David Eliezrie

Moral equivalency at the NY Times

The world media is beginning its effort to sound neutral and create a moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel. On Friday, the New York Times front page was an indication of a new low in this kind of journalism. Above the fold – as they call it in the journalistic lingo – were two pictures next to each other that looked similar but could not be more different.

Each picture was of a person wrapped in shrouds surrounded by bearded religious leaders. One was of the Hamas Ahmad Jabari, the terror chief, infamous for the death and destruction that he has inflicted on innocent civilians for years. Surrounding his body were Muslim clerics. Next to it was a second image, the same size, and looking similar. Miri Sharf, the 26-year-old pregnant woman who was killed by a missile that hit a Kiryat Malachi apartment, her body wrapped in a burial shroud surrounded by rabbis.

The New York Times was equating the death of terrorist with the murder of a mother and teacher. A woman who traveled to remote India to care for others and dedicated her life to education. The Times was subjectively saying that the teachings of the religious leaders that surrounded each these bodies was similar, if not morally comparable.

While both groups had an austere religious look, beards and head coverings, the differences could not be more acute. The fundamentalist brand of Islam dominant in Gaza worships death and teaches Jihad. The Judaism lived by Miri Sharf worships life and teaches compassion for others. The Times effort depicting them as equals was grotesque.

One has to wonder would the Times juxtapose a picture of a dead body of Osama Ben Laden with a fireman who saved lives in the World Trade Center. If such a suggestion was made the editors would have realized that this was morally repugnant. Not so when it comes to Israelis. For some strange reason the Times finds a way to equate the terrorist with the victim.

This was not the first failed foray of the Times into the morass of Gaza in the last few days. The day before, in an editorial, it offered its own unique brand of wisdom. Yes Israel has the right to defend itself, but it must find a better way. The editorial writers of the Times had no insight exactly what Israel should do to end the daily attacks emanating from Gaza. Just the lofty sounding hope “there must be a better way.” One must wonder if a terrorist group had seized control of Queens and was shooting missiles daily into the apartment towers that most journalists of the Times occupy in Manhattan, would they say “we must do something” and suggest “please don’t cross the river and take down the terrorists because we might offend the international community.”

I would suggest that the journalists at the Times take a moment and Google “Hamas Charter”. They would find a modern version of Mein Kampf. The Hamas constitution says there can be no negotiations for peace, Israel must be destroyed and we must do battle with Jews around the world. For westerners this idea seems so foreign it’s hard to believe. For Israeli citizens living in the south its reality.

After Israel left Gaza, the Palestinians could have shown the world how they could create an oasis of prosperity and democracy. Instead the elected government of Hamas holds its citizens hostage and wages war against Israel. The ultimate tragedy is for the children of Gaza. Their hopes of growing up in a society where they can strive for accomplishment, peace and happiness has been destroyed by a fundamentalist religious group who thinks the highest value is Jihad against the Jews.

About the Author
Rabbi David Eliezrie is the president of the Rabbinical Council of Orange County California