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Friday, July 27, 2007

Al-Ahram weighs in on "Jewish psychosis"

As someone who pretends to be able to examine the Arab psyche, it is always interesting to see how intellectual Arabs examine the Jewish psyche. Turnabout is fair play, right?

From a Ph.D. in political science from Oxford, in Egypt's Al-Ahram, comes a typically rambling article, complete with incoherent examples and some hilarious asides. First, he sets the mood to show that he is smarter than the typical reader, to soften them up with his brilliance:
The closing of the Jewish mind
How long will Jewish psychosis be tolerated, even vaunted, and its brutal consequences ignored, asks Issa Khalaf*

O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse
Without all hope of day!

-- John Milton, Samson Agonistes (1671)

In March of last year I wrote, in other pages, that: "The events overtaking Palestine are eerily reminiscent of 1948. Unfolding today in the occupied territories is another disaster of historic proportions, evocative of Nietzsche's eternal recurrence. Israeli expansion, colonisation and consolidation of what is left of historic Palestine are reaching a culmination in the next several years. The Israeli goal, short of another 1948 or 1967- like event that would provide cover for further mass expulsions, is the complete political and social annihilation of Palestinian will and society... "

The Zionist programme to overtake the land and empty it of its indigenous people is so relentless and uncompromising, so openly implemented, so strikingly lacking in decency and humanity, that I'm trumped for categories to explain it. ...

Then he slowly builds what he believes is a thesis, and the projection of his attitudes on his enemies is really funny to watch:
I'm inclined to think that the worst is brought out in the American imperial impulse by Zionist organisations. Though the application of imperial power is conceivably tempered by pragmatism and calculations of self-interest and the need for stability, which would include the resolution of regional conflicts on a reasonably equitable basis, Palestine is an exception. Apparently, nothing short of complete surrender will satiate Jewish Israelis and the organised American Jewish community, who've managed to make US Middle East policy an extension of themselves and render synonymous in the American mind and institutions US and Israeli needs and interests -- and even then the Palestinians or Arabs will not appease them....

The result is a chronic American Jewish inability to see Arabs and Palestinians in all their complex humanity. Instead, Arabs are distant myths and images; culturally defective Muslims, unreformed savages and anti-semites ruled by their passions of hate, the only legitimate response to whom is crushing violence. What otherwise explains the shrieking escalation of the creed "Israel right or wrong," the infinite desire to satisfy Israel's every need, to achieve totalitarian conformity in support of it even if the consequences include taking the world down with it?

...And there were these two: a Jewish man and his college-age daughter, sitting atop a picnic table, each facing opposite directions, bracing and balancing each other with their backs. I observed them with fascination as Ashrawi spoke, including their expressions and almost unconscious, incoherent mumbling and heckling as they rocked back and forth like an agitated seesaw, furiously chewing gum throughout a long talk, livid as they listened to Ashrawi say, well, virtually nothing about Palestine. I realised then the profound shutdown of the American Jewish mind.

...This episode for me is a metaphor for self-fulfilling tragedy. I decided then there was nothing at this moment in history that could be done to rectify a yawning myopia. ... The Holocaust, always replayed and pushed on Western publics, is corrupted and appropriated by narrow ethnic imperatives. A persecuted people persecuted no more seem to have lost their senses, so fossilised are they in their Shoah, the culminating event of Jewish history. Compassion, remorse, guilt for the Palestinians eludes them.

I wonder how the millions who died in the Nazi death camps would perceive the new, defiant, death- insensate Israeli Jew, forged through this sanctified entity called Israel, "purifying" others like animals.

How long is one to extend sympathy to Jewish psychosis in the face of this obvious self-righteous folly? Neither American Jews nor Israeli Jews, brilliant people overall, seem capable of understanding outside themselves, so gripped are they with the rectitude of their own past suffering. There is perhaps nothing more noxious than Jewish assumption of morality in the context of obscene inhumanity towards victimised Palestinians. No, I don't believe Zionist Jews who unqualifiedly support Israel can speak with authority on this issue, despite the illusion of a superior Jewish morality.

...As I've previously argued in this newspaper, in the face of such power and influence -- and as truly tenuous, illusory and counterproductive this power may ultimately be -- rationality is all but lost. Power is used to impose a Jewish-Zionist defined reality, particular to its own perceptions and experiences and histories and psychologies, forcefully disengaged, oblivious, from others, ignoring actualities for the sake of chasing illusion, confusing rationalisation for rationality. It perpetuates delusions, choking a group's ability to see themselves as others experience them. Because of this distortion, action and its consequences remain devoid of introspection, humanity and reason. Cruelty is sanctified; imagination is impaired. The essential outcome, in the context of a narrow ethno-religious identity and messianic nationalism and militarism, is a most dangerous and fatal blindness.

The Palestinians are strikingly unburdened by the pathologies of their oppressors, not least of all because they do not reciprocate their occupier's widespread racism. Their responses to their sadistic dispossession and unbearable suffering run the gamut from peaceful to violent resistance, including the desperate barbarity of suicide bombings. Yet unlike their tormentors, they've not lost their humanity and essential decency, their acceptance of their enemy's humanity, their cultural generosity of spirit and life, their respect for the sacredness of all life, their sanity. I can't imagine that Palestinian soldiers would cruelly and coolly remain unmoved -- devoid of an abiding sense of rescue -- by a Jewish mother dying in her house as her children watched in fear and horror.

...My hope is dimmed, as Milton's words were meant to evoke.
Sure, Palestinian Arabs can send in suicide bombs to blow up women and children - but they are really decent people! Unlike the psychotic Jews!

The whole thing should really be read as a classic example of rabid anti-semitism and Arab projection of their own attitudes disguised as Arab intellectualism. The readers of Al-Ahram can find a pseudo-scholarly, quasi-rational basis for the hatred they already have towards Jews and everyone is happy.

And if you think that my last sentence is just a different manifestation of the generalizations that this author is applying to Jews, remember that last year's Pew global research study found that 97% of Egyptians had "unfavorable" opinions towards Jews, worse that any other country besides that other moderate state of Jordan.