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The Psychology of Collaborators in the War Against the Jews By: David Gutmann
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Commentators on Jewish matters have noted a paradox: a surprising number of Israel-bashers – including some who call for the elimination of Israel as a specifically Jewish state – are themselves Jewish. Consider Noam Chomsky, George Soros, Michael Lerner, Marc H. Ellis, Eli Pariser, Tony Judt, Ilan Pappe and Norman Finkelstein, to name but a few. It sometimes appears as though anti-Israel Jews are more numerous than the high command of Hamas. They are not only vocal but also militant. For example, many members of Moveon.org. and The International Solidarity Movement hamper IDF troops as they confront the Jihadists. Likewise the leaders of JStreet, a new organization, is mobilized to oppose the long-established pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC.

This is not a new war of the Jews: the Radical Left, with its large complement of Hebrews, has from its beginnings in the nineteenth century condemned Zionism as a reactionary, parochial movement – one that attempted to solve the Jewish problem in just one land and for just one people, rather than through universal socialism for all the workers of the world. But the supply of Jewish red-diaper babies has declined over the generations; there are no longer enough crimson nappies to account for the increasing numbers of Jews defiantly proclaiming, “Not in our name!” New forms of protest and new rationalizations for invigorated Jewish anti-Zionism have clearly come into play.

The chief excuse offered by the Jewish quislings and their apologists holds that the Jews are uniquely endowed with a strong, often oppressive conscience. Because our long history of suffering and victimization have, understandably, made us particularly sympathetic to the pain of other vulnerable groups, we are not allowed to be violent against those who, like the Palestinians, carry the title of “victim.” Even when they murderously attack us, the victims can never be blamed - certainly not by us Jews, who turned those innocent, agrarian Palestinians into victims. It is only we, the Victimizing Jews, who merit censure.

This rather glib rationale both flatters us Jews and lets the quislings among us off the hook: “When we abandon Israel it is for the purest of motives; indeed, it is we who are morally superior to the bloody-minded Jewish hawks that we condemn.” You can in short bash your fellow embattled Jews, and acquire merit for so doing.

I have been a clinical psychologist since the 1950s, and have treated and evaluated many patients for whom guilt was a central feature of their psyches. These Hamlets tend to be hesitant, unable to act decisively, self-deprecating, and tending to punish themselves for often imaginary crimes. Never do the truly guilty show the kind of arrogant, condescending, holier-than-thou self-assurance that I routinely encounter among the typical Israel-bashers. These are not shrinking violets, allergic to their own anger. Nor are they in any sense self-hating Jews. Quite the contrary: the Israel-bashers are full of sincere appreciation of their own righteousness. They congratulate themselves profusely on being immune to the sentimental claims of people-hood. They may despise other less rational Jews, but not themselves. These militants are in effect addicted to the aroma of their own resentments, affects that are turned outwards, away from rather than toward themselves. They vigilantly sniff out injustices, victims, and oppressions to be enraged about. They long for opportunities to demonstrate their moral uniqueness and superiority.

Thinking along these lines, I concluded that these ultra-virtuous, Israel-bashing Jews are not for the most part persecuted by guilt, by defamation of self, but over–stuffed with its converse: an excess of self-love, or narcissism. In this condition, the unique self and is prized above all those entities – intimates, spouses, children, friends, professions, communities and nations – that normally draw our love and allegiance away from an exclusive fixation on the anointed self.

Narcissism, including Jewish narcissism, develops very early in the individual life cycle, and influences not only the posture towards Israel, but also a whole range of political and life-style choices. Generally speaking, the narcissistically inclined react strongly against what they experience as conventional limitations imposed on their ineffable uniqueness by parents and “Society,” long before they had any say in the matter. For example: to be a boy or a girl, to be a patriotic American, to be heterosexual, to be white, to be a Jew, (and as a Jew, automatically pro-Israel.)

In their eyes they had been, without consultation, deprived of choice regarding these crucial matters of gender, race, sexual preference, or national and political loyalties. Starting in the 60’s, the streets, the arts, the media have been vivid with the noisy attempts, by insulted, disenfranchised narcissists, to restore their power of choice in these matters. Generally, they do this by espousing or even becoming the socially tabooed alternative to what they were “programmed” to be: “You declare me to be a Boy? Not after my Sex Change.” “You think I like girls? Meet my partner, Melvin.” “You say I’m White? I say you’re a Ho.” “You insist that I’m an American? Hey, I’m off to Canada until the war’s over.” “You assume that I’m Jewish? Then after I finish at the Ashram, I’m away to Ramallah with my blonde WASP wife, to help guard Yasir Arafat against Mossad assassins.”

Our Jewish narcissism may believe that they are, by such “revolutionary” acts, restoring some lost freedom of choice. But clearly, they are not. Their “Unconventional” choices are as pre-programmed, stereotyped and externally imposed as the most vapid of the conventions that they reject. Their narcissism may be temporarily satisfied, but they have meanwhile cut themselves off from the great shared traditions, which are the true sources of identity, and they have put their already imperilled people at greater risk.

Articles in Frontpage's Collaborators series:

Tony Judt

Michael Lerner

Marc H. Ellis

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