Dec 12th, 2023, 04:00 PM

The 78-Year Shelf-Life of Moral Clarity

By Caleb Klubben
France increases security at public demonstrations. (Image Credit: Caleb Klubben)
Our generation’s campaign to contextual anti-Semitism and its atrocities

A recent report from the Antisemitism Cyber Monitoring System (ACMS), recorded a 1,200% increase in online calls for violence and harassment against Jews, Israel, and Zionists within just three days of October 7, with Paris and New York cited as two of the major epicenters.

Here, in France’s capital, the interior ministry has recorded more than 1,500 anti-Semitic acts since Hamas’s terrorist attack on October 7. Since then, Jews have been stabbed in their homes, assaulted in the streets, and harassed in classrooms. Jewish students have been subjected to peers exclaiming, “Those dirty Jews should all be killed,” while others report being kicked out of Ubers. The situation is no better in the US where businesses are being set upon by Palestinian supporters. In Philadelphia, Philly Palestine Coalition protestors mobbed a local falafel shop threatening and accusing the proprietor of genocide, his soul crime- being Israeli-American. While, at universities across the US, legions of students and faculty boisterously cheer for genocide, some celebrating the death of 1,200 Israelis as ‘exhilarating’ and ‘energizing,’ while others use university discussion boards to call for the violent assault and murder of Jewish students.  

It is important to emphasize that not all who support Palestine are anti-Semitic or wish Jews harm. However, the frequent confluence between pro-Hamas and pro-Palestinian sympathizers is unavoidable. While it is reasonable to discuss the actions of both sides honestly and informedly, just as it is reasonable to mourn for every innocent who suffers in this conflict, it is not reasonable to suggest that Israel bears equal or, somehow greater, responsibility for this suffering. 

I rarely engage in World War II or Holocaust comparisons. To do so frequently, nullifies the true impact of any message such comparisons are meant to impart. However, there are moments when such analogies are not only justified but necessary. For me, demonstrators taking to streets across the West, likening Jews to Nazis and accusing Israel (whose population of Palestinian-Arabs has grown from a total of 1.3 million in all of Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel in 1948 to a current combined total of almost 7 million) of ethnic cleansing, while innocent Israeli’s are themselves being victimized by a group openly committed to the genocide of the Jewish people and the eradication of their state, is one such moment. 

85 years ago, the world witnessed the opening act in one of humanity’s bloodiest moral tragedies, fast-forward to today and the parallels are striking. In a culture in which “victim-blaming” is tantamount to blasphemy, the alacrity with which large swaths of Western society demand Israel explain why it does not deserve what it got that Saturday morning is simply sickening. The events of October 7 were not a military operation, they were not the result of freedom fighters revolting against their ‘occupiers.’ October 7 was the targeted, abject, and joyful slaughter of hundreds of innocent men, women, children, grandparents, and infants on Israeli soil, in their homes, on the streets, and dancing at festivals. Attempts to feign any likeness between Hamas’s actions and Israel’s response in self-defense are as disingenuous as they are morally irreconcilable.     

Barricades outside the Israeli Embassy. (Image Credit: Caleb Klubben)

These actions were not those of a group pushed to violence by the oppressive yoke of Israel or any other state. Israeli airstrikes aimed at legitimate Hamas military targets that result in the death of civilians, specifically because Hamas- who continues its barrage of rocket fire on Israel- purposefully uses civilians, their neighborhoods, hospitals, and schools as shields and bases of military operation, are tragic, but not at all comparable, especially given the evacuation advisories and directions to safe zones that Israel continues to provide.

Despite these realities, we are now witnessing the industrial-scale reproduction of some of the most disturbing forms of denial and anti-Semitism among some of the West’s brightest and most educated. When terror organizations peddle abject lies, rebranding their own atrocities as Israeli aggression, many partake of this poison with abandon. Only Israel must put the torture and slaughter of its people on display once again, because Hamas terrorists doing so live across social media the first time around, just wasn’t enough for some to fully believe.  

As Israel mourns the deadliest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust, many of those who consider themselves advocates for justice, contort themselves into knots in a moral gymnastics’ routine of epic proportion. From university campuses to major international organizations, individuals desperate to lend a pyrite veneer to the most backward of convictions, continually attempt to ‘contextualize’ the rape of Zion. 

When the Jewish people once again face an existential struggle for survival at the hands of a group who writes down in black and white its commitment to their annihilation, so many continue to scour these words for shades of grey.

During the Second World War, many were grieved by the terrible loss of life on all sides. However, our forebears held both a prevailing sense of moral clarity and the courage to maintain it. They understood the context of the conflict; they lived it, yet this never dissuaded them from confronting the evil before them. The horror that was unleashed 85 years ago, and the subsequent genocide of over six million Jewish people that it set in motion led to a promise. A promise to never forget. To never again so untether ourselves from the basic moorings of good and evil that we find ourselves adrift once more, unable to keep from slipping past the bounds of morality and into an embrace of the hate we once so clearly recognized. This is a vow that we, the West’s younger generations, must choose to renew. We must choose to learn from the lessons history has bequeathed us, and step out from behind the comfort and protection that moral equivalence so often provides. We must choose to see this evil for what it truly is.

This is an opinion piece. Views expressed in this article are not representative of those held by Peacock Media, or by The American University of Paris at large.