A Moral Principle: Denounce the Bigotry of In-Group Members before Criticizing the Bigotry of Out-Group Members

Contempt for the Arab population is deeply rooted in Zionist thought.

— Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians, 1983, 2015.

This is the holiday season for various groups of people. Some people will celebrate Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc during the winter season. Others will celebrate just because celebrating is fun.

Noting that it is Hanukkah, Sportsnet published an article titled “Oilers’ Zach Hyman: We must ‘eradicate antisemitism’.”

The article is extremely one-sided and insensitive because the Jewish State is in the midst of trying to eradicate Palestinians.

Obviously, anti-semitism must be eradicated from any moral universe. But what does Hyman’s statement imply? It is not “We must ‘eradicate every form of bigotry’.” It is explicit to one group: Jews. Do Jews face bigotry targeted at them? Undoubtedly they do. But is the biotry faced by Jews the worst form of bigotry, so heinous that subordinating other forms of bigotry is acceptable? And is it the case that Jews do not engage in bigotry against Gentiles?

Hyman is a prideful, skillful forward for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League.

Mark Spector of Sportsnet writes of Hyman:

“I’m very proud of who I am. I’m proud of being Jewish. I’m proud of growing up in the Jewish community … and I’m proud of where we come from,” began Hyman, a 31-year-old product of Toronto’s Jewish community. The Oilers forward is the grandson of Holocaust survivors, schooled in Judaism from kindergarten all the way through Grade 12.

Why has he chosen to speak out during the eight days of Hanukkah?

To shed light on what he is seeing at home. To shine a candle on a growing sense of antisemitism right here….

“It’s very clear that antisemitism as a result of what’s going on has been on the rise. Jewish people … don’t feel safe. There are attacks on synagogues. My high school [in Toronto] has had two bomb threats. This is just for being Jewish. It’s just because you’re Jewish. There’s no other reason.

“There’s no other reason”? Apparently, Spector and Hyman are seemingly unaware that people in their self-declared Jewish State are engaged in a genocide against Palestinians and that the genocide has been in progress since 1948.

Jewish anti-Arabism has been on prominent display over the decades unabated to the present day. Recently, the Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant denigrated the Palestinians as “human animals.” Jerusalem deputy mayor Arieh King protested that Palestinians are not “human animals”; they are not “human beings”; they are “subhuman.”

It is a commonly held tenet that one should clean up one’s own backyard before complaining about the backyard of others.

At its most basic level, backyard tenets would include mutual respect between neighbors and non-violence (definitely no spilling of blood; especially of civilians, whether they be elderly, children, women, or men). What does mutual respect require? Observing the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated.

To prioritize concern about anti-semitism at a time when Israeli Jews, supported by Jews in the diaspora, are committing genocide against Palestinians speaks absurdly to a person’s moral basis. In essence, what Spector, Hyman, and Sporstnet are promoting is Jewish people first even when Jews are knocking down hospitals, blowing up schools, and destroying another people.

As Chomsky wrote in his book The Fateful Triangle: “Anti-Arab racism is, however, so widespread as to be unnoticeable; it is perhaps the only remaining form of racism to be regarded as legitimate.”

Bigotry must be opposed in all its forms. To stand on morally sound ground, one must especially denounce the odious acts committed in the name of one’s group and criticize the bigotry held by members of one’s own group.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at gmail.com. Read other articles by Kim.