During the Cold War evidence was presented to demonstrate that on both sides of the Iron Curtain people were suffering and that equivalent practices and institutions (such as espionage, torture, propaganda, and elitism) had developed. It was therefore argued that morally there was no great difference between them and that indeed they were converging towards greater similarity. Moral equivalence was used as a cover for left-wing tendencies sympathetic to terrorism. It can also mask a sympathy for third world totalitarianism.
In relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the killings perpetrated by extremists on both sides, moral equivalence is used as a shield and a weapon for those who oppose the existence or find a particular Israeli government not to their liking. However any act of repression or violence in the democratic society of Israel cannot be equated with the built-in repression and murder basic to the war of the Arab states against Israel.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.