Translation: Israel is no better than Hamas in the eyes of Geraldo Rivera, though Rivera can't bring himself to acknowledge this.
Instead, the veteran squishy conservative tries to come across as even-handed in his criticism of Israel and Hamas during their most recent flaring of hostilities, though it doesn't take long for Rivera's sympathies to surface. (audio clip after page break)
Here is what he said during a conversation with a caller to his KABC radio show out of Los Angeles yesterday (audio) --
CALLER: I just want to talk about something. First of all, Hamas since its inception, their charter has been to destroy Israel and wipe them off the face of the earth.
CALLER: So, I mean, how do you expect to negotiate with terrorists who want nothing more than to wipe you off the face of the earth?
RIVERA: True, but as the lady said, there's 15,000 Hamas members and 1.7 million Gazan residents.
CALLER: Well, the other thing is that, you know, there's absolutely no moral equivalency between a free democratic nation trying to protect its citizens and a terrorist organization that's trying to sow conflict by firing rockets at innocent civilians from amongst highly populated residential, civilian areas.
RIVERA: No moral equivalency? Yeah, yeah, I get that too, I get that too, except that's not the way the world sees it. You know, that's just not the way the world sees it. And there is, you got 116 dead Palestinians and three dead Israelis. I mean, that's a, where's the equivalence there either?
If only Hamas had not engaged in its barbaric practice of indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, those 116 Palestinians and three Israelis might very well be alive today.
After the caller makes a compelling argument against any claim of moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel, Rivera says he agrees -- "Yeah, yeah, I get that too." Then comes the inevitable "but" (in this case, an "except") -- "the world" doesn't see it that way, Rivera claims, twice for emphasis, followed by him citing casualty figures from both sides and questioning whether denial of moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas is justified, since many more Palestinians than Israelis have died.
Which is like saying that a prison warden who oversees the lawful execution of dozens of death row inmates in the course of his career is comparable to those executed on his watch, since none of them killed anywhere near as many people.
"Media coverage of the hostilities in Gaza tends to focus on rockets and casualties and diplomatic maneuvering," writes Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby. "Not emphasized nearly enough is the vast moral distance that separates Israel from its terrorist enemy. Israel and Hamas are not at war over territory. What divides them is an unbridgeable cultural abyss. On one side is a Jewish state that seeks peace with its neighbors and has repeatedly offered deep concessions to achieve it; on the other, a fanatic regime of jihadists who glorify death, abominate Jews -- and are obsessed with eradicating that solitary Jewish state."
Rivera claims he believes in Israel's right to defend itself, but he quickly turns skeptical when Israelis have the chutzpah to do so.