BRAZIL’S MORAL EQUIVALENCE

So there’s a new 72-hour cease-fire in the on-going war between Hamas in Gaza and the Israelis. We’ll see if this one will hold for awhile, or if it will collapse into a new round of violence and bloodshed. But I thought that one interesting aspect of this conflict was the fact that Brazil, about a week and half ago, broke off diplomatic relations with Israel, apparently because of the disproportionate number of casualties suffered by the Palestinians versus those on the Israeli side. Let’s see. Hamas began this war by murdering 3 Israeli teenagers, and then launched a barrage of missiles directed at Israel’s civilian population; but, somehow, it all turns out to be Israel’s fault. Several other smaller South American also followed Brazil’s lead in severing diplomatic relations with you know who.

Brazil’s current President is Dilma Rousseff, who succeeded the very popular President Lula da Silva, a couple of years ago. President Lula was considered a left-winger when first elected, but moved to the center after taking office. He turned, pragmatically, to championing a market economy, and was credited with substantially expanding the Brazilian economy and reducing poverty levels. His approval ratings were through the roof when he left office after 8 years. However, his chosen successor, Dilma Rouseff, has been struggling since being being elected. The Brazilian economy, the seventh largest in the world, has begun to stagnate under her leadership. Poverty levels are inching up. There was great controversy over the vast sum of resources spent to host the World Cup Soccer Tournament earlier this year. The supposed benefits of increased tourism spending didn’t seem to quite cover the expenditures of building a new soccer stadium, increased security, etc.

So, did President Rouseff run out of problems at home, that she suddenly thrust her country into diplomatic affairs regarding a Mid-Eastern war. Not hardly. While tourists from all over the world flock to Rio, especially during carnival time, few ever venture forth to see its seamier side. While wealthy tourists are enjoying Rio’s golden beaches, about a hundred thousand people live in some of the world’s worst slums in the hills above Rio. Drug lords and cartels pretty much rule the lives of these slum dwellers. The police, over the last 10 years, have significantly increased their presence in these slum neighborhoods in an attempt to quell the crime and violence evident there, but have barely made a dent in criminal activity. Speaking of the police, a human rights organization has found that a greater percentage of people in Brazil fear police brutality, than any other nation in the world. With all the tyrants that rule so many countries on this planet, that’s quite a finding.

So why did a Brazilian president suddenly break diplomatic relations with a country far from South America, that it had scant economic ties with in the first place. My theory is that it all goes back to WWII. After that war, a number of high-ranking Nazi war criminals managed to elude Allied capture, and made their way to South America where they found a safe haven. Even back then, it appeared that Latin America was so envious or otherwise so distrustful of the United States, that they tended to side with Nazi Germany during that bloodiest of all wars. Hence those Nazi officials that managed to escape being tried for their crimes, naturally made their way to S.A. For example, Adolf Eichmann, who was in charge of the Nazi death camps that killed 6 million Jews, wound up in Argentina. He was actually captured  there by Israeli agents in 1960, and brought back to Israel to stand trial. It was during that trial that he uttered the famous phrase that would be used by scum all over the world, ever since. In his defense, he stated that he “was only following orders,” that were issued by his superiors. He was found guilty and hung for his crimes, in 1962. Another prominent Nazi war criminal that ended up in S.A. was Dr. Josef Mengele, who performed the most heinous physical experiments on Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. Mengele  managed to elude Israeli agents hunting for him, and supposedly drowned while swimming off the coast of Brazil in 1979. There’s no proof of that, however. Other, lesser known Nazi war criminals also made a haven for themselves in S.A. after the war.

So, continuing a 70 year tradition, the president of Brazil naturally sides with the enemy of the Jewish state. No matter that Hamas deliberately targets Israeli civilians in attempting to register as many kills as possible. No matter that Hamas uses its own people, including small children, as human shields to deliberately run up the Palestinian civilian death toll. It’s certainly of no importance that Hamas hides its rockets and weaponry in civilian apartments and houses, in schools, in Mosques, in shopping centers, etc. so that deaths among civilians can be further increased. And, of course, the multitude of tunnels Hamas built from Gaza into Israel in order to kill or capture Israelites is also of no consequence. To say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of tons of cement and the huge amount of resources it took to build these tunnels.

This is called selective moral equivalence. Since Israel has suffered far fewer casualties in the current conflict, they must automatically be considered the bad guys. But where is the moral outrage from Brazil when it comes to Syria. The despot Assad has killed 150,000 of his own countrymen during that 4 year, on-going civil war, but not a peep of protest from Brazil. Less than 2000 Palestinians killed versus 150,000 dead Syrians. Hmmm. I guess that when it comes to Muslims killing Muslims, they get a free pass from the Brazilian president. How about the on-going slaughter of thousands, currently taking place in the Ukraine. Where is Brazil’s moral anger against Vladimir Putin’s tyranny that is fueling that civil war. No mention of Brazil breaking diplomatic relations with Russia that I read about.

Of course, Brazil is certainly not the only country indulging in moral equivalence, so perhaps it’s unfair to single them out. But it’s highly illustrative of the collapse of civilized behavior that should be inherent in the human condition, but apparently isn’t. When countries that are supposed to know better, seek to accommodate the increasing strength of the new spreading, terrorist barbarism, instead of promoting decency, compassion and humanism, this planet is in a whole heap of trouble.

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