click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Naso
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

Israel: The Defining Moral Issue

Israel: The Defining Moral Issue

The way the world treats Israel exemplifies a global moral sickness in which truth and goodness are ignored or attacked, while lies, wickedness and their perpetrators are appeased and supported.


The world terror supporters' club, aka the UN, has told Israel to tear down its security barrier. This follows the ruling by the terror court, the ICJ, that the barrier is illegal (see below). Neither of these decisions is binding, but they are intended to build up the global demonization of Israel as a pariah state, the necessary prelude to its destruction. Meanwhile, in the US where Christian support for Israel is so strong, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church has equated Israel with apartheid South Africa and called for universal divestment from it.

These developments all signal a world that is descending ever deeper into a terrifying moral darkness. If the Jews have always been a society's pit canaries whose fate is an early warning of that society's wider collapse, Israel is surely the canary in the mine of the world. The way it is being treated bespeaks a mortal sickness. Israel is the victim of a continuing, half-century attempt to annihilate it. Yet its attempts to defend itself are denounced and vilified, its activities are misreported and distorted, it is judged by malign double standards to paint it falsely as a rogue state -- and all the while those doing so look the other way while a genocide is perpetrated in Sudan, sanitized even in today's papers as merely a 'humanitarian' catastrophe. The moral inversion involved was captured in a remark by Mark Steyn in yesterday's Telegraph:

'The UN system is broken beyond repair. In May, even as its proxies were getting stuck into their ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Sudan was elected to a three-year term on the UN Human Rights Commission. This isn't an aberration: Zimbabwe is also a member. The very structure of the organisation, under which countries vote in regional blocs, encourages such affronts to decency.'

This is the same UN that has now pronounced that Israel should not defend itself against the war of exterminatory mass murder being perpetrated against its citizens. This treatment of Israel goes far beyond the fate of that particular region. The obsessive malice with which it is vilified and libeled, and the tacit and even explicit encouragement of the war of mass murder against it, while atrocities in Africa are not only ignored but their perpetrators given a seat on the UN Human Rights Commission, for heaven's sake, shows that not just the UN but the world order it represents are bust, broken, bankrupt. The correct -- indeed, the only -- moral response to the UN would be to shut it down. For faced with this obscene parody of a world body that is supposed to promote and uphold peace and justice but actually ignores, promotes and upholds genocide, mass murder, tyranny, terrorism and endemic corruption, the democracies of the west not only ignore such evidence but profess to believe that the UN is a moral exemplar without whose imprimatur wars are illegitimate and whose every utterance or action possesses unchallengeable moral authority. But the correct -- indeed, the only -- moral response to the UN would be to shut it down. While the world is run by tyrannies -- and despite the US veto at the UN, it is so run -- tyranny, terrorism and genocide will of course continue unabated, and the victims of these atrocities will be regarded at best with indifference and at worst demonized as villains in order to protect the guilty. That is the twisted and lethal phenomenon of which Israel is both victim and symbol.


The scale of this moral inversion is so huge, so profound and so fundamental that the Presbyterian Church decision has provoked an incandescent protest by Dennis Prager, a US talk-show host who thought Christianity was on the side of good but now finds it has been hijacked to serve the cause of evil. Prager spells out the nature of this obscenity:

'It takes a particularly virulent strain of moral idiocy and meanness to single out Israel, not Arafat's Palestinian Authority, or terror-supporting, death-fatwa-issuing Iran, or women-subjugating Saudi Arabia, for condemnation and economic ruin. One of the most decent societies, one of the most liberal democracies in the world, is fighting for its life against Islamic fascists who praise the Holocaust and publicly call for the annihilation of Israel -- and the Presbyterian Church calls for strangling Israel! 'Apartheid state? This Goebbels-like Big Lie, concocted by the world's anti-Israel and anti-American Left and by those who want Israel destroyed, is now an official doctrine of the Presbyterian Church. Israel is a nation whose population is one-quarter non-Jewish Arab, with the same rights, including voting and its own political parties, as Jewish citizens; a nation whose second official language is Arabic, the language of those who wish to annihilate the Jewish country; a nation that occupies a tiny sliver of land known as the West Bank only because Jordan, overwhelmingly composed of Palestinians, invaded Israel in 1967 in order to destroy it and thereby lost its ownership of the West Bank.'


And then Prager draws a conclusion as stark and bleak as it is true:

'This is one of the morality-clarifying issues of our time. To single out Israel for economic strangulation while that good nation fights for its life is an act of such immorality that holding that view precludes one from the title "good" or "God-fearing," for if they are true to God, I am false to Him. If they are good, I who support Israel am bad. If their Bible teaches them to strangle Israel and support Yasser Arafat, I am guided by a different Bible. They have drawn a line. It is now time for good people, Presbyterians specifically, Christians generally, to distance themselves vigorously and publicly from this morally sick church. And it is time, once again, for Jews to realize that the enemies of the Jews in our day are to be found on the Christian Left while their friends are far more often on the Christian Right.'


Israel is the defining moral issue of our time. Not because its situation is the worst in the world -- the genocide in Sudan is clearly in a different league. But because the way the world is treating it exemplifies a global moral sickness in which truth, goodness and the victims of an annihilatory madness are ignored, dehumanized or attacked, while lies, wickedness and their perpetrators are appeased, endorsed and supported.

Reprinted with permission from Melanie Phillips. Visit her website at


July 31, 2004

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 17

(17) Anonymous, June 18, 2006 12:00 AM

Melanie is right the world is sick with evil

Isrealis should take heart that out there there some paeople who see the unjust way Isreal is treated at the UN etc.Ithink also there is a lot of ignorance a bout the middle east conflict.It will help if Isreal can invest more telling outside paeoples the truth especially Africans.We must not wait.All the good paeoples of the world must unite now if we are to to defeat this evil.

(16) R. T. Dickerson, January 7, 2006 12:00 AM

Outraged Presbyterian

I was raised by devout Prebyterians and my father was an elder in our church in Cincinnati of which my sister is still a member. If what this letter is true I believe all three generations of my family would be outraged and reject the anti-Jew attitude described. I do. I am 82 and agnostic, essentially.

(15) Denise Salamone, August 10, 2005 12:00 AM

The problem is we as Jews know all this to be true, the problem is Israel needs strong PR to make sure that Israel is not sold out for political gain by the US and Britain. The war on terror is okay for US and Britain, but for Israel the Palestinians have repeated the same propaganda for so long that everyone believes that Israel is occupying their land. We must continue to eliminate the word occupied and replace it with conquered territory. This is diffucult because even the Israeli Government is using the term occupied. Thank you and continue to tell the cold hard facts of what is to come if something is not done soon.

(14) Anonymous, September 7, 2004 12:00 AM

Firsly, I'd like to say that I have respect for all cultures and races but I have the UTMOST respect for the Jewish people, even though I am Christian. You have shown so much strength and unity in times of hardship and oppression and are a shining example to the rest of the world that if you work at something you can achieve it. Please don't ever change the image I have. I know you are sick and tired of being discriminated and I can see where all this anger is coming from. Please, Isreal doesn't need to stoop to low levels. There is so much hatred for Arabs, and I know their form of attack (suicide bombers) is cowardly, but I hope everyone remembers you can't judge a nation on the actions of some of its people. I'd like to reiterate that you are a wonderful people and I envy you. It's such a pity that we can't ALL be more sensitive to eachothers' cultures and accept our differences. It really saddens me that you have had the raw end of the deal for so long, I hope Isreal will someday see peace and equality for all which I'm sure were the intensions of its founders.

(13) Bennie Hemileck, August 21, 2004 12:00 AM

WOMAN! Be SILENT ! (Take longslow breath and speak passionatly about PEACE.)

The 'truth' a man has discovered in 98 years of living is that PEACE is more than an intellectual abstraction, or a byproduct of contentious discourse, or
it is not part of the dialog at all... and the heart of the issue is something BLACK and sinister and self destructive. Go fight your wars like all the other dead soldiers. Those who remain standing may discover less to dispute and MORE to hail as worthy of social intercourse among diverse moral/ethical spectrums. Who has not been a victim? We are weary of young 'teachers' who propound about the injustice of life. What is more just than a young savant who has discovered the virtue of SILENCE in the presence of elders?

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment