Multicultural moral relativism or moral equivalency has ever flourished in secular universities in Israel. Martin Buber put it quite simply: “There is no scale of values for the [world-historical] function of peoples. One cannot be ranked above another.” (Israel and the World, 223.)
Moral equivalency in full expression
The German-educated Buber derived his moral equivalency (or denial of trans-historical truths) from Hegel’s historical relativism.
It is in this light that we are to understand why Israel’s most influential Hebrew University professor and his colleague, Dr. Judah Magnes (the university’s first president), favored a bi-national Arab-Jewish state in the land of Israel. Thus, in 1947, they declared in a joint statement:
We do not favour Palestine as a Jewish country or Palestine as an Arab country, but a bi-national Palestine as the common country of two peoples…. Palestine is not just an Arab land like any other Arab land, or just a Jewish land. For one thing, it is a Holy Land for three monotheistic religions, of which two–Judaism and Christianity, had their origin here, while the third, Islam, regards Jerusalem as next in holiness to Mecca.
Notice that Buber and Magnes purvey each of these three theological claims to the Holy Land as self-justifying. This is cultural relativism or egalitatianism They tacitly and dogmatically deny the possibility that the Jewish claim might be more valid than that of Christianity or of Islam.
Evidence that Israel has the highest claim
But surely they knew that in the past 2,500 years, none of the peoples or nations that conquered or occupied the Land of Israel – whether Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks, Fatimids, Latin Crusaders, Mamluks, or Turks – ever established a national dominion or functional capital in this unique land. Indeed, if not for this (providential) fact, the Jews could never have returned to Eretz Israel.
Moreover, surely a scholar of Buber’s repute knew that Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Qur’an. Juxtaposing this fact with the paramount significance of Jerusalem in Judaism, and given Buber’s and Magnes’ own admission that “Islam regards Jerusalem as next in holiness to Mecca and Medinah,” one would think they would assert the priority of the Jewish claim over that of Islam and Christianity.
Furthermore, it is a plain fact that no state other than Israel has any legal claim to this land – a claim affirmed by the 1920 San Remo Conference, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration. Yet Buber, speaking also for Magnes, displayed monumental ignorance (or timidity) by saying: “We regard the historical rights of the Jews and the natural rights of the Arabs [based on their presence on the land] as … of equal validity …” (emphasis added) [i]
These scholars were either ignorant of the decisively significant 1920 San Remo Conference, or the decision of that international conference was trumped by their subjective ideological attachment to the cultural relativism and moral equivalency instilled in them by German philosophy (and still discernible in PM Netanyahu’s two state solution!).
Buber conveyed this moral equivalency in his statement that one nation can’t be ranked above another. Evident here is the timid, morally neutral (or “politically correct”) attitude of an academic influenced by the German school of historical relativism. In reality, however, every great nation does indeed rank itself above others, at least until its educators become cultural or historical relativists.
If a great people does not believe that the truth is only to be found in itself alone …; if it does not believe that it alone is fit and destined to raise up and save all the rest by its truth, it would at once sink into being ethnographic material. A really great people can never accept a secondary part in the history of humanity, nor even one of the first, but it will have the first part. A nation that loses this belief ceases to be a nation.
A weak-willed and dangerous viewpoint
Buber’s moral equivalency or cultural egalitarianism denies the election of Israel as the “light unto the nations.” This denial permeated the mentality of those who founded the modern State of Israel and its secular universities. They accepted, uncritically and dogmatically, the historical and democratic relativism that has dominated the modern era, in consequence of which they harbored no exalted view of Israel as the truth- or God-bearing nation.
This degraded and weak-willed view of Israel amounts to intellectual and moral bankruptcy, and it has sullied every Israeli Prime Minister since Oslo 1993. I will go even further: Oslo represents a monumental denial of evil, the evil rooted in Islam, whose worshipers have slaughtered tens of millions of non-Muslims since Muhammad.
Today the evil rooted in Islam has been magnified by ISIS. Islam via ISIS is the only significant political force in the Middle East. This dismal fact corresponds to the Oslo legitimization of the barbaric Muslims called the “Palestinians.” It represents the abysmal failure of Israel’s intellectual and political leaders, who failed to represent Israel as the God-bearing nation.◙
[i] See “Arab-Jewish Unity: Testimony before the Anglo-American Inquiry Commission for the Ihud (Unity) Association by Judah Magnes and Martin Buber (London: Victor Gollancz, 1947), 12-14, 50. See, also, Martin Buber (ed.),Towards Union in Palestine (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972), 7-21.
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