The ubiquitous denigration, demonization and holding Israel to a double standard by those whom Daniel Greenfield calls “tenured academics, progressive journalists and irreligious clergy for whom Jewish values, like American values, mean appeasement and surrender to terrorists,” is an ongoing problem, although not a new one.
As early as May 1, 1936 Labor Zionist leader Berl Katznelson asked: “Is there another people on earth whose sons are so emotionally twisted that they consider everything their nation does despicable and hateful, while every murder, rape and robbery committed by their enemies fills their hearts with admiration and awe? As long as a Jewish child…can come to the land of Israel, and here catch the virus of self-hate…let not our conscience be still.”
In an article in Haaretz, attorney Uri Silber calls this phenomena “the Jew Flu: the strange illness of Jewish anti-Semitism” and “its Jewish anti- and post-Zionist mutations, afflicting a small,” but very vociferous minority of Jews. “Those infected with the virus exaggerate Israeli sins real or imagined, while excusing or rationalizing Palestinian Arab anti-Semitism and outrages against Jews.”
Silber asks, is Jew Flu a genuine illness? Michael Welner, a world-renowned forensic psychiatrist, who is Chairman of The Forensic Panel and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, submits that Jewish anti-Semitism is similar to a personality disorder, enabling an individual to "derive some psychological benefit from this pathological thinking."
What Motivates Jews to View Israel in Such a Negative Manner?
In his seminal work, “Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England,” Anthony Julius, a prominent British solicitor and Jewish leader explains that anti-Zionist Jews profess “to speak as the moral conscience of the Jewish people,” because in their role of “scourges of the Jewish state,” the anti-Zionist Jew becomes a “moralizer,” an individual who publicly “prides himself on the ability to discern the good and the evil. The moralizer makes judgments on others, and profits by so doing; he puts himself on the right side of the fence. Moralizing provides the moralizer with recognition of his own existence and confirmation of his own value. A moralizer has a good conscience and is satisfied by his own self-righteousness.”
Sol Stern, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, adds that these individuals have “decided to condition their belief in a Jewish national homeland on its pursuit of policies that make them feel good. They prefer an Israel of social-democratic fantasy—an Israel that need not take account of the behavior of its Palestinian interlocutors, that need not take account of the safety and security of its own population, and an Israel that need not take account of the views and wishes of its own electorate—to the real thing.”
Identification With the Aggressor
In response to a request from this author, Dr. Welner provides further insight into this aberrant behavior. He asserts that “the identification with the aggressor is the defense mechanism by which one adopts the perspective of one’s abuser. This defense mechanism is recognized more traditionally in scenarios such as the Stockholm syndrome and the reactions of captives. Yet many Jews who live in seeming freedom exhibit these very traits.
“Jewish self-hatred illustrates the convergence of the milieu of anti-Semitism’s influence in various specific subcultures, with the pathological need of some Jews to find favor in such cohorts. This explains why Jewish self-hatred is so pervasive within institutions to which belonging carries prestige. From campus groups with popular coeds to elite private colleges to social registries, to think tanks to insider punditry, to Israel’s Europhiles, cachet matters. To ambitious people such as many Jews are, that elite standing matters more to them than their own Jewishness. Rather than simply leaving the faith, or admitting to themselves the subtle but inhospitable Jew-contempt that permeates the club to which they betroth, the self-hating Jew identifies with the aggressor and adopts its resentment against Jewish interests in a craven effort to prove one’s bona fides.
“The self-hating Jew, or even the Jew-in-denial, deems this ‘enlightened’ to the other Jews who view his identification with the aggressor as ‘sick.’ But of course, because the self-hating Jew believes he has been given a seat at the table. Such is the personality disorder of this behavior, as the individual afflicted is always the last to know. Like vanity in general, the self-hating Jew’s ultimate denouement is the eventual cold recognition that neither a Christmas tree, a kufiyah scarf, a Syrian jihadist family sponsored nor donations to the UN lead the idealized in their social circle to relate to that Jew with any less visceral distaste. This type of true anti-Semitism is intransigent.”
Last to Know How Much They Are Loathed
Dr. Welner continues, “The personality disordered individual is always the last to know how much they are loathed. Those who hate Jews on a granular level, such as the indoctrinated Palestinians and other Islamic supremacists, or the elitists whose forbears were pillaging Jews and have bigoted lineage, suffer different pathology. But those haters are clear eyed about their capacity to find a small pretext for their distaste, including the unctuous disingenuousness for which self-hating Jews are painfully famous.
“Jewish self-hatred is rendered more complex by the strategic alliance of certain Jews with elements they know to be hostile. They convince themselves that they can penetrate the irrationality in certain governments in particular. And they are sometimes right. Indeed figures from Joseph to Queen Esther have set historic examples. Intellectuals such as Alan Dershowitz and political mega donors such as Haim Saban are often criticized; but their argument is well-taken. What would things be like if they were not bulwark against the antagonism toward Israel and its venal agenda against global Jewry?
“The key distinction is how the self-hating Jew uses affiliation to shed their Jewishness, while courageous travelers use their strengths to check the expression of the enemies of Jewry and often win begrudging respect. This dynamic presents no easy answers.”
How should we respond?
There is often a visceral desire to react to these self-righteous and self-appointed “moralizers” by calling them kapos, members of the Judenräte (Jewish councils) or some other highly offensive term. Aside from trivializing the Holocaust, they do not accurately describe the behavior of Jews vilifying the Jewish state.
Kapos were appointed by the SS to supervise prisoners or perform administrative duties. Failure to comply would have resulted either in harsh retribution or death. Some Jewish kapos were very cruel. After the war, a number were killed by their fellow inmates. Kapos faced life-and-death moral decisions, dilemmas that detractors of Israel fortunately do not have to confront.
Members of the Judenräte were viewed as Nazi collaborators for allegedly assisting in the murder of European Jewry. In his book “Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe Under Nazi Occupation,” Isaiah Trunk, a leading Holocaust scholar and the chief archivist of YIVO, the Jewish Research Institute, concluded no general statement could be made either about the members involved, or their activities, motivation or culpability. The actions of each Jewish council and its members have to be examined separately.
A Constructive Way to Counter Attacks
We should channel our energies and resources on institutions that:
- Expose the bias about Israel in the media and on the internet: The Israel Project, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Honest Reporting, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Our Soldiers Speak, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations.
- Convene seminars in synagogues and churches to address fabrications promoted by the Palestinian Arabs: America-Israel Friendship League, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), The Simon Wiesenthal Center, Our Soldiers Speak, SavetheWest, local JCRC’s Proclaiming Justice to The Nations.
- Publicly expose the governments and Jewish organizations supporting anti-Israel activities, such as BDS. NGO Monitor, The Investigative Project on Terrorism, Israel Resource News Agency, Center for Near East Policy Research.
- Work with Congress to keep our representatives informed about Israel: The Israel Project, ZOA, NORPAC, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), NGO Monitor, The Palestinian Media Watch, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, local JCRC’s, AIPAC, The American Jewish Committee, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Americans for a Safe Israel, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
- Sponsor Missions to Israel for present and future decision makers in government, education, universities, mainstream and social media, cyber security, law enforcement, the military, the entertainment industry, students and non-Jewish religious institutions: The America-Israel Friendship League, JINSA, JNF, Americans for a Safe Israel, American Jewish Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Religious Zionists of America (RZA), StandWithUS.
- Fight lawfare: The Lawfare Project and Shurat HaDin “mobilize public officials, media, jurists and legal experts to counter the international lawfare phenomenon: the abuse of the law as a weapon of war against Western democracy.”
- Provide ideas and policies to counter the lies. Think Tanks: The Israel Project, Middle East Forum, Jewish Policy Center, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), Myths and Facts, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Jewish Virtual Library, Unity Coalition for Israel, American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), Middle East News & Analysis (IMRA), The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Louis D. Brandeis Center, the American Jewish Committee, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Our Soldiers Speak.
- Monitor and analyze the Palestinian Authority through its media and schoolbooks: the Palestinian Media Watch.
- Provide primary-source material from the Arab and Muslim world: the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the Palestinian Media Watch.
Educating Our Children About Israel: Know What to Respond
Having them examine and critically analyze key issues of the conflict is one of the most effective means of engaging them intellectually and emotionally. Students should reach their own conclusions with the aid of educators who can present the conflict as a historians would, and not as propagandists.
Among the questions that should be discussed are:
*What are the historical, legal and moral justifications for the existence of Israel? What is the San Remo Treaty and the Balfour Declaration? Why are they important documents?
* Did Jews steal Arab land or purchase property at very low prices?
*What is an apartheid state? Is Israel one? Is Zionism a form of racism?
*Can Israel be Jewish and Democratic?
*What constitutes legitimate criticism of Israel? When does it become anti-Semitism?
*The media plays a fundamental role in influencing world public opinion and government attitudes and decisions. How does the media erode support for Israel? How can we tell if an account is biased?
* What do the Arabs learn in their schools, the media and their mosques about Israel? Is this incitement?
*What is BDS? What are its goals? Are they justified? How should the Jewish community respond to BDS? Is BDS succeeding?
*What are NGOs? Which ones are involved in undermining Israel? Which countries support them? Should Jewish NGOs critical of Israel and denigrating her be allowed to march in the Israel Day Parade?
*Are the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria an impediment to a peaceful resolution of Palestinian Arab/Israeli conflict?
*If Israel and the Palestinian Arabs sign a peace accord, will it end the conflict in the Middle East? This policy is called linkage. Is it a myth or is it a reality?
*How should Israel respond to the constant risk of homicide bombings? Why did Israel institute check points, build a security fence and initiate targeted killings?
* Israel is accused of committing genocide. Is that true? Why do the Palestinian Arabs use women and children as human shields and as homicide bombers? What role does social media play in this process?
*What is the organization Breaking the Silence (BtS)? Should the organization be allowed to speak in Israeli schools?
*What is the water crisis in Israel? Is Israel responsible for the water problems that affect Palestinian Arab cities, towns and villages as the Palestinians claim?
A Final Word
The Jews described herein who malign Israel will continue to provide legitimacy to the assault against the Jewish state. Our response should be to fund organizations fighting against the delegitimization, and prepare ourselves and our children with the knowledge to fight back.
Alex Grobman, a Hebrew University-trained historian, has written three new books on Israel: “BDS: The Movement to Destroy Israel,” “Erosion: Undermining Israel Through Lies and Deception” and “Cultivating Canaan: Who Owns the Holy Land?” He also wrote “Nations United: How the UN Undermines Israel and the West.” He is a consultant to the America-Israel Friendship League, a member of the Council of Scholars for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and a member of the Academic Council of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.