What I really find troubling about this line of thinking, Michael, is the very western mental model in superficially tackling such a complex and complicated issue as the Israeli/Palestinian issue. What you are really highlighting here is merely how left and right leaning people, primarily living in the west, view this issue and which one has the high moral ground.

You proclaim to lay down some hard facts in an effort to draw a parallel and support your position: ‘although it was admittedly one of the worst acts against the Axis powers by the Allies, it resulted in about 35,000 deaths, not the 250,000 first claimed by the Germans (Goebbles exaggerated the number for propaganda purposes), and nowhere near the 6 million of the Holocaust.’ So is the number of civilian casualties a benchmark of right/wrong? You are implying that the Allies killed only 35,000 (a drop in the bucket when compared to the alleged 250,00 or the 6 million) in this instance. Great. Let’s go with this parallel. Now, how many Israelis have been killed by Palestinians compared with the other way around? If numbers are your benchmark, I would conclude that Israelis get a higher score for Palestinian hating than Palestinians get for Israeli hating. In that vein, have you not been able to draw a similar conclusion from all your arguments that Israel is starkly anti Palestinian just as you accuse the Palestinians of being anti Jewish/Israeli/Semitic?

I see the majority of western responses trying to be on the right side of history while simultaneously excising this incident from any historical context. Apart from pointing out that Hamas is Islamist (so? Israel is Jewish and current government is on the hard right side of politics) and has been clinging to power since 2006 (Bibi has been in power for some time, too..). Do you not even take a cursory glance at Israeli/Palestinian relations before the rise of Hamas? Did the Palestinians have it better with Israel, you think, before they chose to go with Hamas? Did Hamas win hearts and minds merely because they were anti Israel? Again, this whole issue seems to be surgically removed from its historical context by the western mind and oversimplified (the victors who got to not only orchestrate events on the ground and hence, write history but dictate it to the rest of the world) and then neatly placed within liberal/left vs conservative/right buckets. I wish life were that simple; you’re either with us or against us.

I would assume this investigation is beyond the remit or interest of this writer and his audience as most of the comments relate to a quibble about jargon such as progressives/liberals and how one appropriately defines these terms. The issue at hand is nothing more than a tool to buttress one’s political leanings.

And to be clear, it’s not about maintaining a moral equivalence or qualifying the issue with a two-sided approach - as opposed to the one sided approach here. I would call for a more comprehensive view where you use your yardstick of measurement (morality; numbers vis à vis [holocaust] casualties) for a deeper and more honest view. Otherwise, you have an incomplete model of reality at best and skewed/biased at worst.

Also, I understand what the motives of the Nazis towards the holocaust were; eradication of Jews from the motherland (earth) based on a racial perspective and misplaced grievances. How can you draw this parallel here and not catch the irony of your own analogy? Have the superior Israelis/Jews, aided and abetted by the west, not done onto the Palestinians what had been done to them by the superior Nazi state apparatus (Palestine is an entity and not a country)? How can people say that the Israelis have been acting in self defence in attacking the Palestinians who are also native to the land without laying down the facts? How can you not be curious about investigating their claims? You speak of numbers and precise historical facts regarding the holocaust but I’m curious as to why you choose not to do so when it comes to the conflict happening now. The European Jews were dispossessed of their belongings and kicked out of their homes and forced to live in ghettos (fact). The Palestinians have been subjected to the same treatment at the hands of the Israelis (is this not a fact? Or is this a lesser fact?). Do you have evidence to the contrary? How can you bring the holocaust as an equivalent yet turn it on its head? Like the holocaust deniers that you bemoan, you seem to implicitly engage in the denial of the eradication of Palestine and Palestinians. This can only mean one thing, which is ideology. And your rhetoric disparages any thinking that challenges that opinion.

Yes, what Hamas did was abhorrent but if you’re quantifying and qualifying grievances on both sides of this conflict, by your own logic, Israel has much to answer for and should come out with blood on its hands.

Thought experiment: If the European Jews retaliated against the murderous Nazis by mounting guerrilla attacks, I am assuming you would be strongly opposed to that on moral grounds, correct?

I am a subscriber to your magazine and enjoy reading your books. I am not surprised, however, by your reasoning. The rhetoric I have been hearing in western circles for sone time now is that yes, the Palestinians may be at a disadvantage when it comes to Israel but they should suffer in silence or maybe use diplomatic means to raise their cause. Both have been done to no avail. What would you and all your readers do in their place? Either flee or suffer in silence? Is that the moralistic thing to do? Should they form a secular resistance rather than a religious one? Would that give their struggle more legitimacy? The PLO tried doing that, by the way..

To borrow some of your religious metaphors, is the holocaust the original sin of the west and the founding of Israel - that goes hand in hand with colonisation of Palestine and eradication of its people - its redemption? And finally, in the moralising world that you and the majority of your readers inhabit, is there a slight chance that the Palestinians do not see it that way? That would be the true mind of a sceptic..

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Well put. When I and others showed his biased and flowed logic in Twitter, his answer was: "If you do not support Israel & the Jews, you're literally worse than the Nazis."

The same language and reasoning that is used by, well, my conspiracy theoretician friends.

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This is really odd as Michael Shermer is not an intellectual lightweight and is definitely an analytical thinker but it is strange how ideologically driven on this matter he seems to be. His arguments are weak at best and totally biased at worst. I will not dismiss his thoughts on other topics, though, but truly wonder how he can make such an argument. Sam Harris has also made the same case as Shermer with the same tiresome moralising: Islam is the worst religion out there hence, Israel wins every time. Even though it’s really about occupation (in the name of a Jewish god nonetheless) rather than who’s god is better. These are supposedly the minds of reason and the heirs of the Enlightenment.. what hope is there for the rest of humanity then?!

Watch this for a much better informed take that places the recent incidents in the correct historical context rather than the superficial and misguided one on this Substack:


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I wasn't following Sam Harris. I just checked. He is comparing Judaism and Islam, even though the conflict is not purely because of religious ideology. He is somehow focused on the wrong topic. Like Shermer, he is conflating Holocaust deniers and Israel critics.

Both Shermer and Harris are implicitly saying that Israel will most likely commit war crimes but IDF is still good.

BTW, the video you posted is a good overview but naturally missing many important details. I found this "deep dive" also very useful (it is a long read):


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I know I have probably overstayed my welcome on this thread but the absolute duplicity that is the western mind is well, mind boggling to me.. just abhorrently ignorant of the most basic facts. I would say that the majority of commentary on the situation in the western media is either: a) Hamas is Islamist ➡️ Islamism is bad ➡️ this is all about Islamism v Israel/the West and then we’re all talking about how Hamas are the Nazis!! or b) Are you a liberal lefty or a conservative right winger vis à vis the Israel-Palestine war? The ignorance about everything that has happened from the birth of Zionism to the creation of Israel till now is staggering. This is all clearly documented by the British and Israelis (let’s not take the Palestinian account lest that offends the cherished western bias and delicate sensibility..) so it is inexcusable that any western individual is unable to go one layer beneath the surface of this current war ( Land? What land?! Who’s talking about land/occupation?! You’re an antisemite!! This is all about Islamist ideology and ISIS/Nazis)

You can be honest with yourself and say I will be selective and side with the Israelis and stand against the Palestinians because of race/religion and, of course, the Holocaust. But don’t wilfully rob yourself of reason and then pretend that you are the most rational human being on earth; just because you are western doesn’t make you less susceptible to bias and ideology than the next (non western) person. But if you are curious, dare I say sceptic (here’s looking at you Shermer!) and want to know what gibberish the other side is peddling.. then please, please, please TAKE THE TIME and stress test your theory (inalienable truth) by subjecting it to shocks. It’s called the scientific method.

Start with this first shock (disclaimer: this one is by a Palestinian so listen at your own peril)


And then move on to this one (disclaimer: you might cringe that this guy supports left leaning causes and in the age of identitarianism, you must tread carefully..)


This guy has made the rounds recently and cogently represents the Arabic voice on the street re Palestine/Israel. A good solid education for a western audience given through Arabic/Palestinian eyes:


N.B. The sacred oath that everyone must commit to, which is Israel’s right to exist is ludicrous if you don’t extract an oath about the Palestinian right to exist (NOT in refugee camps or under siege). I would like just one person to give me a cogent answer to this irrespective of political leaning or creed.. Now, the holocaust was evil but where is the rationale that says the Palestinians have to be dispossessed of their land to make way for the victims of aggression from another race/people? If you say that the Israelis have a right to defend their land, you are saying they have a right (is it god given?) to also take that land by force from its people. Well, do the Palestinians not have the right to be pissed about that? Just answer that basic question. Nothing more.

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Also, would someone tell Shermer that this current crisis is not about Islamist ideology? But occupation? Stop bringing in experts peddling Islamist conspiracy theories (and psst: ISIS hates Hamas’ guts.. but don’t tell it to these guys and their shoddy media researchers lest they lose their taking points..)

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Also, the Israelis are trying to cancel the UN Secretary-General..

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Thanks for flagging this, Tiffany. I haven’t listened to it and not planning to. Shermer has proven to be way too biased to be taken seriously on this topic (almost like a PR machine for the Israeli side). I know he’s not a journalist but a deep thinker and scholar would be curious at scratching the surface rather than exclusively interested in what Israel and its propagandists have to say.. Check out Ilan Pappé’s The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge. Also, watch Tantura on Netflix. BTW, you know the other side is losing the moral high ground when any criticism of them is deemed anti semitic.. and this writer just produced an episode on cancel culture..

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Well, you should listen to Shermer’s most recent podcast about the topic titled, ‘Armageddon in the Middle East?’. Worth noting also Sam Harris’ podcast titled, ‘The Sin of Moral Equivalency’. Both otherwise secular thinkers are using religious terms (Armageddon and sin respectively) to make their point and I can’t think this being unintentional or metaphorical. Is it to stoke some sort of religious fervor that they’ve built careers trying to disqualify? What happened to such words as crime and conflict?

Also, in Shermer’s podcast he has spoken with a rabbi about the events. Really?! Why this over reliance on religiosity and religious figures when the true question at hand is territorial and the solutions are quite secular. Is he going to bring in an imam to clarify the Palestinian position? The underlying message I’m hearing here is that this is a religious war: Israel is grabbing land in the name of Yahweh and the Palestinians are killing the Jews in the name of Allah. This is just your garden variety religious war, steeped in a Manichean tradition of good vs evil and the two intellectuals have clearly staked their positions. I would have expected more from them..

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Oct 17, 2023·edited Oct 17, 2023

Diana, you wrote: "Israel is grabbing land in the name of Yahweh and the Palestinians are killing the Jews in the name of Allah."

I just wanted to add that Israel is not only grabbing land, Israel is doing this by killing Palestinians. You can verify this independently. Check how many Palestinians have been killed by Settlers with the help of Israeli Defence Forces each year.

Also, we shouldn't forget that peaceful Palestinian protests was not fruitful at all. Look at the section, titled "2018–2019 Great March of Return" in this Wikipedia article.


Palestinians were protesting inside Gaza far from the fence that cages them. Still Israel killed 489 Palestinians.

"In late February 2019, a United Nations Human Rights Council's independent commission found that of the 489 cases of Palestinian deaths or injuries analyzed, only two were possibly justified as responses to danger by Israeli security forces."

"On 28 February 2019, the Commission said it had 'reasonable grounds' to believe Israeli soldiers may have committed war crimes and shot at journalists, health workers and children during protests in Gaza in 2018." Israel refused to take part in the inquiry and rejected the report."

Maybe we could say that

"Israel is grabbing land and killing Palestinians in the name of Yahweh and the Palestinians are killing the Jews in the name of Allah and to get their stolen lands back."

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Sorry TRER for not replying sooner. I agree with you totally and the fact of the matter is that Israel had illegally grabbed/stolen land from the Palestinians and has conducted a well documented campaign of ethnic cleaning against the Palestinians and there is ample evidence to support this. I tried my best to discredit the argument that most western media outlets are trying to put out there which is that Hamas is a terrorist Islamist organization and hence, loses the moral debate from the get go. Its existence is an anomaly and it should be eradicated. Well, Israel sponsors terrorism at a state level and its very existence is based on Judaism, making it a religious state. If I were to follow their moral equivalency argument, then you can only fight religion with religion, terrorism with terrorism. However, they are not saying this. They are saying that Israel is the victim and Hamas/Palestinians are the aggressors. Israel’s actions are always defensive in perpetuity. Michael Shermer is recklessly invoking the Holocaust and casting Hamas as the Nazis.. I’m actually quite stunned at this false equivalence coming from someone like him. Like I said, it’s nothing less than ideology. You only need to scratch the surface to find all the documented facts to the contrary. Ironically, it would be blasphemous to even contemplate that the victim (Israel) can become the aggressor..

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My perhaps poorly articulated view is that the Palestinians are not killing Jews because of their religion but because the latter is an occupier. Anti-Semitism doesn’t feature here. It’s actually the other way around: Hamas/Palestinians are killing the Israelis in self defense. How could the entire western world get this turned on its head? And then you go blaming people for believing in conspiracies.. Michael Shermer authored a whole book on the topic! Don’t know if I should laugh or cry..

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Diana, I'm happy to see that some fellow skeptics are aware of the historical facts of this ongoing conflict. I was also expecting from Michael Shermer a more comprehensive analysis of the facts before any reactions. I was wrong.

I checked yesterday in Twitter and Michael Shermer was still continuing to post his biased views, which are entirely divorced from the historical facts.

I'm also a Skeptic magazine subscriber and have some Michael Shermer books in my library. His sound arguments in those articles and books won't be suddenly unsound. But I think I'm going to stop reading more from him for a while.

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I share your sentiment, Tiffany. These two thinkers definitely have the tools to arrive at the truth. The value of their scholarship lies in objective truth seeking and yet they can’t fathom something so glaringly obvious like this. What hope is there for the average person??

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Sam Harris, who is supposed to espouse utilitarianism, said in his podcast that even if there were millions Palestinians civilians killed by"collateral damage" this is still more moral than the killings by Hamas! Additionally, although these thinkers and their friends have been railing against "wokeness" and free speech for years, I did not see them supporting those who are now targeted because although they condemn Hamas they also advise restraint by Israel. So much for one-sided view of free speech and cancel culture.

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Another addition to the moral equivalency argument: if this writer accepts that Hamas are solely motivated by Islamism in all its actions then isn’t Israel in its essence a Jewish state? Was it Not founded on a metaphysical narrative that involves a god and a celestial code (& here I am not passing judgement whether this is right/wrong, moral/immoral, good/evil)? Just good ‘ol facts. Why is it a total shock that the response to it from the Palestinians is based on religion? Why are we using a different yardstick here? One religion tells you to go create a state and the other religion tells you to hold on to it and both instruct you to fight to the death. Am I missing something here?! And both entities have their die hard fundamentalists and moderates with varying shades across the spectrum. The result of Jewish/Israeli fundamentalism is territorial expansion and violation of international law (they firmly believe that the native Palestinians should scooch on over to Jordan and reject the two state solution in its entirety) and Islamic/Palestinian fundamentalism believe that Israel is an anomaly on their ancestral land and will kill and die to remove them. That’s your moral equivalency. No matter how evil or sinful these heirs of the Enlightenment think this moral equivalency is, facts on the ground point in a different direction. As such, this will continue to be an intractable issue.

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While I appreciate and agree with the article's condemnation of moral equivalency, this article makes an overly broad claim that this is a problem among "progressive left" groups. In reality, the "progressive" groups the article mentions are NOT a broad cross-section of the progressive left; they are almost *entirely* Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian! (Here, I encourage the interested reader to dig up the list of the 30 groups that signed the Harvard letter--almost all are Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian). Yes, the DSA-NYC publicized a rally, which was wrong and stupid, and already has tried to walk back from it. It is important to consider the Venn diagram--the moral equivalency, so far, is one small (Arab/Muslim/Palestinian) circle nested within a larger (progressive) circle.

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Not really true. There were campus events at University of Washington, as well as a public one in Philadelphia (videos floating around on Andy Ngo's channel) showing non-Muslim, non-Arab, non-Palestinian people celebrating and calling for the extermination of Jews, with Antifa thugs circulating as "security." BLM accounts posted pro-Palestine, anti-Israel memes on their social media, saying things like how they "stand in solidarity" and "must not be condemned." The local left-wing radicalization of antisemitism is pervasive, and originates from the college campus (and on downwards, as K-12 BLM curriculum materials embed antisemitic and pro-Palestine ideas) as part of the academic corruption infecting the Grievance Studies domains.

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OK, I get it. I was responding to the list I saw in Michael's original post, and to the article he linked to in the Free Press. But yes, since that point, I saw that things that you mentioned. There appears to be a minority of progressive groups (most but not all Arab or Palestinian) that have been all-in for Hamas, and a much larger number of progressive organizations that have been silent so as not to offend their allies. There is this tendency to categorize people as white or oppressed, and there is no criticizing the latter group. There has been a lot written about this point over the last few days, such as by Yascha Mounk in Persuasion.

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Michael, this is an excellent essay and I agree with you 99%. You have successfully debunked the moral equivalency argument. I would like to give just a bit of criticism on one point.

You said "By contrast, the progressive Left (a term I use to distinguish them from more mainstream center-left liberals and classical liberals) seems hopelessly adrift at sea without a moral compass."

The term "progressive left" is just the wrong term to use in this case. I am mostly progressive and I am mostly left, and so I identify as "progressive left." And yet, I strongly oppose the actions of Hamas and the moral equivalency of some persons on the left. I suggest that you make an apology to those of us who are legitimately "progressive left" and substitute a different term like "extreme left" or "misguided left" or "morally confused left."

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I think the "blinded left" would be apt.

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I think that may be a suitable substitute.

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Wow! While I fully understand Shermer's deep grief and highly emotional response and agree that Hamas's attack was a horrible, grotesque act his piece is so over the top it undermines his response to the tragedy. Very unlike his usual thoughtful style.

He should also acknowledge and it is a moral failure not to do so that while Israel has every right to

exact the severest punishment on Hamas (and hopefully erasing them) the indiscriminate bombing, (mosques, community centers, a nursery, apartment buildings, UN helpers) and killing of civilians (1500 at last count with 400 children) is wrong as is preventing, food, energy,medicine, etc. to an entire population. These kinds of behaviors are reminiscent of Putin's punishment of Ukraine in his wanton

disregard of human life.

Israel risks losing the moral high ground it had after the attack by now even exceeding the barbaric acts of Hamas. And the U.S. is complicit as it has been for years in what has happened and is happening in this situation. It is hard to read, hear the news these days and it doesn't look like it is going to be better any time soon. If I were religious I would pray but all I can do is hope support organizations who are helping the people and trying to work out a solution.

Hugh Giblin

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Israel bombs those buildings because...

Hamas uses those buildings as bases! Their military base is in a hospital!

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I get your view Ash but those are isolated instances and in no way justify the widespread indiscriminate bombing taking place and what could possibly justify stopping food, water, medicine,energy to an entire population? It's a war crime man, a war crime. Hugh

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Since when is one required to supply its enemy with free water and utilities? That's insane. Should the allies have given Germany electricity?

Hamas had plenty of money and plenty of attempts to build their own infrastructure. They didn't, instead using their water pipes to create rockets. They have a power plant which is not maintained. Hamas is the government of Gaza. They are responsible.

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Oct 15, 2023·edited Oct 17, 2023

Ash, you should try to get your facts straight. Gaza is considered by many "the world's largest open-air prison". They are under 24h drone surveillance. They are not allowed to build infrastructure, let alone power plants (they will be bombed by Israel). They are 100% dependent on Israel and humanitarian aid.

Gaza cannot be compared to Germany, a sovereign state.

What would you say if US would deny water and food to the convicts in a prison because of a violent gang riot?

What if not only the convicts but also their families were (wrongly) imprisoned?

What if, in addition, other innocent families were (wrongly) imprisoned in the same prison because they were originally the neighbours?

This is surely not an accurate comparison. But I think there should be enough resemblances to reconsider your thoughts about the current conflict.

Mandatory note: I'm not trying to glorify the violence of Hamas in any way. I'm just saying we should get the context right. Without the context our judgments cannot be sound. I'm trying to objectively evaluate the situation. Luckily, I'm not an adherent of any religion.

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Also, if Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, would just, yknow, free the hostages, the water would be restored immediately.

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Excellent piece. I only wonder how to have works like these reach a broader audience. I'd imagine most of Michael Shermer's following already empathises with perspectives like these, and it's instead huge institutions (academic institutions! who ought to be the harbourers of scientific inquiry and skepticism!) who are allowing such aggressive protests. For the record - protests are a great, a vital thing. However, they reflect a strong opinion of many people, and when that involves aggressive or anti-Semitic beliefs - whether or not participants are actively aware - that's a serious issue. This post sheds light on just how extreme and dangerous such beliefs can be.

Why are universities often failing to guide their own students towards critical thought and questioning, when did it happen, and how can it be resolved? I suspect it connects with raising tuition costs & economic necessity of students, and the incentive that unis have to remain competitive and expensive -- so they don't want to "upset" their customers (students). I think I may tackle this issue in a future newsletter of my own.

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Women and children are always in the middle. The year I was born, there was a civil war in Greece between communists and fascists (fascists because they collaborated with the Italian and German occupiers in WWII). Both sides committed atrocities. Each side documented the atrocities of the other side. My concern is that if Israel wants to keep the moral high ground, it should not allow its soldiers to behave like Hamas. I say this because I read (NYT or Wapo or BBC,I don't remember which) that Netanyahu said that no Israeli soldier will be tried for war crimes in this war. It sounded like an encouragement to commit atrocities for revenge. I only read it once. May be he retracted it. Women like me are tired of men's wars and revenge killings everywhere.

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Intellectual quibble is how I view this article about "moral equivalency". Some people are evil, others are more evil - that the Hamas have wreaked atrocities and death on the innocent Israelites is obvious without us having to join the chant of condemnation. But do we know the degree of desperation of the Palestinians who have lived in captivity for decades now. Is the answer of death, destruction and atrocity, death, destruction and atrocity. If I had a child who needs medicines, food or water but have no where to turn to for this, would my moral compass get out of whack? Hell yes!

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Yes, death destruction and atrocity unfortunately are the answers sometimes. The fact that some people can't come to grips with this reality is what is a huge problem. Sometimes people just need to go at it and let the chips fall where they may, build some barriers literally and figuratively, and hope time progressive to the better but always aware that the cycle can continue. When ones ideology demands the non-existence of another trying to negotiate peace is a joke and a game with no real winners just losers (the lower classes) and those who gain from the constant status quo.

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‘death destruction and atrocity unfortunately are the answers sometimes. The fact that some people can't come to grips with this reality is what is a huge problem.’ That’s what Hamas thinks.. you’ve succinctly phrased it, Jason.

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I do not automatically assume the media reports are true. Did Hamas really manage to stage a surprise attack on Israel without the vaunted Mosad knowing it was going to happen? I somehow doubt it.

The various Palestinian organizations are all well infiltrated by Israeli intelligence services and some of the most radical of them are actually under covert Israeli control. It is not only possible, but very probable, that whatever happened was known in advance by the Israeli government and allowed to take place as a way to justify the Israel response we are seeing.

Israel has been taken over by a hard-line faction and the long-standing goal of the hard-liners has always been to drive all the Palestinians out of the whole region permanently. But to just go ahead and do that without somme provocation would bring down the condemnation of the world, so allowing, or possibly even instigating some act by Hamas that could be used to justify retaliation is a logical thing for the hard-line Israeli governing faction to do. And they woulld be willing to sacrifice some Israeli civilians in order to do it if that would get the world to allow the ''ethnic clensing'' of the region.

Most of the Israeli population are not among the hard-liners, but they can be gotten on board with the hard-liner's long-term project to gain all of the alleged ancient Kingdom Of Israel if the Palestinians can be framed for atrocities against Israeli civilians and driven out of the territory for good without causing the rest of the world to condemn Israel.

If this is right, what we will see as the drama unfolds is the Palestinians will ultimately be forced to flee the so-called ''Palestinian Territories'' and emigrate to whatever countries will have them, leaving Israel in full control of the territory the hard-liners have always coveted.

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Wow… well, at least there is an actual and incisive “skeptic” or two on this substack… too bad the author himself, the self-implied “Skeptic,“ isn't one of them.

There's at least some plausibility to your hypothesis.

The level of violence inflicted on Israel, and how it unfolded, is all so bizarre, extraordinary, and unthinkable.

In any case I can't resist quoting Caitlin Johnstone's comment on Twitter/x:

“It’s interesting how last week Israel had no idea what Hamas was up to… yet this week they know every mosque, school and hospital that Hamas is hiding in“!

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Oct 18, 2023·edited Oct 19, 2023

I don't doubt Hamas staged an attack, surprise or not. After this point on, the propaganda machines started running and have been making it very difficult to get objective news.

What I have been observing but not telling anybody (because criticism = antisemitism) that social media is full of reports with beautiful young women who were killed or kidnapped by Hamas while they were attending a music festival. I'm yet to see any men let alone ugly men in these reports. Are all these fabricated or only selective reporting?

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Oct 12, 2023·edited Oct 13, 2023

The Nazis ran a major European economy and built it into a prospective empire while carrying out industrial scale genocide across Eastern Europe.

Hamas are the bantustan bossmen of the Palestinian Territories' most overpopulated and most besieged (literally) and brutalized (constantly), third world ghetto, Gaza.

And you're comparing the two like the Levant is the Eastern Front, Stalin vs Hitler.

Read Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, or Israeli NGO B'Tselem, all use the same word to describe Israel's brutal, longstanding – and, yes, industrial scale – policies against the Palestinians: “Apartheid.”

Incidentally, are you old enough that you wore a “Hang Mandela” t-shirt in the 80s?

The shoe fits.

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Add me to the two people here who believe "progressive Left" is too broad a brush here. "Callow undergrads" might be better. Everyone in my orbit has denounced Hamas, as have all the prominent left-wing people I've seen on social media.

The "horseshoe" model is correct, though I might argue that it's a circle. Actually, given the American right's sharp turn away *from* free trade and science and *toward* big spending and authoritarianism, it might be a Mobius strip.

We have a local candidate in my area who claims his family came here from Argentina fleeing "socialism." He's wrong. They weren't running away because they had Ikeas and health care. They were running from *authoritarianism*. It's a pity more people don't know the difference.

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While I agree that the genocidal words of Hamas and American White Supremacists are equivalent, I do not agree that Hamas is worse than the Nazis... and especially I do not agree with basing this on the idea that the Nazis hid their genocidal thoughts and actions while Hamas proudly announces them. I think Hamas knows the world does not support genocide, terrorism, torture, and will not support them, and simply doesn't care -- simply being transparent does not make them worse. The main difference I see is that Germany was effecting genocide of its own citizens, while the Palestinians are not. But this too is not relevant in genocide -- racist killing is racist killing. And wartime strategy is not relevant either -- Hamas cannot clean their hands by declaring itself at war with Israel and their actions are an instrument of forcing the enemy (Israel) to surrender. We are no closer today than we were at the end of WWII in understanding genocide and why there is such hate that manifests itself in the desire to exterminate other groups of humans. But trying to rank genocidal acts or groups by any metric only obfuscates the road to change.

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Up until now Mr Shermer has frequently been a voice and source of strong skeptical reasoning. I have no argument with his well researched telling of Holocaust history. However, his assessment of progressive democratic politics is way out in right field, Mr. Shermer makes his political proclivities quite apparent. (In the larger context, it has been debatable whether the right wing's conflation of left leaning political thought with open-mindedness is simply the product of group think, or part of some politically premeditated psychological operation, but the right has increasingly seen the open-mindedness approach, taught in universities, as an affront to their, often dubious, rigid economic, religious, pseudo-biological[anti-science] centered ideology, and central to the policies very often espoused by the modern political right.) Science, law and journalism cannot function, with any integrity or trustworthiness, in an environment that encourages closed minded thought and preconceived results. Whatever our political leanings, we should all strive for more open-mindedness and deeper understanding.(Science and ethics are the tools that provide us with this pathway to that deeper understanding.)

Our nation finds itself in grave danger of devolving into an autocracy of pro-Nazi fascism, coming from a greatly expanded extreme right wing and funded perniciously by extreme wealth, into a system where corporate heads and billionaires set the thought direction, even more so than has already been apparent. It is a movement that is motivated to pick apart the spirit of the laws, to intimidate would-be dissenters, to break up social cohesion & solidarity and intimidate individuals charged with the administrative responsibilities of the democracy.

The push back going against this right wing/autocratic movement emanates, most powerfully, from the progressive wing of the Democratic party. Mr Shermer's characterization of the left, gives right wing propaganda mills all the grist they need, to add to their already mountains of manufactured outrage. Attempts at equating the debate among young students, that are trying to dissect & understand world affairs, in the face of never before experienced degrees of propaganda assault; to Holocaust deniers, does both students and the nation a disservice. (Much of the propaganda we have been saturated with has been constantly emanating from far right captured media, digital sources, right wing politicians & hostile foreign states.)

Below is a platform written for progressives who, by the way, generally believe in policies driven by the best available science and statistical evidence.

"Our Progressive Platform is governed by the principle that we all do better when we all do better.

When we have a fairer tax code, we all benefit from the investments we can make in the public good.

When we all have good-paying jobs and quality health care, we all benefit from a stronger economy.

When we have high-quality public schools and affordable housing in every community, every community can flourish.

When we have a legal system that protects everyone, we’re all safer.

When we accelerate our transition to a green economy, we all benefit from cleaner air and a healthier planet.

And when we have a democracy in which everyone can participate, we all benefit from the better policies that result."

*And then there is this reminder of what our democracy is all about.*

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, *establish Justice, *insure domestic Tranquility, *provide for the common defense, *[promote the *GENERAL Welfare], and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves *and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

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Today's Left loves to make excuses for radical Islamic terrorists. Truly shocking how so many people in the West could align themselves with Hamas.

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Best article and thoughts on this matter I’ve seen? Someone send me the link I’m signing up for the skeptic magazine. I’m so tired of false interpretations of morality. GREAT ARTICLE!!!!!!

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Europe (as a whole) created this impossible situation (Balfour Declaration, Violent anti-Semitism) and only Europe can end it. How? "Blood money" is the key: compensating the Palestinian people generously for their losses as an integral part of the terms of any final settlement the two parties reach. It would need to be an ongoing program of wage subsidies, health insurance, retirement and old-age assistance, and the like, (plus, possibly, residency rights throughout Europe and the Anglo-Sphere?), continuance of which would be conditional upon Palestinians who receive it abide whatever terms are included in the final settlement. T

Blood money can solve this problem in principle as well as in practice. It is the only acceptable way in Arab and Islamic culture to end inter-tribal disputes, of which this is one (though with the responsible 3rd party thus far inexcusably absent).

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And what do you do with money when you have no land? Buy a Ferrari in the refugee camp? Or would you allow mass immigration of the Palestinians to say, Denmark so they can spend their ‘blood’ money? Has it ever occurred to you that giving back their land is a better way of compensation? Or is it too late as the Israeli settlers have already gotten comfy in their occupied territory? Ridiculous..

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The comments in here are quite telling - trying to nuance a religious (Islamic) and Antisemitic organization and it's supporters, around the world, from such obvious motifs that parallel everything they would have none of regarding either the Palestinian's plight or any other historical attempt to annihilate a people.

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