Robert Avrech, the author of Seraphic Secret, recently remarked that
Israel is the only country in the world whose legitimacy is called into question by the so-called intellegencia. In truth, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Saudia Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and almost every Arab state in the region is an artificial creation of the great colonial powers. These Arab states were created by British, French and German diplomats who carelessly drew lines on maps thus throwing together a fatal brew of populations that were to clash for generations in bloody religious, clan, tribal, border and state warfare.
What is it about Israel that enrages so many people? It is clear to even the most vociferous of Israel’s critics that there nations with far more egregious behavior and far more openly racist and bigoted track records than that tiny nation. Further, if you listened closely the mostly bizarre nature of the charges leveled against Israel, a listener might be led to conclude that only democracies can be guilty of the most heinous crimes. Israel’s neighbors, an alumnus of the most repressive regimes on earth, are always portrayed as victims. They are always the embodiment of noble, no matter how degenerate and dysfunctional the regime.
Democracies like Israel by their nature try to find a way to negotiate the evil that can come from the individual against society, as well as the evil that originates from the unchecked society against individuals and individual liberty.
The totalitarian Islamic societies that surround Israel do not rein in either type of evil. The individual is encouraged by society- for the sake of society or the sake of religion- to channel rage, hatred and homicidal impulses toward the non believer. This has the net effect of destroying both the individual and eliminating individuality, lifting all restraint on actions taken in the name of society or in the name of religion. Thus, both the individual and society become psychopathic.
It would be easy to say that antisemitism is at the root of the anti Israel sentiments, but that is untrue. Many espousing that sentiment are liberal or leftist Jews and others with an impeccable track record of standing at the fore for social justice, racial equality and defenders of human rights (none of that applies to most Arabs or Muslims. They have a clearly antisemitic agenda, that is very much the ‘mother’s milk’ of the region, taught from a very early age. Many believe that by aligning themselves with leftists, that agenda will either be ignored or adopted by the leftist movement).
There is something about Israel that enrages the left- and that something has to do with having to engage evil on a daily basis. The Israelis must deal with an evil that is real, evident and clearly defined. For the left, evil can not exist because the recognition of evil forces societies and cultures to set boundaries and limitations. Even more, evil helps to define culture and communal behavior. If there is no evil, the individual and the individual’s needs and wants are of paramount concern. If there is evil, then the community and the needs of the community are of concern. The needs of the individual are subjugated. For the narcissistic individual, this is a catastrophe of the highest order, and that is why for the narcissistic leftists, the only evil they can acknowledge is the evil that places the welfare pf the community or state over the welfare of the individual.
In the case of Israel, that must be done every single day. To not put the safety and well being of the community at the fore would result in disaster. This is not hard to understand. Promises of rape, slaughter and destruction are ingrained into a culture, reinforced daily.
We noted yesterday in Temptations And Choices that from a cultural standpoint, destruction of Satan, the tempter, is a cultural imperative. Rather than grow and strengthen oneself by resisting temptation, one must destroy temptation.
…The tempted cannot simply resist the temptations- they must destroy the tempter so that they might not succumb. They do not see that resisting temptation is more powerful than destroying that temptation. The justification of destroying temptation, as opposed to simply resisting comes from the elevation of the tempter…
That is how we end up with indiscriminate murder and the justification and elevation of evil…
All non Muslims are fair game, as are all Muslims who are ‘not on the program.’
The left too, finds comfort in this kind of ideology. By elevating the tempter, i.e., differing ideologies, into a kind of bogeyman, the justification of the elimination or of asserting dominion over that bogeyman becomes clear.
The entire raison d’etre of Islamic fundamentalism is not only to reject and destroy the temptation, but to destroy Satan himself. The entire justification for the rabid ideology to remove American troops from the Gulf region, is to cleanse the region of Satan’s temptations. Western dress, attitudes towards women even western values are a threat. Even if the Americans are mostly invisible in the area, the fact that they are ‘tempters,’ poisons the holy land of the Arabs. Terror attacks against them and even civilians who work in region (forced to live in armed compounds for their own protection) can therefore be justified.
The idea that ‘tempters’ and Satan must be destroyed is played out every day in the Middle East. Westerners are targeted for violence and kidnapped in Egypt and elsewhere and Jews, the ever reliable standby, are targeted with regularity
All these behaviors are first and foremost the manifestation of the denial personal temptations (“You can’t get me. You have no power over me. I will get you first”). More these kinds of behaviors are clear reflections of the projection that must be displaced onto others. Their own ‘darker side’ becomes visible. The need to degrade others and to label them (women are whores, Jews are Nazis, etc. Ever present is the notion that Jews and Christians are sons of ‘apes and pigs.’
The need for this kind of projection over the years have mirrored the escalating and real failures in the Arab world. The dysfunctional pathologies have not just been left untreated. They have been encouraged and fed with the intoxicants of wild deceit. As a result, we have what is now a furious frenzy, one in which women and children are enlisted as terrorists and suicide bombers. Wherever there are ‘tempters,’ women and children are encouraged to blow themselves up. Restaurants, hotels and buses filled with everyday people leading everyday lives, are targeted.
All the while, men who deliberately go out and kill the tempters in a display of great piety, readily admit that the temptations of a heaven with 72 black eyed virgins as a motivator for their terrorist acts. The idea of limitless and boundless sex is now a good enough reason to kill.
One might believe that the fundamentalists are motivated by religious zeal alone, but that is deceptive. The fundamentalist movements are also out to garner as much political power as they can. They do this by maintaining an ‘Islamic state.’ Other non religious states employ terror groups, wrapped in the flag of Islamic ideologies, as their proxies. Syria, led by the Allawite Assad clan is a perfect example. They are decidedly non religious (in fact, it took an act of the Syrian Parliament to have Allawite sect considered as ‘Muslim’) but have nevertheless been staunch supporters of Hizbollah and Hamas, two terror organizations that are ostensibly religious in nature.
Rather than attack Israel, Jews or westerners in general, the pattern of Arab leaders who support the fundamentalists has been lifted from the gangster play book. Fund the terror, hire the killer and look into the cameras and say, ‘My hands are clean.’ It isn’t that the tyrants are even remotely interested in the religious ideologies of the terrorists. The sole purpose of Syria’s Assad in supporting ‘religious’ terror is to maintain his grip on power. As long as he and other leaders in the region support the fundamentalists, they will ‘watch each other’s back.’
So much for the morality of religious fundamentalists.
Religion also provides camouflage. By focusing on faith and hate of Israel, attention is drawn away from the economic, social, educational and societal failures. Israel is the only target that can be safely attacked without the fear of repercussion.
In the Palestinian Authority, the worth of political parties are measured by how many Jews the various factions have killed. Invariably, it is the political entity in ‘power’ that can make that proud claim. The ascendancy of Hamas over the PLO at the polls had more to do with corruption than of killing and terror. The Hamas movement promised an even harder line against Israel, with no recognition of Israel or even peace talks. They promised more killings and more terror, with ‘honest government’ as a bonus.
As a result of the Hamas win over the PLO, the Husseini clan (from which Arafat hailed and the largest and most powerful) have struggled to maintain their power and privileges. Now, they are seeking ‘real’ relations with Israel so as to regain power. They have little choice. Hamas is gunning for them.
Swiss psychologist Arno Gruen, noted that the source of manifested aggression and real destructiveness has it’s origins in culture and not in the individual. Everything that reinforces the fragmentation and disenfranchisement of our personality feeds the creation, nurture and elevation of our destructive drives. Truth, justice and morality have little to do with the cultivation of a culture and society for whom hate is the oxygen of their existence.
In a religious, cultural and societal environment that advocates terror and violence, the personality of the terrorist becomes as broken and as fragmented as that of the society and culture that birthed him. The terrorist is merely the reflection of the world he knows.
The brokenness of the society, culture and individual are blind to even the most basic building blocks of civilized man’s most universal moral codes. In fact, those building blocks are no longer present. In societies and cultures that are so broken, primal and murderous behavior takes over and becomes dominant.
Every ‘end of the world’ film focuses on a broken society where bestial instincts run rampant. Y2K alarmists gathered supplies and weapons in preparation for the demise of civilization. In fact, the ‘moral’ and ‘religious’ instruction that have become the defining characteristic of fundamentalists, terror regimes, organizations and those who support them, are anything but moral or an expression of sanctity. The societies and cultures that have adopted these ideologies are murderous and cruel. They espouse a pornographic morality of excess, that focuses on and encourages moral dysfunction.
Religious ‘leader’ Ibrahim Mdaires:
Allah has tormented us with the people most hostile to the believers’ –the Jews…
With the establishment of the State of Israel, the entire Islamic nation was lost,
because Israel is a cancer spreading through the body of the Islamic nation, and because Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers…
You will find that the Jews are behind all the civil strife in this world. The Jews are behind the suffering of the nations…Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew…We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we rule the world again.
The words of Mdaires are drivel, of course. What is relevant is that the kind of evil he espouses in a post Holocaust world, can find root in societies, cultures and individuals that have been oppressed and feel inferior and impotent. The cultural rejection and resentment towards reality are the cauldron that cooks the stew of dysfunction.
There is no desire for peace or accommodation. The Arab world, influenced by the fundamentalists, desires to be both victim and victimizer. They at once see themselves as tormented and passive, and in the same breath, declare their wild desire to be tormentors and inflict all kinds of punishment. As long as there is a single Jew left, they are justified in their primal desires. Religious authorities indoctrinate entire populations with hate and fundamentalism, knowing full well that these citizens, frustrated by their own impotence, will react to their exhortations with an almost sexually driven kind of frenzy that releases pent up emotions in the form of murderous rage, sadism and the urge to dominate.
The need to hate is not about hate, per se. The more one hates, the more one wants to destroy. Hate the Jews enough and you will want to destroy them. Hate the west enough and you will want to destroy that, too.
Couple hate and the tempter, and there is no middle ground. Destruction is the only option- unless of course, there is a cost to the destruction. When confronted with accountability and responsibility, the need to confront and destroy lessens and the need for compromise and accommodation increases. Lebanon’s Hizbollah faction understands that truth. Notwithstanding their ‘clear victory’ that left south Lebanon in a cloud of cement dust and Beirut stunned when the Lebanese government failed to rein in the terror group, Nasrallah and Hizbollah has been remarkably restrained in taking on Israel again. In fact, they are lying, very, very low, licking the wounds of their ‘victory.’ The combination of their religious and political bravado has been muted. They were held accountable for their actions and words.
Hizbollah, Hamas and all Middle Eastern fundamentalists have proved the point that when religion is mixed with politics, the results will always end in extremism.
It is religious extremism that will defeat the tempter and religious hate that demands the destruction of the non believer. The enemy, defined as any unbeliever, can and must be persecuted. Aggression is the appropriate and necessary response, required by god and country. If those efforts fail, the believer is humiliated and imbued with guilt- and that only serves to serve as the justification for more aggression.
Every civilized society has strict limits on the appropriate expression of rage and anger. Most religions too, limit and restrict manifestations of anger and hate. Nevertheless, fundamentalist (and even not so fundamentalist) Islamic expressions serve as an acceptable and sanctioned outlet for violence and rage- especially whe that anger and rage are directed at non believers.
The creation of the State Of Israel could not be explained away, denied or hidden. As far the Arab world was concerned, the establishment of the Jewish state, in their neighborhood and on their watch, was indeed a catastrophic event. In fact, it was cataclysmic, because Israel was undeniable evidence that the rise and domination of the Islamic world, led by the Arabs was indeed over. Notwithstanding Arab failures for over a thousand years, the establishment of Israel was a truth that not even the Arab world could deny. That catastrophe worsened as Israel ascended into the first world and they fell even further behind. In the same way that Da Vinci and Galileo were to stun the church with scientific truths, Israel stunned the Arab world with the successes that could only serve to highlight a millennium of Arab failure and darkness. The divine law, given by God Himself, that gave Muslims dominion over all mankind was upended- and by Jews, no less. The magnitude of the event cannot be understated.
Fundamentalist Islamic ideologues do not recognize any kind of internal conflict. Their problems are all the result of external influences- Tempters, non believers, etc.
Denial, displacement, and projection are necessary defenses and necessary for identity. These defenses also serve to cut off and eliminate any connection a believer might have with the moral building blocks of a civilized society. Their entire being and identity is framed by primal aggression and the unrestrained, cruel and irresponsible behavior of childhood. Nazi ideologies of social manipulation, live on.
Now, we have come full circle. Robert Avrech’s remarks and focus on his blog are more than a political comment. They are a significant social analysis that perfectly describes the need by the left to be inclusive of some of the most dysfunctional and failed regimes and their ideologues, in history. The only way we can be inclusive is if we agree to drink from the same poison. Avrech’s position is clear. No matter how well meaning the left might be, he would no more acquiesce to society drinking the hemlock any more than he would feed the poison to his own child.
Islamic fundamentalism, as opposed to Islamic terror, has hurt western culture, because we have refused to marginalize and reject the ideology. There is the mistaken belief that we can negotiate our way out of trouble. In doing so, we are drinking from the cup of poison. While we can negotiate with societies that share our values, we are sorely mistaken if we believe we can negotiate with cultures and societies bent on our elimination.
We will not cease to be the tempters and we will not cease to be the cause of Arab world failures, no matter how much we drink from the cup of poison. In the end, the poison will kill us.
For an excellent look at psychological defense mechanisms and how ideologies and culture play a role in those mechanisms, see Dr Sanity’s Symptom Or Adaptation? It is a must read and analysis of how contrived defense mechanisms can undermine cultures and the individual, using much of the Islamic world as an example.