the Texas terrorist – the Jewish community proudly protested against the BBC. Shouldn’t the Jewish community be far more outspoken about deadly or potentially deadly attacks than the BBC offense?! Should we have shame in saying ‘we are better than that’ or ‘We are better than them’? This isn’t a statement of racial superiority – it’s about not giving license to the BBC etc. to draw the moral equivalence when there isn’t any. The two examples I have given are not the only attempts at portraying moral equivalence when there isn’t any. The same thing happens when people match up the actions of Hamas and the responses of Israel.

We need to change the rhetoric from ‘Jews Don’t Count’, as in the title of David Baddiel’s popular book describing the double standards applied to Jews, to ‘Jews Do Count’.  We need to counter the attempts at misplaced moral equivalence. If we do not counter them then the moral equivalence stands as valid.

Enough of the philosophizing…  individuals can decide whether the Jewish community should, or needs to, stand up and be counted. Onto the evidence that supports my claim that the moral equivalence implied in the Texas terrorist’s brother’s statement is simply not there.

Following is a list of deadly* terror attacks by Jews or Israelis on Muslim or Palestinian civilians outside the conflict zone, and vice-versa – a list of Muslim or Arab deadly terror attacks on Jewish or Israeli civilians outside the conflict zone. *I choose to focus only on deadly attacks because there are enough examples to prove my point, and it is unfeasible to include non-deadly attacks. Which means, somewhat ironically, that the Texas attack that inspired this article isn’t included in this list because no-one was killed. Plus, if the list were to include relatively minor offenses, I wouldn’t hesitate to acknowledge that there are undoubtedly examples of Jews insulting Muslims. ‘We are better than that’. ‘We are better than them’. But we aren’t perfect.

Deadly Israeli or Jewish terror attacks on Muslim or Palestinian civilians outside the ‘conflict zone’: Zero. Nada. Zilch.  

Yes. A big fat zero. Perhaps I have missed something, but I couldn’t actually find any example of Jews or Israelis randomly killing Muslim or Palestinians civilians outside the conflict zone. If you know of any please let me know. I’m open to modifying my list … but I will still insist that the exception proves the rule.

The same cannot be said of the other side. (And the list below is partial.)

Deadly Muslim or Arab terror attacks on Jewish or Israeli civilians or targets outside the ‘conflict zone’. Partial list. (Note: not all those murdered in these attacks were Jews/Israelis, but the targets were unquestionably Jewish/Israeli such as synagogues, Jewish community centres):

Paris, France – An 85 year old woman was murdered in an attack at her home; March 23, 2018

Paris, France – A 65 year old woman was killed in an attack at her home; April 4, 2017

Copenhagen, Sweden – 1 person was killed in an attack on a synagogue; February 15 2015

Paris, France – 4 people were killed in an attack on a Kosher supermarket; January 15, 2015

Brussels, Belgium – 4 people were killed in an attack on the Jewish museum, 24 May 2014

Burqas, Bulgaria – 6 people were killed in an attack on a bus containing Israelis; July 18, 2012

Toulouse, France – 3 children and 1 adult were killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse. March 19, 2012

Massachusetts, United States – 3 men were killed in an attack attributed to the Boston marathon terrorist; September 11, 2011

Mumbai, India –one of the targets of this large-scale terror attack which killed over 170 people was a Jewish center. November 26, 2008
Sinai, Egypt, 11 Israeli Arabs killed in bus crash thought to be premeditated. August 2006

Paris, France – A young man was kidnapped and tortured by a Muslim gang for three weeks before he died. February 13, 2006

Amman, Jordan – Over 57 people were killed at hotels popular with Israelis and Americans in Amman, Jordan, attacked by because it is a “backyard garden for…Jews and crusaders”, according to Al Qaeda in Iraq, which claimed responsibility. November 9, 2005

Sinai, Egypt – 34 people were killed in tourist resorts popular with Israelis. October 7, 2004

Istanbul, Turkey –25 people were killed at two Jewish synagogues. November 15, 2003

Casablanca, Morocco 45 people killed in 5 near-simultaneous suicide attacks against Jewish targets in Morocco.  May 16, 2003

Mombasa, Kenya – 13 people were killed in an attack on Israeli tourists visiting Kenya.  November 28, 2002

Los Angeles – 3 killed in attack on Elal check-in desk at Los Angeles airport. July 4, 2002

Djerba, Tunisia – 21 people were killed near the El Ghriba Synagogue in Tunisia. April 12, 2002

Egypt, 11 killed in attack on bus carrying Israeli tourists. February 4, 1990

Egypt – 18 Greeks, thought to have been mistaken for Israelis, killed in shooting. April 28 1996.

Buenos Aires, Argentina – 85 killed in bombing of Jewish community center. July 18, 1994

Buenos Aires, Argentina – 29 killed in bombing of Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. 17 March 1992

Ras Burqa, Egypt – 7 killed in shooting attack on Israelis in Egypt. October 5, 1985

Rome, Italy– 16 killed in attack on Elal checkin desk at airport, December 27, 1985

Vienna, Austria – 3 killed in attack on Elal checkin desk at airport, December 27, 1985

The list goes on unfortunately, including examples predating occupation, settlements and even the existence of Israel, all of which tend to be the typical excuses given for Muslim upon Jew violence. Remind me again what the excuses were before that then?

What would be the point of a longer list? There are enough examples to demonstrate that there is none of the moral equivalence between attacks by Muslims upon Jews and Jews upon Muslims as implied by the Texas terrorist’s brother and the BBC.

Why? Because ‘we are better than that’. ‘We are better than them.’ If you think that the Jewish community shouldn’t be shy in saying that then share this article.

About the Author
Michelle Moshelian was born and raised in London. She moved to Israel in her twenties and has been a pro-Israeli activist since the second intifada erupted.
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