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Making Sense with Sam Harris / #340 — The Bright Line Between Good and Evil | Making Sense with Sam Harris

#340 — The Bright Line Between Good and Evil | Making Sense with Sam Harris

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In this episode of “Making Sense with Sam Harris,” Sam Harris discusses the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the threat of jihadism, and the rise of anti-Semitism. He explores the complex issues surrounding these topics and emphasizes the importance of understanding the beliefs and actions of our enemies.

Main Takeaways

Israel’s Security and Hamas

  • Israel needs to retaliate and destroy Hamas and Hezbollah to ensure future security.
  • Collateral damage in Gaza has convinced much of the world that Israel is the aggressor.
  • A different approach has been suggested, such as providing humanitarian corridors and safe zones to starve Hamas in their tunnels.
  • Hamas is a permanent enemy of civilization, having committed atrocities against non-combatants.

The Reality of Jihadism

  • Many people in the West still don’t understand the problem of jihadism and confuse it with bigotry against Muslims.
  • The problem Israel faces isn’t merely Palestinian nationalism or resource competition, but religious certainty.
  • Jihadists believe that life in this world has no value apart from deciding who goes to hell and who goes to paradise, which makes it possible for them to kill non-combatants and use their own women and children as human shields.
  • There have been nearly 50,000 acts of Islamic terrorism in the last 40 years, and 90% of them have occurred in Muslim countries. Most have nothing to do with Israel or the Jews.

The Rise of Anti-Semitism

  • The recent surge of anti-Semitism around the world is alarming and suggests that the threat to Jews is not behind us.
  • Antisemitism is still a major issue in the US, with Jews being targeted with more hate crimes than any other group.
  • Understanding the situation before signing open letters in support of the Palestinian cause is crucial.
  • The denial of entry to Jews seeking to escape the Holocaust justifies the existence of Israel.


The Israel-Palestine Conflict and Jihadism

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is complex, with Israel facing threats from Hamas and Hezbollah. The collateral damage in Gaza has led to a perception that Israel is the aggressor, but it is crucial to understand the actions of Hamas, a permanent enemy of civilization. Jihadism, rooted in religious certainty, poses a significant threat not only to Israel but also to open societies worldwide. The problem of jihadism goes beyond the ongoing crisis between Israel and Palestine, with nearly 50,000 acts of Islamic terrorism occurring in the last 40 years. It is possible to be critical of Israel while acknowledging the reality of Islamic religious fanaticism.

The Rise of Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism remains a major issue globally, with a recent surge in hate crimes targeting Jews. It is important to recognize the humanity of those concerned about war crimes, but also to understand the beliefs and actions of Hamas and the wider culture among Palestinians. The denial of entry to Jews during the Holocaust justifies the existence of Israel, and the recent outpouring of anti-Semitism indicates that the threat to Jews is not over. It is crucial to take the time to understand the situation before supporting any cause and to address the rise of anti-Semitism.

The Threat of Jihadism

Jihadism is a global issue that affects many countries, not just the US and Europe. It is rooted in religious beliefs about God, paradise, martyrdom, and the evils of apostasy. Understanding the motivations and beliefs of jihadists is necessary to combat this threat. The doctrine of martyrdom and the promise of paradise make it difficult to reason with jihadists, and their real motivations are often misunderstood. Winning a war of ideas with jihadists is crucial, as their intentions towards Jews, infidels, and apostates are genocidal. Muslims who want to live sane lives must reject jihadism, and the vast majority of Muslims must disavow it to create a tolerable future.


Understanding the complexities of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the threat of jihadism, and the rise of anti-Semitism is crucial in today’s world. It is important to recognize the humanity of all parties involved, while also addressing the beliefs and actions of those who pose a threat to peace and security. By remaining informed and engaged, we can work towards a more tolerant and peaceful future.

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