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Elan Journo Discusses Morally Evaluating the Israel-Hamas War on University of Texas Podcast

Morally judging a conflict requires identifying the philosophic ideas behind it.

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Israel and Hamas both claim to be on the side of justice and peace in the ongoing war in Gaza. Many evaluate the war as a tribalistic conflict between two morally equivalent peoples. But the parties to this conflict are animated by fundamentally different philosophic ideas. Evaluating the conflict therefore requires identifying the philosophic ideas behind it.

ARI’s Elan Journo recently explained this perspective on Choose Your Issues, a podcast at the Salem Center for Public Policy at the University of Texas; he was joined by Greg Salmieri and Gena Gorlin of UT. Of particular value is their analysis of the philosophic differences between the state of Israel and the Palestinian movements and how certain ideas, such as the “underdog principle” of altruist morality, undermines our ability to morally evaluate sides in a conflict.

Among the other topics covered:

  • How Israel’s political culture encourages its entrepreneurial culture;
  • How the Palestinian movement thwarts Palestinians who want to build a life;
  • How creating a just government that protects rights is a real achievement;
  • How a culture of Palestinian victimhood is fundamentally self-destructive;
  • How Palestinians failed to capitalize on the opportunity of the Gaza withdrawal;
  • How to think about the psychology of good and evil.

Mentioned in this podcast are What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Elan Journo; Nothing Less than Victory by John David Lewis; “The Nature of Evil” by Greg Salmieri; and “Death Is the Default” by Gena Gorlin.

The podcast was recorded on October 16, 2023.


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