Morality, dehumanization and the cry of Arab leadership

Tuvia Brodie,

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Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

A cause that calls itself moral should be consistent. If one demands moral consideration, one should behave morally, if only to demonstrate that one understands what ‘moral’ means. But the Arab cause does not promote moral behaviour. Arab leaders do not promote moral action.  Does that make their cause immoral?

 Think about how Arab leaders speak about their cause. At the United Nations, on November 29, 2012, Mahmoud Abbas  told the world he wants his own state. He spoke of justice, ‘moral values’ and ‘moral duty’.

He connected statehood for ‘Palestine’ with morality. 

But Mahmoud Abbas and his fellow Arab leaders do not make this same association when speaking to their own people. They do not speak about morality. They don’t speak about peace. They speak of war-- against Israel; and the way they manipulate their people towards that war is anything but moral.

Arab leaders promote the destruction of Israel. Read the PLO/Fatah Charter. Read the Hamas Charter. According to the Hamas Charter, the only solution for the ‘Palestinian problem’ is religious war, not political compromise.  According to the PLO/Fatah Charter, their cause is not peace-with-Israel, but the removal of the ‘Zionist entity’ from the Middle East.

To identify the destruction of a sovereign state as the reason for one’s existence is not moral behaviour.  To declare religious war against a homogeneous people (Jews in Israel) is not morality. It’s a call for ethnic cleansing.

Ethnic cleansing is not moral. It is connected to racial hatred. It is a crime against humanity.

It’s also the battle-cry of many Arab leaders.

Arab leaders have one message: we will destroy Israel. Follow us, and the Zionist entity will disappear.

That is not a moral cause. It’s a racist cause.

Arab political and religious leaders are not shy about their immoral desire to destroy the Jewish 'entity'. They love that desire so much they repeat it constantly: in speeches and publications, on TV and in the mosque. They will even hold up maps showing their Palestine in place of Israel, not beside it. They honour those who murder Jews. Their public heroes aren’t athletes or scientists; they’re killers.

When ethicists write about war, they often explore what makes war just or unjust. For these discussions, they identify a singular ‘smoking gun’ that presages unjust war: dehumanization and/or the demonization of the enemy.

Dehumanization exists only for vicious intent. Arab leaders  dehumanize and demonize Israel in ugly and repulsive terms. Arab leaders call Jews the enemy of god. They say Jews descend from apes and pigs. They say Jews engage in religious ritual to kill children for blood. They say Jews organize and control the world drug trade. They call Israel a cancer.

Ethicists identify such speech as immoral. These terms are actually public manipulations designed for one purpose only: to remove psychological and moral barriers to killing. They are related to delegitimization, racism, moral exclusion and illegal violence.  Nazi dehumanization of the Jews as vermin—and similar descriptions by Arab leaders—make this point:  it might be tough to kill a fellow human; but killing vermin isn’t just acceptable—it’s socially desirable. 

For the ethicist, dehumanization is not just a way to prepare for killing. It is a particularly vicious and immoral behaviour directly linked to the worst kind of killing--genocide.  Dehumanization in both Nazi Germany and Rwanda telegraphed—and then led to--genocide.

Dehumanization is a communal preparation for genocide. When Arab leaders dehumanize Jews, they prepare (and encourage) their citizens to slaughter Jews—often, for Islam (see the Hamas Charter and dozens of religious speeches recorded since the 1930’s).

Dehumanization, through manipulation and repetition, encourages all ethical, moral and religious considerations to be thrown aside. Arab leaders have used dehumanization of the Jew for so long that slaughtering the Jew-pig has become the religious and social norm, not the exception.

Ethicists have observed that wherever you find public dehumanization and demonization of another, you find unjust war.  The link between the two is that clear. We saw this in Gaza, in November, 2012. There, fighting against Israel, Hamas warfare was purely unjust: it fired rockets from within civilian Gazan populations; it fired into civilian Israeli populations; it used faked photographs and news reports to support its demonization of Israel. Hamas behaved in a similar way in 2014, this time with fewer faked photos and more faked casualty statistics.

To the ethicist, each of these examples illustrates what unjust/immoral war looks like. If the Arab cause is moral, why do Arab leaders so embrace the immoral?