Connections, so many connections. Some you just see, some you vaguely intuit, some you have to work to get, others you overlook. But occasionally it's important to draw out connections that matter and which others fail to note or perhaps prefer not to note or have noted. Here is one of those. A few days ago, the Fogel family were murdered in Itamar, a Jewish settlement on the West Bank. The details of the murder are horrific and I won't dwell on them: suffice to say that three of the family's children, 10-year-old Yoav, 4-year-old Elad and 3-month-old Hadas, were stabbed to death. If this was an act of Palestinian terrorism, then it was just the sort of act that Ted Honderich, a well-known philosopher, argues to be morally justified, and was given space to argue in January in the letters pages of the Guardian. Not only that - following criticism for doing so, the Guardian readers' editor, Chris Elliott, defended the paper's decision. Elliott tried to obscure the issue by suggesting, as was not true, that Honderich was questioning the definition of terrorism. But in any case on behalf of the paper he, Elliott, took the view that this was 'a legitimate area of discussion', even if one shouldn't infer from publication of the letter that the Guardian endorsed Honderich's view.
So, drawing out the connections that matter here: there are philosophers willing to defend the deliberate murder of children; and people in editorial positions on reputable newspapers willing to treat the justification for murdering them as 'a legitimate area of discussion'. Oh, MaryAnne, what do you think? Is it OK to butcher Jewish children (if they're settlers)? A bit much I reckon, Christopher; though it's a point of view I'm happy to allow room for at my weekly get-togethers.
Ever thus. Some carry out the crime of murder; others justify them; yet others think it's an understandable point of view even if it isn't their own, or obscure it by means of euphemism or just looking away. If what Yaacov relays here is accurate, it's good to know that there are Palestinians in numbers who openly condemn the murder of children, displaying a moral consciousness superior to that of people who probably think themselves of great... sophistication.