Moral equivalence is a term used in political debate, usually to deny that a moral comparison can be made of two sides in a conflict, or in the actions or tactics of two sides.
The term had some currency in polemic debates about the Cold War, and currently the Arab–Israeli conflict. "Moral equivalence" began to be used as a polemic term-of-retort to "moral relativism", which had been gaining use as an indictment against political foreign policy that appeared to use only a situation-based application of widely held ethical standards.
International conflicts are sometimes viewed similarly, and interested parties periodically urge both sides to conduct a ceasefire and negotiate their differences. However these negotiations may prove difficult in that both parties in a conflict believe that they are morally superior to the other, and are unwilling to negotiate on basis of moral equivalence.
In the Cold War context, the term was and is most commonly used by anticommunis