‘They made us do it…’ — The Disordered Psychology of Israel. By Avigail Abarbanel

Via: Avigail Abarbanel.

What more does Israel have to do for the world to wake up, for the world to finally acknowledge the reality that the Palestinians have had to live with every day since 1948? Israel’s attack on the Peace Flotilla earlier this week enraged and upset me deeply but didn’t surprise me. I don’t trust Israel and I know it is capable of anything. With no mainstream moral or rational restraints from within, and no challenge from its so-called friends in the US administration, we can only expect the worst from Israel.

It is a fact of life that if we only tinker with symptoms and don’t address problems at the core, they do not just go away. They get worse. Israel’s escalating behaviour is a symptom of a systemic problem that is not being dealt with at the core: a problem of ethnic cleansing, apartheid and occupation. The attack on the Peace Flotilla is by no means the worst Israel can do. I believe it is a signal of things to come. Israel is pushing the boundaries a little bit more with each new attack and each new anti-Palestinian policy.

Israeli Jews are filled with a sense of self-justification. They believe that the peace activists on the flotilla are all terrorists who were bringing arms to Gaza. Therefore they believe that the commando attack on them, or rather ‘what befell them’ was justified. In the minds of Israeli Jews anything and everything is justifiable in the name of Jewish survival. Since Israeli Jews have a pathological fear of annihilation, their entire state structure and culture are based on what they perceive as survival. And survival in Israel is seen only in the physical sense. You can stay alive physically but be destroyed psychologically, spiritually and morally. However, the majority of Israeli Jews don’t care about what their actions are doing to their souls, as long as they stay alive.

Refusal to take responsibility and lack of empathy

In his book People of the Lie, M. Scott Peck wrote that evil is not merely wrong-doing. Although most of us are not capable of murder, all of us do occasionally behave badly. It’s human to make mistakes, to lash out in pain, anger or frustration. This happens all the time in ordinary human relationships. But according to Peck what distinguishes evil people from ordinary flawed human beings, is the denial of responsibility. Even when their deeds are exposed and even when confronted with the immense suffering they are causing their victims, people capable of evil never admit that they are wrong and refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

I won’t go into all the detail and obvious contradictions in Israel’s behaviour and its official narrative about the flotilla attack. These have already been pointed out and analysed well by a number of writers. What stands out for me in Israel’s way of explaining its actions, is its utter lack of interest in taking responsibility. Even the language used by Israel reflects this. Comments like, ‘We regret the loss of life’, make it sound as if the unfortunate event just happened, whereas it didn’t just happen, they did it.

In order to avoid responsibility people who are capable of evil typically do a number of things. First they lie about what happened — or rather what they did. When the lies don’t hold up so well and there is evidence to the contrary, they resort to explaining why they were justified in doing what they did. And if this ‘defence’ crumbles, they then fall back on a victim act, ‘We’re not bad, we behaved morally and correctly. If anything went wrong, it’s their fault, they made us do it…’. Continue reading

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Christianity’s New Racism. By Avigail Abarbanel

Via: Avigail Abarbanel.

Over the years I have received many messages from pro-Zionist fundamentalist Christians and have found their views puzzling. This piece sets out my thoughts and feelings in response.

I recently wrote an article that compared Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. Among the responses was the usual collection of Christian fundamentalist messages. I will not comment on the literal belief in the Book of Revelations, and ideas about the impending Armageddon and the end of days. This I leave to Sociologists and Social Psychologists who study religious sects and their fascination with doomsday scenarios and the end of the world.

But I do feel disturbed by these messages because more than anything, they show how little progress these widening factions of the fundamentalist Christian world have made since the Middle Ages. I am from a Jewish family, I was born in Israel and spent the first 27 years of my life there. I have never suffered from antisemitism myself but have been taught about it and what it led to namely, the deliberate and systematic attempt to annihilate all Jews everywhere. From the Middle Ages European Jews have suffered anything from discrimination and segregation through to pogroms and expulsions. And this systemic hatred reached a historic apex in the Second World War. My maternal grandparents were survivors of the Shoah and despite all their efforts to re-build their lives in the years following the war, I don’t think they had ever recovered from what they had been through.

European hatred and fear of the Jewish people, discussed, preached, studied, written about and promoted for generations, finally reached a crescendo in the 1930s and 1940s. It was inevitable. You can’t build and fan a fire like this without it eventually consuming everything. After being fed a consistent diet of antisemitism for so long, the Nazis concluded that the world would be better off without Jews. They believed Jews were so despicable, so inferior, so not like them that they took it upon themselves to ‘cleanse’ the world of Jews, to exterminate them as you would a vermin. They believed that the world would be a more peaceful and safer place without Jews. I know that Nazi ideology rejected Christianity but antisemitism was a Christian creation, and it was hundreds of years of Christian antisemitism that finally led to this hideous outcome.

Now I am receiving messages from people who consider themselves Christian, and who tell me that when I criticise Israel I don’t know what I am talking about. They argue that Muslims and Arabs are all really bad people and that I should know better than to object to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Continue reading