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‘A traumatized society is dangerous’

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I found it refreshing and interesting to talk to a psychotherapist about a subject—Israel—that I find increasingly confusing. Along with more and more people it seems, I am asking: Why do the Israelis do what they do? Why do they keep on doing it? Can’t they see what damage they are doing to themselves, to the Palestinians, to us all? I asked Avigail if she would diagnose Israel as if the nation were a client of hers and then suggest an appropriate treatment regimen.

Here, summarized as succinctly as I can, are the main threads of Avigail’s response along with her emphatic assertion that underlying everything she says is a clear distinction between explanation and excuse.

Trauma and its ramifications lie at the heart of the Israeli nation:

it is the organizing principle of the Israeli people and the psychology that has shaped its national character. But not just because of the Holocaust of World War II; rather, the seeds are already there, in the culture, the biblical stories (see Joshua, see Deuteronomy, Numbers, Exodus) and through centuries of history, including the Zionist movement in the late 19th century. The roots of victimhood and persecution go back to a long time ago.

Unfortunately, one of the characteristics of trauma is that it is passed on, through the generations and proliferates within the generations.

Trauma, as we know from PTSD, is a clinically-established phenomenon that can manifest whenever the suffering individual perceives existential threat. The problem is that this former threat may or may not be real today. Objectively, Israel with its military might and nuclear power is one of the most formidable forces in the world; however, the irrational aspects of insecurity persist, nourished rather than managed, treated and healed, amplified now to include Iran.

With an identity forged by its enemies and reinforced by the state’s religious, education, military and cultural institutions along with the trauma narrative, Israelis are not open to seeing themselves in new ways.

Those who suggest such alternatives—you, me, liberal Jews, Judge Goldstone–are dismissed as hostile to Israel and included among the expanding number of enemies. As George W. Bush put it: “You’re either with us or with the terrorists.”

Protective isolation against what is perceived as a highly dangerous world and against anyone perceived as an enemy is a natural consequence of trauma.

The huge dimensions of the wall and fence complex built by Israel in the West Bank speak clearly to just how dangerous every Palestinian man, woman and child is seen to be.

On her blog in the extensive section about Palestine/Israel, Abarbanel writes: “the story of Israel and the Palestinian people is the story of trauma being transmitted from one generation to the next” and “my people…have allowed the quality of their life and their identity to be determined by those who hated them and committed crimes against them.” But, she continues: ”Healing is a risky business that requires a willingness to change one’s identity” and not, as she puts it, an endeavor for the faint-hearted.

Fuel the MomentumAbarbanel draws on the work of the American psychiatrist Murray Bowen, and the “close relationship between trauma and persecution, and the tendency to emphasize the force of togetherness. When togetherness is emphasized, those those who do not feel, think, agree, act in the way that the group does, can be seen as traitors.” Citing Bowen’s theory of differentiation, she believes Israel is a “culture of consensus” and a “very poorly differentiated society…with the sense of self very, very meshed and entangled with the sense of the group.”

Based on this analysis, Avigail Abarbanel believes “Israel cannot be reasoned with”, that it “is a traumatised society and it is therefore very dangerous.” Applying family therapy models, she compares Israel to the abusive husband, the Palestinians to the abused wife and the United States to the enabling neighbor;.

She advocates for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict but warns that the coexistence of two traumatized people will require a great deal of imagination and intelligence.

She suggests that there are enough good and skilled and spiritual people in the world whose energies can be mobilized to do the work of healing and reconciliation when the time comes. “It can be great, you know!” she adds.

The interview ends with Avigail reflecting on the ‘secondary traumatization’ that can affect volunteers and human rights workers who are dealing with traumatized populations all over the world. “Look after yourself first,” she counsels, since “you have to be well to help other people…The only way I am able to work sustainably without burning out…is because I do put myself first.”

(I do urge you to listen to the podcast and listen to her compelling, fluid presentation. Sometimes an mp3 is worth thousands of words of text!) The interview is also available in German.  Note: June 20, 2015: Unfortunately the podcast is no longer available although the German translation is.

To become more familiar with the body of Avigail Abarbanel’s work, here are her writings and her professional website.
 
MAY 11, 2010
About Hazel Kahan

Hazel Kahan is a writer in New York. She has lived in several continents and was trained as a psychologist. Her website is here. http://hazelkahan.com/

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458 Responses

  1. sawah
    June 27, 2015, 5:13 pm

    How do some in the society recognize the sheer hate and brutality of the Israel military machine toward the people they occupy and rise above their trauma or abuse of past generations to stand up to this criminal behavior? I think that is worth a study.

    I guess I am fatigued at this frequent diagnosis and discussion as to why the state of Israel has to brutalize another people, steal their land, etc…

    How many generations of this brutal nation do we have to endure supporting and watching? I have seen therapists turn around generations of abuse within a family…because they are abusing people not considered family does that mean we can expect this behavior for generations and generations?

    • ritzl
      June 27, 2015, 7:48 pm

      Great comment, sawah.

      To expand a little, I’d like to see a similar analysis on why the Palestinians, after decades, have reacted to their ongoing trauma in a very different, dare I say, forgiving (e.g. live and let live/Golden Rule) way.

      That difference may just be a matter of practicality not magnanimity, but it’s definitely different.

      Going further out on that limb, this difference is a big part of why I believe the Palestinians are going to lead any one-state reconciliation – and Israel (or whatever hyphenated name the new state takes on) into the future.

      Thanks to Avigail Arabanel, Hazel Kahan, and MW for the thought-provoking article.

      • W.Jones
        June 28, 2015, 12:12 am

        I understand what you mean by the Palestinians’ reactions. Half of Armenians got wiped out by the Turks. How have their reactions been in terms of their approach in politics?

        Meanwhile, it’s true that the pilgrims in the US experience persecution in Europe, but does that explain their treatment of the native Americans as a result of their colonization movement?

        Finally, as generations pass since the tragedies of WWII, have Israeli policies and attitudes become more or less tolerant, and why?

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        June 28, 2015, 1:31 pm

        Ritzl — thank you for your comment and excellent question about why the Palestinian reaction to trauma is so different. My hypothesis about that comes from my psychotherapy work and it is only a hypothesis.

        In therapy we know that people who have pre-existing trauma (such as childhood trauma from abuse or neglect for example), react very badly to trauma later in life. Jewish trauma is the organising principle behind the mainstream European identity of Jewishness, and it predates the holocaust and Israel by centuries, possibly millennia. Palestinian society on the whole has a healthy identity that is trauma free. I believe this is the reason why, much to Israel’s chagrin, Palestinian reaction to trauma is by and large one of incomprehension, refusal to give up on dignity, sadness and grief, as a contrast to the venomous aggression, manipulation and destructive control mixed in with a toxic perception of victimhood, that Israel has been demonstrating right from the start.

        Does that make sense??

      • Brewer
        June 29, 2015, 1:48 am

        ” why the Palestinian reaction to trauma is so different.”

        There is no reward for Palestinian trauma.

      • rosross
        June 29, 2015, 11:14 am

        Avigail provides great insight into what is at work in Israeli dysfunction, but I would just make the point that the oppressed and subjugated have justice on their side and that makes people strong and resilient.

        The Palestinians have justice on their side and have always had justice on their side and that makes it easier. They are resisting, fighting, dying for their rights and their land. They are suffering with purpose.

        I have no doubt that beyond the one-state solution they will have work to do but just as soldiers fighting in a just war suffer less mental trauma, so do those fighting to free themselves from occupation.

        Israel on the other hand is in the wrong and as the occupier has always been in the wrong. Human beings in general are not silly and even where people may apply huge levels of denial, they still know, unconsciously if not consciously, when they are doing wrong.

        The European Zionists arrived as colonists following on Zionist soldiers killing and dispossessing Palestinians. They moved onto their land and into their homes. Such actions rarely make for a soul or psyche at peace.

        Since then, because Zionism demanded a majority of Jews so Jews could remain in control, non-Jewish Israelis have been treated as second-class citizens and the remainder of the Palestinians have been held under military occupation which has become more brutal with every passing year.

        Israeli’s have developed a split personality by necessity because they have been told there were no Palestinians and yet they are all around them. Most know that occupation is wrong and so is colonisation and yet they must force themselves to support it, or, risk what they are told is annihilation by doing what every other colonising nation has done – one state with equal rights for all, where Jews are not in control.

        South Africans had the same fear of blacks which is why they created apartheid. All of it is sourced in the most terrible fear and fear breeds and demands irrationality.

        I suspect so many Israelis have come to hate Palestinians, and anyone visiting cannot ignore how openly that hatred is expressed, not because they really believe they are sub-human, or that they never really existed and have no right to be there, but because they stand as a silent, constant witness of Israel’s wrongdoing. Few humans are able to feel good about themselves when they know they are acting badly.

        Behind anger is always fear and often, by the side of fear is guilt.

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      June 28, 2015, 1:18 pm

      I couldn’t agree more sawah. I’m fatigued too. I’m very careful to be clear that an explanation is not an excuse! My wish and call is for immediate action to stop Israel’s colonial project and the occupation, which is an inseparable part of it. I support the BDS as the least harmful way to go about it.

      The only reason I still talk about Israel’s trauma is to try and make people, particularly those in position of influence, realise that there’s no one to talk to or reasoned with, and that Israel will not stop of its own accord.

      There is still a great ignorance out there about what Israel is, even among otherwise reasonably informed people who are sympathetic to the Palestinians. I am fed up with a post-colonial world that allows a colonial project with all its evils, to continue to unfold right in front of our eyes with impunity!

      • bintbiba
        June 28, 2015, 1:57 pm

        @ Avigail

        “I believe this is the reason why, much to Israel’s chagrin, Palestinian reaction to trauma is by and large one of incomprehension, refusal to give up on dignity, sadness and grief, as a contrast to the venomous aggression, manipulation and destructive control mixed in with a toxic perception of victimhood, that Israel has been demonstrating right from the start.”
        Does that make sense??

        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/traumatized-society-dangerous#comment-777528

        It makes utter, absolute , complete sense, Avigail !

        And Thank you for your expert replies to comments !

        !

      • ritzl
        June 28, 2015, 6:15 pm

        “It makes utter, absolute , complete sense, Avigail !

        And Thank you for your expert replies to comments !”

        Double ditto, bintbiba!

        Thanks Avigail. I hope that Palestinian dynamic is durable and buildable. It’s the only thing, that I can see anyway, that is positive, hopeful, and relatively internal enough to the situation to be some kind of change agent/counter to the Jewish Israeli bunker mentality.

        Coupled with BDS from the outside as the stick, it MAY be just enough of an “out” for Jewish Israelis who genuinely seek a peaceful outcome to decades of conflict, to embrace.

        And now I’m just repeating myself. Great article.

      • rosross
        June 29, 2015, 11:16 am

        Well said, and the support and even encouragement by the US and other nations is shameful.

      • can of worms
        July 6, 2015, 9:39 am

        @AA: “an explanation is not an excuse! My wish and call is for immediate action to stop Israel’s colonial project and the occupation.”

        Just to be clear. You think that Israel has PTSD, and therefore “Israel will not stop [the occupation] of its own accord.” Why do we need this diagnosis, this ‘PTSD’ ‘explanation’, when we can just say that Israel has no interest in stopping, as long as it benefits materially ? Or, for that matter, we could just as easily say that Israel is totally segregated, and therefore Israelis naturally dehumanize the other and see no reason to stop. Wouldn’t those sorts of explanations do just as well, if all one’s aim really were (as you purport) ONLY “to call for immediate outside action, because Israel won’t stop of its own accord”?

        But your aim in having us define Israel as suffering from some trauma is something more than you let on. That’s the problem here.

        Btw, would you correspondingly say that Israel has PTSD and therefore will not stop its total segregation of its own accord?

        Or are you one of those who think that Israel’s internal segregation is ok? If it’s also a case of PTSD, then does your call for action extend to the desegregation of all the cities, neighborhoods, schools, military institutions and social institutions that were created by Zionism through ongoing ethnic cleansings, exclusions and the denials of return?

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 6, 2015, 2:09 pm

        Hello Can of Worms, If you had read my stuff properly you’d know that this is precisely what I am saying. Because of its psychology Israel is incapable of recognising or caring about the harm it is doing to the Palestinians. It is therefore not likely to stop what it’s doing of its own accord. It’s why I support outside pressure and the BDS.

        The reason we need an explanation is because there are those who still insist that everyone is redeemable, that everyone can be reasoned with and that Israel is capable of ‘seeing the light’. The purpose of the explanation is, apart from the fact that it is true, is to make it clear that none of this would happen. If the world was capable of doing what is necessary to stop Israel based on what Israel does, that would be great. I agree with you. But sadly this isn’t what’s happening. Thank you for your comment.

      • can of worms
        July 6, 2015, 3:11 pm

        @AA, I have a deeply materialist approach.

        I am keeping the material in focus because I’m looking at what can be done, what structures can be moved right now. Israel’s internal segregation is what I’ve been hacking away at, since Israel’s segregation is what I think ultimately determines who wins and who loses; it determines what weapons are available to struggle with.

        AFAIC, the complete segregation (& the way it came about) is what is keeping Israelis from caring about the harm they do. To talk of historical ‘psychology’, w/o analyzing the ongoing material structures of it, has no value for me–

    • Giles
      June 28, 2015, 2:37 pm

      Anywhere from 60 to 80 million people were killed in WWII. Well over 20 million Russians alone.

      Why is it that only the Jews are traumatized? Hell, the soviet people not only had to live through the invasion of Nazi Germany but the killing of tens of millions by Stalin. If anyone was to be traumatized, one would think it would be the Russians.

      The difference is, of course, being raised from birth to believe that “your people” (and only your people) have been victimized by “The Other” for thousands of years and will continue to be so unless you bad together with others of your group to do whatever it takes to prevent the next slaughter. Which allows – nay forces — you to behave horribly to “The Other”.

      • catalan
        June 28, 2015, 2:45 pm

        “If anyone was to be traumatized, one would think it would be the Russians. – ” Giles
        Like most Americans, you are blissfully unfamiliar with Russian culture and history. As someone who speaks Russian and other Slavic languages, I can attest to the gigantic importance modern Russians place on the Great Patriotic War. Indeed, most Russians start crying when they hear their famous songs from that era. How you come up with this silliness that Russians are less traumatized than Jews (as if trauma can be quantified) is a mystery that can only be explained with the atrocious quality of American public education. It’s forgivable in other words.

      • RoHa
        June 28, 2015, 8:30 pm

        “If anyone was to be traumatized, one would think it would be the Russians. ”

        There was a fair amount of trauma all round. The Indonesians said that three years of the Japanese was worse than three hundred years of the Dutch. The Chinese were a bit put out by the Japanese invasion, as well. North Africans were probably none too happy about their countries being used as a battlefield (they are still clearing up the land mines) but no one has bothered to ask them. And the list goes on.

        But neither the Russians, nor the Chinese, nor the Indonesians, nor anyone else, spend all their time whining about it. It is important, but not a religion. They do not demand special treatment or extort money from Swiss banks or drag it out as an all-encompassing excuse.

      • Giles
        June 29, 2015, 8:23 am

        “How you come up with this silliness that Russians are less traumatized than Jews (as if trauma can be quantified) is a mystery that can only be explained with the atrocious quality of American public education”.

        Gee. I don’t know. Maybe because the Russians have not built monuments to their suffering in every major US city. Or don’t go around calling everyone “anti-Russites”.

      • rosross
        June 29, 2015, 11:19 am

        Perhaps a better comparison are Romanies, who, while not discriminated against because of their religion as Jews were, suffered on a per capita basis at even higher levels because of their race.

        The Romanies are still often discriminated against and yet they seem not to have created a culture of trauma and victimhood.

        Which is where Avigail’s point comes in that Judaism has provided fertile soil, tilled deeply by Zionism, for a trauma which can never heal and a victimhood which cannot be relinquished.

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 1:54 pm

        “(as if trauma can be quantified)”

        I believe the process of quantifying trauma is called “triage”.

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 4:52 pm

        ” Indeed, most Russians start crying when they hear their famous songs from that era.”

        Gee, if the Israelis could dial it back to crying when they hear Hatikvah, and could forgo attacking, dispossessing and oppressing the Palestinians, it’d be a big improvement.

      • Sibiriak
        June 29, 2015, 11:55 pm

        catalan: ….most Russians start crying when they hear their famous songs from that era.
        ——————

        No they don’t. That’s silly. I live in Russia; I’ve traveled extensively in Russia; I’ve talked to literally thousands of Russians, including many young people at the University I work at–and I can say without out any fear of exaggeration , your notion of on-going Russian trauma is udder tripe.

        How you come up with this silliness that Russians are less traumatized than Jews….

        Look, WWII was a trauma for Russia, obviously, but it’s not as if Russians are still traumatized by it today. Russians celebrate their victory in the Great Patriotic War. They commemorate on various holidays the heroic deeds of anti-fascist fighters. They watch endless movies and televisions shows depicting (mythologizing) the unvanquishable spirit of Soviet soldiers and partisans and common citizens. In none of these celebrations, commemorations, and cultural productions is there any expression of on-going trauma.

        Another point: I’ve never met any Russian that holds any animosity toward the German people— they blame the war on Fascism, not German anti-Slavism or anything of the sort. Russians enjoy German art, music, culture. Russians are very eager to travel to Germany. Next to English, German is the second most popular language for Russians to study. There is no on-going trauma involved.

        And, btw, if there is any kind of living trauma in Russia, it’s not about the losses of WWII, but about the 1990’s, when a horrific “shock therapy” program was imposed on the Russian people, which lead to an economic, demographic and social disaster involving millions of deaths and destroyed lives, a social disaster the extent of which is largely unknown in the West, although it was in large part caused by the West

      • Kris
        June 30, 2015, 1:19 am

        @sibiriak:

        Russians celebrate their victory in the Great Patriotic War. They commemorate on various holidays the heroic deeds of anti-fascist fighters.

        The suffering and heroism of the Russians in WWII should humble us all. Every time I see a packet of garden seeds, I think of the great Russian scientists who starved to death rather than eat the heirloom seeds they were guarding for posterity:

        In September 1941, when German forces began their siege of Leningrad, choking food supply to the city’s two million residents, one group of people preferred to starve to death despite having plenty of ‘food.’

        As the invading Germans poured into the city (now St Petersburg), scientists and workers at the Institute of Plant Industry barricaded themselves inside their vaults. They weren’t trying to save their lives but rather the future of humanity. For, they had the unenviable task of protecting the greatest seed collection in the world from both hungry Soviet citizens and the rampaging German Army.

        As the siege dragged out for 900 days, one by one these heroic men started dying of hunger. And yet not one of them touched the treasure trove of seeds they were guarding – literally with their lives. http://in.rbth.com/blogs/2014/05/12/the_men_who_starved_to_death_to_save_the_worlds_seeds_35135.html

        Yours was an excellent comment, Sibiriak, thank you.

      • yonah fredman
        June 30, 2015, 1:40 am

        Certainly as a Jew reflecting upon the Jewish WWII experience, I feel more in common with an Armenian reflecting upon the events of 1915 than I feel with the Russian reflecting on the Great War. Ukranians reflecting on the starvation imposed by Stalin are more similar to the Jewish WWII experience than the Russian experience of WWII. Russia is a nation of such wide boundaries that has suffered more in recent years from Communism, capitalism and backwardness, that WWII is indeed ancient history.
        In fact to the Jewish young, WWII would also be largely attributed to history, if not for the demands of support for Israel. Israel’s constant conflict requires militarism to support its efforts and as such requires a rationale for its constant effort and the history lesson provides that rationale.
        134 years ago the primary Jewish population was in Eastern and Central Europe and scattered elsewhere. Today the primary Jewish population is in America and Israel. America with its amnesia regarding yesterday as its motto and Israel with its obsession with memory. To compare the experience of today’s Jews trying to build a perspective on the past and compare it to the Russian experience is to compare vastly differing circumstances.

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 3:25 pm

        “Certainly as a Jew reflecting upon the Jewish WWII experience” “Yonah” (of the 100 year gestation)

        One thing I love about Yonah, he seems to be absolutely intimate with all Jewish experiences, except his own.
        I wonder how he manages that?

    • tree
      July 4, 2015, 8:26 pm

      Hi, Abigail. I’m a little late to the confab but first off I wanted to thank you for responding and engaging in the conversation here. I’m sure its greatly appreciated by all here. Perhaps your cold had a positive side; although I’m sorry you had to suffer through it, it allowed you some time to engage with many commenters here.

      I think I disagree with your theory a bit, or perhaps I am misunderstanding it. I see the majority of the trauma as a result of the desire to create and maintain a tribal unity, rather than the other way around. In effect it is induced and indirect trauma, used to cement the feelings of “us” versus “them”.

      About ten years ago I read a book called “Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind” by David Berreby. It had a profound effect at how I perceive the topics of various tribal mentalities in all of us, and in Israel in particular. The most memorable part of the book dealt with Muzafer Sherif, a psychologist of Turkish ethnicity who, as a young man, was nearly killed in 1919 as the result of tribal hatreds between Greeks and Turks. He later came to the US and conducted experiments at the University of Oklahoma on tribal feelings in ordinary Americans, first inducing them, and then ameliorating them. I would highly recommend giving the book a read. Even if it doesn’t change your theory I think it would add to it in a positive way.

      Israel, set up as it is as a Jewish State, needs to inculcate its Jewish citizens with the sense that they are all the same in the most elemental way, even though there are great differences between individual Jews, and natural conflicts between various Jewish groups in Israel- Ashkenazim versus Mizrahim and Ethiopian, Orthodox versus secular, right wing versus left, etc. In order to keep the “tribe” together it must find a glue to hold them and that glue is fear and hatred of non-Jews, in particular Palestinians – the Them to the Jewish Us. Therefore all harm that comes to Jews must be perceived as having occurred simply because they are Jews and for no other reason, and all non-Jews must be perceived as holding beliefs that are dangerous, either openly or latently, to Jews.
      Israel needs to nurture tribal loyalties in Jews in order to be seen as necessary and relevant, and thus to exist. If a majority of Jews no longer see it as relevant then it will cease to exist as a Jewish State. (in other words, it will finally become the “ordinary state” like any other that Herzl wrongly claimed it would be, rather than one that exists to privilege Jews and dispossess the Palestinians .)

      This is what I mean by “induced trauma”. Most Israelis did not experience the Holocaust, most DP camp survivors chose to go elsewhere, and certainly in the early years Holocaust survivors were viewed negatively in Israel, i.e. as “human dust” and not “good human material”. But once Zionism saw the importance of inducing feelings of fear and group coherence in Israeli Jews, they began encouraging Israeli trauma about the Holocaust, engineering high school trips to Auschwitz, comparing every “Other” to Hitler and the Nazis, etc. The original problem was not the trauma; it was the need to promote and create the Jewish tribal feelings that was the cause of the trauma. Even when the trauma was real, it was created by the same tribal feelings that allowed Jewish Israelis to dispossess and oppress non-Jewish Palestinians and still consider themselves morally and intellectually superior. The superiority complex is nurtured by the tribal feelings, and the tribal fear, which believes that Jews are harmed simply because they are Jews, and not because of anything they do, or is done in their name, is used to justify the immoral behavior.

      I suspect that the reason that Palestinians don’t have the same reaction to the very real trauma that they have endured up until this day is that their tribal sense does not require the invention of trauma in order to have any group cohesion. Their relation to the land and to each other is sufficient and needs no illusionary trauma to hold them together. I also think that Palestinians’ sense of self, or their ” founding myths” if you will, include a sense of hospitality and of acceptance of all regardless of religion. While this may not been the complete truth (no groups myths are entirely true), it is enough at this point to prevent them from seeking a tribal “revenge” should the tides turn. The longer the Israelis continue to oppress the more likely that that resilience will break down. The best hope for Israeli Jews are those Jews like the members of Taayush and Anarchists against the Wall and other groups who show that there are Israeli Jews who are willing and able to see the Palestinians as their brothers and sisters and support them, despite the Israeli government’s continual efforts to demonize the Palestinians in order to create the tribal unity on steroids it requires to exist as a Jewish State.

      I hope you feel better soon.

      • Sibiriak
        July 4, 2015, 10:52 pm

        tree : I think I disagree with your theory a bit, or perhaps I am misunderstanding it. I see the majority of the trauma as a result of the desire to create and maintain a tribal unity, rather than the other way around. In effect it is induced and indirect trauma, used to cement the feelings of “us” versus “them”.

        ———————

        Excellent post. I think it’s extremely important not to conflate the actuality of trauma with an ideology of trauma, an ideology deliberately constructed to serve specific social and political ends.

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 3:28 pm

        “Excellent post. I think it’s extremely important not to conflate the actuality of trauma with an ideology of trauma, an ideology deliberately constructed to serve specific social and political ends.”

        You can say that again, in boldface!
        And if there is real trauma, let’s be honest about where it comes from. Gosh, who are the people who are in a position to inflict it?

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 6, 2015, 4:17 am

        Hi Tree and welcome! Thanks or your comments. I’d like to say something about your comment because you make an important point that is unfortunately shared by a lot of people who don’t really grasp the reality of trauma, what it is, how it is caused and how it is transmitted generationally.

        Trauma is never invented. It’s always real and is evident in the belief system people have. There are degrees of trauma of course and you can acquire trauma without having anything happen to you directly, through witnessing something that happens to someone else, or hearing someone else’s story. There is very robust and clear neuroscience behind this. No one chooses to develop trauma, it happens to people and then they find themselves with the predictable injury (that can be seen in brain scans) and that forces them into particular ways of thinking and behaving.

        Psychological trauma is a result of the brain becoming stuck in survival mode (fight-flight-freeze) and losing the ability to go back to normal. In individuals trauma is an actual, observable physical injury to the brain that affects the brain’s architecture and chemistry. Anyone can be traumatised if you put them in the conditions that can cause trauma and do not provide the right kind of relationships that are needed in order to prevent it.

        I agree that young Jewish Israelis do not have to have trauma and that the state mechanisms there through the education system, mythology, ceremonies, media work to make sure that younger generations feel and think the same as the older generations. (I was a product of this myself although I was also traumatised in a very abusive family.)

        But this isn’t to say that this is a conscious process. The process itself is a product of the psychology of trauma, which is fear-based. It is a mistake to look for that one definitive event that causes the trauma. Children can acquire trauma from having grown up with traumatised, chronically anxious parents who have never laid a finger on them and who are otherwise affluent, and living in a safe environment. Children grow up with trauma if they live with adults who are unable to relate to them emotionally correctly or who are negative, unkind, ultra-rational at the cost of warmth and connection. And of course children will be traumatised if something is done to them and there are no trusted adults there to protect them, taken them out of danger and then lovingly and safely help them process and integrate what had happened to them. Trauma doesn’t necessarily happen from the event itself, but more often than not, from how it is handled afterwards. We are all psychologically predisposed to fear. It’s how we’ve evolved to the point where we are now. Children are very vulnerable to that and are very afraid a lot of the time because they are predominantly limbic and their prefrontal cortex (soothing, rationality, empathy, morality, decision making, etc…) doesn’t kick in until about age 15. Up until then they are mostly at the mercy of the naturally frightened, survival-focused limbic (mammal) brain. Without the mitigating effects of close, loving, gentle and emotionally skilled relationships with trusted adults, they will suffer unnecessarily. Not everyone gets traumatised of course, but we can all do better than we are now.

        Trauma can be passed on through bleak, negative belief systems that emphasise hopelessness, survival, insecurity, fear, isolation, harshness, ‘dog eat dog’, lack of trust, etc. And of course these are in themselves a product of trauma. In Israel there is a very real but *unconscious* process of passing it on — if there was sufficient self-awareness in that society we wouldn’t have half the problems we are seeing now. It is impossible to trace what the original trauma was in Jewish history, but it doesn’t really matter. The evidence is *in* the person or the group, in their belief system, the way they live and what they do to themselves and to others. In other words, even if it is impossible to trace an original trauma, it is nonetheless a fact that the group is traumatised.

        My hypothesis is following the simplest explanation (Occam’s razor). Most likely the Hebrews were a group formed around a narcissistic leader (Moses?) who like all cults went on to develop its own mythology about itself. Groups like that tend to draw people who are already traumatised or otherwise vulnerable. Then sadly, when the group is really persecuted this obviously reinforces the pre-existing belief system. All events that happen to the group are also interpreted from within the existing belief system. We know a lot about cults and you can read about how they operate in sociology and anthropology text books.

        A group that already carries the psychology of trauma and is built around it, is not likely to think that it’s necessary to heal after persecution. Rather it would see those events as proof that what they believe is in fact true. Of course persecution will also serve to provide first hand experience of trauma to those who are newer to the group or were born into it.

        The belief system that trauma creates in people comes from the need to survive. We develop beliefs and ways of seeing reality that are means to maximise the chances of physical survival. Logic isn’t usually a part of it because trauma impairs our ability to access our prefrontal cortex where among the things I listed above, also gives us the capacity to think logically, be objective and soothe our fears. It also gives us our self-awareness. Because it’s so tied up with survival trauma psychology is all pervasive, it is ‘imperialistic’ internally and everything including the person’s very identity become subservient to it.

        Trauma is very real alright and it is a vicious downward cycle. It doesn’t heal by itself. It requires a great deal of work and determination and a safe and calm environment. But because the world is never perfect and because so much hard work is required only a handful of people engage actively in their own healing. It’s quite an incredible transformation when the brain integrates enough so that trauma recedes. Gradually the person’s very belief system and view of themselves and life transforms. It happened to me and I see this with so many of my clients. It feels miraculous but it is in fact science… I am not familiar (it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist) with a group process of recovery from trauma, but I believe it is possible to achieve this. In the case of Israel there will have to be a serious re-thinking of Jewish and Jewish Israeli identity, which is why I am not holding my breath. This is why I think we need to pressure Israel from the outside to change its behaviour. ‘Therapy’ can come later…

        Anyway, long story short, trauma isn’t invented and no one ever chooses it. It’s very very real.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 6, 2015, 4:39 am

        Dear Tree,

        You say: “I suspect that the reason that Palestinians don’t have the same reaction to the very real trauma that they have endured up until this day is that their tribal sense does not require the invention of trauma in order to have any group cohesion. Their relation to the land and to each other is sufficient and needs no illusionary trauma to hold them together. I also think that Palestinians’ sense of self, or their ” founding myths” if you will, include a sense of hospitality and of acceptance of all regardless of religion. While this may not been the complete truth (no groups myths are entirely true), it is enough at this point to prevent them from seeking a tribal “revenge” should the tides turn.”

        I agree with you. The Palestinians never had a traumatic narrative as a part of their group identity and that’s why they are not so easily ‘infected’ by Israel’s trauma. I too worry about what will happen to subsequent generations given how relentless Israel is. But I still have faith that the way the group is organised will prevent this. I know all the children in Gaza are traumatised and who knows how many people in general are anywhere among the Palestinian population in Palestine and in exile.

        Israel must be stopped though. We don’t have time to wait until Israel ‘gets therapy’ and unfortunately change is highly unlikely to come from within. The people who think differently in Israel are a handful only in the grand scheme of things. Jewish Israelis for the most part do see the world the way their government does. They are both a reflection of each other.

        My heart is with the Palestinians all the way through. As much as I am sad for Jewish Israel for living the way they do, I am much more concerned by the harm they are doing. My discussion of trauma is only meant as an explanation not an excuse. There is no excuse. I just think that if we understand better what we are dealing with, people are less likely to continue to plead with Israel or try to reason with it. You cannot reason with trauma psychology. It doesn’t allow access to the logical part of our brain and so when you try to reason the only reaction from the traumatised person or group is to feel under attack again and misunderstood again. They cannot understand why others do not see the world the way they do and feel that it is too risky to think any other way because they truly believe their survival depends on it… It’s terrible stuff… I support the BDS as you probably all know.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 6, 2015, 6:11 am

        Thank you Tree for your good wishes.

        There was one comment I wanted to add to my responses to you. It is that Jewish trauma long pre-dates the holocaust. Trauma psychology is the organising framework behind Jewish identity and religion and group or tribal affiliation. The Zionist movement, which started in the late 19th Century, is based entirely on the psychology of trauma. It comes complete with a sense of exceptionalism, specialness, mistrust, isolationism, etc. — all trauma based. The Jewish ‘national home’ as they called it then, which was to be created at the expense of the indigenous people seemed like a reasonable solution to Jewish persecution despite the cost to another people. Like I said many times before, if a cult or any group wishes to live separately from others in a physical or psychological ghetto, that’s fine, provided they don’t hurt anyone. Only a psychology based on trauma (or psychopathy) could be so devoid of empathy, as to consider that the removal of the indigenous people an acceptable thing to do.

        I know some people don’t agree with me that trauma is behind settler-colonialism in principle. However, I can’t see how anything other than psychopathy and/or trauma (both causing an absence of empathy) will lead people to have complete disregard to the suffering of others. Empathy will mitigate any impulses and stop us from doing any harm we might feel we have to do for our own survival or to further our own interests. We are all capable of harming others but it’s empathy that would stop us.

        Colonialism and settler-colonialism, the slave trade, rape, abuse, torture, expulsion, ethnic cleansing, war and all other manner of terrible suffering inflicted on human beings by other human being would simply not be possible if everyone, or at least the majority, were capable of experiencing empathy reliably. Psychological trauma is one of those injuries that can seriously compromise empathy. Others are the kind of brain impairments associated with Personality Disorders (psychopathy is one of those). Empathy develops through the right relationships in childhood (secure attachments), and the prevention of psychological trauma is essential to that.

        Not all traumatised people are harmful to others. Many are more harmful to themselves but those that are harmful to other do lack empathy. Followers of psychopathic leaders would refuse to follow if they too possessed more empathy. But fear knocks it out of us, sometimes temporarily sometimes it can be permanently. No one is entirely immune to this. It’s to do with how our brain works. A good read on the topic is The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge University. Not a perfect book, but worth your time if you are interested in the topic.

      • can of worms
        July 6, 2015, 8:51 am

        Do go on psychoanalyzing and medicalising Israel. Perhaps if Zios were certifiably suffering from PTSD we would be able to relax a little and wriggle our mental toes in the balming mire of it all.

        Does the latest version of the DSM have an entry yet on disorders such as Racism Disorder, and Segregationism Disorder [SD]? I heard that SD causes enormous mental health suffering, because when people go to segregated schools and live in segregated cities they lose their sense of the other’s humanity.

        Viz., I’m with tree and the others.

      • tree
        July 6, 2015, 1:05 pm

        Thanks for the welcome, Avigail, and let me apologize for spelling your name wrong in my original comment.

        If I may respond, first off I ‘d like to state that I have no doubt that your interest is to truly to help the Palestinians, who are the victims of Jewish Israeli attitudes and actions. I do still disagree with your take on cause and effect.

        If I can go on a bit about the experiment that Shefir conducted in Oklahoma in the 1950’s, I think it might help illustrate my point. He selected 22 young boys, all white, all Protestant, all middle class, in general terms all quite similar. The boys thought they were simply going on a summer camp adventure. By randomly splitting the boys into two groups and isolating the two groups from each other for a few days each group developed a sense of tribe . When he later let each group realize that there was in fact another group of boys in “their camp” he noticed the feelings of rivalry, hatred, and the sense that the boys in each group considered their own group superior, and exaggerated their exploits to prove it, and demonized and diminished the other group. He said nothing to the boys to encourage these feelings; he simply set up circumstances that led to or re-enforced feelings of separation and difference between the two groups. After two weeks he set up other circumstances that required the two groups to act together to solve problems and break down these barriers. He in effect set up two tribal groups within a matter of days among boys who were remarkably similar to each other, and then broke the tribal feelings by breaking down the barriers the boys had set between the two groups. None of these kids were traumatized, they were normal average Okie white kids. Shefir himself didn’t traumatize them, and although the animosity between the two groups was real prior to their reconciliation, the kids themselves did not traumatize each other. Neither did the boys have to have their “trauma” addressed before they were reintegrated in one group.

        The Zionist movement, which started in the late 19th Century, is based entirely on the psychology of trauma. It comes complete with a sense of exceptionalism, specialness, mistrust, isolationism, etc. — all trauma based.

        Exceptionalism, specialness, mistrust, isolationism are all common elements of tribal feelings, and they do not have to be trauma based. In the late 1800’s, early 1900’s some white Southerners in the US used to lynch black men (and occasionally black women). They used to have picnics at the lynching site, have smiling pictures taken with the dead victim, send postcards of the event to their friends. All exceedingly reprehensible, ghastly in its vileness. Yet in general these white people were not traumatized, and in most cases they were otherwise good and kind neighbors to those in their white tribe. But the tribe encouraged the feelings that they were superior to blacks, that blacks didn’t feel as they did, that blacks were to be feared and repressed less they rise up and kill the white tribe. The fear was manufactured to support the tribal feelings, not the other way around. That’s what I meant about “induced trauma”. It isn’t the underlying cause of the inhumanity, its a result of the tribal feelings that allow its members to exaggerate their own humanity and denigrate the “other” as not human, and so not worthy of humane treatment.

        Only a psychology based on trauma (or psychopathy) could be so devoid of empathy, as to consider that the removal of the indigenous people an acceptable thing to do.

        Then that means that large parts of the Western world are and/or were trauma-ridden, and I don’t think that is true. One doesn’t need trauma to explain racism or bigotry, unless you consider the act of teaching your children or cohorts racism is itself inducing trauma. But in that case aren’t you simply creating a tautology rather than finding a cause?

        If you look at what the early Zionist leaders said and did, they were not looking for a safe place of refuge for European Jews. Instead they were looking to remake Jews into an ethnicity, and, in their minds, purify the Jewish “race” through eugenics. They had selection criteria for those who sought to go to Palestine and it was not based on need but on age and health and ethnicity (Ashkenazim over Mizrahim) and a receptive attitude towards Zionism. There was no “Right of Return” then because they didn’t want every Jew, up until after the creation of the state when numbers alone became important in maintaining the demographic advantage Jews created through their ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

        I’d like to expand upon this a bit, but other priorities call at the moment. Perhaps I can come back to this later.

  2. just
    June 27, 2015, 5:14 pm

    +100. sawah!!!

    Thank you for your excellent comment, sawah. I felt much the same upon reading Hazel’s good article this morning. Yes, a study that you suggest would be welcome. Your question is a good one…
    ——-
    Thanks so much for this piece, Hazel. Avigail Abarbanel has contributed here before, and has helped me understand much more about the majority of Israelis. During/after last summer’s massacre and when the 95% support among Israelis of same massacre was revealed, I was actually sickened. I ‘ve never known a lack of empathy to be a symptom of PTSD, but it is a prominent characteristic of sociopathy/psychopathy.

    I’ve long wondered whether the illegal wall was used to barricade behind or to keep others out…

    Anyway, today I read an interview in Salon with Max Blumenthal and he gave me additional material to ponder. It makes sense to me, so I’ll share it here:

    …”I just want to make one more point: we have to understand to what the Gaza Strip is, in the grand scheme of things — not just since 2005, but since 1948.

    What do you mean?

    Seventy-two to 80 percent of the Gaza Strips’ population qualify as refugees. That means that they are the descendants of people who, during “the Nakbah,” between 1947 and 1948, were forcibly expelled from what is now Israel. These people can’t be allowed to return to their homes under the Right of Return — which is guaranteed to them under UN Resolution 194 — because they’re not Jewish. If they come back, Israel’s Jewish demographic majority will be compromised.

    That is how the rulers of Israel, who also rule all Palestinians, see it. They see the population of the Gaza Strip as a demographic threat. So the Gaza Strip is a human warehouse for a surplus population — it’s anachronistic in the modern world. A population is being warehoused because they are of the wrong ethnicity. That’s why the Gaza Strip resists. To me, that is really the essence of the crisis.

    Your mentioning the demographic angle brings me to Arnon Soffer, whose colleagues nicknamed him “The Arab Counter.” Who is he? Why is he important?

    Arnon Soffer is a chief adviser on demographic engineering — i.e., how to forcibly engineer a Jewish majority in areas under Israeli control — to successive Israeli governments. He conceived of not only the unilateral disengagement from Gaza, but also the separation wall. In each case, he said that they wouldn’t lead to greater national security for Israel, but they would lead to the maintenance of a Jewish [demographic] majority. He’s obsessed with maintaining a threshold of 70 percent. His last name, Soffer, means “counter” in Hebrew; so his colleagues at Haifa University refer to him as “Arnon, the Arab Counter.”

    He anticipated that his policy recommendations would reduce Israel’s national security, all in the name of maintaining a demographic majority?

    Listen to his words. As he was explaining the need for the unilateral disengagement from Gaza, he said, “When 2.5 million people live in a closed off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. These people will be even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane, fundamentalist Islam. Pressure at the border will be awful; it’s going to be a terrible war. If we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”

    He said that to the Jerusalem Post — and this is when he was a close adviser to Sharon. Sharon credited Soffer with convincing him to disengage [from the Gaza Strip]. It was printed in Israel, but not in the U.S.. I don’t endorse Soffer’s racist language or ideology, but what he said has come true. What we saw last summer with Operation Protective Edge was the fulfillment of his bloody prophecy: “kill, and kill, and kill every day.” That is what the Israeli army did for 51 days. …”

    http://www.salon.com/2015/06/27/the_question_is_just_when_max_blumenthal_on_war_in_the_gaza_strips_past_%E2%80%94_and_its_future/

    What I do know is that Palestinians appear able to maintain their empathy and humanity in the face of ongoing, relentless traumatic stress, and a lot of Israelis seem to have lost theirs in spite of their safety and lifestyles.

    Dr. Rothchild said this about Gaza : “This is a form of continuous PTSD (or as I like to say, it can’t be “post-traumatic stress disorder if it is not yet post.”” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/03/no-time-to-mourn#sthash.PIYYLKgL.dpuf

    “Netanyahu won. Now what?” Avigail wrote the piece, and there is some really good discussion about trauma and cults in the comments. Here’s an excerpt:

    … “Survival as a Jewish people (religious or not and whatever that even means) is the most important principle in Judaism and by extension in Jewishness (which is a sense of identificantion with the group that is not based on religion as such). This is a really big deal.

    Israel is a state that was created by, and belongs to a cult. As such, anything truly democratic, universal, any openness to others, to the outside world, is by definition in conflict with the very essence of the cult. …”

    – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/03/netanyahu-won-what#sthash.92rgdEPr.dpuf

    I hope I’ve made some sense… Thanks again.

    • ritzl
      June 27, 2015, 7:52 pm

      Perfect sense, just. Thanks

    • rosross
      June 29, 2015, 11:33 am

      Yes, a lot of sense and you touch on one of the core problems referring to Jewish ethnicity. There can and is, of course ethnicity in religions, all of them to lesser and greater degrees, i.e. a group with common national or cultural tradition.

      Catholics have an ethnicity which is different to Anglicans, for instance, but the difference with Judaism, although really it is Zionism, is that the term has taken religious metaphor and made it literal and embraced ethnicity as national, i.e. a people or nation.

      I don’t know if the Zionists did this on purpose but since many, maybe most, were non-practising Jews, later called secular, perhaps they did in order to seek to make Jewish more than a religious label, despite the fact that if one drops the religion or converts, one does not change race or nationality.

      The Zionists sought to make being Jewish racial, when of course it is not because Jews, like Christians comprise all races and hundreds of nationalities, and in the doing they mad it elitist and encouraged a belief that anyone with a Jewish ancestor, even a grandparent or perhaps great-grandparent, was superior to one without, which is how so many Russians got instant citizenship in Israel.

      It was and is of course religious racism which immediately disenfranchised most of the Palestinians who were Muslim or Christian. There were a few Jewish Palestinians who immediately became Israelis but most were forever locked out because they were of the wrong religion.

      Israel does not actually represent Jews or Judaism although it claims to do so. It represents Zionism which is an offshoot of Judaism, although one devoid of religion since it allows secular or even atheist Jews, a religious impossibility. But it does so in order to increase numbers to maintain a majority.

      There does seem something very wrong in a system which allows a European with one Jewish grandparent, who does not practice Judaism, to have citizenship in Israel when a non-Jewish Palestinian holding keys to his family home in Jerusalem, cannot.

      Getting the terminology correct is crucial. Most Jews do not live in Israel and never did and never will. This is not a conflict between Jews and Muslims; or Arab indigenous and European colonists, this is a conflict between Israelis and the indigenous people of the land they have colonised.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        June 30, 2015, 4:04 am

        rosross, I recommend any book by Shlomo Sand, especially ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’. Yes, the Zionist deliberately created a nationhood together with all its mythologies.

        Something that a lot of people don’t know is that in Israel there is no such thing as ‘Israeli’ nationality. On my birth certificate it says that my nationality is ‘Jewish’. On the birth certificates of Palestinian citizens of Israel the nationality is specified as ‘Arab’. Also, although I do not follow any religion, my birth certificate says that my religion is Jewish… In other words, whether I like it or not, the state of Israel declared for me that I am religiously and ethnically Jewish. Israel bases citizenship on a *racial* definition of Jewishness. If your mother and maternal grandmother are Jewish you are entitled to Israeli citizenship immediately under the ‘law of return’. This law covers only Jews, not Palestinians despite the fact that Palestinians have been living in Palestine for thousands of years whereas most Jews there are immigrants. Can you see the problem here?? But in any case I do recommend Shlomo Sand’s books to you. They might make things a bit clearer.

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 6:05 am

        Avigail, I know Shlomo Sand’s writings, although I have not read the book cover to cover but yes, I should.

        I also know that there is no Israeli citizenship but that the birth certificate says Jewish or Arab.

        Jewish is a religious label and Arab is cultural. Neither are a race or nationality.

        The Zionists, who were largely non-practising, or lapsed, more commonly called secular, clearly wanted to find a way to exclude those who were not Jewish, one presumes because they believed that even one distant Jewish ancestor conferred ‘superiority’ of some kind.

        Thinking about this, and here is the irony, that Israelis are always complaining that people are trying to make them illegitimate and yet in having no Israeli nationality or identity they make themselves illegitimate.

        With a great-grandparent who dropped Judaism to marry a good Scottish Protestant, I have always been appalled at the concept that I could probably make a case for Israeli citizenship and yet someone whose great-grandparent was driven out of Palestine after their family had lived there for thousands of years, could not.

        Zionism was founded in religious bigotry and racism in ways which should never have been tolerated and which can no longer be tolerated.

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 5:24 am

        Mooser,
        Perhaps in recent times colonies require a sponsor but not in the past. Having read quite a bit of African history in the countries where I have lived, it is very clear that tribes would travel, often very far, invade and occupy and colonise, generally killing or enslaving the people they found there.

        A modern fantasy is that only Anglos and Europeans colonised. Since American Indian DNA ca be traced to the Russian steppes, it is pretty clear they wandered across the Alaska land-bridge when it existed, and colonised, possibly killing or driving out an earlier group.

        The DNA for Australian Aborigines is the same as that of southern, Dravidian Indians, and having lived in India for many years it was something I noted and was therefore not surprise by the more recent DNA discovery. So, either Aborigines colonised southern India or Indians colonised Australia. There is an argument for the latter in that there is evidence of an earlier group who either died out, were killed, driven out or interbred.

    • Citizen
      June 30, 2015, 1:07 am

      @ just
      @ Mooser

      triage |trēˈäZH, ˈtrēˌäZH|
      noun
      (in medical use) the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.
      • the process of determining the most important people or things from amongst a large number that require attention.
      verb [ with obj. ]
      assign degrees of urgency to (wounded or ill patients).
      ORIGIN early 18th cent.: from French, from trier ‘separate out.’ The medical sense dates from the 1930s, from the military system of assessing the wounded on the battlefield.

      Where are the many monuments to Roma history in the world?

      @ Avigail Abarbane

      Is there another people who have turned their own history into a sacred mythical narrative book similar to Torah? And turned oral explanation of that book into delineation of ethical conduct relationships with The (lesser) Other, such as the Talmud? Did you read Atzmon’s book The Wandering Who? Or Esau’s Tears?

      Generally, where is the mother country of colonial Israel?

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 10:36 am

        Citizen, a ‘mother’ country is not required for one to be a coloniser. The definition of coloniser is
        ” One who settles in a new region.”

        The presumption that a ‘mother’ country is required to be a coloniser is an invention of Zionist Israel as part of the propaganda campaign to pretend Israelis are not colonisers, because they were not ‘sent’ from another country.

        If it is correct that we all began in Africa, then all human beings, bar a few not yet identified Africans, are descended from colonisers. Many parts of the world were below sea-level much longer than others, so, one presumes, their colonisation came later.

        colonialism

        the policy and practice of a power in extending control over weaker peoples or areas

        Israel is undoubtedly a colonial enterprise, involving colonists, mainly European, and engaging in still, colonial rule.

        However, it really is unimportant splitting hairs on the issue given that, in the modern age, occupation, colonisation and apartheid are considered to be wrongs.

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2015, 2:01 pm

        Colonies often have, almost have to have a ‘sponsor’. Doesn’t have to be a country, “Citizen” The sponsor can be an organization or even a financial consortium.

  3. gamal
    June 27, 2015, 6:09 pm

    Available again on youtube Tarek Jabbers Sanukhudu, why worry about the traumas of the past now is sufficiently awful, isnt it, and to come…

    https://youtu.be/cthY7zxOl6I

    • just
      June 27, 2015, 6:42 pm

      Many thanks, gamal.

      “why worry about the traumas of the past now is sufficiently awful, isnt it, and to come…”

      So very true.

  4. just
    June 27, 2015, 7:16 pm

    Maybe there is a glimmer of hope:

    “Israelis telling the Middle East like it is

    A new group of researchers think it’s time for the public to be offered a calmer and more nuanced portrait of the Middle East’s complex reality. Some of their colleagues in the ivory tower beg to differ.

    Toward the end of a lecture that Dr. Assaf David recently delivered to a group of retirees, under the subject heading “Trauma and Reconciliation: Relations between Israel and Jordan,” a woman in the audience could be overheard whispering to her friend: “In the end, the leftist in him is coming out.” David, whose primary area of research is Jordan, did not construe the comment as casting doubt on his professional integrity. On the contrary. “I thought to myself, why only ‘in the end’?”

    A few weeks had passed, and David was now retelling the story at his home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Masua.

    “I’d been talking about the rightward shift in Israel, as reflected in the contention that Jordan is the homeland of the Palestinians. I said that there was a time when the Likud espoused the official government line on Jordan, but that the radical right’s views were now being adopted by the party’s mainstream,” he said. “You cannot talk about Israeli-Jordanian relations without referring to Israel’s part in the relationship, and the deep currents that run through it. And what I would term professionalism is being mistakenly interpreted as leftism, because a sort of mindset has taken root here that a Middle East studies expert mustn’t talk politics.”

    David, 41, is the co-founder and managing director of the Forum for Regional Thinking, a brand-new initiative intended “to disseminate knowledge about the Middle East in the aim of fomenting perceptual and practical change in Israel.” He does not deny his identification as a leftist, even though on the basis of his biography he was supposed to be in the other camp.

    David was born in Kiryat Arba to a national-religious family and studied at the yeshiva high school in Efrat. In the army, he served in the Intelligence Corps’ Unit 8200, and then continued on to the standing army. But his service was truncated in 1995, when he was seriously injured in a suicide terrorist bombing on the No. 26 bus near the Rene Cassin High School in Jerusalem while on his way to his base.

    “The terrorist was sitting in a very crowded bus, and was very close to me. I remember a strong jolt to my eye, and then a sensation as if I was flying in the air, a soul without a body. I lost consciousness – I don’t know for how long – until at some point I became aware of the fact that I was lying on the floor. I moved my tongue over my teeth to see if they were still there, and then came the dreadful smell and taste. I felt people walking on top of me to escape, and then I understood a terrorist attack had occurred. I got up – my rifle was still on me – and sat down on the sidewalk, in shock. I did not absorb the fact that I couldn’t see in one eye, and assumed I was simply in a deep fog.

    “In the ambulance,” he continues, “the woman sitting across from me stared at me as if it were a horror film. At the hospital, they suspected that the piece of shrapnel that damaged my eye had penetrated to the brain. In the end, the bleeding in the brain was absorbed, but it wasn’t possible to save my eye. I went on to have a series of operations on my hand, because the shrapnel had cut into it down to the bone. I still don’t have much feeling in my hand. I subsequently heard that the people sitting on either side of me were killed.”

    Aside from the physical scars, the trauma also triggered a fundamental shift in David’s worldview. “On the personal level, it caused me to understand what the important things in life are, and that if this whole business is going to end tomorrow, then I would be best off doing what I believe in and not what the establishment dictates I do,” he relates. “What’s more, the event changed me in the sense that I am able to imagine the suffering of the other side.”

    These two principles lie at the ideological core of the Forum for Regional Thinking. At first glance, the establishment of the group is a rebellion of sorts against the Middle East studies establishment in Israel, which has made academic research its focal point and decided that engagement in current events is of secondary importance. The second and more significant factor combines empathy for human beings and their social structures with a call for redirecting the focus from the political and social elite and governmental institutions, and placing it on the residents of the Middle East.

    “When I write about the military putsch in Egypt as a professional, I do not care if it is good or bad for Israel,” explains David. “We look at it from the point of view of Egyptian politics and of the civilians who suffered from the harsh brutality of [former presidents] Mubarak and then Morsi, and then [current President Abdel-Fattah] al-Sissi’s. Regrettably, this sort of thinking situates you on the left, but it shouldn’t be like that.”…

    …Nevertheless, this is not the ephemeral initiative of some runny-nosed junior researchers. The founding nucleus of the group includes Prof. Dror Ze’evi, who founded the Middle East studies department at Ben-Gurion University, Dr. Nimrod Hurvitz, a lecturer in the same department, and lecturer and researcher Dr. Shaul Yanai of Tel Aviv University, all from the heart of Israel’s Middle East studies establishment.

    “Our primary aim,” says Hurvitz, “is to offer an alternate voice about the Middle East, one that is less harsh and more diverse. For instance, take a movement such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, whose image in Israel is particularly bad. You cannot disregard their compassion and caring for the people, as has been expressed in long years of infrastructure work in the establishment of hospitals, soup kitchens and educational institutions. Once you understand that, it is impossible to simply describe all their supporters as extremists.”

    “The lack of knowledge makes it easier to maneuver and manipulate the public,” adds Hurvitz. “Islamic State [also known as ISIS and ISIL] is viewed as representing political Islam, but in actual fact, the Islamic political parties denounce it. The discourse tends to be yanked toward the extremes, and this makes it possible to construct towers of intimidation on top of the ignorance. The right makes abundant use of this.”

    “The comparison that [PM Benjamin] Netanyahu makes between Hamas and ISIS is altogether distorted,” says Ze’evi. “This scrambled comparison can be accepted only by an audience that does not know the facts. These are organizations with completely different worldviews, which are fighting one another and killing one another. The vast majority of members of the Middle Eastern studies profession believe that Hamas, despite all its drawbacks, is a pragmatic organization, while ISIS is not.”…”

    More @ http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.663021?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter (paywall)

    • Kay24
      June 29, 2015, 8:29 am

      The Middle East is one of the most turmoiled regions in the world. The World Peace Index 2015 shows it has got worse. Even the “only” democracy in the region is listed in a negative ranking, being 15th from the bottom of the rest of the world, but the interesting thing is it tops the list of the most militarized (Israel has the highest level of militarisation in the world according to the GPI and is also the most militarised country in the world according to the GMI.) They seem to have no shame to be in the company of other notorious rogue states and towards the bottom of the list. I must mention the US is not doing too well either, no surprise.

      http://static.visionofhumanity.org/sites/default/files/Global%20Peace%20Index%20Report%202015_0.pdf

  5. JLewisDickerson
    June 27, 2015, 8:13 pm

    RE: Based on this analysis, Avigail Abarbanel believes “Israel cannot be reasoned with”, that it “is a traumatised society and it is therefore very dangerous.” ~ Hazel Kahan

    JOEL KOVEL (1-20-13):

    [EXCERPT] . . . As with everyone I know of in official political culture, [Thomas] Friedman assumes that Israel is a rational actor on the international stage who will obey the calculus of reward and punishment that regulates the conduct of normal states.
    The presumption is that if you tell it the truth, and even pull back US support, it will get the message, reflect, and change its ways. But Israel is not a normal state, except superficially. It will make adjustments, pulling back here, co-operating there, making nice when necessary, crafting its message using a powerful propaganda apparatus employing the most up-to-date social science. But this is simply tactical and no more predicts or explains the behavior of the Zionist state than an individual sociopath can be explained by the fact that he obeys traffic signals while driving to the scene of his crime. . .

    SOURCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/israel-nominaton-hagel.html

  6. Shingo
    June 27, 2015, 8:35 pm

    I listened to Thus interview with Hazel Kahn when it was first published as a podcast and found it to be one of the most astute and enlightening I have heard. I have lustened to it many times since. It explains do much about the Israeli psyche.

    Her analysis is not only hugely enlightening, but very grim and depressing because if indeed Israel cannot be reasoned with and is not a rational actor, then that can only means unlimited violence and bloodshed.

    It also reveals why Liberal Zionists are ultimately just as dangerous as right wing Zionists.

    • Brewer
      June 29, 2015, 2:59 am

      Atzmon has been trumpeting this for some time. I wish he could be rehabilitated here on Mondoweiss

      • Citizen
        June 30, 2015, 8:26 am

        Me too

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2015, 2:05 pm

        I’ve always felt that Atzmon talked, expressed himself, exactly like an Jewish Israeli who came to the conclusions he did, would express himself. And everybody jumped on him for it. He was just using the terms and contexts he knew.

        And I don’t doubt he can play trumpet, as well as reeds.

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2015, 7:33 pm

        “I’ve always felt that Atzmon talked…”

        No, I didn’t, now that I think about it. I was shocked at the way he talked, and jumped on the anti-semite bandwagon, it took a long time before I felt I understood why he talked in that shocking way.

      • echinococcus
        June 30, 2015, 8:39 pm

        Mooser, who says:

        I was shocked at the way he talked, and jumped on the anti-semite bandwagon

        I’m slow –no need to say it if you read anything coming from me, of course. Still, I would like to understand. Why do you say either thing? Anything quotable that would be argued as such, even for a first impression? Just can’t find it.

      • Brewer
        July 1, 2015, 3:31 pm

        ” it took a long time before I felt I understood why he talked in that shocking way”

        Exactly my experience – until I began to discern that he is utterly without prejudice.
        I suspect it has a little to do with his profession. My own sporadic forays into music broke down a number of prejudices I didn’t know I had. When some muso comes alongside looking like everything one would normally avoid – and you discover that he/she not only understands the sound you are striving for but is just as passionate about it – it breaks down a lot of barriers.
        In one sense, Gilad is an anti-Semite. He is against the co-opting of Jewish identity as a tool of political struggle. I share this belief and have banged on about it here:
        http://mondoweiss.net/profile/brewer#sthash.5V6BGNj6.dpuf

        Many folk would be appalled at the backstage banter between musicians where racial epithets are traded like ping pong volleys but this is the antithesis of racism, a mini-society so free of prejudice that no offense is either given or taken. For example:

        “Hey M…..f….., you play pretty good for a Honky!”

        ….or “Hey Mooser, you write pretty good for a 4×2!”

  7. John Douglas
    June 27, 2015, 9:28 pm

    I don’t think the analogy between Israelis and Palestinians on the one hand and abusive husband and battered wife on the other is very apt. The depictions of abused wives I’ve seen (and this may be wrong) is of women who are battered into numbness and complacency. The Palestinians I’ve seen (and there are few in that group) do not at all exhibit these characteristics

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      June 28, 2015, 1:39 pm

      John Douglas- the analogy was only intended to clarify the gross imbalance of power between Israel as the colonising power and the Oalestinians as the colonised. It is also intended to highlight that our first priority in situations where there’s imbalance of power should be to help the victim and end the oppression. This was at the time my response to all those www-meaning but misguided souls who think that the conflict will end when Israelis and Palestinians just need to get together around the campfire and sing Kumbaya… Or those who talk about reconciliation when colonisation is still in full force.

      It was never intended as a statement about the Palestinians, their character or how they have been responding to being colonised. It’s only about the power structure. I think I might have said this in the actual interview but not entiry sure…

    • Pippilin
      June 28, 2015, 1:50 pm

      Wait until future Palestinian generations are born.

      • ritzl
        June 28, 2015, 6:22 pm

        Pippilin, this is not intended to be argumentative, but it’s already been three generations.

        Well, maybe just a little argumentative… :)

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      June 29, 2015, 6:28 am

      John Douglas, just a quick apology for the awful typos in my response to you. I was writing on my iPhone at Gatwick airport last night, while waiting for a delayed departure. I think it’s clear what I am trying to say, but if the typos make the message incoherent, please let me know and I will re-write it. Cheers.

      • John Douglas
        June 29, 2015, 8:31 am

        Thank you, Avigail. I understand your point about the imbalance and it’s important. As an aside, that imbalance between western powers and indigenous middle-easterners is seldom addressed in the MSM and when it is the real meaning is covered over by the barely-coherent military-speak “asymmetric warfare”.

  8. michelle
    June 28, 2015, 1:19 am

    .
    way past time for some tough love
    and some reality
    .
    G-d Bless

  9. iResistDe4iAm
    June 28, 2015, 11:41 am

    FYI, the link to Avigail’s professional website is broken.

    Here is the correct link:
    http://www.fullyhuman.co.uk/

  10. Avigail Abarbanel
    June 28, 2015, 1:33 pm

    michelle — exactly!

  11. just
    June 28, 2015, 3:02 pm

    Somehow this article fits this thread.

    Oudeh Basharat:

    “An Israeli TV host presents: A blood price list
    Avri Gilad is an authentic representative of a culture that has already been blossoming here for a generation that believes that the whole world is against us.

    Yuli Novak, the executive director of the Breaking the Silence, which is engaged in publicizing Israeli abuses in the territories, refused in a dignified way to answer a question posed to her by media personality Avri Gilad on a Channel 2 morning program. What is preferable in her opinion, he wanted to know, for one Israel Defense Force soldier to be killed or for 1,000 non-combatant Gazans to die? If Novak had answered that she would have preferred 100 Palestinians to be killed, she would have been seen as an unenlightened racist who made a distinction depending upon whose blood was being shed. And if she had said it was better for one IDF soldier to die, she would have been the ultimate traitor.

    I will, however, attempt to answer the filthy question and indeed if the question was posed to mothers, both Israeli and Gaza Palestinian, each would want to spare her own sons’ lives. If it were otherwise, they would no longer be mothers. If the question was posed to people outside this emotional circle, they would say that it is a cruel question that pits one life against another. If they had no alternative, they would say that as many people as possible should be saved, without distinguishing between them; because if the life of one Israeli is more valuable than 100 of the enemy, why just 100? Why not 1,000?

    I’ve always been suspicious of the statement that there are no improper questions, just improper answers. Questions also reflect the character of the questioner, and if Gilad’s game of preferences includes pitting the life of one Israeli soldier against 100 other lives, he has a problem. …

    Moreover, the world that Gilad inhabits is narrow and stifling. It’s us or them. Gilad is an authentic representative of a culture that has already been blossoming here for a generation that believes that the whole world is against us. The flip side of that is that we are against the world. Look, the entire world, including those who are clearly our friends, is in favor of ending the occupation and here this group of Israelis are fighting to continue it.

    But why complain about Gilad when the IDF’s Hannibal Directive is exactly the same doctrine? Not only is it permissible to wipe out 100 Palestinians. It is also permissible to kill the one Israeli soldier in addition to the 100 Palestinians to prevent the soldier from being taken captive. During last summer’s war in Gaza, in Rafah, on a Friday that has come to be known as Black Friday, 150 Palestinians were killed pursuant to the directive when it was feared that Lt. Hadar Goldin had been captured.

    But reality proved Gilad’s game of preferences wrong. Not only is one Israeli soldier worth 100 Gazans, even the body of the soldier is. The Second Lebanon War in 2006 broke out over the abduction of two Israeli soldiers, while it was almost certain that the two were no longer alive. The body of each Israeli cost the Lebanese the lives of 700 civilians and soldiers, and in Israel too, where apparently things got mixed up, for every dead soldier, 72 soldiers and civilians were killed. Sometimes the spell backfires on the magician.

    I would like to draw Gilad’s attention to the activities of Israeli civil rights organizations, whose activists he accused of playing into the hands of anti-Semites. But when I was in Europe, I was amazed to hear Europeans express admiration for the Jews for their self-criticism. They were thrilled with the movie “The Gatekeepers,” over the fact that the heroes of the documentary, six former heads of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, were raising ethical questions, appealing to people of culture. But as a sworn enemy of the Jews, I castigated them, saying that the situation in Israel is catastrophic, while you naïve Europeans are saying that actually these people of conscience are showing that all is not lost in the State of Israel.

    I immediately called my anti-Semitic friends in Europe and assailed them with the request that they stop inviting Breaking the Silence to come and stop showing “The Gatekeepers,” and instead they needed to immediately invite Gilad, who would present his 100-to-1 blood price list. And if language commentator Avshalom Kor, with his theory of Arab cannibalism, also joins the trip, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will already have a Palestinian state in the bag.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.663418?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    From what I’ve been reading in Haaretz over the last 10 days or so, there are some Israelis who are mightily distressed at the newest iteration of Israel~ unmasked, undemocratic, apartheid, hugely aggressive, and more. It’s more “dangerous” than ever. The only bright spot that I hope for is that more and more Israelis will wake up and act to chang the status quo.

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      June 29, 2015, 3:05 am

      Good morning just! Thank you for your comment. Brilliant. Sounds like you live in Israel unless I read your comment wrong…

      I think part of the psychology of what you are describing has to do with Europe’s desperate need to see Israel as an enlightened country. They do everything they can to find whatever scraps of what seems to be self-awareness or enlightened elements in Israeli society at the cost of reality and while sacrificing the Palestinian people.

      There is still a great deal of guilt in Europe over the holocaust and the foundation of antisemitism that preceded it and ultimately enabled it. There is obviously a need there to believe that the former victims are innocent. This is more about European psychology than Israeli though. I think that on the whole Europe can’t face the fact that allowing the holocaust to happen has led to the colonisation of Palestine and the crimes that have been, and are still being committed against the Palestinians. This means that Europe’s crime continues to be inflicted on yet another group (that’s of course very simplistic as Europe has its own post-colonial legacy to reckon with!) and I don’t think on the whole that humanity has the emotional resilience to feel uncomfortable feelings, such as guilt, and do the right thing anyway. If only we had properly mature, adult leaders at the helm. It could make such a difference in the world…

      But once again just, thanks for that great comment. People need to read it and I hope they understand what you mean.

      • just
        June 29, 2015, 6:30 pm

        Thank you, Avigail, for your own great comment(s)! You’ve helped me to understand so much.

        Thankfully, I do not live in Israel ;-) Safe travels to you~ it’s lovely that you and yours have located to the Scottish Highlands!

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        June 30, 2015, 4:12 am

        Hi just, you’re very welcome! I like your comments. They are always interesting and thought provoking. I can’t tell you which comment I was referring to in my response… It gets a little bit out of control when the discussion gets bigger and it’s hard to follow or find the threads. Maybe if you look at yours again, mine might make sense in relation to one of them? :)

        Glad that you do not live in Israel. It is a terrible, unforgiving, harsh, pressure cooker of a place. Not good for anyone in my opinion… I am very happy here in Scotland. I love this country and it is a huge relief for me to finally be with the *people* rather than a member of the colonising group, after 27 years in colonised Palestine and another 18 years in colonised Australia… I am finally home here. Not to mention I can’t stand hot climates and the cooler environment here is so much better for me…

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 3:01 am

        I wonder if there is still a lot of guilt in Europe or whether the pressure from the Zionist/Israeli quarters and to a lesser degree, Jewish quarter, maintains an illusion that two generations and more on, people still feel guilty.

        European guilt pre-supposes a collective nature which is not a reality and never has been, even with the establishment of the EU.

        I don’t think the Spanish for example, or the Belgians or Scandinavians feel guilty for what Germany did in the Second World War, or even the French. I am not even sure Germans feel guilty anymore and why should they? The Japanese do not flail themselves for wrongs done by their ancestors.

        I suspect pressure to censor open discussion of the Jewish experience of holocaust has people mouthing politically correct responses but I seriously doubt that guilt is present. Particularly given the hypocrisy which now stares the world in the face in general, and the Germans in particular, of Israel’s behaviour in the name of Jews and Judaism.

        Then again, if Germans today were immersed in guilt for the actions of others in the past, it would represent the same sort of emotional and psychological dysfunction which is so damaging in Israel. A healthy psyche processes and releases guilt, shame, regret and I suspect many of those Germans who were actually involved in any wrongs have done that.

        I see no reason why their children or their grand-children should inherit any of that guilt. No doubt, culturally and at cellular levels they have been influenced by the experiences of their ancestors but that does not make them responsible.

        The Germans have been ‘flayed’ for too long for the wrongs of the past, to a degree where it becomes meaningless and for some tedious and unfair. It is a pity, I believe, that open and frank discussion and questioning of the Jewish experiences at the hands of the Nazis, has been prevented in many countries and generally censored, to lesser and greater degrees around the world, because it is only when we can talk, freely, openly, honestly and question everything, that we can begin to heal. That applies to individuals, nations, cultures, societies and religions.

        How could Zionist and Jewish Israelis, carrying on their shoulders an ‘ark’ of memory, bolted tightly shut, ever come to terms with the contents and the memories when it was deemed not to be revealed? Psychological health comes from opening such ‘boxes’ and carefully sifting through each memory and experience so that they can be seen clearly, processed and released.

        It is the shadow denied which in time controls us and Israel stands as a classic truth of that psychological reality, enabled as the State has been, by a world which has not cared enough to say: ‘You must look. Yes it will hurt, but you must look.’

        For no event or circumstance can ever be fully understood unless we understand the parts played by all concerned. Israel’s tragedy is that it has never had any true friends.

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 6:18 am

        Avigail, Scotland is wonderful – and yes, you are either suited to cooler climes or warm.

        But, as an Australian, who has lived around the world in fact, I think it is a tad harsh to include Australia as a coloniser in the same breath as Palestine.

        Australia has done what other colonisers like the US, Canada, NZ etc., have done and admitted to the wrongs inherent in is foundation, although I would say, wrongs as judged from today and not from the times, and accorded full and equal rights to its indigenous people, and in fact, more rights.

        As well as a PM saying sorry and spending billions, averaging $12billion annually today, in trying to resolve problems in the small minority who are still struggling, and handing back huge tracts of land – 20% of the continent I think. Nearly 70% of indigenous Australians are in mixed marriages and most of them are more Anglo, European, African, Asian than Aboriginal, which means racism has not been an issue on either side.

        It is a digression, I know, but I thought your throwaway line had a high potential for misunderstanding.

        Every nation on earth exists because of colonisation, including Scotland, it is just long ago and far away. Either the Scots colonised Ireland or vice-versa and the Scots anyway are Celtic, like the Irish, and are not home-grown. Well, since we all began in Africa, none of us are except perhaps for a few Africans.

        Enjoy Scotland. I have ancestors from there – Glasgow and Edinburgh in the main and have always liked the Scots, as adventurous (colonisers in many places); but intelligent and with a strong sense of justice and human rights, perhaps less so when they were colonising Australia, Canada, US, NZ, South Africa etc. :)

      • just
        July 1, 2015, 8:09 am

        It’s generous of you to spend time with us and to interact on this fascinating thread, Avigail.

        I do heaps better in cooler climes, too! And if there’s a coast/ocean nearby, I’m really at my best! ;-)

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 10:56 am

        Thanks Just, it’s my pleasure entirely. Such an interesting and intelligent discussion, not to mention good natured and respectful. Even the humour is great…!

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 6:13 pm

        “Glad that you do not live in Israel. It is a terrible, unforgiving, harsh, pressure cooker of a place.”

        That is exactly, exactly how I pictured it, lo those 50 years ago when I was a Jewish kid being told about Zionism in the suburbs (LI) of New York. I could not bring myself to see anything good in it.
        And I never could understand why American Jews, who successfully lived as equals, should admire in any way Israelis, who did nothing but screw up.

  12. marcegoodman
    June 28, 2015, 4:28 pm

    The podcast of Hazel Kahan’s conversation with Avigail Abarbanel has been archived and may be listened to here:

    https://archive.org/details/APsychotherapistLooksAtIsrael

    • tidings
      June 29, 2015, 12:58 pm

      Thank you marcegoodman! I appreciate your posting the link. All my podcasts are uploaded and hosted on the wonderful archive.org but I forget that once I’ve posted the link on my website.

  13. just
    June 28, 2015, 5:36 pm

    This is trauma:

    “Wife of Palestinian hunger striker visits him as his condition worsens

    The wife and six children of Palestinian administrative detainee Khader Adnan were allowed to visit him in Assaf Harofeh Hospital Sunday for the first time since he began his hunger strike 55 days ago, after his condition took a turn for the worse.

    A friend of the family said that Randa Adnan left the room horrified, saying that she felt her husband was going to die. She said she planned to stage a vigil in front of the Tzrifin hospital and called on Arab MKs to support her and her protest.

    The head of the Palestinian Prisoner Society, Qadura Fares, said Randa Adnan had come to the hospital to visit her husband with the help of the International Red Cross, “and when she saw him and his serious condition, she decided that she isn’t going home until he is released. She understands that his condition is very serious, and that’s why she’s appealing to everyone, including the diplomatic community stationed in the Palestinian Authority and in Israel, to work to end Adnan’s administrative detention,” said Fares, adding, “You can’t hold a human being without trial until he dies.”

    Attorney Jawad Boulus, Adnan’s lawyer, did not succeed in reaching an agreement on terms for his release with the head of the military prosecution, Lt. Col. Maurice Hirsch. The negotiations began 11 days ago, after both sides made compromises: The state dropped its demand that Adnan stop his hunger strike before the discussions began, while Boulus dropped the demand for Adnan’s immediate release. Randa Adnan said her husband would have stopped his hunger strike Sunday if an agreement had been signed. …”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.663446?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    This is Mr. Adnan’s 9th “administrative detention”. It’s torture.

    • just
      June 28, 2015, 5:55 pm

      WHOA! Minutes later:

      “Israeli authorities have agreed to release Khader Adnan, a Palestinian administrative detainee who has been on a hunger strike for the past 55 days.

      Adnan will be released in two weeks, and will gradually begin to eat and drink in the meantime.”

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.663446

      “BREAKING:Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan to be released in 2 weeks after 55-day strike”

      https://twitter.com/haaretzcom/status/615275274276634627

      Oh, I hope he survives!!!

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      June 29, 2015, 3:09 am

      This is horrible just and I have been following the story. I am very angry about what Israel has done to this man and the effect it has on him, those who love him and everyone else around him. He is very brave and I hope against hope that somehow he survives this. He is certainly showing Israel up and refuses to accept their oppression, using the only and last weapon that a desperate individual has at his or her disposal. I am not religious but I pray for him and his family.

      Just read that he will be released in two weeks. Why two weeks? Why not immediately. Israel is a terrible country.

      • Marnie
        June 29, 2015, 6:59 am

        “She advocates for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict but warns that the coexistence of two traumatized people will require a great deal of imagination and intelligence.”

        Sounds good but not real promising considering the partner in this coexistence is the Israelis, led by a professional drama queen and holocaust-in-waiting king of the Jews. This is going to be very difficult for the Israeli side as they are too invested in victim status. The Palestinians are much stronger spiritually (I believe) , love life and their families much more and most of all are not sorrow/self-pity junkies. Khader Adnan has been near death for a while now, liver and kidneys failing, and to make him wait yet 2 more weeks is classic Israeli problem solving – wait for him to die. I’d read a few years back an article in the Jerusalem Post about the longevity of holocaust survivors and their meager benefits the must grovel for, and some government tool was quoted as saying “We didn’t think they’d live this long” to explain the lack of help given to them. Just wait for them to die, then we don’t have to do anything. Bastards.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        June 29, 2015, 1:21 pm

        Marnie — thank you for your comment and I agree with you. I do support a one-state solution but I don’t think it will happen under Netanyahu… I avoid prophecies obviously, but I do think that this can only happen when enough pressure has been applied on Israel and the system in Israel collapses. It won’t be pretty or easy but the situation as it is now can’t go on…

      • Marnie
        June 29, 2015, 2:48 pm

        Thank you for responding. I agree that 1 state is the only solution, but have a lot of misgivings regarding Israel.

    • Eva Smagacz
      June 30, 2015, 1:23 pm

      The legislation allowing for forceful feeding of the prisoners is now going through Knesset.

  14. PeaceThroughJustice
    June 28, 2015, 9:16 pm

    “We have lost contact with Marianne. No calls or messages coming through. ”
    https://twitter.com/GazaFFlotilla/status/615322348993007618

    This is from Sunday, 8PM Central Daylight Time.
    (Before the attack on the Maavi Marmara, Israeli armed forces jammed all radio communications with the ship.)

    • just
      June 28, 2015, 10:11 pm

      I’m terrified for these good people.

      I’m following here: https://twitter.com/ShiptoGazaSE

      A very interesting article is linked there:

      … “When it comes to the sea in particular, the Israeli navy allows Gazan fishermen to use only three nautical miles of sea instead of the 20 nautical miles they should have according to the 1993 Oslo Accord.

      In the same way that regular non-violent protests in the West Bank against Israel’s separation barrier and the confiscation of Palestinian land to build it has focused attention on the brutality of Israel’s occupation, the flotilla has proven to be one of the most efficient methods of conveying the reality of life in Gaza in a climate that is still largely skewed towards the Israeli perspective on the conflict.

      This is why Israel reacts hysterically to boats full of activists. When the flotilla departed from Athens in 2011, Greece was rocked by street protests due to its economic situation. While the Greek protesters were largely supportive of the flotilla’s mission, the Greek government was not.

      After a week of departure delays, one senior Greek official told me that the Israeli government was applying economic pressure on Greece to block the flotilla.

      The official said Israel was threatening to pull out of a series of critical economic partnerships as well as joint military exercises if Greece allowed the boats to depart for Gaza.

      As we set sail from Athens a couple of days later, three boats full of Greek commandos intercepted our vessel and detained the captain. The Israelis had succeeded in pressuring the Greeks to do their dirty work for them, and now the same situation is unfolding again. According to reports, two boats in this year’s flotilla have already been barred by Greek authorities from leaving port.

      Aid flotillas are not going to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip but they do remind the people of Gaza that their plight hasn’t gone unnoticed. The flotilla is part of an increasingly clear strategy to highlight Israel’s belligerent behaviour and isolate the country within the international community. The rise in boycotts of Israel demonstrates the fruits of this long-term strategy. …”

      http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/flotillas-wont-stop-israel-but-they-do-prove-a-point

      UPDATE:

      “Israeli forces intercepted the Gaza-bound boat Marianne late Sunday night, in what the Israeli Defense Forces said was a short operation free of any casualties. The boat is currently en route to Ashdod port.

      The Swedish boat, which on Sunday afternoon was 150 nautical miles from the Gaza Coast, is carrying 20 activists, among them MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) and former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki.

      According to the original plan, after boarding the ship, the soldiers were to hand out a letter issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, welcoming them to Israel and wondering why they sailed to Gaza and not Syria. “Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere else nearby – Syria, where Assad’s regime is massacring his people every day, with the support of the murderous Iranian regime.” The activists on the boat were then to be taken to Israel where they would be interrogated. After, they would be taken to the Ben Gurion Airport and flown out of Israel.

      Activists aboard the Marianne have said they are unarmed and will not forcibly resist IDF efforts to stop them from reaching their destination…”

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.663423

      Freaking cowards~ 3 ships intercepting a fishing trawler with humanitarians and aid aboard. Israel is further delegitimized by its own stupidity.

  15. yonah fredman
    June 29, 2015, 2:14 am

    The illustrations that accompany this post are propaganda.

    • Brewer
      June 29, 2015, 3:02 am

      …..and what is it that you do?

    • Mooser
      June 29, 2015, 11:35 am

      “The illustrations that accompany this post are propaganda.”

      Good thing they were there, Yonah! If the illustrations hadn’t warned you off, you might have actually started reading the article!

    • Annie Robbins
      June 29, 2015, 3:11 pm

      yonah, i don’t think the holocaust art, “Shooting – Murdering in Poland – 2005” by Rita Kasimow Brown underneath “one of the characteristics of trauma is that it is passed on, through the generations and proliferates within the generations ” is propaganda. i think it demonstrates quite well why trauma is passed on.

      • yonah fredman
        June 29, 2015, 3:41 pm

        Annie- The totality of the illustrations is my objection, particularly the last three cartoon/photographs (not including the keys). They add up to a visual presentations that is what i would term propaganda. Did you ever see the movie within the movie of Parallax View? that’s what it reminded me of.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 29, 2015, 5:11 pm

        i think you have a point yonah, but in the context of an article about a psychotherapist or psychotherapy i think it’s all in context. psychotherapy uses art, dreams, the merging of the two all the time. freud was no exception. so when discussing a topic in this context it makes sense to use the visual. if the photos you mentioned, specifically the last, was used in a news article, i’d agree with you.

  16. bryan
    June 29, 2015, 5:24 am

    I may be misunderstanding Avigail’s argument but I don’t find it terribly satisfactory with its focus on historic trauma.

    Suppose she had written as follows:

    “Trauma and its ramifications lie at the heart of the [Jewish] nation: it is the organizing principle of the [Jewish] people and the psychology that has shaped its national character. But not just because of the Holocaust of World War II; rather, the seeds are already there, in the culture, the biblical stories (see Joshua, see Deuteronomy, Numbers, Exodus) and through centuries of history, including the Zionist movement in the late 19th century. The roots of victimhood and persecution go back to a long time ago.”

    Peoples the world over have experienced persecution, violence, victimhood, immense hardship, and been exposed to religious bigotry, but without becoming permanently traumatized for generations. Granted the Holocaust was an horrific event that transcended the historic sufferings of Irish, Ukrainians, Cambodians, Armenians and African Americans, but if that is the key factor (along with “biblical stories” which she clearly feels have been influential in generating a cult of victimhood) then American and British Jews just as much as Israeli Jews should have been traumatized by it. Individuals from the Diaspora can clearly be cited that do appear to have been devastated by the legacy of history (Kahane, Goldstein etc, many of whose PTSD seems to have been exacerbated by exiting the Diaspora) but few would argue that Diaspora Jewry has been traumatized by the burden of history.

    Living in open and pluralist societies seems to be the ideal therapy for historical trauma; living in closed, beleaguered societies and ethnic enclaves allows it to be institutionalized, and allows totalitarian ideology to flourish. Certainly the Israeli system (politics, religion, education, media, military service) has exploited historical trauma perhaps creating a society “that cannot be reasoned with” and its spokespersons like Netanyahu, Oren, Regev do seem to demonstrate this on a daily basis.

    However the hypothesis still poses difficulties for me, and there seems to be another dimension here that is missing from this sort of analysis, and that seems to the spectrum of universalism / particularism, particularly relating to the rival strands of Secularism / Reform / Orthodox. To back that up I can only cite anecdotal data – but my clear personal impression, particularly from reading readers’ comments on a variety of platforms (New York Times, Jewish Forward, Guardian, Ha’aretz, +972 Magazine, etc.) is that it is often far easier to reason with Israeli voices coming from the more cosmopolitan areas of Tel Aviv and Haifa than it is to debate anything with the fanatical backwoodsmen coming from the remaining ghettos of Brooklyn and North London.

    Thus the twin arguments of historical trauma and Israeli institution-building seem to me to leave a lot missing. I’d be interested to hear comments from others on this subject.

    • Froggy
      June 29, 2015, 12:12 pm

      bryan : “Granted the Holocaust was an horrific event that transcended the historic sufferings of Irish, Ukrainians, Cambodians, Armenians and African Americans….”

      Why would you say something like that?

      • bryan
        June 30, 2015, 5:42 am

        Let me clarify Froggy.

        The historic sufferings of individuals belonging to non-Jewish peoples who were starved, impoverished, lynched, enslaved, brutalised etc. were no different from the sufferings of individual Jews who were persecuted. murdered, exterminated etc. (*) Over the long course of history many peoples have suffered as much and often far more than the average person of Jewish faith, who may have despised, stigmatized, subject to periodic expulsion and occasional haphazard violence, but was often a member of an economically privileged group within society. Over the history of the African slave trade there is no question as to whether it would have been preferable to be Negro or Jewish. However for a few years Jews were subject to a systematic and mechanized process of slaughter with the intent to wipe out a people – a process that is “relatively unique” in history and deserves of recognition.

        (*) the process of comparing national sufferings is a pretty pointless exercise – as Shakespeare so eloquently put it in the Merchant of Venice in his comparison of Jewish and Christian suffering. Unfortunately he then descended into a diatribe about the desirability of vengeance (rather than social action) as the means to right wrongs.

      • Froggy
        June 30, 2015, 12:51 pm

        Bryan : ‘However for a few years Jews were subject to a systematic and mechanized process of slaughter with the intent to wipe out a people – a process that is “relatively unique” in history and deserves of recognition.’

        Wow! I see….

        Going by that kind of reasoning, then my family, along with some of our elderly neighbours, come from an even more exclusive group, as the Nazis forced members of our families to watch when they lined our relatives up against the ancient stone wall that runs down to the village beach and shot them.

        My mother was ten at the time, and they made her and her mother watch the execution of her teenage brothers. They also tortured to death my mother’s adored older sister, aged 21, though that is irrelevant to my argument since my mother nad grandmother weren’t made to watch.

        Where was my grandfather? Dachau.

        (Small wonder that my mother and grandmother were barking mad at the best of times.)

        Now, just last night I found out about yet another close neighbour, a woman now aged 91, who went through the same thing when her father was shot for flying the French Tricolor, his having believed that the Germans had retreated. (They hadn’t.)

        Her father and another man were both executed at the same spot as my uncles. My neighbour tried to get to her father to warn him, but was stopped from running to her family’s rather grand farm estate by the Germans who were occupying a far larger but less grand manoir, which just happened to belong to my family, the house where I now live, the house where I am sitting as I write this.

        See… people can always find reasons why they are ‘special’, if that is their goal.

        Would it have been any different had the occupying Nazis forced 6 million Jews into some kind of enclosure, or an island, and starved them to death? Murder by starvation wouldn’t have been all high-techy and mechanised.

        As for your claim that being ‘subject to a systematic and mechanized process of slaughter with the intent to wipe out a people [is] a process that is “relatively unique” in history’, that simply isn’t true. For thousands of years tribes have been made to ‘disappear’ when conquered by stronger, and more technologically advanced enemies. We know that these people once existed because archeologists find their artifacts, but other than those bits of pottery, worked stone, or sometimes metal, there is no other unique trace of these vanished peoples.

        Where are the Picts, and the Iceni? Who built the menhirs and dolmens that dot the landscape of Brittany and Cornwall? Who were the ‘Beaker People’, and the ‘Sea Peoples’?

        Over the centuries how many tribes were attacked, with some enslaved and the rest murdered, so that within a century there was no evidence that these people ever existed? Annihilation is a story as old as history.

        So no, the murder of the Jews doesn’t deserve any more ‘regognition’ than the murders of the 1m +/- people of Leningrad who died of starvation, disease, and cold during the 900-day seige of that city, or those tortured to death during the Rape of Nanking, or the 3m dead ‘goyim’ in Poland, or even those murdered in our tiny village.

        They were all crimes against humanity.

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 11:26 am

        Bryan,

        I think what needs to be clarified is that there is the holocaust experience of all those who were imprisoned or killed by the Nazis – Romanies, Poles, Russians, homosexuals and members of Judaism, and there is the Jewish experience of holocaust which Zionism has sought to make particular and the only experience of holocaust as a means to ‘justify’ the colonisation of Palestine.

        However, given the levels of censorship on this issue, I do not think anyone can categorically claim that the Jewish experience of Holocaust transcended the sufferings of Irish, Ukrainian, Cambodians, Armenians and African Americans…

        It certainly ranks as one of the worst experiences of holocaust, but I suspect they are all equally ghastly.

        Unfortunately, maintaining the view that somehow the Jewish experience of holocaust was greater than any other and therefore exceptional and therefore grants all Jews because of it, exceptional victim status, just plays into Zionist propaganda and has been responsible for the ghastly suffering of the Palestinians for nearly 70 years.

        And Jews were not subjected to a systematic slaughter to wipe out a people because Jews are not a people, they are members of a religion, and while the Nazis had access to many they certainly did not have access to all and many Jews were not at threat even during the Second World War.

        The Nazis actually offered opportunities to be rid of Jews in Germany and in fact had discussions with the Zionists as well. Jews died in camps where Poles, Romanies, homosexuals, Russians and political dissenters also died.

        Hitler may have hated Jews but history also records he was happy to be rid of them early in the piece.

        However, it serves no good purpose to anyone, Jews, Israelis, Palestinians or the rest, to seek to make the Zionist case that somehow what happened to Jews was unique. Tragically it was not the first, worst or even worse, the last.

        Supporting the concept that Jewish experiences of holocaust make them all exceptional, also just fuels the Zionist propaganda that all Jews around the world, citizens of dozens of countries, somehow are under threat.

        Most important at this time is not a ranking of human suffering, there is plenty of that to go around, but the application of logic, common sense, reason and human decency to an appalling situation which needs to be resolved.

        In essence, what happened to Jews under Hitler, and in fact all of the,’ who did what when and to whom’, is irrelevant in face of the fact that Israel’s occupation, colonisation and apartheid must end.

        One could argue that waving the Jewish holocaust flag is tasteless and hypocritical in light of what Jewish Israelis have done and continue to do to Palestinians, supposedly in the name of those Jews who suffered under the Nazis.

      • just
        June 30, 2015, 1:32 pm

        Thanks for sharing that, Froggy @ 12:51 pm.

        ;-(

        ” Who built the menhirs and dolmens that dot the landscape of Brittany and Cornwall?”

        I’ve often wondered…

      • Froggy
        June 30, 2015, 3:13 pm

        just : Thank you for your comments too.

        I simply don’t understand this kind of devaluation of other people’s lives.

        We have menhirs and a dolmen on our farm. Eerie things. We have no idea who built them.

      • eljay
        June 30, 2015, 2:02 pm

        || bryan: … for a few years Jews were subject to a systematic and mechanized process of slaughter with the intent to wipe out a people – a process that is “relatively unique” in history and deserves of recognition. … ||

        Not all Jews were within reach of that “systematic and mechanized process of slaughter”, so it could not have wiped out all Jews.

        The same cannot be said of the Amalekites, all of whom were within reach of the Jewish process of slaughter that intended to – and did – utterly wipe them out.

      • Kris
        June 30, 2015, 3:26 pm

        @froggy:

        Wow! I see….

        Going by that kind of reasoning, then my family, along with some of our elderly neighbours, come from an even more exclusive group, as the Nazis forced members of our families to watch when they lined our relatives up against the ancient stone wall that runs down to the village beach and shot them…..

        Your entire comment is moving and unforgettable, froggy. Thank you.

      • Froggy
        July 1, 2015, 5:27 am

        Kris :

        We’re right on the sea so these shootings were common. They shot 17 in the village next to ours and buried them on the beach.

        A lot of people were shipped off to Germany for slave labour. Some were never seen again.

        They firebombed houses with the people in them as reprisals. The magazine from the commune put out a commemmorative edition back in May. Only two days ago did I find where the children hid it because, they didn’t want me to see what had happened here. I already knew most of it, of course. But I had never told the children so they thought I didn’t know.

        And still, we know that we had it far, far easier than did those poor people in Poland and the Slavic countries.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 30, 2015, 3:53 pm

        bryan, in your clarification, leaving “relatively unique” alone (because one could argue modern mechanisms did make the holocaust unique although any advance of weaponry could make past, present or coming genocides unique in their time), in your first comment it was the word “transcends” that i find objectionable. even tho you said “the process of comparing national sufferings is a pretty pointless exercise” it’s still there, the statement that certain ones sufferings ‘transcends’ others. and the debate is not merely “pointless”. it’s incalculable and therefore, could be construed as an irresponsible statement at minimum. and callous or even cruel too.

      • RoHa
        June 30, 2015, 7:15 pm

        ” Who built the menhirs and dolmens that dot the landscape of Brittany and Cornwall?”

        Obelix, wasn’t it?

      • Froggy
        July 1, 2015, 6:03 am

        RoHa : “Obelix, wasn’t it?”

        No. The ones here are far more rough than obelix (a word I cannot pronounce :) ).

        “A menhir (French, from Middle Breton: men, “stone” and hir, “long”, standing stone, orthostat, lith or masseba/matseva is a large upright standing stone. Menhirs may be found singly as monoliths, or as part of a group of similar stones. Their size can vary considerably, but their shape is generally uneven and squared, often tapering towards the top. Menhirs are widely distributed across Europe, Africa and Asia, but are most numerous in Western Europe; in particular in Ireland, Great Britain and Brittany. There are about 50,000 megaliths in these areas, while there are 1,200 menhirs in northwest France alone.[3] Standing stones are usually difficult to date, but pottery found underneath some in Atlantic Europe connects them with the Beaker people. They were constructed during many different periods across pre-history as part of a larger megalithic culture that flourished in Europe and beyond.”

        (There’s a nice photo.)

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menhir

        “A dolmen, also known as a cromlech, portal tomb, portal grave or quoit, is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table), although there are also more complex variants. Most date from the early Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BCE). Dolmens were typically covered with earth or smaller stones to form a barrow. In many instances, that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone “skeleton” of the burial mound intact.

        It remains unclear when, why, and by whom the earliest dolmens were made. The oldest known dolmens are in Western Europe, where they were set in place around 7000 years ago. Archaeologists still do not know who erected these dolmens, which makes it difficult to know why they did it. They are generally all regarded as tombs or burial chambers, despite the absence of clear evidence for this. Human remains, sometimes accompanied by artifacts, have been found in or close to the dolmens which could be scientifically dated. However, it has been impossible to prove that these archaeological remains date from the time when the stones were originally set in place.”

        More nice pictures.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmen

        The first time my daughter saw a huge menhir she began gathering pine cones, pretty stones and leaves to make an offering, announcing to me that ‘God is here’. (She was three at the time. ) ‘Can you feel God?, she asked. She has since decided to be Catholic, but she still says that she can ‘feel God’ at these things.

        These things are all over the Celtic lands.

        http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Dolmen_Roch-Feutet.JPG&imgrefurl=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmen&h=2136&w=2848&tbnid=1r2XnYwZFHTYTM:&zoom=1&tbnh=160&tbnw=213&usg=__E9UxrZjxoM2A_lkOS-LlZ0IEAeQ=&docid=R4yQt8Y0SY9ZgM&itg=1

        If you ever have the opportunity to see Carnac in Brittany, don’t miss it.

      • eljay
        June 30, 2015, 9:46 pm

        || RoHa: ” Who built the menhirs and dolmens that dot the landscape of Brittany and Cornwall?”

        Obelix, wasn’t it? ||

        And he didn’t even need to drink any magic potion to do it! :-)

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 4:26 am

        Froggy, your personal stories are powerful and the point you make with them profound.

        It is easy, if one wishes, to find cause for victimhood if being a victim provides what you perceive as benefits.

        Terrible things happen and one has a choice to make the best of them.

        However, what I do not understand is why people in the name of a religion, tribe, caste, country, nation etc. etc. would claim the mantle of victimhood because of something their parents, grandparents or distant ancestors suffered, centuries ago or thousands of years in the past.

        I mean, we don’t claim guilt if a parent commits a crime, although enormous pressure has come from the Zionists to do that to Germany. One presumes when Israel is called to account for its atrocities, most Israelis will say: ‘But I did not know.’ And the answer will be: ‘So many Germans said and they were not allowed that excuse.’

        Particularly, as citizens of democratic nations, we are responsible for what our State does. Never more so than in this age of the internet and easy information access.

        But in general, we do not call the crimes of our ancestors our own, so why call their suffering our own?

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      June 29, 2015, 1:28 pm

      Bryan — Thanks for your comment. I am in a bit of a rush so won’t go into too much now. Will get back to it later when I have more time. I just wanted to say that it’s important to see Jewish trauma in the context of Jewish identity. What is missing from my interview with Hazel is my view that Jewish culture is organised like a cult. The exclusivist, insular mentality based in a fearful, mistrustful, inward focused view of the world, self preoccupation and self centrelines and what I call a ‘specialness complex’, are all part and parcel of Jewish religion and by extension of Jewish identity. This predates Israel and the holocaust. Jewish Israel is the product of cult mentality and the cult social psychology there is alive and well. Cults are based on trauma psychology and in that sense Israel is a traumatised society. So that’s it for the moment. Might get back to you a bit later. I hope that’s OK. Thank you for opening up a very interesting and important discussion!

      • yonah fredman
        June 29, 2015, 2:20 pm

        Avigail Abarbanel- You are opposed to Jews and Judaism. You aspire to a day that this cult is broken apart, so that the individuals can join the universalist religions of modernism or Christianity or Islam. You are not against individual Jews only against Jewish identity. If only there were a baptism fount that we could all march to, you would favor it, so that we could join the rest of humanity. In what way are you different from a 14th century Jewish convert to Christianity in Spain who seeks to convert the other Jews to his newfound belief?

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        June 30, 2015, 4:31 am

        yonah fredman, I do not seek to convert anyone into anything. People need to believe in what sustains them and gives them comfort. Life isn’t easy, even if all is well around us, and all not is well around us… What I think is that kindness and compassion must be the principles that we base everything in life on, our economics, business, work, how we run countries, everything. This is all I really believe in. Jewishness the way it is seen and celebrated in Israel is a cult and it was damaging to me personally. It’s also damaging to those living there and more than anything it is damaging to the Palestinian people. Jewishness requires that we believe that our survival comes above everyone else’s and that it is OK to do anything in the name of *our* survival. That’s why I was taught that it was fundamentally OK to take all the land but without the people. The lesson I was taught from the holocaust or any other persecution was ‘never again to us’. I believe in never again to anyone. I am a member of the human race. We can have our individual traditions, faiths, cuisines and customs. I love diversity and thrive in it but I personally do not require a particular label or a particular tribal affiliation to be well.

        If we put compassion, empathy and kindness above and below everything else, we should be OK.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 29, 2015, 3:22 pm

        my view that Jewish culture is organised like a cult. The exclusivist, insular mentality based in a fearful, mistrustful, inward focused view of the world, self preoccupation and self centrelines and what I call a ‘specialness complex’, are all part and parcel of Jewish religion and by extension of Jewish identity.

        do you observe any un or less organized and/or non-cultish jewish culture or identity? or do you think this encapsulates it or is inherent thru all facets of it?

      • catalan
        June 29, 2015, 4:30 pm

        “my view that Jewish culture is organised like a cult. The exclusivist, insular mentality based in a fearful, mistrustful, inward focused view of the world, self preoccupation and self centrelines and what I call a ‘specialness complex’, ”
        This is a perfect description of my mistrustful personality. I guess with me the damage has been done as I am too old to change. However, if there is reincarnation, I request to be Italian in my next life. Or Navajo.

      • lysias
        June 29, 2015, 7:06 pm

        In what way are you different from a 14th century Jewish convert to Christianity in Spain who seeks to convert the other Jews to his newfound belief?

        Aren’t you assuming that that convert (or a 1st century Jewish convert to Christianity in Palestine) was wrong?

      • Kris
        June 29, 2015, 7:22 pm

        @yonah fredman: “Avigail Abarbanel- You are opposed to Jews and Judaism. … You are not against individual Jews only against Jewish identity.”

        How is she against “Judaism,” yonah? You seem to be saying that “Judaism” is the same as “Zionism,” right, since otherwise the behavior of Zionist Jews would not be consistent with the religion formerly known as Judaism?

        Maybe you are saying, as JeffB has said, that being “Jewish” is not about religion, it’s more about genetics and cultural practices which include going through the motions of worshipping a God you don’t actually believe in?

      • echinococcus
        June 29, 2015, 8:01 pm

        Mr Fredman,

        In what way are you different from a 14th century Jewish convert to Christianity in Spain who seeks to convert the other Jews to his newfound belief?
        First, your anachronism: with the Reconquista still ongoing, in the 14th century the wider conversion was to ambient Islam; it was not forced and provided a big step forward toward universalism. 100+ years later, though, conversion to Christianity was kinda obligatory but there, again, what’s your problem with this very human tendency to help others?

      • RoHa
        June 29, 2015, 8:19 pm

        Yonah, “You are opposed to Jews and Judaism. You aspire to a day that this cult is broken apart, so that the individuals can join the universalist religions of modernism or Christianity or Islam. You are not against individual Jews only against Jewish identity. ”

        You say that like it’s a bad thing.

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 10:11 pm

        ” “Avigail Abarbanel- You are opposed to Jews and Judaism. “

        Gosh, Yonah, isn’t it awful that Jews are opposed to Jews and Judaism? What do you think causes that? Exposure to X-mas lights?

      • yonah fredman
        June 29, 2015, 10:19 pm

        Kris- Here is the quote from Abarbanel: What is missing from my interview with Hazel is my view that Jewish culture is organised like a cult. The exclusivist, insular mentality based in a fearful, mistrustful, inward focused view of the world, self preoccupation and self centrelines and what I call a ‘specialness complex’, are all part and parcel of Jewish religion and by extension of Jewish identity. This predates Israel and the holocaust. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/traumatized-society-dangerous#comment-777896
        How have I misunderstood this quote? I have not. She is opposed to Jewish culture, the Jewish religion and Jewish identity.

      • yonah fredman
        June 29, 2015, 10:22 pm

        lysias- I am assuming that the survival of the Jews (as a group) and of their religion is a positive. There are many who believe that that survival is a negative. Abarbanel is one who believes that Jewish survival was/is a negative.

      • Kris
        June 30, 2015, 1:33 am

        yonah fredman, thank you for clarifying this for me. Ms. Abarbanel does seem to be saying that Jewish religion, culture and identity are paranoid and cult-like.

      • RoHa
        June 30, 2015, 1:44 am

        “Ms. Abarbanel does seem to be saying that Jewish religion, culture and identity are paranoid and cult-like.”

        She does.

        Now the two interesting questions are

        (a) Is she right?

        and

        (b) If so, what, if anything, should be done about it?

      • echinococcus
        June 30, 2015, 3:48 am

        Kris,

        That observation is so self-evident that only someone like Mr Fredman could try to object to it.

      • bryan
        June 30, 2015, 6:28 am

        Thanks, Avigail, for the response, which makes some sense. I was unhappy about the statement that “Trauma and its ramifications lies at the heart of the Israeli nation” since, whilst there is clearly a process of Zionist indoctrination the problem seems to transcend both purely Israeli institutions and the legacy of trauma.

        Whilst I see what you are getting at, you might want to review the wording, since if someone said to me that the problem is that British “culture is organised like a cult” I would immediately respond with “which British culture are you referring to?” and “cultures are not organised” but constantly develop and evolve in apparently haphazard ways depending upon a host of changes (social, technological, economic, demographic etc). There is doubtless something one can isolate as British culture but it is also a melange of numerous sub-cultures which react with each other, and I suspect the same is true of Jewish culture. Shlomo Sand (“Why I stopped being a Jew”) insists there is no secular Jewish culture, let alone anything organised, though of course when we get into religious sub-cultures the opportunities for manipulation and the exploitation of vulnerabilities by religious authorities increases immensely.

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 6:33 am

        Yonah, pointing out what is wrong about an individual, nation, culture or religion does not mean one is opposed to them.

        Avigail identifies the ‘cultish’ aspects of Judaism which has become more extreme in Zionist Israel. All religions are imperfect and all have done great damage and many still do.

        My sense is that Avigail is not about Jewish identity but about destructive, unhealthy forms of Jewish identity. I see the goal not as being without religion or converting to another religion but about making Judaism the best and healthiest it can be.

        There is no doubt that a paranoid belief in victimhood and suffering is unhealthy. There is no doubt that any group, religious, racial or State which encourages a belief in the inferiority of others, is unhealthy and potentially dangerous. The worst of Judaism does this. Zionism is the worst of Judaism.

        And what is wrong with being modern? The backward aspects of all religions, including Judaism are misogynistic, unjust, racist, bigoted and intolerant. The modern world is a more enlightened world than it was twenty, thirty, fifty years ago and far more so than centuries in the past. Religions must also evolve and develop and become more enlightened if they are to survive.

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 6:38 am

        Yonah,

        Avigail is opposed to what Jewish identity and Judaism have become because it is destructive, and unjust.

      • just
        June 30, 2015, 7:41 am

        “The lesson I was taught from the holocaust or any other persecution was ‘never again to us’. I believe in never again to anyone. I am a member of the human race. We can have our individual traditions, faiths, cuisines and customs. I love diversity and thrive in it but I personally do not require a particular label or a particular tribal affiliation to be well.”

        That’s it, in a nutshell~ thanks Avigail.

        Being a member of a particular and, in this case, a group that thrives on paranoia (among many things) is not always healthy at all. Too many people tend to neglect/abandon their personal health and moral compass for the ’cause’ of the group. If the polls that demonstrated 95% support for the massacre in Gaza 2014, and subsequent reelection of Netanyahu don’t give anyone a hint about the cult-like nature of Israel, then perhaps you’re not paying attention. Groupthink is not something that I admire, nor is it something that I aspire toward.

        “Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

        Loyalty to the group requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the “ingroup” produces an “illusion of invulnerability” (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the “ingroup” significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making, and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the “outgroup”). Furthermore groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the “outgroup”.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

        The majority of the group also turned in fury against the members of the tribe that protested the massacre~ some have to have bodyguards. Dan Cohen is regularly assailed for his honest and human reporting from Gaza. And, don’t get me started on the MSM reportage about Palestine and Israel. Thankfully, we have MW and all of the voices that are given (finally) a place to ‘speak’. As Adam put it yesterday:

        “Now, we’ve published over 1,000 authors—from the U.S., Palestine, Israel and around the world—and are finding wonderful new voices all the time. This has been one of the most rewarding parts as we play our part in shifting the discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

        I’m motivated to continue my work with Mondoweiss—to continue documenting and analyzing the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people—because I believe it is essential work towards reaching a just and peaceful outcome in Israel/Palestine. Reporting the unreported news from Palestine, covering the growing grassroots BDS movement, and highlighting voices, experiences and analysis frequently kept out of the mainstream discourse forward are our contribution to this broader movement.”

        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/zionism-palestine-solidarity#sthash.Z2EUNRVd.dpuf

        Sincere thanks, Avigail.

      • just
        June 30, 2015, 7:57 am

        Coincidentally, I just read an article in Haaretz that is very relevant:

        “Why I Broke the Silence

        … When I was drafted into the IDF I was trained to conduct warfare, and specialized in sniping and identifying targets. I was hoping I could use my knowledge to help defend the country, but when the moment of truth arrived, I was sent to the occupied territories to control a civilian population. As with “mapping,” though many of the names of our tasks indicated a supposed defensive importance, most turned out to be means of strengthening our military control over Palestinians.

        During my service, my initial reaction was to keep doing as I was told. Once my service was over, I just wanted to go on with my life and forget what I had learned, so that I could reintegrate into my society. It was only later, when I had traveled far away from Israel, that I had the courage to rethink my time in the army. Conversations with people from around the world made me realize that sending 18-year-olds to control another nation was not a necessary part of life. It was a decision made by this country’s leadership, and as such, it could be questioned.

        Though I still believed it was my duty to do everything I could to protect my nation, the new threat I saw was different. I realized that not saying anything meant that I was helping to reinforce most Israelis’ false perception in regard to the IDF and Israel’s role in the territories. By doing so, I was making sure that we – the Israeli public – carry on making decisions on the basis of false perceptions. And that can’t do any good.

        So two years after I completed my service, I broke my silence. It wasn’t easy. Most Israelis truly believe that what we’re doing in the territories is defending our existence. The silence about the truth is so strong, because daring to question this common belief is viewed as an attack on the soldiers on the ground. My family was no exception; they thought I had abandoned my values and turned against my fellow soldiers. It took time, patience and conversation until they understood that I wish to share my experiences to encourage people around me to question and talk openly about our government’s policies, which are carried out by soldiers like me.

        These days, brave soldiers who fought in Gaza last summer, and whose eyewitness accounts were published in Breaking the Silence’s compilation of testimonies, are criticized for breaking their silence. This is not because of the content of their testimonies, but simply because of their decision to testify at all. I request that we return to the basic idea at the foundation of our activities at Breaking the Silence. I wish to reinforce that behind the publication of our testimonies is a basic, perhaps even naive, idea. We hope that by sharing our experiences, we may help enable genuine public debate on the way we fight in Gaza, and the moral price we pay for ongoing military control over the occupied territories.

        When I reflect on the passionate, challenging, and sometimes painful debates that have taken place over the past month, I feel that we may have even succeeded.”

        http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.663650?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      • yonah fredman
        June 30, 2015, 8:13 am

        Avigail, Thank you for clarifying your position. You seem much more compassionate towards those Jews who feel a need or an inclination for identity than you did in your previous statement.

        when I read your first and last names I react Jewishly: Avigail conjures thoughts of David: his machismo, womanizing and warmaking. Abravanel- I know as the Abarbanel, whose name I have to google to realize it is Don Isaac Abrabanel and the specifics of his career, birthplace and exile (?). The Abarbanel, where I come from, is mostly known for his commentary on the Bible and the famous joke: If you study the Abarbanel on the Pentateuch you will end up a heretic (apikoros), because all his questions are up front and his answers all come at the end, and therefore with the tendency to fall asleep while studying on Friday nights, one will only read the questions and not the answers, and end up questioning and leaving the fold. This joke is told with a wink. These Jewish associations to your name can be organized into a paranoid structure and there are those (too many) who teach Judaism in such a way. But I value these little facts and I mourn that so few are raised with the consciousness of reading the Bible and knowing who Avigail or the Abarbanel is and what it’s like to study the Abarbanel on a Friday night. It is not as universal a value as compassion, but I value Jewish knowledge and I mourn its disappearance among vast landscapes of current Jewish ignorance. But I agree that compassion is the highest value and the first step.

      • just
        June 30, 2015, 9:09 am

        rosross~ I have to thank you for your many enlightened and valuable contributions here on this thread. I very much appreciate your thoughtful insights.

        @ yonah’s “But I agree that compassion is the highest value and the first step.”

        That’s truly wonderful to read and know! ;-)

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2015, 12:47 pm

        “It is not as universal a value as compassion, but I value Jewish knowledge and I mourn its disappearance among vast landscapes of current Jewish ignorance.”

        Oh, get off it Yonah, it’s not freaking “Jewish knowledge” you worry about, it’s land. You want the land.

        So let me see, there are lives, money, land and power at stake, but what you have been worrying about is the disappearance of “Jewish knowledge”. Sure, okay, Yonah. And BTW, your entire comment on her name was one hell of a offensive dip into the pilpul bottle. Be careful, Yonah, don’t OD.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 30, 2015, 3:00 pm

        avigail, i asked a question yesterday regarding a statement you made and i was very much hoping you’d answer me. it was in response to your statement about your view that jewish culture was organized like a cult, with references to Jewish identity and ‘specialness complex’. it’s upthread a tad with your exact quote. the question was

        do you observe any un or less organized and/or non-cultish jewish culture or identity? or do you think this encapsulates it or is inherent thru all facets of it?

      • echinococcus
        June 30, 2015, 6:27 pm

        rosross

        Avigail is opposed to what Jewish identity and Judaism have become because it is destructive, and unjust.

        Perhaps she is. My unsolicited take is that a religion where one belongs, not by conviction but the fact of just being born into it, and that it also non-universal by definition, is in my mind something sick. Even if I have no clear idea if and how that ties in into the traditional victimhood litanies.

      • RoHa
        June 30, 2015, 9:42 pm

        “those Jews who feel a need or an inclination for identity”

        You are just trying to wind me up, aren’t you, Yonah?

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 11:31 am

        @yonah fredman: “Avigail Abarbanel- You are opposed to Jews and Judaism.”

        Yonah, can we get down to specifics? Are you saying Ms. A is opposed to Orthodox Jews and Judaism, Conservative Jews and Judaism, or Reform Jews and Judaism, or some other sect or denomination of Jews? Or is she against secular or atheist Jews and Judaism.
        Oh, and you might want to specify if she is against the American, Israeli, or European varieties of these things.

        After all, Yonah, what might be bad for the Orthodox, might be good for the Reform, know what I mean? As far as I know, there is no one thing called “Jewish” So don’t draft all the Jews to defend your sectarian, denominational interest.

    • rosross
      June 30, 2015, 3:38 am

      Brian,

      Given the necessity for brevity, I think Avigail’s argument touches upon factors at work, as opposed to offering a complete explanation.

      Unresolved trauma, whether in an individual, nation, culture or religion, is most common when there is a capacity to survive, if not thrive, without resolving any trauma and more so when the trauma serves a purpose.

      For an individual, the role of victim and ‘sufferer’ can be a means of managing, if not controlling their world and those around them.

      In the case of Israel, a nation founded, so everyone believed and as Israeli colonists had to believe, because of trauma suffered by others and the dangers of being a victim, it was a requirement, from the beginning, that Israel as a nation and Israelis, well, Jewish Israelis, had to continue to stand as the most traumatised and the most victimised people in human history.

      It was and is irrelevant as to how much truth there might be in that belief, but, without the belief, without the capacity to remain victim, Israelis would have had to face the full and brutal reality of what they were doing and what was being done in their name, i.e. the murder and dispossession of the Palestinians in the first place and the continued dispossession, murder and subjugation of the Palestinians.

      Now, realities can be denied and expelled from consciousness but they will always be present in our unconscious and subconscious, to lesser and greater degrees. Repressed in such a way, they simply become stronger and stronger and will be expressed unconsciously whether wanted or not.

      The more the truth of Israel’s foundation was denied and repressed, the more powerful became the need for victimhood, and the more necessary it became for that ‘reality’ to become bigger, greater, deeper, worse than any other. How else can terrible wrongs done to others be justified without one calling upon an even more terrible wrong for one’s self.

      So, yes, many people do suffer terrible traumas and many do get over it, but not when there is a conscious and unconscious demand that they cannot get over it.

      From the moment that Zionist soldiers began ridding Palestine of its people and Zionist settlers began moving into Palestinian homes and onto Palestinian land, the myth-making began which would make living with the truth of the State’s foundation, bearable.

      As time went on and others did not speak up in defence of the Palestinians, or to condemn Israel for what it was doing, the State and its Jewish citizens, settled back into a cocoon of enabling that could only ever get worse.

      What is interesting is why so many Jews who had never suffered persecution, as was the case for many living in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and elsewhere since the mid 19th century, should have supported Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians for they had no inherited trauma to call upon.

      The fact that many, not all, but many, chose to pick up the ‘mantle’ of victimhood, fits with what Avigail is saying. Perhaps it was a shared dream of Judaism, and let’s remember, most people around the world supported the Israeli State in the beginning, although most had absolutely no knowledge of the wrongs done to create it, which found fertile soil in a religion which, had always seen itself as ‘other,’ as separate and as victim. You only have to stand at the Wailing Wall and listen to a litany of wrongs done to Jews thousands of years in the past to understand that Judaism has a culture of victimhood.

      So, with a religious culture ready to receive a Zionist/Israeli culture of victimhood, and a closed society dictated by the religion (as by the way many religions do) which made an open and pluralist society impossible; a need for war so more of Palestine could be taken which fuelled the sense of being threatened; a need to subjugate the Palestinians and keep them a minority (which of course they never were and still are not) which also fuelled fear and a sense of being victimised, even though it was self-inflicted; an unconscious if not conscious awareness that what they were doing was wrong, which fuels guilt, which fuels fear, which fuels anger, which fuels victimhood and further separates, the ingredients were all in place from the beginning to make Israel what it is.

      The only thing which could have saved Israel from itself was honest criticism from the world at large and that did not happen and has yet to happen fully. A Zionist Israeli State sourced in religious bigotry was always doomed. Some Jews and some Israelis always saw that. More Jews can see it now, but so much damage has been done by decades of silence and enabling.

      Another curious question is why the US, the one nation, because it basically funds Israel’s survival, which could have taken a stand and brought Israel to a place of reason long ago, has done nothing but sit back and watch this ‘slow motion train smash.’

      Whatever the factors at work, as Avigail says, Israel is incapable of helping itself and incapable of bringing change and that means, change and justice must be forced upon it, peacefully, through BDS.

  17. Liz18
    June 29, 2015, 8:33 am

    Thank you Hazel and Avigail.

    I am so impressed by this piece. I have long been interested in the trauma of Jews and Israelis. I find that many people on the left still try to engage both the Jewish left and Israelis with facts and figures and statistics. This is pointless when dealing with a traumatic mythology. You’re so right; what makes Israel particularly dangerous is due to the generational trauma.

    Thank you for all the hard work you do.

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      June 29, 2015, 1:22 pm

      Thank you Liz18! I appreciate your kind words and support. You are of course completely right about the pointlessness of dealing with or trying to reason with traumatic mythology. In fact I found your words really accurate. I am still an optimist though… What choice do we have?…

    • rosross
      June 30, 2015, 3:43 am

      I have also long been interested in this issue and also interested in the mythologies which underpin cultures. We all have them and I think gaining some understanding of the core myths in any national or religious culture takes us a long way toward understanding how things become as they are and why people do what hey do.

  18. rosross
    June 29, 2015, 10:57 am

    This is an excellent article and a reminder that whatever can be done to begin a process of healing before the one-state solution becomes a reality, as it will through BDS, will be crucial in reducing suffering when it happens.

    Having long studied psychology and Judaism and the history of this conflict, these are conclusions I reached long ago. More so having spent time in Israel and working with Israelis.

    But just as it is difficult to help someone who is mentally dysfunctional if they do not believe there is anything wrong with them, so it is even harder with a culture, society and nation. The first step to mental health from mental dysfunction is recognising something is wrong and taking responsibility for embarking on a healing path.

    I could not agree more in regard to the enabling. Israel has done what it has done, does what it does and has become what it is because it has had no true friend to speak the truth. Israel has been aided and abetted on this path by dysfunctional individuals, whether Zionist, Jewish or Christian and by nations with their own agendas. Although since nations do not have friends, they have interests, the latter is not surprising.

    Israel has been locked into a soup of fear, paranoia, dysfunction, propaganda and denial where the existence of the Palestinians and their rights as the indigenous people of the land on which Israel sits have been too long denied in the name of religious prejudice.

    Just as someone who is mentally ill finds a place of safety and will fight if anyone tries to draw them out, so does a nation. The world has created the Israel we see today and the world now needs to find a way to fix the problem, to heal the sickness.

    We can have an individual committed if they are a danger to themselves or to others but we cannot do that with a nation. Other ways must be found to break through to those few Israelis who have remained functional, and to connect with the many, who would be functional if they did not feel so frightened.

    I have been told by more than one friend in Israel that those who speak out against what Israel does are threatened and vilified. That must end, for the sake of all involved. Perhaps it is time for those who consider themselves to be friends of Israel to speak the truth.

    • bintbiba
      June 29, 2015, 3:00 pm

      +1 , rosross

      Thank you for all your posts.

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 3:44 am

        bintiba, thank you for your comment.

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      June 30, 2015, 4:17 am

      rosross

      “But just as it is difficult to help someone who is mentally dysfunctional if they do not believe there is anything wrong with them, so it is even harder with a culture, society and nation. The first step to mental health from mental dysfunction is recognising something is wrong and taking responsibility for embarking on a healing path.”

      I only highlighted the bit above but the truth is that your entire comment is brilliant. Thank you and I agree with everything you are saying. It’s a shame we cannot commit or jail a country isn’t it??? :)

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 5:34 am

        Well, in my experience committing someone who is mentally ill is really only a stop-gap solution to provide breathing space and an opportunity to put in place a plan for healing. It is the same with medication for severe mental dysfunction which can get people over a ‘hump’ but is not a solution in itself and in fact, if treated as such, can do more harm than good.

        I don’t think those who are mentally dysfunctional should be gaoled and no, we cannot do it with a country. In truth, we are severely limited in what we can do with a country and that is why increasing involvement by Jews is so important because one presumes, if anyone can ‘reach’ Israelis, they can.

        Where mental illness serves a purpose it can help if the purpose is removed. With Israelis, they believe the purpose is to ‘protect’ a safe haven for all Jews in the world, despite the fact that even during Hitler’s time, not all Jews were threatened anyway. In addition, Israelis believe the Arab world is a threat, and Iran, ignoring the fact that Iranian Jews have largely refused every entreaty to move immigrate.

        The more that Jews, internationally, can get the message across that no, we don’t need an Israel as safe haven, and in fact what Israel is and does gives Judaism and Jews a bad name, the less ‘purpose’ Israel will have and the more opportunity it will have to simply be itself – a nation founded through colonisation, which has a right to continue to exist, as did all, but which does not have a right to continue to exist as an occupier and coloniser, nor as an apartheid State.

        I suspect there is a greater chance of bringing the weight to bear of Jews internationally than changing the minds of international Governments. That influence from Jews can lay the foundation for a peaceful transition when BDS brings about a one-state solution.

        And when Jews internationally can assure Israelis, who have been brainwashed to believe that all Jews are always under threat, that there is no threat being a citizen in most, if any countries around the world, the more Israelis will calm down, relax and lose their paranoia and that will enable people to make reasoned decisions about what they want to do and where they want to live when a one-state solution is put in place.

        I see the increasing involvement of Jews worldwide on this issue as not just saving Israelis and Israel from the worst of itself, but saving the integrity and soul of Judaism and of Jews, who do live in the shadow of Israel, whether they want to or not.

        First we must soothe and calm the ‘patient’ and that can be best done by those the ‘patient’ most trusts. For Israel that is other Jews.

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2015, 2:19 pm

        “First we must soothe and calm the ‘patient’ and that can be best done by those the ‘patient’ most trusts. For Israel that is other Jews.”

        ROTFLMSJAO!!! You haven’t been around the Mondo comment section long, have you. Oh yes, there’s nothing like the trusting reception engendered by tribal unity (all genuflect) when Jews give Israelis advice and counsel.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 30, 2015, 2:48 pm

        rosross, earlier you said The first step to mental health from mental dysfunction is recognising something is wrong and taking responsibility for embarking on a healing path

        but in this recent comment it seems like the “taking responsibility” part is not there. i’m not suggesting you’re saying you’ve backed away from it, but are you prefacing it with “provide breathing space”…soothe and calm the ‘patient’”

        The first step to mental health from mental dysfunction is provide breathing space, soothe and calm the ‘patient’ and they will recognise something is wrong and the they will take responsibility for embarking on a healing path? is that what you mean?

        i’m asking because on another thread our commenter jon s said he didn’t think palestinians could have peace and justice. that people had to choose one or the other and he chose peace. do you think israelis can embark “on a healing path” and take responsibility for their actions by ignoring justice? and if the answer is “no” and that in order to take responsibility it required an element of justice, how would you make that happen?

        if, just as an exercise, we used jon s as an example of “mental dysfunction” and we gave him breathing room and soothed him, do you think he would choose justice over peace, given he thinks palestinians can only have one? how much soothing and breathing room would it take to get john to take responsibility for the healing and how long should we wait knowing palestinians are suffering during this breathing room period? how many deaths is acceptable during the soothing period? a few thousand? tens of thousands?

        these are real questions.

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 4:40 am

        Annie Robbins,

        Such conversations are difficult because comments do not follow on and are often in response to something others have said. Clarity is difficult and no doubt I err as much as anyone.

        When I said, the first step to mental health from mental dysfunction is recognising something is wrong and taking responsibility for embarking on a healing path, I was making a general comment about what works best.

        Patently, as anyone who has lived with or worked with the mentally ill knows, many are simply not capable of this and that makes it so much harder and refers back to where Avigail made the comment that Israel is not capable of change and change must therefore be forced.

        However, it is difficult to force change on a mentally ill individual, if indeed it can ever be done, so whether that can happen to a nation is questionable.

        That is why I went on to say that it is important that those the ‘patient’ trusts, be involved, to soothe and calm and ease the process. This would be less necessary if the patient had the ability to recognise something was wrong and to initiate change.

        So, I don’t see it as backing away since I never saw ‘self responsibility’ as an absolute, or even likely in the first place. But clearly I did not explain my position well enough.

        In terms of the Palestinians and the issues of peace and justice, I have never believed this issue is about peace – it has always been about justice.

        I am not convinced Israelis think it is about peace – they just use the term because it is a moveable feast of impossibility and it serves their agenda where mention of the word justice would not.

        And no, Israelis cannot be on any healing path without accepting their actions have been and are unjust and the Palestinians deserve justice.

        And Israelis will never accept that they are in the wrong until people they trust start telling them so, i.e. other Jews.

        My use of the word ‘soothe’ was in the context of Israelis being calmed by those they trusted, other Jews, and understanding that Jews were not at threat, that Israel was not required as a safe haven, the irony being it is the most dangerous country in the world for Jews, so they could diminish fear and then be capable of more rational thinking.

        A concept of justice requires sanity and rational thinking. Most Jewish Israelis at this point in time are neither sane, nor rational.

        I see a one-state solution as inevitable in a few years when Israel’s economy is crippled by BDS. The only way to lessen the trauma, suffering and bloodshed that could involve, is by Jews beginning now to connect with Jewish Israelis and help them to a more rational place, i.e. prepare them for the inevitable.

        I was not saying that such actions of calming and soothing would bring about justice, simply that Israelis need to be calmer to even contemplate justice. There will be one-state. It is just a matter of how much more misery and suffering comes with it.

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 3:37 pm

        “Well, in my experience committing someone who is mentally ill is really only a stop-gap solution to provide breathing space and an opportunity to put in place a plan for healing.”

        Thank you, “Roross”. That’s exactly what I think! I wish you could testify at the hearing next week. I think the Judge is going to go for indefinite commitment. Who knows, maybe they will let me post from the , ah, well, asylum.

  19. lysias
    June 29, 2015, 7:03 pm

    Why did Americans treat the Indians so badly? We had hardly suffered great trauma.

    (Well, maybe the American Civil War was something of a trauma, but the bad treatment of Indians had begun long before that.)

    • echinococcus
      June 29, 2015, 8:08 pm

      Youll observe that the trauma is largely tales of historically unverifiable trauma transmitted from one generation to the other at a most impressionable, tender age.
      Americans didn’t have that kind of tradition so far, but you never know: kind of telling 9/11 stories hundreds of years from now, from grandpa to grandchild –but with no mention of any of our wars.
      Beside, perfectly good counterbalancing stories to the Jewish “trauma”, like the genocides of Canaanites and Amalekites and all sort of other ites (and their male animals, too) are freely available in the Old Testament. Not that they are read often.

      • RoHa
        June 29, 2015, 10:04 pm

        “the genocides of Canaanites and Amalekites and all sort of other ites (and their male animals, too)”

        But sparing at least some of the women.

        Deuteronomy 20:14, Deuteronomy 21:10-14, Numbers 31:17-18

      • echinococcus
        June 29, 2015, 10:16 pm

        Exactly, RoHa. Remind me why the good old times were better –because there was so much compassion toward the slaves, that’s why.

      • RoHa
        June 29, 2015, 11:34 pm

        Those were the days, when you could go out on a raid, slaughter the men and boys, and carry off the girls for a harem.

        Try it now and you get the Politically Correct mob nagging at you. Bunch of killjoys.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        June 30, 2015, 4:24 am

        Trauma is evident in the belief system that people carry, their attitude to themselves, how they see the world and what they think about human nature. People who suffer trauma tend to see all of the above in unforgiving, fear-based, bleak terms.

        So if someone thinks that life is all about getting ahead, that it’s ‘dog eat dog’ out there, that everything depends on the individual and society has no obligation to take care of its members, that fundamentally the world is an unkind and unsafe place and that being strong is the only way to survive in it and that amassing wealth is the most important thing in life… I’d say that trauma is the organising principle behind that belief system. People without trauma see both the half empty and half full parts of the glass. People with trauma tend to focus on the half empty. As a recoverer from trauma myself, I lived through it and out the other end towards a more balanced view of life. It’s by the way to do with the human brain and we can all be traumatised if put in certain situations…

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2015, 2:16 pm

        “Those were the days, when you could go out on a raid, slaughter the men and boys, and carry off the girls for a harem.
        Try it now and you get the Politically Correct mob nagging at you. Bunch of killjoys.”

        What, you think harems don’t nag a guy? It’s all “Am I the most like a tame gazelle?” Or “Are her eyes any more doe-like than mine?” There’s always some imbroglio at the seraglio which requires careful handling. I once married more than one woman because I thought it would be big of me. Never again!

      • echinococcus
        June 30, 2015, 8:44 pm

        People who suffer trauma tend to see all of the above in unforgiving, fear-based, bleak terms.
        So if someone thinks that life is all about getting ahead, that it’s ‘dog eat dog’ out there, that everything depends on the individual and society has no obligation to take care of its members, that fundamentally the world is an unkind and unsafe place and that being strong is the only way to survive in it and that amassing wealth is the most important thing in life…

        I’ll be damned. Ms Abarbanel, you manage to make psychology interesting even for someone recognized to be no better than a log. Or a stone. It might play a role in life, after all.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 4:35 am

        Pleased to hear that… :) But I am sure log doesn’t describe you! Thank you for your lovely comment.

      • aiman
        July 1, 2015, 5:35 am

        “that everything depends on the individual and society has no obligation to take care of its members, that fundamentally the world is an unkind and unsafe place and that being strong is the only way to survive in it and that amassing wealth is the most important thing in life…”

        Ms Abarbanel, you’ve perfectly described the neoliberal, reactionary Ayn Rand transcendence (whose origins may well lie in paranoia and control) that cages us and which is in fact an affront to individualism and freedom. Cult members whether of JSIL or ISIL takes this ideology to new, warped dimensions.

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 4:31 am

        aimann,

        Ayn Rand had Jewish ancestry and she donated personal funds to Israel.

        Taking up Avigail’s insight into the cultish nature of Judaism, a nature which seems to permeate and persevere even when people do not practice the religion, one begins to wonder how much of it might have been at work in the Russian version of communism, which contained and developed further, a truly dark side.

      • aiman
        July 2, 2015, 10:31 am

        rosross,

        Ayn Rand on the Palestinians:

        She was an atheist. But atheism doesn’t operate in a vacuum despite the New Atheist self-assurances; the transcendence of Rand was cultish and her ideology is an open sore. Like all reactionaries she shared more with her presumed Communist enemies than she realised and as you indicated. She was perhaps the most amoral “intellectual” in modern human history.

    • rosross
      June 30, 2015, 1:33 am

      For one thing, when Americans treated Indians badly it was a different age and time with different view of indigenous people and in fact, different views of colonisation. That does not make it right but it needs to be considered in light of the times.

      In addition, Americans never set out to actively disenfranchise Indians and Indians were given full and equal rights as citizens.

      Much of the worst of the genocide against the Indians was the result of a greater force of colonists conflicting with a resisting force of indigenous, as opposed to a conscious, concerted effort to refuse them freedom or justice.

      Having said that, the Indians were a minority, as were other indigenous in most colonising nations. It is Israel’s ‘poor’ fortune that the indigenous were and remain a majority, as it was for the South Africans. Then again, each knew that fact when the began their colonial ventures.

      Israel was founded centuries later, in a more modern age where there was an understanding of the wrongs of colonisation, particularly in regard to indigenous rights, and the Zionists set out from the beginning to drive out as many Palestinians as they could and to create a situation where they could never have any real say or power, for reasons, Avigail cites above.

      Neither did the US, or for that matter, other colonisers like Australia, Canada, New Zealand push their indigenous into concentration camps and bantustans and kill them if they resisted, as Israel does.

      Even South Africa, which did push indigenous into bantustans, did not lock them into concentration camps like Gaza and bomb them if they resisted.

      The brutal force of Israel’s occupation must place it as the most venal and murderous of any in the modern age – certainly of any democracy.

      • tokyobk
        July 1, 2015, 4:10 am

        Wait, what??
        You say below you have read American history but your post could not be more riddled with errors.

        Yes, the US disenfranchised Natives repeatedly both as individuals and as nations, from the 17th Century.

        Your distinction between intentions and results is irrelevant and from Bacons Rebellion, King Phillips War on the intentions were actually to drive them out and subdue them.

        When were Indians a minority? By what century did Indians become a minority? After how long after contact did indians become a minority?

        Finally WHAT?? Which American history did you read? Trail of Tears mean anything to you?
        Here is a hint The Cherokee, famous in Western movies, were a South Eastern tribe originally.

        “Neither did the US, or for that matter, other colonisers like Australia, Canada, New Zealand push their indigenous into concentration camps and bantustans and kill them if they resisted, as Israel does. ”

        The US pioneered the reservation system. And yes Australia and Canada and New Zealand did the same.

        Spend some time here for all of this including essays about how Nazi’s admired the US job on Natives.

        http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/department/headline-news

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 4:26 am

        tokyobk ,

        If you read my post, as you suggest, you would see I was talking mainly about the wounds of the American Civil War and its history of slavery.

        I don’t think a discussion on the treatment of Indians is relevant either to what I wrote, or to this thread.

        I do understand the American use of reservations, but as an Australian, I assure you, the English had no such policy from 1788 until 1901 and when an Australian Government existed from 1901, neither did they.

        I have knowledge of realities today for Canadian indigenous but do not know as much about their history as I do of the US and Australia. My understanding is the most brutal treatment of indigenous was done by the US. Having said that, the Africans have a long history of brutal treatment of indigenous and in fact began slavery because of it. I have spent decades living in a few African countries but that too is a digression.

        Thanks for the links to the site but it is of course a less than objective one. My history reading in regard to the US came from books, not the internet, and was fairly broad and academic.

      • tokyobk
        July 1, 2015, 4:37 am

        US- Native history is precisely the history of disenfranchising and pushing natives into bantu-stans and killing where they resisted. and not to know that means not really knowing anything about the subject frankly.

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 5:32 am

        tokyobk,

        Okay, clarification.

        The US gave full and equal rights to indigenous Americans and never set out to actively disenfranchise them as Israel does to the Palestinians.

        There is no doubt that in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries the colonists with the help of Government set out to take the land.

        However, as I said, you need to take that in context and in light of the times. It was not considered wrong then and it is now. And rightly so. However, we cannot turn back the clock.

        Israel was imposed on Palestine in the 20th century when people did know better. Here in the 21st century Israel maintains occupation, colonisation and apartheid – all egregious wrongs.

        No other country founded in colonisation has done that in the modern age.

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 11:39 am

        “Yes, the US disenfranchised Natives repeatedly both as individuals and as nations, from the 17th Century.”

        “Tokyobk” if you haven’t already seen it, “Rez Life” (subtitle: “An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life”) by David Treuer is a very interesting book. From Grove Press.

      • tokyobk
        July 1, 2015, 12:02 pm

        Native Americans could not vote regularly and wearily until The Snyder Act of — 1924.

        Oklahoma and Indiana, and other “Indian Territories” were precisely Bantu-stans until those lands were desired by new influxes of Europeans.

        You say you read American history (and academic books not websites no less) but then you say that the US enfranchised and did not push out the native or kill Natives but this is exactly what the US did. I think you should add a biography of Andrew Jackson to your reading list.

        Australia repopulated natives to Aboriginal only reserves from the outset. You’re simply wrong on British policy which was explicitly white-only for almost all of its history and
        independent Australia as well.

        I agree with your statement that Australians now are far more reflective of their history than Israelis and imo United States Americans, but in fact your country had white-only and boarding school/white adoption reservation policies until the 19-70s and still has restrictions on Aboriginal communities on reservations.

        You say with great authority:

        “I do understand the American use of reservations, but as an Australian, I assure you, the English had no such policy from 1788 until 1901 and when an Australian Government existed from 1901, neither did they.”

        But in fact, here is how you could not be more wrong (In your governments own words on NSW). The pushing of natives off their land started at first contact and became formalised in the British period and sustained from 1901. Just look at the timeline:

        http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/chresearch/ReserveStation.htm

        And what you say about then and now is true. Israel is trying to make colonial moves in a post-colonial time. Very true indeed.

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 4:57 am

        tobykyk,

        I tried to explain, and clearly failed, that my comment was in the context of comparing Israel’s behaviour in this day and age and the behaviour of the US in this day and age.

        What Americans and others did in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries has to be understood in context.

        American Indians might only have gained the vote in 1924 but they gained the vote. The US has been slower than most to give rights and African Americans only struggled through finally in the 1970’s. So yes, the US has been backward.

        In 2015 Israel still refuses its indigenous people the vote or rights. That was the point.

        I never said the US did not push out or kill natives. You have misread and misquoted.

        Australia did not repopulate natives to reserves from the outset. I suspect I know more about this than you do.

        When the English arrived in 1788 they had a policy of befriending and using Aboriginal knowledge. If you want to do the research you can find English Government reports to that end, before and after that date.

        From the time the English claimed Australia and sure, by modern standards they had no right to do so, but this is 1788, Aborigines under English law, were English citizens.

        Aborigines got the right to vote in Australia when everyone else did. Yes, there is much misinformation and the 1967 referendum is largely misunderstood, but they are the facts.

        I refer you to Trove, the Australian National University site for original records, articles, reports from 1788; also to the UK Government historical sites and to a site called First Sources, which contains recent transcripts of original records by Governments, States, Federal and Aboriginal Protectors, where you will find there was never a white-only policy and Aborigines were never put into reserves as American Indians were.

        The White Australia policy came into being in 1901 when English rule ended and Australia became a Federation and it had nothing to do with Aborigines. It resulted from immigration fears, mainly in regard to the Chinese, who had arrived in large numbers in earlier decades for the Gold Rush.

        Australia, no doubt because of its convict beginnings has always been more egalitarian than most. When it became independent people feared their ability to retain modern, Western, English values, and with China so close, immigration became a focus of fear and hence the policy to manage immigration.

        Policies began to be dismantled in 1949 and ended fully by 1973.

        Please cite your sources for the comment:
        …..but in fact your country had white-only and boarding school/white adoption reservation policies until the 19-70s and still has restrictions on Aboriginal communities on reservations…..

        It would be news to me.

        We do not have reservations we have communities, where a tiny minority of Aborigines opt to live in remote areas. The Government has spent between $300,000 to $500,000 putting in bores for water, providing power, building homes and facilities. For what it is worth, in WA for instance, there are 274 such communities with 12,000 people involved and some of them have as few as four residents, so not even a family, let alone a community.

        Living in such communities is optional. Most of the 670,000 indigenous do not. and nearly 70% of them are in mixed marriages with 95% of them of very mixed race, some with only one great-great Aboriginal grandparent to make them eligible to be indigenous.

        The only ‘rules’ which can apply would be in terms of where land rights are accorded, no-one, can enter that land unless a member of that community. This involves other indigenous and all non-indigenous.

        Indigenous Australians have every right that the rest have and more. They get additional welfare, benefits and monies for health, education, housing, sports etc.

        Australia has never had white-only boarding schools – I think you have us mixed up with South Africa, which certainly did.

        Again, what are your sources for white adoption policies? News to me. In the past children of mixed race were the ones taken into care and the only ones who wanted to adopt were non-Aboriginal. This may have changed somewhat but in the main, culturally, Aborigines do not adopt. You find similar attitudes in African cultures.

        http://www.convictcreations.com/history/whiteaustralia.htm

        I could not access your NSW government link but doubt a site on environment would contain anything of value in regard to Australia’s colonial history.

        Aborigines were certainly dispossessed, sadly that was the way of being colonised. They were pushed out by growing numbers as they pushed out an earlier group of people on the continent.

        But Australia never had the active pressure, or force, of policy that you had in the US.

        However, like you, most indigenous have intermarried and intermixed with rates of intermarriage as high as 90% in some urban areas and most indigenous Australians living in the greater community. Australia by the way has the highest and fastest immigrant intermarriage rate of any nation and it is even higher for indigenous.

        If you want to make comparisons between US and Australian indigenous histories I suggest you do some research on the latter.

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      June 30, 2015, 4:20 am

      I cannot comment properly on the US or American history lysias, I am very ignorant in this area. But I do suspect that those who went to the US and started to colonise it were in fact very damaged people. Their puritanical protestant belief system says a lot about the kind of people they were. So I do think there must have been trauma there. There must be something written about this by sociologists and historians in the US?

      • rosross
        June 30, 2015, 5:49 am

        While not American, I have spent a lot of time in the country with friends and family there, and read a lot of American history.

        My sense is that the US has two unhealed wounds – the Civil War being the worst of them, and slavery. Both are of course connected although it is not true that the Civil War was about slavery even though most believe it was.

        The American experience of internecine conflict was truly traumatic and not just because it split families and turned brother against brother etc., but because the US was a nation founded on myth and fantasy and high levels of naivete about what the nation was and was meant to be.

        The level of slaughter in the Civil War was truly terrible. The Civil War in terms of death was not just an American tragedy, it was a human tragedy. I think on a per capita basis it was the bloodiest civil war in history. One in four soldiers who went to war, never returned.

        Quote: The Civil War was America’s bloodiest conflict. The unprecedented violence of battles such as Shiloh, Antietam, Stones River, and Gettysburg shocked citizens and international observers alike. Nearly as many men died in captivity during the Civil War as were killed in the whole of the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands died of disease. Roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men, lost their lives in the line of duty. Taken as a percentage of today’s population, the toll would have risen as high as 6 million souls.

        http://www.civilwar.org/education/civil-war-casualties.html

        In terms of trauma, the young nation – the equivalent really of an adolescent – suffered at levels beyond imagining. I think that wound has been an unconscious bond with Jews and Israel.

        And, like Judaism, American mythology has taught that this is a group of people ‘chosen by God’ and who are ‘a light unto the world.’

        ‘How could God do this to them? How could such a terrible war happen to people who were sent to be a light unto others? How could such good and noble people deserve such suffering?’ Etc. etc.

        It is perhaps not surprising that the US has long supported Israel without question, nor that Americans have been less curious than others, at least until recent years, to ask questions about how Israel was founded and how it functioned.

        It is also not surprising that many illegal Israeli settlers are American and that combining the two cultures, American and Israeli, has increased levels of fanaticism.

        The combination of American unresolved trauma and Jewish unresolved trauma has created not just dysfunction, but often, insanity and an incapacity to reason.

        Which suggests, and not just because of their numbers, that American Jewry has the most important role to play internationally in seeking to heal Israel’s wounds.

      • Sibiriak
        June 30, 2015, 7:16 am

        Avigail Abarbanel: I do suspect that those who went to the US and started to colonise it were in fact very damaged people. Their puritanical protestant belief system says a lot about the kind of people they were. So I do think there must have been trauma there. (emphasis added)

        —————-

        Your definition of trauma , it seems to me, has become so broad, so widely-applicable, that your argument that aggressive, exploitative, oppressive, non-compassionate, predatory social actions are rooted in “trauma” has lost all explanatory power, all empirical falsifiability, and is in danger of becoming tautological.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 5:32 am

        I agree and do recognise this risk, Sibiriak. It’s not easy.

        There is a continuum of development in humanity and trauma puts people at the bottom of it. The more developed people are and the less traumatised the more compassionate, generous, empathetic and broad thinking they would be. The less the trauma, the less the need to be rigid, huddle together for survival or live a life of defensiveness or aggression. I think of it in terms of degrees rather than in b/w terms. Humanity evolved in hardship and danger (in fact everything on this planet always evolves through hardship), and we are *wired* to be fearful and give priority to physical survival.

        We also have the ability to transcend our current level of evolution. The new framework of Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) is looking at that very closely. Given the equipment we have in our skulls, we can do a lot better than we are doing now. What’s important is to look at our values and our behaviour and ask ourselves if this is who we want to be and if we think we treat all members of our human race properly. Is people’s suffering necessary? There are things that can’t be helped in life and they do cause people to suffer but is suffering inflicted by injustice and maltreatment by members of our own species really necessary? If the answer is ‘no’, then we need to think about how to change this and how to create a world that is as safe as possible so that trauma is no longer possible, and so that all people regardless of where or when they are born have an opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.

        In my work, recognising trauma in a person is extremely important. If a client has it, it would affect the nature of the therapy process and its length. So for me it’s a pragmatic issue to do with what goes on in a person’s brain as well as an explanatory theory or rather hypothesis.

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2015, 2:25 pm

        “Which suggests, and not just because of their numbers, that American Jewry has the most important role to play internationally in seeking to heal Israel’s wounds.”

        That’s too bad, because there is no such thing as “American Jewry”. There are several Orthodox sects,Conservative denominations, Reform denominations, and a few others, both frum and rum.
        Now, since these are for all practical purposes different religions, which one were you thinking of appealing to to heal Israel’s wou…. Wait a fuckinminute, Israel is the one that’s “wounded”?

      • RoHa
        June 30, 2015, 7:26 pm

        ‘Because there is no such thing as “American Jewry”. -‘

        So you can’t be tried before a Jewry of your peers?

      • Froggy
        July 1, 2015, 6:18 am

        RoHa : “So you can’t be tried before a Jewry of your peers?”

        -LOL- Now that comment is Mooser-worthy.

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 11:47 am

        “a Jewry of your peers…”

        Strictly from hunger, that one.
        But I would contend that every time somebody refers to “the Jews” instead of stressing that Judaism is very sectarian, and denominational, and there are serious inter-denominational strains and competition, you might as well put a check in an envelope to AIPAC.

        Anytime anybody claims to speak for or about “the Jews” I want to know which Jews he is talking about. Why should I take the rap for what other religions over which I have no input or control do?

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 11:50 am

        “that American Jewry has the most important role to play internationally in seeking to heal Israel’s wounds.”

        American Orthodox Jewry, American Conservative Jewry, or American Reform Jewry, or Reconstruction, or Chassidic Jewry? Are we including the secular and atheist Jewry, too?

        And how can we posswibly do anything for people who are already superior to us, having made Aliyah Why on earth should they listen to us?

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 3:41 pm

        “But I do suspect that those who went to the US and started to colonise it were in fact very damaged people”

        And short, too. Most of ’em not a millimeter over 5’5″. I bet that didn’t help either.

  20. rosross
    June 30, 2015, 1:27 am

    Sibiriak, having also spent a lot of time in Russia I agree with you. Good comment.

    • bintbiba
      July 1, 2015, 6:26 am

      @ Avigail , July 1, at 5:32am

      ……..”What’s important is to look at our values and our behaviour and ask ourselves if this is who we want to be and if we think we treat all members of our human race properly. Is people’s suffering necessary? There are things that can’t be helped in life and they do cause people to suffer but is suffering inflicted by injustice and maltreatment by members of our own species really necessary? If the answer is ‘no’, then we need to think about how to change this and how to create a world that is as safe as possible so that trauma is no longer possible, and so that all people regardless of where or when they are born have an opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.”

      – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/traumatized-society-dangerous#comments

      Many thanks, Avigail , for the wonderful Masterclass in Human Behaviour, Self Knowledge and Empathy you have given us the last few days . Your generosity is so much appreciated !

      I’m sure I do not only speak for myself .

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 6:42 am

        Thanks so much Bintbiba for your lovely comment. So nice of you!

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 7:15 am

        Yes, I agree. We lose our humanity when we lose compassion for others and fail to see and honour their humanity. When this happens it is always sourced in fear but fear will never be released until it is faced.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 1:13 pm

        I couldn’t agree more. But not just fear, everything. Anything we pretend is not there or cast into the shadow, will come back to bite us and those around us…

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 8:08 am

        But not just fear, everything. Anything we pretend is not there or cast into the shadow, will come back to bite us and those around us… –

        I agree Avigail but I would suggest that when we pretend something is not there our motivation to do so is fear. Why would we repress anything we do not fear?

  21. rosross
    June 30, 2015, 10:41 am

    just,

    thanks for taking the time to comment on my posts. This is a complex issue and one never knows if connections are being made. Unless someone says so.

    • Kris
      June 30, 2015, 11:52 am

      rosross,

      your comments are informative, interesting, add much to the discussion, and are very much appreciated.

    • Froggy
      June 30, 2015, 1:45 pm

      Rosross : Connections are certainly being made with me. Thank you.

  22. bintbiba
    June 30, 2015, 12:24 pm

    rosross,

    I am at a loss as to which comment of yours to quote!
    Your depth of knowledge and humanity are most inspiring !

    Thank you again for all your posts.

  23. just
    June 30, 2015, 12:36 pm

    I’m gobsmacked after reading Zvi Bar’el’s column today:

    “Detention without trial? All of Gaza is suffering from that

    The prisoner Khader Adnan is ending his hunger strike, but giving Gazans freedom of movement or letting them export their crops? Forget it.

    Terror wins. Khader Adnan to be released,” said the headline on some websites that reported on the “agreement” between the Shin Bet security service and the prisoner on a 55-day hunger strike.

    The headline got it wrong. Terror lost. The legal terror that gives an army officer the authority to detain someone without trial — “administrative detention” — without evidence, due process or a time restriction is a terror-inducing process from which no Palestinian or Israeli is immune.

    Adnan, an Islamic Jihad militant from the town of Arabeh near Jenin, already “defeated” this legal terror three years ago, when he went on a 66-day hunger strike. Then, too, it was hunger that tilted the scales of justice. Administrative detention isn’t prohibited by international conventions, but it’s only supposed to be used in very exceptional cases.

    In Israel, “exceptional” cases are the norm; only when there’s an international outcry or when an agreement with Hamas, Hezbollah or Fatah requires it does Israel suddenly discover that even tried and convicted terrorists, not just administrative detainees, can be released.

    The problem with administrative detention is that it obliges the public to believe in “the system” and not the courts — just as it was designed. But in Israel this isn’t really much of a problem because of the blind faith in the Shin Bet. If anything, the complaint is that the Shin Bet doesn’t make enough of these arrests. In other words, every Palestinian is basically an enemy, and if he doesn’t know why he has been arrested, he’ll know soon enough.

    It’s not just the Shin Bet that knows what it’s doing here, but also the Prison Service, which handcuffs a dying prisoner to his bed. The doctors who support force-feeding or remain silent about it also know what they’re doing.

    In a country where most government agencies seem to haplessly go about their work, where the army is still licking its wounds from the Gaza war and there’s so much rot at the police, it’s hard to figure out why, when it comes to administrative detention, all these government agencies enjoy complete trust. Except for a few human rights groups like Doctors Without Borders and those other traitors funded by Israel’s enemies, the consensus remains solid.

    It’s the same consensus that supports the administrative detention of Gaza. … it’s okay to hurl slings and arrows at Likud’s Miri Regev simply because she’s Miri Regev, and war is sure to be waged over the housing issue. But when it comes to Gaza, the government sure knows what it’s doing.

    As far as Israelis are concerned, what goes for Adnan, the lone administrative prisoner, goes for Gaza, the collective administrative prisoner. Yes, everyone is in favor of Israel transferring food, medicine and building materials to Gaza piecemeal. But freedom, lifting the sanctions, ending the naval blockade — not, heaven forfend, a port — or letting Gazans travel to the West Bank or freely export their crops — none of that.

    For eight years now, 1.8 million people have been trapped there in collective administrative detention — and as with Adnan, they merely need to be kept alive. Nothing more than that.

    When you think about it, nothing very dramatic happened. Adnan will go free in July after just a few more days of suffering, the Gaza flotilla politely retreated before the naval commandos, and the consensus is alive and well. What a relief. Allah is clearly on our side.

    As one hears when a missile misses its target, “by a miracle, a disaster was averted.” For Adnan could well have died just before the agreement was signed, and the flotilla could have been much more violent. Just think of the pounding this government would have taken if these miracles hadn’t occurred. How fortunate that we have a government that knows exactly when to stop.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.663746?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    holy moly.

    (I only edited out a few words. The article is behind the wall.)

  24. Avigail Abarbanel
    June 30, 2015, 3:56 pm

    @Annie Robbins — Sorry for the delay. Very busy day today. No I don’t follow any religion at all but I see myself as a spiritual person.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 30, 2015, 4:08 pm

      no worries on the delay. i wasn’t asking about you personally or about your affiliations or spiritual practice. i meant, regarding your professional opinion wrt your view that “Jewish culture is organised like a cult. The exclusivist, insular mentality based in a fearful, mistrustful, inward focused view of the world, self preoccupation and self centrelines” and what you call “a ‘specialness complex’ … all part and parcel of Jewish religion and by extension of Jewish identity.”

      and i meant, in my question, to address whether you thought there was any jewish culture happening around the planet, now or in the past, not organized like a cult. not exclusivist, insular mentality based in a fearful, mistrustful, inward focused view of the world, self preoccupation and self centrelines, referenced as ‘specialness complex’.

      understanding exclusivist, insular mentality based in a fearful, mistrustful, inward focused view of the world, self preoccupation and self centrelines is part and parcel of Jewish religion and by extension Jewish identity, i just wondered if you thought there were exceptions to this ie jews who were part of jewish culture who were not organized like a cult, not exclusivist, insular mentality based in a fearful, mistrustful, inward focused view of the world, self preoccupation and self centrelines etc etc?

      or do you think every jew part of jewish culture is therefore inevitably all these thing, ie is it inherently so? in your opinion.

      i guess what i mean to ask is wrt “Judaism/Jewishness is only one cult of many out there” can and does jewishness or judaism exist outside of a cult? in your opinion or experience?

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 5:47 am

        Hi Annie, I am not well today (very sore throat and general fatigue) but am so fascinated by the discussion here that I took my laptop to bed and can’t stop reading and obviously responding…

        You are asking a difficult question and I recognise my limitations here. So please take my response only tentatively and provisionally. I am not an authority. I simply share my thoughts here.

        I think that if you are really Jewish and follow proper Jewish law, you are by definition cultish. For example, if you are a religious Jew even in a progressive Jewish group, you would have to believe that your people are chosen by god, that they are different to others, that intermarrying is wrong.

        If you are not cultish then you would have to be able to mingle with others, intermarry, question the belief system etc. If that happens then whatever it is that is Jewishness is likely to disappear. Growing up within secularJewish Zionism in Israel we were taught to look with contempt at those who ‘assimilated’ throughout Jewish history and those who were assimilating in our time. This in itself, although it was taught within an entirely secular education system, is a cultish point. Why should ‘assimilation’ even have a word or be an issue, unless staying in the group is seen as such an important thing?

        It’s interesting that in secular Israel people still identify as Jewish without being religious or believing in god. This is a secular mindset. If you see my response to Yonah Fredman from earlier today, you can see that cults don’t have to be religious. It’s a particular kind of psychology that leads to the creation of particular kinds of groups that are called cults. And there are degrees to which cults are oppressive. Some are more so than others. So my thought is that if Jewishness stopped being a cult it would be so transformed that it would no longer be recognisable as Jewishness. Christianity (the compassionate, universal variety) is what happened when Jewishness transformed into something more universal… Like I said, tentative and provisional. I am still thinking about this.

      • Froggy
        July 1, 2015, 10:28 am

        Avigail : “. So my thought is that if Jewishness stopped being a cult it would be so transformed that it would no longer be recognisable as Jewishness. Christianity (the compassionate, universal variety) is what happened when Jewishness transformed into something more universal… “

        With respect, I am convinced that you are wrong about this. There is still a place for Judaism as a religion. I’m thinking of the lighting of the Friday evening candles; the Passover seder, and the forms of Jewish worship.

        Compassion has no religious basis. It’s more a an expression of a cultural norm.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 11:34 am

        The Passover Seder is a huge problem for me. It is immoral because of the celebration of the ten plagues inflicted on Egypt for no fault of their own. According to the Biblical story it was god that ‘hardened’ the Pharaoh’s heart to make him refuse to let the Hebrews go. Then Egypt gets collective punishment. In the Passover Seder you literally celebrate the death of all the eldest sons of the Egyptians. Now, I don’t really believe this is history and there is no archaeological evidence of that. But the fact that a people includes such stories, uncritically, in its identity and creation myths is a huge moral problem for me. I have plenty of other problems with Jewish religion. I am sorry but I have to disagree. Lighting of the candles on Friday before the Sabbath is a harmless, lovely custom and it can continue but if you just leave a few of these benign customs, I think Jewishness wouldn’t have much substance…

      • Froggy
        July 1, 2015, 1:07 pm

        Avigail,

        I’ve been to a number of seders, and I always saw the seder as a celebration of the Jews escape, not a celebration of God’s violence against the Egyptians.

        Maybe I missed something.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 1:35 pm

        I did too for many years until I started to pay closer attention to what the Haggadah of Passover (the order of service) says and what is read through the Passover ritualised dinner. Perhaps you sat with more liberal people who were suppressing or de-emphasising those bits. But they are there and they are sung and celebrated. I assure you.

      • Froggy
        July 1, 2015, 3:17 pm

        Avigail,

        If they invited a Catholic Frog, you know they were liberal. :)

        I hope you’re feeling better.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 2, 2015, 2:34 am

        Thank you Froggy! :)

      • Sibiriak
        July 1, 2015, 10:45 am

        Froggy: Compassion has no religious basis
        ———————-

        I’m not so sure about that:

        “Karuṇā (in both Sanskrit and Pali) is generally translated as compassion.[1] It is part of the spiritual path of both Buddhism and Jainism.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karu%E1%B9%87%C4%81

        “Compassion: Religious and Spiritual Views”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion#Religious_and_spiritual_views

      • Froggy
        July 1, 2015, 11:34 am

        Sibiriak :

        I know what they claim about religion, but the most religious societies are some of the least kind, least charitable. I point to the US as an example.

      • lysias
        July 1, 2015, 11:33 am

        Compassion has no religious basis.

        What about Christian charity (ἀγάπη)? Just read Paul in I Corinthians 13.

      • Froggy
        July 1, 2015, 1:04 pm

        Lysias :

        I’m not referring to the documentation, but to the way people actually live their lives.

      • lysias
        July 1, 2015, 11:35 am

        Sibiriak, didn’t Wagner get the idea of compassion (Mitleid), so prominent in Parsifal, from Buddhism?

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 11:55 am

        “I think that if you are really Jewish and follow proper Jewish law, you are by definition cultish.”

        What if you don’t happen to accept your definition of “proper Jewish law”
        “Proper Jewish law” according to which denomination sect or variant?

        Of course, if you know which one is the “proper Jewish law” and why it is that please tell me about it!

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 12:00 pm

        “Christianity (the compassionate, universal variety) is what happened when Jewishness transformed into something more universal… “

        Okay, I just fainted….

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 1:07 pm

        Why Mooser? I am simply saying that if you question some of the most basic fundamental beliefs in Jewish religion it would no longer be recognisably Jewish. The original Christians were mostly Jewish and they supposedly questioned the legalism in Jewish religion for example, or exclusivity. The original teachings of Christianity if we are to believe the new testament, involve things like putting compassion to people first, embracing those who are otherwise marginalised, such as the Samaritans, women, the poor, etc… I think we need to take a deep breath and allow ourselves to say things that have been for so long such a taboo…

        And as for Jewish law, which is in another comment by you, I was referring to the Shulhan Aruch that every religious Jew follows to give them guidance for daily living according to the Jewish Halacha. Jewish denominations differ on some interpretations of Jewish law but they all follow the 13 tenets or axioms on which the entire religion is based. Please look it up (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_principles_of_faith). Some people are less strict than others but the basis of the religion is the same across the board.

        I made it clear that I don’t have a problem with people following any religion, provided that compassion, kindness and empathy to everyone (not just members of the group) are observed and are made more important than all other rules. I am critical of Judaism of any denomination (for example, as a woman how can I not be?) so I don’t live by it, or any other religion for that matter. Judaism isn’t harmful in itself. It’s too inward looking to harm anyone except its own members perhaps, because of its cultish structure. What bothers me is what Israel did with Judaism and Jewishness, and how the cultish principles I explained in another post are used to justify colonisation and self-preservation at the expense of another people.

        We need to be careful and harmless in the way we live our lives with others. Within that we can follow whatever deity or customs we believe enhance our spiritual existence and give us a sense of purpose. I don’t follow a religion but don’t need to in order to be respectful of the belief system of others, provided they are kind to others and are prepared to put that ahead of everything else they believe.

      • just
        July 1, 2015, 12:17 pm

        Here’s some smelling salts and a cool cloth!

      • Jethro
        July 1, 2015, 1:23 pm

        I have to agree with Avigail about the Passover Seder. I used to think they were fun, wonderfully warm get-togethers and loved being invited. But when I really listened to what was being said, I not only heard what Avigail objects to, but also the victimhood and persecution myths. And frankly I found that to be a weird basis for such an important religious tradition. I found it to be–sorry–small-minded, exclusionary, and not spiritually uplifting in the least.

      • Froggy
        July 1, 2015, 3:32 pm

        Ugh.

        I’ll miss the matzoh ball soup though.

      • just
        July 1, 2015, 1:57 pm

        This discussion reminds me so much of an article that Phil wrote about Passover this year

        “Forgiving the anti-Semites”

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/forgiving-anti-semites

        wherein MW commenter, Danaa expresses her feelings about Passover and the Seder very clearly. One of her posts included this:

        “Personally, I think most jews who do attend Seders of all kinds would do well to stop counting the plagues visited upon their supposed enemies (supposed because there never was any “exodus” from Egypt by all historical accounts) much as they like to count the murderous rampages of the henchmen of Mordechai against men, women and children of the Haman clan of Persia as ‘righteous riot”. May be they should instead start counting their blessings for being given a pass on account of past persecution.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/forgiving-anti-semites#sthash.e21DnLiN.dpuf

        jon s, another commenter, lamented:

        “I find it sad that Danaa feels so alienated from her people’s traditions and heritage , that she preferred not to attend a seder. The seder can be conducted in a way that preserves the traditions, while also relating to present-day concerns. We can tell the story of deliverance from bondage while also emphasizing the danger of becoming oppressors ourselves.”- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/forgiving-anti-semites#comment-763966

        Anyway, I really learned a lot on that thread, and Danaa made some incredible points that I found valuable. ( She usually does!) I’d encourage folks to visit that article and comments…

        (I hope that neither jon s nor Danaa mind that I cite their comments here.)

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 2:33 pm

        “I am simply saying that if you question some of the most basic fundamental beliefs in Jewish religion it would no longer be recognisably Jewish”

        Sure, that’s true, but who is going to know? We will call it “Jewish” and anybody who disagrees, well, there’s a name for telling Jewish people there’s something wrong with their religion, isn’t there?
        Unless, of course, there’s some terrible consequence for changing the Jewish religion any which way we please. Is there? Is it something I don’t want to risk?

        “I am simply saying that if you don’t question some of the most basic fundamental beliefs in Jewish religion it would no longer be recognizably Jewish

        There you go, I fixed it for you. But really, as far as fundementals I wasn’t thinking of introducing stereotheism or anything, we’ll stick with mono!

      • yonah fredman
        July 2, 2015, 1:01 am

        Avigail- Your defense of early Christianity, as if it were an improvement on Judaism, seems misplaced. It was a Messianic movement with a specific goal far beyond the change of emphasis that you feel was its basis. It moved a person into the prime position rather than law. And for some reason it turned that person into a godlike figure. That the universal aspects of Christianity were superior to the particularist aspects of Judaism is an acceptable concept, but that was not the only difference or even the primary difference between Judaism and Christianity. The major difference was that the Jews believed that the Messiah had not come and the Christians believed that he had come and that he had sacrificed his life and changed the nature of the relationship of God and man. To consider early Christians as an improvement over Judaism in terms of their belief in Jesus the man, dead and raised from the dead, sacrificed to forgive mankind’s sins is to confront an extremely irrational form of belief. And let us not neglect the scapegoat aspect of developing an anti Christian community in the form of the Jews, who rejected and crucified the intended savior. Do not let your belief in the universalism of Christianity blind you to the cult like beliefs involved in early Christianity. Your keen ability to condemn Judaism throughout the ages, fails you in your glittering and false presentation of the greatness of early Christianity.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 2, 2015, 3:20 am

        Yonah, I think this might be my last reply to you. I don’t feel like we are having a real conversation. More than once now you have taken things I have said, and either made sweeping assumptions about them as if I am saying more than what I am saying, or alternatively took my words out of context. When I respond to you, to the point, you seem to ignore it and pick at something else I said. This just does not feel like much of a dialogue when one person avoids engaging properly with what the other one is saying.

        I don’t want to go too much into the points about Christianity because if you knew me, you’d know I am not starry eyed about any religion or any belief system or anything at all. I am a critical thinker and always have been. But I will say a few things and then leave it.

        Some of the beliefs of early Christianity were most definitely an improvement on Judaism. Putting compassion for people ahead of the law was a good thing! (e.g.: The Sabbath was made for the people not the people for the Sabbath). Only through accepting each other and treating each other with inclusiveness, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, we can get somewhere as a group, as a species. Otherwise we live in an unsafe world where no one trust anyone and everyone is afraid.

        Christianity was hijacked probably from the beginning by dodgy human psychology that I can talk a lot about but won’t do it here. However the fundamental belief that people come before the law? That’s a good thing. The fact that Jesus became a source of worship in himself was a pity, but it’s a human weakness to put something or someone we realise is important or special in a glass box and look at it admiringly from a distance instead of learning from it. Following the lesson might require too much reflection and too much psychological effort, too much honesty, so it is safer to worship from outside and believe we are somehow pious and get brownie points from a deity.

        People did the same to Gautama Buddha despite the fact that he said clearly that he did not want to be worshipped as a god but wanted people to learn something important that he had to teach.

        Both Jesus and the Buddha said that people should imitate them and that everyone can reach enlightenment. They weren’t ‘it’. They were supposed to be the way to something, guides.

        You focussed on the wrong point here, because like me, having grown up Jewish you were taught to do that. It is convenient to focus on where Christianity got it wrong rather than on the positive fundamentals. Rabbi Akiva said — ואהבת לרעך כמוך — love the other as yourself, when he was asked to teach the Torah standing on one foot. That is the same as what Jesus said ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. Unfortunately, Rabbi Akiva isn’t the writer of Jewish law.

        With the exception of rare messages like that of Akiva’s, I cannot find in Jewish religious life and Jewish law anything that inspires me into a true sense of universal spirituality or love of all human kind or even of myself, my body, my spirit. I studied Judaism and Jewish law at Bar-Ilan University. So I am not an expert but I know something. Most importantly I grew up within Jewish Israel and I know how psychologically harmful that environment was to me and for so many others. Why would a country do what Israel does to the Palestinians if people there were OK? To be a perpetrator means by definition that one is not well. People who are well, just cannot harm others not because the law says they can’t but because they can’t and have no reason to. Empathy will mitigate any destructive fear-based instincts or behaviours in any of us and when a person is well he or she has well-developed empathy. It is an inseparable part of the package. Where empathy is missing, bad things can be done, repeatedly and without any remorse or reflection.

        Tell me that I am wrong when I say that Judaism repeatedly teaches, going right back to the Bible, that it is OK to do anything in the name of our own survival. Tell me that I am wrong when I say there is no moral or ethical debate questioning some of the most fundamental beliefs in Judaism such as that it’s OK to be happy that the eldest sons of Egypt died as a collective punishment because god in fact hardened the Pharaoh’s heart… it wasn’t even the Pharoh’s fault that he refused to let the Hebrews go. This so called god made him do that… etc. etc… You can extrapolate from that. People want to teach children these stories? Fine. Teach them. But use them as a basis for teaching ethics and morality. Ask the difficult questions. But no. Instead what did Israel do? Enshrine the whole lot, trauma, questionable insular cultish values and behaviours… And Israel is locked into its own self-destructiveness and profound unhappiness. It’s stuck. It’s spiritually bankrupt and it’s not growing into anything positive. And in the meantime the Palestinians, for no fault of their own are ethnically cleansed, tortured, destroyed. They just happened to be living on the land that our Zionist forefathers decided as a direct result of growing up in the Jewish cult — supported by justifications from Western colonialism and nationalism — that we have a god-given right to regardless of the cost to others.

        Israel and many Jews around the world who support Israel ‘right or wrong’, still deny or ignore the nakba, that terrible crime of ethnic cleansing and all the subsequent evils that came out of it and are still perpetrated. I am saying that this cultish belief system is directly responsible for it. Without it the Zionist would not have done what they did.

        I hurt when any human being is hurt, not just when my own ‘tribe’ or group are hurt. But it took a journey to get there because I was so heavily brainwashed. I had to lose my fear of the world first, learn to stand tall in the world as myself and then realise that I cared about everyone. I am by no means a saint. But I decided in my life that kindness is more important than anything, and I try to live like this every day to the best of my ability, always aiming to get better. If I die out there because I am Jewish, so be it (not that I think I would), but I’d rather take my chances and live in the world, hopefully doing some good, rather than hiding in a physical and/or psychological ghetto, while I am here. We have a short life and we have to make good use of it. For me it’s about being fully alive and doing my best out there, rather than cowering in fear and hiding among my ‘own people’.

        Anyone who is truly well developed psychologically, is also truly developed spiritually. Lots of research on that by the way… This means that laws are not needed any longer. People can be trusted to do the right thing provided the fundamental law of really loving one another as well as ourselves properly is observed. Judaism is insular and inward focused. In Judaism you are required to care about people within the group but not outside. I really don’t have time for this kind of fear-based belief system. I am not afraid to die and am not afraid in general. I did not want to live my life in fear believing that there is an antisemite lurking in every corner who just wants to kill me. I felt the purpose of my life was far wider than just the preservation of the Jewish people, which I was taught even in secular Israel, was to be the purpose of my existence.

        So, please, unless you are prepared to engage properly with what I say and not take things out of context or just nit pick, I am afraid I will have to bid you farewell and wish you and everyone you love all the very best with everything. I do appreciate your contributions in this discussion and your willingness to share your thoughts and a little bit of your life story.

      • yonah fredman
        July 2, 2015, 1:53 am

        I seem to have omitted the main point that to a layman like me spells cult- belief in the imminent end of the world. this was a primary early Christian belief and in recent times cults with belief in the imminent end of the world have been the most irrational and the most dangerous both to adherents and to outsiders.

        I wonder what kind of combination of pressures and attempts to ease the trauma would be necessary to cajole the Jews into letting go of their security mindedness. I do not think that someone who rejects almost everything about Judaism and Jewishness can be the one to assure them that the trauma is over.

      • Shmuel
        July 2, 2015, 2:19 am

        A little dated perhaps, but then again so is the argument: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Littell%27s_Living_Age/Volume_137/Issue_1769/Can_Jews_be_Patriots%3F

        (Rabbi Hermann Adler’s “Can Jews Be Patriots” [1878])

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 3:44 am

        Froggy,

        The biggest problem with celebrating the escape of Hebrews from the Egyptians, beyond the fact that it never happened because despite being consummate scribes, the ancient Egyptians never mentioned Hebrews in their country, nor such an escape, which, one presumes, would have annoyed the Egyptians mightily and someone would have made a note of the event, is that it is yet another Jewish ‘poor benighted us’ story.

        Another fly in that ‘ointment’ is that at the time the Hebrews supposedly escaped from Egypt to lay waste and slaughter the Canaanites, Canaan was an Egyptian colony and no doubt, guarded by Egyptian soldiers.

        However, religious fantasies are fine since really, most religions are fantasy not history and the mistakes began to be made bigtime when people, actually men, turned fantasy into ‘reality.’

        Except that this fantasy is another Jew as victim story, forever needing to flee from the evil domination of others. A religion which needs to fabricate such stories has a serious shadow.

        It is therefor hardly surprising that Israelis, locked into their religious soup of paranoia, delusion, victimhood and fear, should be utterly controlled by the shadow and turned inexorably into what the shadow expresses – all those, real and imagined, who supposedly have done them harm. How else could so much of Israeli behaviour be so like that of the supposedly greatest enemy, the Nazis? It is, pure, terrible, tragic, shadow work.

        That is the danger of religions which teach superiority and victimhood and the danger in particular of those which become cultish.

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 4:56 am

        Rosross :

        When there is no real victimisation going on, they have to make it up.

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 3:52 am

        All religions have a basis for compassion, generally expressed in the responsibility to help and support others. Sadly, many also have a system of ‘brownie points’ for ‘doing good,’ and Hinduism and Jainism have turned this into something of an art form, but compassion has certainly been seen as important in all religions.

        Where Christianity was and is exceptional is that the teachings of Jesus, well, they are not actually his original teachings even if he did exist literally, but the teachings of many other saviour/redeemer Gods and Mother Goddesses – many being traced back to the ancient Egyptians- embrace everyone, regardless of religion.

        Jewish, Hindu, Moslem from my reading require compassion and charity for other members of the religion and that is it. Christianity teaches that compassion and charity should be given to all. That was exceptional two thousand years and remains exceptional today.

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 4:05 am

        Avigail, well said.

        I have studied many religions, including Judaism, but gave them all up many years ago and decided to stick with God, or what I defined as God.

        I could appreciate the nuggets of wisdom in all of them, the same nuggets actually, indicating the same origin which I suspect is innate human spirituality, but as a woman the misogyny in all of them, including Buddhism by the way, turned me off.

        Sadly, all religions, at least at this point in history have more to do with men than any God and the God involved is one made in the image of those men.

        But Christianity at its best remains exceptional in embracing all, whether a part of the tribe, group, religion.

        The saying:’ Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, can be found in varying form in many religions including Judaism.

        But the Christian version does stand out because it is pro-active in ways many of the others are not for they say:

        ‘Do not do unto others what you do not want done unto you.’

        The other interesting thing about Judaism is the influence of the Greeks on the Jews given that it was the Greeks who were instrumental in educating Jews in the Middle East and many Jews became more Greek in thought than their religion would like. Perhaps that also fuelled the rise of the Jesus stories, for they are likely to be just stories, given that no contemporary historian, scribe or official ever mentioned him.

        Jesus was not mentioned by the Romans or by Herod. The first mention came nearly 300 years later which seems a tad odd. What makes it even odder is that most of the attributes of Jesus can be traced to older saviour/redeemer gods, including birth date, miracles, family etc., like the Roman Mithras and the Egyptian Horus.

        In fact, the Catholic attributes for Mary are word for word for the Egyptian Goddess, Isis and the Lord’s Prayer has been translated from Egyptian hieroglyphics.

        So, while Christianity picked up much from the pagans and the Old Testament from the Jews, most of it, certainly the Jesus material, was not Jewish, even if he did exist, but sourced in ancient Egypt and the Great Goddess religion. Christianity’s Judaic roots are transplanted and flimsy.

        And perhaps this is why the Christianity, birthed in the ‘Jesus teachings’ was so radically different to Judaism – it did not come out of Judaism.

        Then again, the Hebrews also drew on Egyptian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Mesopotamian religions as well.

        I like to think that buried deep in all of them is the same thing – a spiritual connection which reaches beyond this material world and when we can pick off the heavy layer of patriarchal ‘stitching’ we will have something of value.

      • echinococcus
        July 2, 2015, 9:48 am

        Jethro,
        One good result of the Haggada is that decent kids get to question and hate religion at a relatively early age. Another, unclear if good or bad, is the alienation from fanatical grandparents.

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 3:47 pm

        “Rabbi Akiva said — ואהבת לרעך כמוך — love the other as yourself”

        That’s what I thought, too. Until a girl told me I wasn’t doing it right.

  25. Avigail Abarbanel
    June 30, 2015, 4:09 pm

    @Yonah Fredman — I don’t have a problem with the Jewish desire to survive. I do have a very big problem with trying to survive no matter the cost to others or paradoxically to one’s own self. Zionism was based on the idea that the Jews had a right to create a Jewish safe haven in Palestine despite the fact that it was inhabited. Zionism is a settler-colonial project and it is based on ethnic cleansing that is still continuing right now. Any moral individual should object to this. But in Judaism the story of Joshua committing a genocide (allegedly decreed by god) in Canaan is read and taught without any question or criticism. I learned the same stories at school when we studied Bible. No one ever questioned the morality of this and lo and behold the Zionist movement did and is still doing the same thing — all because the Jewish people have a right to survive?… How can I possibly accept that?

    I really do not know why, but you took my words out of context arguing that I object to Jewish survival. I do not. Only to what Jewishness says is OK to do in the name of survival… I personally believe that an insular religion or culture that refuses to intermingle with others and that has a specialness complex and a fundamental mistrust of the world at its heart is not going to be healthy for its members. But if it doesn’t colonise, occupy or abuse anyone, it can exist as it wishes to albeit without me… I wouldn’t join any cult at all. Judaism/Jewishness is only one cult of many out there.

    As for my name, I am well aware of the origin both of my first name and my surname (which I can’t really claim as mine because I inherited it from my ex whose family see themselves as descendants of Don Yitzhak Abarbanel). I like the story of Avigail and what she did to save her family from David’s murderous gang. Always thought it would make a good movie… Anyway, thank you for your comments and the discussion.

    • yonah fredman
      June 30, 2015, 10:50 pm

      Avigail Abarbanel- You use the word cult, a negative term, quite freely. Would you care to define it. Is it a sociological term, a psychological term?

      I was raised modern orthodox (which in israel is generally termed national religious, dati leumi, and indeed there was a heavy emphasis on Zionism in the way I was raised.) I left the fold, so to speak, but remain in close contact with the fold. I am not on the planet, but I orbit the planet. I have an older brother who left modern orthodox and became haredi, ultra orthodox. My three younger sisters have all remained modern orthodox. In terms of using the word cult, i have often thought of my brother as a bit of a cult member, having exchanged the relative freedom of his upbringing for the stricter rules of the haredi community. I have never attempted to define the word cult, and so consulted mister google and came up with andy nasseli’s six sociological characteristics of cults http://andynaselli.com/sociological-characteristics-of-cults If it really interested me in fitting my brother into this specific pigeonhole I would delineate in what ways his religion is cultlike, whereas my sister’s religion is not cultlike. But this is a term that I don’t use often, and when I use it, I use it casually. Is your usage casual as well? Or are you serious with this term and therefore willing to guide me to the list of attributes that you consider as cult like and willing to tell us which groups fit into this definition other than Judaism/Jewishness?

      • rosross
        July 1, 2015, 4:08 am

        Yonah, I have studied cults and I do not think there is any doubt that the term applies to many forms of religious expression, whether Judaic, Christian, Islamic, Hindu and no doubt others.

        But it applies in the specific in other religions and in the general for Judaism, as Avigail has said.

        You have mentioned variations on the theme of Judaism in your family and I think what would be interesting is how many of the cult factors are at work in all of them. Having worked with Jewish Israelis and spent time in Israel, and been closely involved with European, American, British, Australian Jews, and even the occasional Indian Jew, I would say all expressions of Judaism, culturally and across your family ‘board’ to lesser and greater degrees, have the following cult factors:

        [1] Authoritarian Leadership – depending upon how Orthodox, this comes from rabbis but is also applied by the family and community and in the case of Israel, the State.

        [2] Exclusivism – ranging from Ultra-Orthdox, down on a sliding scale of major to lesser, exclusivity is part and parcel of all forms of Judaism, and exists in extremity in Israel.

        [3] Isolationism – to lesser and greater degrees, the Ultra Orthodox at the top and a sliding scale depending on nationality but all variations on the theme of Judaism have aspects of isolationism, of remaining separate, i.e. a demand that people marry only Jews.

        [4] Opposition to Independent Thinking – a sliding scale from the Orthodox to the Reform, with the latter having little opposition to Independent thinking. Although, having said that, it depends what the independent thinking is about and many of the most enlightened and liberal Jews will still seek to force certain views, particularly in regard to Israel and Zionism, consciously and unconsciously.

        [5] Fear of Being “Disfellowshiped” – on a sliding scale but present across the spectrum of variations on the theme of Judaism. Conscious or unconscious, the fear of being rejected by other Jews, the term ‘self-hating Jew’ invented by Zionism and used to cow and control.

        [6] Threats of Satanic Attack – Across the spectrum of Judaism to lesser and greater degrees, but not Satan in the Christian form, but Satan as ‘others,’ non-Jews, Goys. The fear of attack from non-Jews is written deep into Judaic theology and dogma and carved even deeper into Jewish religious culture.

        In terms of Israel it has entered the realms of abject and dysfunctional paranoia.

        I would say Avigail is spot-on in the use of the term, ‘cult.’

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 1, 2015, 11:27 am

        Very good comment rosross, thanks!

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 2:45 pm

        “I was raised modern orthodox “

        Oh, you got taken in by a new-fangled heresy. Too bad. I hate to see that. You really should reconsider and get out of that particular cult within Judaism.

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 2:48 pm

        “But it applies in the specific in other religions and in the general for Judaism, as Avigail has said.”

        Yup, that’s the problem with Judaism, it’s totally boring, the same everywhere you go, and the same for every Jew. Really, at this point a little variety would be welcome. Oh well.

    • rosross
      July 1, 2015, 3:55 am

      Good post, Avigail. And you are spot-on. If Israel had not been seeking to impose the Judaic cult on others then no-one would really care what Judaism was or did because the dysfunction would be confined to members of the religion.

    • Bornajoo
      July 2, 2015, 8:55 am

      Dear Avigail Abarbanel

      Thanks for all of your incredible and very generous comments. I couldn’t agree more with everything you say. What you describe, especially in your replies to Yonah, mirrors my own personal experience with Judaism/Zionism which I thankfully am no longer any part of. I was born a Jew and I was raised into what I can only describe as a cult; first Judaism and then Zionism.

      But today I’m really glad I’m just another human being with no stupid labels

      Most of my family in israel and here in the UK are damaged and traumatized people who behave exactly in the way that you describe within a narrow, paranoid tribal belief system with zero universalist principles. It’s scary. Especially the way that the trauma is repackaged and passed down through into the younger generations. Incidentally I find the younger members to be more screwed up than the older ones (in my family anyway)

      Your analysis, in my opinion, is completely spot on. Thank you for all your insight

      Also many thanks for all of the other amazing comments on this terrific thread.

      • catalan
        July 2, 2015, 9:07 am

        “But today I’m really glad I’m just another human being with no stupid labels – ”
        Many Jews are ashamed of their heritage. One never hears of Norwegians rejecting the Norwegian label and seeking to be just another human being. Incidentally, this notion of “universalism” is seen much more among Jews than anyone else. I imagine other aliens in society may feel that way though.
        The people that run the show are all too happy to have their label. It’s the outcasts that reject labels.

      • eljay
        July 2, 2015, 9:59 am

        || catalan: Many Jews are ashamed of their heritage. One never hears of Norwegians rejecting the Norwegian label and seeking to be just another human being. ||

        Norwegian is a nationality. Israeli is a nationality. Jewish is not a nationality. One should not anti-Semitically conflate Israel with all Jews and all Jews with Israel.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 2, 2015, 1:32 pm

        Hi Eljay, thanks for your comment and in principle you should be correct. However, not in the universe in which Israel exists.

        On my Israeli birth certificate my nationality is ‘Jewish’ and my religion (that I personally don’t have) is listed as ‘Jewish’. A Palestinian citizen of Israel has ‘Arab’ for nationality on their birth certificate…

        It is Israel that associates Israel with all Jews everywhere because Israel was intended as a safe haven for all Jews. This is its purpose for existing…

        There is no such thing as an Israeli nationality. Recently a couple of scholars in Israel petitioned the courts to get their nationality changed on their birth certificate to ‘Israeli’ and the Israeli courts rejected it. Not a lot of people are aware of this so I thought I’d repeat this again…

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 5:14 am

        Avigail :

        What does Israel put down as the nationality of Jews who convert to another religion?

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 3, 2015, 9:07 am

        Hi Froggy,

        To the best of my knowledge Israel does not recognise conversion to other religions. In Israel you cannot ‘renounce’ your Jewishness by converting because Judaism isn’t seen as a religion for the purpose of citizenship. Conversion does not change ‘blood’. Israel follows a racial definition of Jewishness. So as long as you have a Jewish mother and a Jewish maternal grandmother, you are Jewish regardless of whether or not you decided to follow Buddhism or any other faith. When I married for the first time in 1987, in order to be entitled to marry both my ex and I had to bring our mothers to the Rabbinate (where all official marriages are presided over) to testify that they are Jewish and that their mothers were Jewish. They had to bring some kind of proof, like a birth certificate to make the claim. If we couldn’t prove we were Jewish by ‘blood’, we would not have been allowed to marry.

        According to the laws governing marriages and divorces in the state of Israel, which de facto accept Jewish religious law for those purposes, a Jew cannot legally marry a non-Jew. Civil marriages do not exist and are not recognised in Israel. If people are married by civil ceremony, usually outside of Israel, they are considered to be living together under common law, which for the moment is still allowed in Israel.

        There are people in Israel who see themselves as Buddhist or atheists for example, but they are still Jewish for the purpose of ‘nationality’ in Israel. This is how it is.

        I realise a lot of people outside of Israel do not know that Israeli citizenship of Jews follows a racial definition. It’s the same as Germany used to be but as far as I know, it’s no longer the case there. Israel has always been trying to portray an image of an enlightened ‘Western’ state when it is anything but, at least in some key areas like marriages and divorces and citizenship for example. In the West there is a clear separation between state and religion and race or ethnicity do not play any part in citizenship rights. Officially, the laws in Western countries no longer consider a person’s race, ethnicity or religion for the purpose of citizenship rights. The official rules are separate from that. I think that’s why it’s hard for people outside to grasp that Israel is well and truly an ethnocracy meant exclusively for the Jewish people on the grounds of race! Of course Jewishness isn’t a race. It’s ridiculous. Jews do not look alike at all and tend to look more like the people they come from. But there you go.

        The logic behind the racial definition of Jewishness in Israel has to do with the way the Nazis defined Jewishness. They defined it as a race and Jews were pusued on the basis of how much Jewish ‘blood’ they had in them. I think if a person had one eighth Jewish ancestry they were considered Jewish. It was easy to find people through births registries and other records in Europe at the time where things like Jewishness were being recorded.

        In Israel they believe strongly that another holocaust, a genocide attempt aimed at Jews, the same or very similar to the 2nd World War one is imminent. Since Hitler pursued Jews by race and not by religion, the thought is that if Israel is to be a safe haven to all Jews it cannot limit the definition of Jewishness to religion only. Israel is intended to give shelter to all Jews when the next holocaust happens. In which case they have to have a broad definition of Jewishness. So they are going with the race. They know only a minority of world Jews are actually religious Jews, and therefore the rest won’t be covered in the (likely according to them) event of another genocide attempt. They think they are doing this for people like me. I was told many times that I am foolish, that I would be persecuted because of my ‘race’ regardless of my belief or value system and that only Israel will be there to save me. This is what the majority of Israeli Jews, not just religious ones, actually believe!

        If you think it all sounds very complicated, you are right because it is. From the start the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, has been trying to debate the question of ‘who is a Jew’, only to come to a brick wall every time. So the de facto definition for now is racial.

        I have heard in the past few years that someone who has converted would not be entitled to Israeli citizenship but I am not sure that applies to those already living there. People coming from outside can still claim Israeli citizenship under the ‘Law of Return’ if they can demonstrate that they have Jewish blood. Whether they are religious or not, or what religion they might follow, doesn’t come into it as far as I know. I could be wrong. So please research it further if you are interested.

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 3:26 pm

        Avigail,

        It simply bizarre.

        One’s nationality is the same as one’s citizenship. A person may be native-born or, an immigrant. But once an immigrant makes the commitment and is sworn in, that person becomes a citizen, a member of that society.

        Citizens who are kept in a kind of second-class position (as non-Jews are in Israel) will never feel a true commitment to that country and that society even if that society tosses a few perks at them.

        I hope you’re happy in Scotland. I was, and I still miss it terribly.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 5:37 am

        Hi Froggy,

        Yes it’s very true. Israel in fact does not want non-Jews to feel equal or too comfortable in Israel. Like I said Israel’s charter is to be a safe haven for Jews not anyone else. In order to achieve that it has to make sure all Jews are included and that no one would be left out when the next genocide attempt happens.

        Refugees have not been welcome in the West, and the memory of that is still strong among Jews. If you have a country that guarantees full entry and immediate citizenship to every Jew regardless of whether he or she is religious, you can make it feel safe for Jews outside of Israel. To maintain this, Israel believes it has to continue to be run by Jews. If it becomes yet another pluralistic liberal democracy, there will be no guarantees any longer that Jews will be given priority when they find themselves fleeing persecution again. I find in my talks that people do not really understand this point and when I explain it, Israel’s warped logic suddenly makes more sense. Then people also grasp why ordinary diplomacy doesn’t achieve anything, and why Israel behaves the way it does.

        Technically, to stop Israel, we need to convince it that Jews are no longer in danger anywhere and therefore Israel can afford to transform itself into a one-state for all its people, and stop being exclusively Jewish. Now, you can try and do that, but one, there are still die-hard genuine antisemites out there, which means that Jews and Jewish Israelis won’t buy the idea that it’s really safe and two, I don’t think it’ll work because of the psychology of trauma that I go on about all the time… You can’t convince someone with trauma that the world is now safe for them. What psychological trauma is in terms of brain functioning in individuals is being ‘stuck’ in survival mode (fight-flight-freeze). The brain after repeated assaults cannot go back to normal relaxed mode anymore. This can manifest in groups too. Of course groups do not have a brain but the social-pscyhological mechanisms in a group operate like a ‘group brain’ if you like and you can have a similar effect.

        Ultimately, the few brave few who work hard to heal from trauma, do so regardless of whether or not the world is really safe around them. But humans cannot heal when they believe they are still under attack, or when they actually under attack. And we being to healing process when we are ready. Trauma psychology is really difficult to overcome because it becomes the organising principle behind our very identity.

        I don’t think we have time for Israel to ‘heal’. Israel is too volatile and dangerous and the Palestinians are suffering and are still being ethnically cleansed every day.

        Some of what I am saying is of course little bit simplistic. Could probably do a whole PhD on this topic…

        Before I left Israel in 1991 I remember a conversation I had with my father’s heart surgeon at the hospital in Tel Aviv. I mentioned to him that my husband and I were leaving Israel permanently to go to Australia. He was horrified, took me aside, and said emphatically that he could never live anywhere where there was even one antisemite alive. He talked like an older man trying to talk sense into a silly young girl. This was an educated man who did complex work and who was quite kind too. I didn’t say anything. I was only 27 and didn’t know what to say to him at that time. But I thought about this long and hard and eventually realised that I wasn’t going to wait until the world was cleansed from all those who hated Jews. I knew that there would always be people out there who hate other people for whatever reason. BTW, I did get many similar messages from many people from all walks of life, all through that last year leading up to us leaving Israel .

        I made a conscious decision that I don’t have time to waste, waiting until they are all gone. Going back to Israel was never an option. When I left it behind it was for good. Even then. I have a life to live and use properly. I could hide in fear all my life, and huddle with the rest of my frightened, aggressive tribe in our ‘safe haven’, which was anything but safe psychologically for me, or I could ‘take my chances’ out there. I was genuinely scared when I left Israel and expected everyone in Australia to be antisemitic! I was scared to say I was from Israel whenever anyone asked me where my accent was from. With my accent I just can’t hide… So I had no choice but to tell the truth and have plenty of what we call in our profession, ‘reality checks’… Of course the world as it was portrayed to me from within Israel was not at all the world that I discovered. It felt like I lived in an insular bunker that knew nothing about the outside world. It was quite educational and transformative for me, albeit initially very confusing and disorienting…

        Like I said in an earlier post Israeli Jews and many Jews around the world do believe another genocide attempt is imminent and they are constantly scanning the world for signs of this. It’s a bit like those Christian bible literalists who are spending their lives looking for signs of the approaching end of days. Very similar psychology btw.

        The fact that Jews are in fact safe around the world is seen as only a temporary state. Zionist Jews even around the world, see Israel as an insurance policy because they think that this state of affairs can turn over night. They don’t feel they have to live in Israel for now, but consider it their shelter for when the time comes. This isn’t spoken about outside Jewish circles but is definitely acknowledged and spoken about internally. There are Jewish organisations in every country whose entire brief is to look for rise in antisemitism and persecution against Jews. These organisations are often sponsored by Israel and this is a preoccupation in Israeli society too. In Australia one such organisation is the Jewish Board of Deputies, that’s based in Sydney. There is a similar organisation here in the UK as well.

        I love Scotland Froggy. In fact, I am completely in love with this country and its people. For the first time in my life I feel at home. I live in a beautiful semi-rural spot and love it here. I feel very blessed. It’s a shame you miss Scotland from afar. Any chance you can come back? :)

      • eljay
        July 2, 2015, 1:39 pm

        || Avigail Abarbanel: … On my Israeli birth certificate my nationality is ‘Jewish’ … A Palestinian citizen of Israel has ‘Arab’ for nationality … There is no such thing as an Israeli nationality. … ||

        Thanks, Avigail. That further confirms the fact that Israel is fundamentally a supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 2, 2015, 2:07 pm

        Yep, you can call it that Eljay…

      • eljay
        July 2, 2015, 2:22 pm

        || Avigail Abarbanel: Yep, you can call it that Eljay… ||

        Don’t mind if I do… :-)

      • Keith
        July 2, 2015, 4:15 pm

        CATALAN- “One never hears of Norwegians rejecting the Norwegian label and seeking to be just another human being.”

        One also never hears Norwegians complain that the entire non-Norwegian world is in the grip of eternal, irrational anti-Norwegianism, nor that Norwegian “peoplehood” is facing a dire existential threat. Perhaps this is why “kinship” among Norwegians may seem relatively muted.

      • just
        July 2, 2015, 4:39 pm

        Well said, Keith!

        lol.

      • RoHa
        July 2, 2015, 7:27 pm

        But the Swedes do tell rude jokes about the Norwegians.

        On the other hand, the Norwegians tell the same sort of jokes about the Swedes, so they probably think it all evens out.

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 5:46 am

        And everybody hates the French….

        (We wouldn’t have it any other way.)

        Last year the Brittany Ferries line included in its welcome pack a postcard showing a cute frog welcoming Les Rosbifs from the UK. The happy frog told the arriving English that he was happy to see the English arrive because they don’t eat frogs.

        We call ourselves ‘Frogs’.

      • RoHa
        July 2, 2015, 7:41 pm

        “There is no such thing as Israeli nationality”

        In the saner parts of the world, as well as in the US and even more dubious countries, “nationality” means “citizenship of a sovereign state”. My passports say “Nationality: Australian”, and “Nationality: British”.

        So as far as we are concerned, an Israeli citizen has Israeli nationality. “Jewish” is not a nationality. Hence eljay’s comment.

        In Israel, however ….

      • echinococcus
        July 2, 2015, 8:55 pm

        RoHa,

        The use of “nationality” is not that simple. Its use has been well-established especially in the 20th century in the huge “multinational” countries, i.e. the Soviet Union, China, not to forget the modernizing and simultaneously agonizing Ottoman Empire. Nationality is used as an approximative equivalent of the American (but technically nonsense) “ethnicity”. The practice in the Zionist entity is even more absurd seen that way, because at that moment there is absolutely no justification for a “Jewish” tag: the ethnicity would immediately have to be broken down by Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, Maghrebi, Sefardi, Falasha, German…

      • RoHa
        July 2, 2015, 9:50 pm

        I said “the saner parts of the world”, plus others. I didn’t say “everywhere”.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 3, 2015, 4:28 am

        Good morning Bornajoo, my cold has progressed and moved to my chest and sinuses so am in bed ill basically… Just wanted to say thanks for your comment. I’m sorry you’ve been through that too. I have some idea of the challenges involved, but well done to you for liberating your soul from an unhealthy environment. Nice to know you’re out there. :)

      • Bornajoo
        July 3, 2015, 4:50 am

        Dear Avigail
        Many thanks for your response, especially under the circumstances. Really sorry to hear the cold has worsened. I wish you a very speedy recovery and back to full health as soon as possible.

        Thank you for everything you do

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 3, 2015, 5:17 am

        T hank you Bornajoo, it’s very kind of you! Should be back to normal in a few days.

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 5:12 am

        @catalan,

        You cannot compare Jews to Norwegians because Jew is a religious label and Norwegian is a nationality.

        You can compare Jews to Catholics, Hindus, Moslems, Protestants, Quakers etc., but not to a nationality.

        You can compare Israelis to Norwegians for each is a nationality.

        Jews comprise, like Christians and others, all races and dozens of nationalities. If you drop Judaism or convert to it, you do not change race or nationality – it is a religious label.

        The Zionists invented the game of ‘Jewish’ as nationality because many of them were secular but still believed in Jewish superiority or exceptionalism and wanted to exclude non-Jews, or those with no Jewish links, and the indigenous Palestinians in particular.

        The only way there can be a Jewish nationality is for Israel to change its name to Jewdistan. Then everyone would be Jewish although that would also remove exceptionalism.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 3, 2015, 9:31 am

        Dear Rosross, please see my recent comment to Froggy where I explain the complexities of this in Israel. You are correct by logic but whatever we might think is logical is irrelevant here. Israel’s logic is quite different and is based on particular considerations. Have a read and let me know what you think.

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 5:16 am

        @Avigail,

        But of course, Arab is not a nationality, there is no country called Arabstan from which Arabs come. Arab is a cultural/regional definition like European or Asian.

        But of course the Zionists would not use Palestinian which is a nationality for the indigenous people they were forced to accept as citizens, hence the erroneous use of the term, Arab.

        If one is to use the term Arab for indigenous Palestinians then Israelis should be referred to as European since most colonists came from Europe.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 3, 2015, 9:28 am

        Precisely Rosross! It is completely nuts. See my comment to Froggy from a few minutes ago.

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 5:17 am

        @ Keith,

        Brilliant comment.

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 5:34 am

        @Bornajoo,

        Have compassion for those who cannot break free. It is not easy and I suspect the younger generation are more likely to be more screwed up because they are the ones straddling the divide, belonging nowhere and that creates enormous confusion and often, anger.

        You see the same sort of thing in the children of any group who have been taught that not only do they not belong, that they are other and they must remain other.

        While Judaism has a greater foundation of ‘fear of the other’ and rejection of the other, there is no doubt that many religions inflict this misery on their children, and always they are the religions which are expressed in more divisive or fundamental ways.

        Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Amish and fundamentalist Christians, all demand, like Judaism, separation from the wider community and marriage within the community and the tragedy of this is that young people grow up living in an artificial and unhealthy cocoon of belief which draws upon attitudes and prejudices centuries old, and which has no place in a modern, democratic nation.

        It is one of the worst aspects of religions which demand allegiance beyond spiritual expression.

        With such religious beliefs, members will always be ‘cuckoos in the nest’ of a modern, more enlightened and liberal world and that can never be psychologically healthy.

        I realise it is a fantasy but I wish for a world where religious studies are not available until the age of 18 and where all religious dress is illegal until the age of 21.

      • aiman
        July 3, 2015, 8:21 am

        Avigail,

        A few drops of oregano oil in evo oil base is the best remedy for cold in my experience. Get well soon.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 3, 2015, 9:26 am

        Thank you Aiman! I will give it a try. I always try natural remedies anyway but have not heard of this one yet. Sounds delicious! I think I just have a common virus imported from London probably last weekend. It’s just going through the normal ’rounds’, throat, then chest, sinuses, etc. :)

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 4:11 pm

        Haud yer wheesht! Ah hae a Heilan cure fur ye.

        Portion size: 1 big mug

        Ingredients:
        water
        1-2 Tablespoon(s) apple vinegar
        a good shot of Scottish whisky (Any single malt will do.)
        1 Tablespoon honey
        a bit of fresh ginger (optional)

        Method:
        Boil water in a kettle. In meantime, put vinegar, honey, and whisky into the mug.

        Pour hot, boiled water onto it, stir and drink as hot as possible….. and enjoy!

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 5:42 am

        Sounds like a great recipe Froggy. I still feel pretty awful although there is some improvement. I don’t drink alcohol so can’t do the whisky bit. But I do have a recipe from Australia that is sure to scare any virus or bacteria away: Freshly squeezed lemon, grated fresh ginger, crushed dried chilli, crushed clove of garlic and honey all mixed in with boiling water. Great tasty drink and very effective for a cold. At least it’s not hot any longer and it’s raining beautifully today and cooler than it was. My kind of weather. Perfect.

      • Froggy
        July 4, 2015, 2:52 pm

        Avigail,

        You don’t drink alcohol? In Scotland? ;)

        Actually, the Australian concoction looks like it might work, if it doesn’t kill you first.

        If not, try something called ‘Lemsip’. My husband uses it all the time, and swears by it. I very rarely get colds, but I got a bad one once and Lemsip really did work.

        Froggy, wondering who the hell gets a cold in July :)

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 5, 2015, 10:09 am

        Hi Froggy, thanks! I’m familiar with Lemsip but never tried it. I think it has paracetamol in it but I could be wrong. Might give it a try. Have a big work day tomorrow starting at 7.30 in the morning and finishing 5.30pm. I hope I am up to it… A cold in July… Yes… well… Haven’t had any colds for over a year now and there you go. I think I haven’t washed my hands enough when I was in London last weekend. It’s filthy there… :)

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 9:31 am

        @Froggy,

        The Poms say they hate the French which is why they spend so much time there. :) I love France and never had a problem with the French, including Parisians.

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 4:34 pm

        rosross : -LOL- about liking the French.

        I have a very close friend in Sydney.

        I’ve been listening to Eric Bogle all afternoon. Shelter made me tear up.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc6GAFmXxAM

        Shelter
        I’m drowning in the sunshine as it pours down from the skies
        There’s something stirring in my heart, bright colours fill my eyes
        As from here to the far horizon, your beauty does unfold
        And oh you look so lovely, dressed in green and gold

        And I can almost touch the ocean shimmering in the distant haze
        As I stand here on this mountain on this loveliest day of days
        Round half the world I’ve drifted, left no wild oats unsown
        But now my view has shifted and I think I’ve just come home

        To the homeless and the hungry may you always open doors
        May the restless and the weary find safe harbour on your shores
        May you always be our Dreamtime place, our spirit’s glad release
        May you always be our shelter, may we always live in peace

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 9:48 am

        @Avigail,

        Great post in reply to Froggy.

        I think there were many ‘useful’ tips the Zionists picked up from the Nazis but I think it was Zionism, not Nazism which invented the concept of religion equating with ‘race.’

        It was not hard for the Nazis to identify any link to Judaism in German citizens, but the fact remains that some Jews fought in the German army – a figure of 150,000 mentioned – and a few were members of the SS so the Germans could not have been quite as fanatical about it as we have been led to believe.

        Finnish Jews also fought alongside the Nazis.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/museums/10682975/The-Jews-who-fought-for-Hitler-We-did-not-help-the-Germans.-We-had-a-common-enemy.html

        However, the Zionist/Israeli belief in what constitutes Jewishness is I suspect more practical than a real belief in another ‘genocide.’

        Most of Israel’s Jews, to my understanding, classify themselves as secular although I gather the breeding rate of real Jews is much greater and that figure may now just constitute many, but, since most Jews did not live in Israel or ever want to live in Israel, boosting numbers with Jews was difficult, unless Jewishness was made into a ‘race’ and one ancestor was enough to get you citizenship even if neither you, your parents or even they practised the religion.

        This is how so many Russians got to be Israelis. Find someone with a tenuous link to a Jewish ancestor who is looking for a new option and you have a ready-made pool of ‘Jews’ to stack the numbers in the country.

        I have read recently that many young Israelis are returning to the countries from which their parents or grandparents emigrated – mainly Russia and Germany.

        I still remain astonished that the modern world could, for so long, accept such racism and that someone with a Jewish great-grandparent gets instant citizenship and someone without, despite tracing family ancestry in Palestine back for centuries, cannot.

      • aiman
        July 3, 2015, 11:19 am

        Avigail, try Manuka honey for the delicious effect.

        The natural protocol could also include propolis and echinacea. The cold doesn’t stand a chance!

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 3, 2015, 11:51 am

        Thanks for reminding me Aiman! I have strong Manuka honey but forgot all about it… I blame the virus… :)

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 2:05 pm

        “But today I’m really glad I’m just another human being with no stupid labels”

        That would be nice. Bornajoo, you have inspired me! I am going to see about having my criminal records sealed.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 2:51 pm

        “And everybody hates the French…. “

        Only because they haven’t seen “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and “Les Deux Demoiselles de Rochefort” a hundred times, and don’t believe in spring and love.
        I have no time for people like that.

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 5:34 pm

        Ah, but Mooser. Don’t you know that all French love stories turn out badly?

        Either one doesn’t marry one’s true love…

        … or worse, one does, and ends up in a house with maman et belle-mère, and a load of chattering, nit-picking French aunties.

      • Kris
        July 3, 2015, 5:20 pm

        Mooser, did you leave out “The Red Balloon” on purpose?

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 6:51 pm

        Oooh, Kris. Le Ballon rouge is my favourite.

      • echinococcus
        July 3, 2015, 5:30 pm

        Froggy,

        I’m afraid the concept of nationality has been defined by the last 200 years and all that’s been written on the 335 or so nationalities of the Soviet Union, the hundred-some of the Ottoman Empire, the right of nationalities in China, and so on. It’s not citizenship, and if the Zionist entity wanted to really use nationality in that sense it cannot use a non-existent “Jewish” category but must needs break it down at that point.

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 8:26 pm

        echinococcus : “I’m afraid the concept of nationality has been defined by the last 200 years and all that’s been written on the 335 or so nationalities of the Soviet Union, the hundred-some of the Ottoman Empire, the right of nationalities in China, and so on. It’s not citizenship, and if the Zionist entity wanted to really use nationality in that sense it cannot use a non-existent “Jewish” category but must needs break it down at that point.

        Erm… no. You are confusing ethnic identity and citizenship.

      • RoHa
        July 4, 2015, 2:37 am

        “But today I’m really glad I’m just another human being with no stupid labels”

        I’ve got quite a few labels, but they are not helpful. The label on my underpants says “Made in China”, while the one on my t-shirt says “Made in Bangladesh”. But I have other labels which disagree with those. Very confusing. I hope it doesn’t mean I am a rootless cosmopolitan.

      • Bornajoo
        July 4, 2015, 11:36 am

        “I’ve got quite a few labels, but they are not helpful. The label on my underpants says “Made in China”, while the one on my t-shirt says “Made in Bangladesh”. But I have other labels which disagree with those. Very confusing. I hope it doesn’t mean I am a rootless cosmopolitan.”

        Too good RoHa! :-)

      • RoHa
        July 4, 2015, 2:58 am

        “I’m afraid the concept of nationality has been defined by the last 200 years”

        And those 200 years have made a right pig’s ear of it. At least three quite distinct concepts have been subsumed under the single rubric “nationality”.

        However, from the point of view of Australian electoral law (and what other pov matters?) nationality is the same as citizenship.

      • Froggy
        July 4, 2015, 9:37 am

        RoHa : “However, from the point of view of Australian electoral law (and what other pov matters?) nationality is the same as citizenship.

        It’s the same in France.

        And I believe that nationality is the same as citizenship in the US too.

        Nationality is what is is printed on one’s passport.

      • echinococcus
        July 4, 2015, 3:00 am

        Froggy,

        Sorry I’ll have to insist; review all the available, voluminous literature if you wish –it all goes under the “question of nationalities”, covering a period from around 1870 to the fall of Yugoslavia (but continuing in many places, including China, Turkey and other multinational contries under that same name.) It holds in any translation, too. I’d prefer to keep it that way instead of watering it down with ill-defined Americanisms.

      • Froggy
        July 4, 2015, 12:52 pm

        echinococcus : Sorry I’ll have to insist; review all the available, voluminous literature if you wish –it all goes under the “question of nationalities”, covering a period from around 1870 to the fall of Yugoslavia (but continuing in many places, including China, Turkey and other multinational contries under that same name.) It holds in any translation, too. I’d prefer to keep it that way instead of watering it down with ill-defined Americanisms.

        These aren’t Americanisms, as you say. They are modern definitions of citizenship.

        In most countries, citizens can be born of parents from various ethnic groups, but these individuals are citizens of that country just the same. A Han Chinese born in the UK is a British citizen. A Han Chinese born in China who becomes a naturalised citizen of the UK is a British citizen.

        I’m an ethnic bretonne living in Brittany, and I’m a citizen of France. My citizenship is French. My ethnic identity is Breton.

        Nationalities become a problem when their lands are taken over, and they are pressured to adopt the rulers’ language and culture as their own, and/or they strongly oppose the central government’s policies.

        That is all I am saying.

      • echinococcus
        July 4, 2015, 4:20 pm

        Froggy,

        Of course all that goes for “citizenship”. The warning is against confusing everything by using it as exchangeable with “nationality”, the latter being principally a collective noun –not a nation, a nationality. There is a mixup in American usage, for lack of even trying to understand the concept of multinational states as a result of US history (and a slight chance of mixup due to the French equivalence in current language between nationalité and citoyenneté, but that’s more easily solved.) The Western European “ethnic minority” concept translate into “nationality” over vast tracts of the world. So, the usage is not the same everywhere and this may get confusing for a lot of people is all. No need to make a bigger story of it.

  26. rosross
    July 1, 2015, 4:18 am

    Mooser,

    You said: That’s too bad, because there is no such thing as “American Jewry”. There are several Orthodox sects,Conservative denominations, Reform denominations, and a few others, both frum and rum. Now, since these are for all practical purposes different religions, which one were you thinking of appealing to to heal Israel’s wou…. Wait a fuckinminute, Israel is the one that’s “wounded”?

    Perhaps I have not been clear enough. When I referred to American Jewry I meant in terms of the numbers of Jews in the US, the next largest group I think to Israel, or perhaps actually the largest group of Jews because many, or perhaps most, Israeli Jews are non-practising, lapsed, calling themselves secular or even atheist, the latter two making it impossible for them to be a member of any religion, let alone Judaism.

    I was also referring to the fact that it is the large number of American Jews who fund Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine and offer financial support to Israel, personally and through putting pressure on the US Government.

    So, the term, American Jewry did not mean that there is a coherent or contained group holding all Americans who belong to the Jewish religion, but rather that substantial and powerful group, based in the US which has most enabled Israel on its destructive path and therefore, has the most power to push Israel to move onto a constructive path.

    And the reference to Israel’s ‘wounds’ comes from the theme of this thread and the article which triggered this conversation, i.e. A traumatized society is dangerous.

    Trauma indicates wounds, whether of individual, religion, culture or nation.

    Israel is a highly dysfunctional, at times insane, culture and society, because of the wounds it has inherited from Judaism and made worse through Zionism and its role as occupier, coloniser and apartheid State.

    Israel is mentally sick as a State and as a society and culture and that means it is wounded.

    • Mooser
      July 3, 2015, 3:01 pm

      “Israel is a highly dysfunctional, at times insane, culture and society, because of the wounds it has inherited from Judaism”

      Uh “rosross” have you ever considered that Judaism is an awful lot like “Soylent Green”? It’s people.

  27. Avigail Abarbanel
    July 1, 2015, 4:43 am

    @Yonah Fredman’

    Good morning Yonah, thank you for sharing a bit more about your background and your family. It sounds like you have been through quite a journey yourself.

    I developed a sore throat yesterday and am feeling very unwell today so am staying in bed. I hope to give you a proper response but forgive me in advance if my response is not as comprehensive or as clear as it can, or should be.

    Yes, I am using the word cult in its sociological sense. Over my years in psychotherapy practice I’ve worked with many cult survivors who’ve decided to leave their group and have had to deal with the aftermath, which is always very complex on a number of levels.
    Some of those groups or cults were religious and some not, among the religious ones some were various varieties of Christianity and some of other esoteric or more mainstream familiar faiths.

    Cults are groups that see themselves apart from the rest of the world. Their identity is often defined in opposition to the outside world. The outside is seen usually in negative terms, whereas the cult embodies everything that is right or better. Being a member of the cult is seen as a special privilege. The world outside is often portrayed not only as bad but also as dangerous to the cult members.

    Cults have a sense of specialness in a very similar way to individual narcissism. They can see themselves as possessing special qualities, special relationships with key individuals, a doctrine or a deity, and they often have a belief that they are destined to something special or great. Also similar to individual narcissism is that cults can have a sense of special entitlement to something and that the rules that the world is run by, don’t apply to them. Cults are typically preoccupied with themselves and what they believe or do. There is often an emphasis on learning the doctrine, preserving it and passing it on and they tend to shield their members from outside teachings that can cause members to question what the cult believes.

    To emphasise their differentness, cults might develop a unique and often ritualised way of life that distinguishes them from the world outside and from other groups. Some cults like their members to live in close proximity to each other and some create physically closed off communities where they can.

    Cults can be based around a person, living or dead, an idea, an ideology, a deity, etc. Cults typically have mechanisms in place that limit, discourage or prohibit questioning of the cult’s leadership and belief system. Complete conformity is usually the price of belonging to a cult. People who conform enjoy acceptance and all other benefits that are a part of the cult’s life. But those who question or wish to leave can be placed under huge pressure. Where cults don’t have legal power over members, powerful social mechanisms are used that manipulate people’s need to belong, feelings of loyalty, fear and guilt. A mafia, which is also a cult, a gang or a state that’s a cult would often use violence to keep people in line.

    Cults can be secretive as well and discourage or prohibit their members from talking to outsiders about what goes on inside the cult. There is great mistrust in outsiders and if an outsider wants to join they would be put through a complex process designed partly to make sure they are really loyal and partly to indoctrinate them into the cult’s belief system.

    Cults usually discourage or even prohibit members from associating with the outside world or leaving the cult. Cults have teaching, formal and informal rules as well as language designed to enforce this. In some groups I have come across there are specific words used to describe outsiders and words to describe those who stray or are seen to question too much.

    The differences between a cultish and non-cultish human group are that in a non-cultish group diversity and questioning are not only allowed but can be encouraged. Members would be taught to think for themselves. A non-cultish group will follow more universal values and will be outward, not only inward looking. Its identity will not be defined in opposition to but rather in positive terms. In non-cultish groups there is no price for belonging. A person belongs because they are valued for who they are and the way they contribute to the group, not for conforming. Cults are at the lowest end of what is possible for human maturity and most groups and societies out there are somewhere on the continuum. The more strict and isolated the cult is the harder it is for its members to leave it not only physically but also or even more so, psychologically. That is because in cults individual identity is subservient to group identity. The individual and the cults are indistinguishable. Individual thoughts are group thoughts, individual behaviour is group behaviour and individual aspirations or interests will only be OK if they align with the purpose and interests of the group. People who try to leave a cultish group struggle in therapy to regain their sense of their individuality. It’s a hugely difficult and complex process.

    I think cults are a response to fear. They are driven by our limbic (mammal) brain’s instinct to be safe in a group and to behave in a way that keeps the group together. The antelope that looks the same as all the other antelopes and remains at the centre of the herd, is less likely to be snapped up by the lioness than the one that looks a bit different, is a bit curious and wanders off from the herd… Cult mentality is understandable from a limbic point of view but it comes at a heavy cost to the development of individuals and their ability to fulfill their potential and to contribute to wider society.

    I hope that this is a reasonably decent summary that does justice to your comment and your question.

    • rosross
      July 1, 2015, 5:14 am

      Avigail, that is an excellent description of cults. And it is easily applied to Judaism in general and most, if not all, expressions of the religion.

      One of the things about which I am curious, and I see this as related to the ‘cult’ aspect of Judaism and Zionism, is the way many, Israelis in particular, but also Jews elsewhere, call themselves Jews when patently they are not because not only do they not practice, very often their parents and even grandparents were not practising and some even go so far to call themselves atheist which is oxymoronic in extreme.

      As someone who has traced back English Jewish ancestors to the late 17th century, and beyond to Holland and Russia, I am well aware that if someone wishes to drop the religion they can make a choice to no longer be Jewish, as my great-grandparent did. Siblings retained the religion and so did many of their descendants and so the family tree, contains today, Jews and non-Jews.

      I would add, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Protestant, Baptist, Huguenot and Catholic were also dropped along the way, but in no other circumstance do people label themselves as members of a religion in which they have no belief, and, one presumes, as atheists, reject in entirety.

      Why would someone who does not want to practice the religion and in essence, rejects the religion, call themselves a Jew, particularly where the only link may be one great or great-great grandparent as many Russians did to gain Israeli citizenship? Your use of the term ‘cult’ provides me with an answer I have long asked, because cult beliefs can permeate further, if held unconsciously.

      One other irony in Israel, and a few have touched upon this reality, is that the greatest threat to the State are the orthodox Jews, and not the Palestinians. Well, a threat to the sort of State most non-practising ‘Jewish’ Israelis want.

  28. rosross
    July 1, 2015, 5:02 am

    Mooser,

    I can’t reply directly to your comment about Israelis not taking advice kindly from other Jews and you may well be right. But my question would be, or rather, what I would question, is how many Jews within the international community, have tried?

    Having followed this issue for some decades I can see that in the past decade there has been growing awareness amongst Americans in general and American Jews in particular, in regard to the reality of what Israel is and does but I doubt any strong, concerted effort has been made to try to talk some sense into Israelis, or to force some sense into them given that the ‘purse-strings’ which enable Israel to survive are influenced if not controlled, by American Jews in the main.

    But, if you are correct then the inevitable one-state solution will simply come into being and what happens, happens.

    • Mooser
      July 1, 2015, 12:06 pm

      “I can’t reply directly to your comment about Israelis not taking advice kindly from other Jews and you may well be right. But my question would be, or rather, what I would question, is how many Jews within the international community, have tried?”

      Gosh, I never thought of it that way before. You are right, nobody has said a thing. Nobody has written any books, nobody has made any documentaries, nothin.

      Not a single goddam person has tried. It couldn’t possibly because the perceived self-interest (a free country) trumps religious fellowship, and Zionists don’t want to listen. That’s way too simple, and besides, plays into an anti-semitic stereotype that Jews are people.

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 3:34 am

        Mooser, I think you ran with a ball not thrown there but you made me smile.

        My question was ‘how many?’ What percentage? Of course people have written books, made documentaries and commented, but my question was, ‘how many?’

        If say 1% or less of the American Jewish population has ‘given advice’ it is a very different matter to say 80% giving advice or speaking out. It is easy to ignore a small voice and harder to ignore a large one.

        Given the power of American Jews, yes,yes I know they are not a cohesive unit but let’s go with something called American Jews involved in Zionism/Israeli/Jewish agendas which lobby politicians and influence Government in Israel’s favour, then it means a great deal to know if a minimal number have spoken out against what Israel is, or a majority.

        I suspect, given the influence of the above cited organisations that those speaking out are a small and easily ignored minority. But I thought you might know.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 3:06 pm

        “Mooser, I think you ran with a ball not thrown there but you made me smile.”

        Even a foul ball, if caught on a fly, is an ‘out’ and counts. But for real fun, speaking of “cults” go over to Tony Ortega’s (great writer, great guy) “The Underground Bunker” and compare the culture of Scientology to Zionism.

      • catalan
        July 4, 2015, 10:18 am

        “Given the power of American Jews,” rosross
        I have learned from this blog that I have a lot of power and that I am above the law. The above the law thing I plan to test next time I make a traffic violation. The most common names for cops in New Mexico are Sanchez and Garcia, it would be awesome to get off just by saying I am a Jew. I do have a very Jewish name so I am surprised this hasn’t already worked in the past, they look at my license and don’t seem to acknowledge me as above the law.
        As to the power, we have discussed this here to death. I do have a decent career and some dough stashed for a rainy day, but power, that just sounds so much better. I want to share more in this business of running things. I have been advised to join organizations, but that seems very roundabout. Can’t I just yield power today? I am glad all these Jews know so well what to do with this power, myself, I fear I may be corrupted and tempted into things if I am so powerful. I doubt I would use this power responsibly, that is, if I actually get to use it. So complicated…

      • talknic
        July 4, 2015, 11:20 am

        @ catalan

        “Given the power of American Jews,” rosross … “American Jews involved in Zionism/Israeli/Jewish agendas which lobby politicians and influence Government in Israel’s favour”

        “I have learned from this blog ..”

        I have learned that stupid people like you will do anything to try to make a point including take things completely out of context

        “….that I have a lot of power and that I am above the law. The above the law thing I plan to test next time I make a traffic violation. “

        What does making a traffic violation have to do with lobbying politicians and influencing Government in Israel’s favour?

  29. rosross
    July 1, 2015, 5:41 am

    I just read this and thought it might be of interest:

    National narrative under scholarly analysis
    Palestine in Israeli School Books
    Ideology and Propaganda in Education
    By Nurit Peled-Elhanan
    “Hey, guess what, young Israeli soldiers are wearing cameras on
    their helmets as they search Arab houses looking for terrorists.”
    “Really?” “Yeah, its great, you should see the pictures”. “Wow,
    that’s cool”.
    I paraphrase an overheard conversation between American visitors in a
    restaurant in Jaffa. It came to mind as I began to read this book. Remember that
    old American saying derived from General Sheridan as he suppressed the
    indigenous people in favour of settlers, ‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian’?
    Once it is believed that Indians are savage, inferior, uncivilised and a hindrance
    to the fulfilment of those with God (and a specially designed historical narrative)
    on their side it becomes much easier to pull the trigger when you have them in
    your sights.
    The proficiency in linguistics of Nurit Peled-Elhanan enables her to make points
    of historical, political, national, cultural and personal significance: points that
    engage our emotions: points that disturbingly, for some, challenge the many
    myths sustaining a system that dehumanises even the believers of those myths.
    To pull those triggers is dehumanising. To read, learn and inwardly digest this
    book just might rehumanise some of the people with fingers on triggers.
    I wonder; to how many Israeli university undergraduate booklists will this book
    be added? Will it be studied by trainee teachers? Knowing and having worked
    with some Israeli teacher trainers I have hopes that it will. The power to approve
    school textbooks does not, however, lie with them and despite attempts by a
    valiant number of Israeli academics and journalists to draw attention to the role
    of ideology and propaganda in education the official narrative continues to be
    deeply internalised.
    Some of the labels that we use in order to classify ‘others’ and to signpost the
    histories that keep us comfortable with ourselves can be misleading, even
    wrong, but also very sticky. Like the UK Israel has many sustaining myths that
    come with some very sticky labels. I doubt if there remains a serious historian
    who believes that the Romans expelled the Jews from Palestine after the
    destruction of the temple in Jerusalem or the later Bar Kokhkba Revolt and yet
    the notion of ‘returning’ after expulsion is an embedded belief-a sticky label- that
    helps legitimise the establishment of the state in a form that raises one group
    above another. And this is a state that, while reducing the status of the people it
    found there, has managed to promote the idea that it is ‘The only democracy in
    Cliff Jones Critical Professional learning
    http://www.criticalprofessionallearning.co.uk
    the Middle East’. Can you be a democracy and yet raise one group of citizens
    above another? And, you might ask, how can a country claim for itself the power
    to charge its critics with being anti-Semitic when it pursues policies that humiliate
    and demonise ‘others’ who are at least as Semitic?
    You know that you have been labelled as inferior when you are forced to accept
    being re-named and re-classified by a more powerful invading group: when your
    capacity to self-define is lost to others. For example, to be labelled Welsh is to
    accept being called ‘foreigner’ in the Germanic language of the invaders of
    Britain. It is insulting but eventually you accept it because you lack the power to
    resist the new narrative. ‘Israeli Arabs’, however, whenever they cross over the
    border, refer to themselves as Palestinians. They have not accepted their reclassification.
    Nurit’s analysis of the discourse within Israeli (Jewish)
    schoolbooks makes clear that not only do two contradictory realities exist but
    that the internalisation of the official Israeli narrative is so crucial for self
    legitimacy that it must squeeze out, suppress and subdue historical narratives
    that contradict it.
    Nurit’s book reveals how Palestinians are represented negatively within the
    Israeli national narrative, specifically in school textbooks. The high quality of her
    scholarship, including the amount of carefully detailed evidence she provides,
    will make it difficult for propagators of the official narrative to attack and
    contradict her. So, we should ask, what might be the effect of this book?
    The Israeli historian Shlomo Sand’s book The invention of the Jewish people
    (2009) generated very strong pro and con reactions and, incidentally, huge
    sales in Israel. His intention to normalise or to de-exceptionalise being Jewish in
    Israel was probably weakened because in straying from his area of expertise he
    enabled those he had upset to pick holes in part of his thesis. Nurit does not
    stray from her area of expertise. She uses it on a specific topic: a topic that
    might be thought to be small and narrow but that actually unlocks matters of
    huge significance. In discussing Israel as a democracy she introduces us to the
    word ‘ethnocracy’. School textbooks reinforce the idea that Israel is an ethnically
    based state: a state for Jews: a racially ring-fenced democracy. I have often
    wondered how schoolteachers taking classes round the Diaspora Museum in
    Tel Aviv deal with the display just inside the entrance that makes the contrary
    point that Jews are racially disparate. There is plenty to argue and become
    upset about.
    What she has to say about the rationalising, even the justifying, of massacres
    carried out by Israeli forces reminds me of yet another conversation, this one
    between me and a strong supporter of the official narrative. We were arguing
    about the Dier Yassin massacre in 1948 when most of the inhabitants of a
    Palestinian village were killed. My interlocutor:
    “It is emerging now that they were warned to get out so why did
    they stay to be killed?”
    This was presented to me as a debate winning argument. It was, in other words,
    their own fault that they were killed. As Nurit explains in the book, it is not a case
    Cliff Jones Critical Professional learning
    http://www.criticalprofessionallearning.co.uk
    of hiding history but, rather, a case of setting examples of such massacres
    within a discourse of what had to happen in order to establish a state for
    exceptionalised people.
    Visiting Yad Veshem, the holocaust museum, I found to be a deeply emotional
    experience. American money has since paid for its expansion. Foreign
    dignitaries are taken there. Its impact upon them must be very powerful. I bet
    that Tony Blair has been. He is, after all, charged with bringing peace to the
    area, though he has never visited Gaza. During these visits does anyone have
    pointed out to them by their guides that this museum, which remembers an
    appalling crime against humanity, which humbles us, which reduces visitors to
    tongue-tied silence, which commits us to dedicate our lives to never, ever, ever
    allowing anything like that to happen again, is built on a pleasant shallow hillside
    overlooking what was once Dier Yassin?
    Why should any of this matter to us? Is it not merely “a quarrel in a far away
    country between people about whom we know nothing”, as Chamberlain said
    about the German invasion of Czechoslovakia? It matters because “education,
    education, education” is really about “society, society, society”. Let us not fall
    into the trap of assuming that Israel is exceptional in its portrayal of and teaching
    about ‘others’. ‘British’ history is mostly ‘English’ history. The histories of, for
    example, the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Tibet or Australia are not taught to children
    from the perspectives of indigenous, invaded peoples. To do that would be
    discomforting. We are suckers for reassuring narratives. They absolve us from
    sin. Remember the profound words of that archenemy of the working classes,
    Winston Churchill: “History shall be kind to me, for I shall write it”.
    The book also matters to us because we collaborate with the distorters of history
    in an area that we have chosen to make special. The ‘Holy Land’ is not merely a
    tourist destination. We imbue it with so much meaning that the shape, nature,
    focus and intent of its discourse have the power to control how we make sense
    of humanity.

    Do buy, read, disseminate and argue about this book: a book to which I have
    done scant justice. I have used the word ‘exceptional’ a number of times. I wish I
    could say that Nurit Peled-Elhanan is not exceptional. Unfortunately, she is. I
    met her briefly when she did some work on a programme that I directed in Israel
    working with teachers across cultural, religious, ethnic and political boundaries.
    She is a co-recipient of the 2001 Sakharov Prize for Human Rights and the
    Freedom of Thought awarded by the European Parliament. I knew before I met
    her that her daughter had recently been killed by a suicide bomber. What I did
    not then know was the huge extent of her intellectual capacity to focus upon and
    reveal the power of official discourse and narrative to create the conditions for
    killing. After reading this book no one should think that discourse analysis is only
    for ivory tower academics. It has the potential to relax a few trigger fingers.
    The book is published by I.B. Tauris (www.ibtauris.com)
    ISBN 978-1-78076-505-1.
    This review first published in Post 16 Educator http://www.post16educator.org.uk

    • Mooser
      July 1, 2015, 12:12 pm

      “Furthermore, isn’t Jewish Privilege something I am born into – an inescapable set of circumstances?”

      Oh, you bet, pal, not a goddam thing you can do about it. Awful, isn’t it, to be condemned to privilege, and unable to do anything about it. My heart bleeds, maybe I’ll swallow a Band-Aid.

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      July 1, 2015, 1:33 pm

      Rosross, to the best of my knowledge Nurit was unable to publish her book in Hebrew in Israel, neither has Ilan Pappé been able to publish in Israel. Too close to the bone for Israel, that still considers itself a democracy. There is no official prohibition to publish these books in Israel. Publishers, as many other institutions in Israeli society, take it upon themselves to enforce the official doctrine, or viewpoint that is still the only version of history taught in Israeli schools. Just thought I’d mention it.

      • lysias
        July 1, 2015, 2:20 pm

        Of course, publishers in America and other English-language countries censor by failure to publish. Notoriously, Solzhenitsyn’s two-volume history of the Jews in Russia has not been published in English in any country, although translations into German and French came out promptly after the publication of the Russian original (I happen to have the book in its German translation.)

        Sibel Edmonds has had to self-publish all her works, including the spectactular nonfiction Classified Woman, I have to assume because the books — and that one in particular — furnish insider support to unorthodox views of what happened on 9/11.

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 3:22 am

        Thanks Avigail, I am not surprised. I remain in awe of the few Israelis of courage who continue to speak out despite the vitriol and threats they receive.

        I suspect what is difficult is that US publishers have a disproportionately high rate of Jewish ownership/interests which would add further censorship. I don’t know about the UK.

        But it is clear that high levels of censorship are applied often in publishing to anything which is critical of Israel, and for that matter, anything which seeks for open debate on the Jewish experiences at the hands of the Nazis.

        I mentioned before that I have Israeli friends who have said that they fear to speak, particularly during the last attack on Gaza, but it is also a fact, as anyone who takes an interest in this issue and comments widely on social media and news sites, that Zionist/Israeli/Jewish ‘entities’ actively seek out and attempt to silence those who speak out by hacking websites and emails.

        I can only reflect on the terrifying levels of fear which must drive such actions.

  30. just
    July 1, 2015, 8:22 am

    I was reading some of the comments about cults here, and found this in Haaretz this morning written by an undergrad at UC. I think it’s representative of some of what is being discussed on this thread :

    “BDS is driving a wedge between Diaspora Jews
    On U.S. college campuses, the situation is particularly painful.

    “My heart is in the East and I’m furthest West.” As a Diaspora Jew who must endure never-ending winters in Chicago, this now platitudinous lamentation by Yehuda Halevi strikes a chord with me. To cope with my displaced heart, I eat at Middle Eastern restaurants, listen to Israeli radio live on my iPhone, and cleave to the sounds of Hebrew, which is why, naturally, I have befriended the closest thing I have to Florentine — the Israeli graduate student community at the University of Chicago.

    Recently, I found myself at a goodbye party for one of these students. …
    Late in the night, the party was in full swing. Laughter and casual innuendo permeated the spaces between swaying bodies and intoxicating rhythms. I was engrossed in flirtatious repartee with a charming French exchange student, when suddenly, a girl I had briefly talked with earlier interrupted our conversation:

    “I don’t know who invited you, but you’re not welcome here. Get out, you Zionist who writes from your Jewish privilege here in this country against my Palestinian friends.”

    The floodgates of my tears were opened.

    She was referring to my article about anti-Semitic events ensuing from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, but I have never written about my political convictions – pro-two state or one state, anti-occupation, pro-settlement or otherwise. One’s political position is irrelevant to their experience of anti-Semitism.

    The girl seemed to be treating me as Sheldon Adelson incarnate, as if I embody the rich and powerful establishment in this country that supports “evil” Israel. I must say, I found it ironic that I, a Mizrahi Jew, was being attacked by a white Ashkenazi Israeli several years my senior on the grounds of my privilege. But more to the point, what did this accusation of Jewish Privilege consist of if not an age-old anti-Semitic canard, dressed in contemporary liberal terminology, that Jews are wealthy and have sinister power?

    Furthermore, isn’t Jewish Privilege something I am born into – an inescapable set of circumstances? If everything I say or do as a Jew is an act of Jewish Privilege, the term becomes harnessed as a tool to silence pro-Jewish voices — I can neither say nor do anything except condemn the “occupation.” But even then, am I not doing so from a position of Jewish Privilege?

    A mutual friend told me that that he didn’t agree with her action, but that he understood where she, a BDS activist, was coming from. He didn’t like the analogy, but to her, seeing me there was like having a Nazi at your party.

    So that’s what a pro-Israel American Jew who doesn’t actively write against the occupation is, a Nazi?

    The concept of the “Good Arab” is well known. Arab-Israelis like Sayed Kashua and Norman Issa who are successful in Israeli society and are loved by Israelis and Jews alike. Implicit in this concept is the notion that these Arabs are in a sense complicit with Israeli oppression and as such are turning their backs on “Bad Arabs” who resist it.

    But today, there is also the “Good Jew,” like the girl at the party. The Good Jew shows the world she’s morally superior to Israelis living beyond the Green Line and American Jews who support them. The Good Jew qualifies every statement with disgust toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s human rights record. The Good Jew refuses to go on Birthright because it’s unfair that the program is only for members of the Tribe. The Good Jew calls pro-Israel students “Hasbara Machines.” The Good Jew looks at Sheldon Adelson with disgust, and talks of perilous “Jewish money” and “Jewish Privilege.”

    I have been to plenty of parties where I was the only person who didn’t use the word “Zionist” as a curse, and I have plenty of friends that are graduate students in Middle Eastern studies or fellow Iranians whom I completely disagree with on Israel, but that has never disrupted our friendship or the common decency by which we interact. As such, when the girl at the party confronted me, what disturbed me more than her accusations about my Jewish Privilege-inspired views on anti-Semitism was the fact that the criticism came from a fellow Jew; an Israeli nonetheless.

    Benny Ziffer recently wrote in Haaretz that for Israeli BDS activists, the “boycott seeks to glorify the boycotter far more than it wishes truly to punish the boycotted.” If the boycott elevates the boycotter more than it reprimands Israel and its settlement policy, then who does it really hurt? Who really pays the price of BDS?

    The answer is Diaspora Jewry. We pay for it every time a swastika is painted on a fraternity door after BDS passes in student governments, as happened at UC Davis and Stanford. We pay for it when our colleges become battlegrounds over Middle East policy and stages for mock checkpoints and “die-ins.” We pay for it when donors pour money into this fight when we would all much rather be doing better things with our time and resources.

    Most of all, we pay for it through the deep divide it has created within the Jewish community outside of Israel. Israel was once a unifying factor for Jews— secular or religious, Ashkenazi or Sephardi. Yet growing up in a post-intifada era, I have seen the Jewish Homeland transformed before my very eyes into a source of deep, acute division, a source of hatred and deplorable behavior. Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” With the challenges our community faces from external elements, we simply cannot afford to erode from within.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/the-jewish-thinker/.premium-1.663848?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Fears & tears “over the challenges our community faces from external elements, we simply cannot afford to erode from within.”

    • Bumblebye
      July 1, 2015, 9:04 am

      Condensed version: Waaaaaah! Poor li’l me!

    • rosross
      July 1, 2015, 9:33 am

      This piece is a classic demonstration of the power of denial in order to defend the cult!

      bumblebye, has it in one – poor little me!

      This poor, innocent, well-meaning Jew is so misunderstood and so victimised by others because they are misguided.

      He or she, I was not sure, is incapable of processing the experience in terms of the reality of Israel’s occupation, colonisation and apartheid.

      Certainly, as an Israeli or Jew one can ‘rationalise’ apartheid and refuse to accept it and one can also ‘rationalise’ why Israel was established on Palestine and ‘justify’ it through religious history etc. etc. etc. but one cannot ‘rationalise’ away the reality of the occupation and the continued colonisation and dispossession of the Palestinians. Well, one can try, as the writer attempts to do so, but deal with reality, face the truth? Never.

      And this is Israel’s tragedy. It has brainwashed its Jewish citizens, sought to brainwash as many Jews as it can, and rampages on with the fantasy that there is a Jewish diaspora when there is not!

      Most Jews do not live in Israel, never did and never will. And another factor in the inexorable destruction of Zionist Jewish Israel is that many young Israelis, tired no doubt of being pariahs, or aware enough to know the State is racist and rotten, are emigrating back to the countries their parents or grandparents left. One of the biggest communities is in Berlin which stands as a heartening example of the ability of human beings to heal and forgive and to move on.

      • just
        July 1, 2015, 9:49 am

        “This piece is a classic demonstration of the power of denial in order to defend the cult!”

        I thought so, too. It really could have belonged on topic with many other articles, but it fits this one to a ‘T’, doesn’t it? This bit really got me:

        “The floodgates of my tears were opened.

        She was referring to my article about anti-Semitic events ensuing from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, but I have never written about my political convictions – pro-two state or one state, anti-occupation, pro-settlement or otherwise. One’s political position is irrelevant to their experience of anti-Semitism.”

        It’s all anti- Semitism, all the time for this student. Never mind the actual heinous Occupation, illegal settlements, etc. And the last sentence there is a real humdinger…

        Yes, Bumblebye did nail it!

        (I was really trying to bring this example of cult to this thread without noting the obvious self- pity and more than dubious victimhood of the writer)

        Thanks, rosross. And thanks again for your thoughtful and thought- provoking comments.

        Avigail~ I hope that you feel better very soon!

    • Mooser
      July 1, 2015, 12:11 pm

      “We pay for it every time a swastika is painted on a fraternity door after BDS passes in student governments, as happened at UC Davis and Stanford.”

      Oh man, yes we do, but not exactly in the way you think. Now, WHO put those swastikas there?

      • just
        July 1, 2015, 1:28 pm

        “Oh, you bet, pal, not a goddam thing you can do about it. Awful, isn’t it, to be condemned to privilege, and unable to do anything about it. My heart bleeds, maybe I’ll swallow a Band-Aid.”

        LOL!

        +1 for both of your comments on the undergrad’s petulant article, Mooser!

        Thanks.

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 2:56 pm

        Oh, I’m sure the person had a great time writing it. Gosh, I will say one thing about being Jewish, the license for BS is virtually unlimited!

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 7:39 am

        I also put plus for Mooser’s comments. :)

  31. rosross
    July 2, 2015, 5:17 am

    topkyk,

    A discussion on the treatment of Australian Aborigines is off-topic but you have just so much wrong and seem to have mixed up White Australia Policy, which was about immigration and sourced in a fear of the Chinese, with indigenous issues.

    You have also mixed up only white boarding schools with a South African practice – never an Australian practice.

    Neither was white-only adoption.

    You have so much wrong that even if the digression were relevant, which it isn’t, there would be no point.

    I refer you to Trove, the Australian National University site for further reading. Also try First Sources for transcripts of State and Federal Government reports and Aboriginal Protectors reports.

  32. talknic
    July 2, 2015, 5:45 am

    Interesting ….. however, Zionism wasn’t traumatized! The Zionist Federation wasn’t traumatized! The Jewish Colonial Trust wasn’t traumatized!

    More bulldust isn’t going to cover up for or change the ways of a rogue state, even if it is Jewish

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      July 2, 2015, 7:15 am

      Hi Talknic, maybe you think I’m giving them an excuse, which of course I do not! An explanation is not an excuse.

      The behaviour of these organisations and their decisions are rooted in the psychology of trauma. Anyone who can think so callously about others, as these organisations thought and think about the indigenous people of Palestine acts according to the belief system and principles that are rooted in trauma, or otherwise in psychopathy. In both cases there is no empathy or concern about the effect that the actions have on the other.

      In individuals and groups trauma compromises and interferes with the capacity for empathy and empathy is what mitigates what we might want to do to others when we feel under threat or when we’re angry…
      Like I said, no excuses and please don’t read my words that way.

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 7:25 am

        Avigail, it is clear to most, I am sure that you are explaining and not excusing, but also important to clarify that distinction.

        I find on contentious issues that conflating the two is common. No doubt this happens more often when emotional responses are involved and many people do feel strongly emotional in regard to issues of injustice and particularly to gross injustice.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 2, 2015, 1:34 pm

        Thanks Rosross, I explain it all the time because I am aware of this problem. It’s actually in the first few lines of Hazel’s article and definitely in the interview itself… :)

      • echinococcus
        July 2, 2015, 9:05 am

        Ms Abarbanel,

        It might be relevant to stipulate not only that you are explaining without condoning, which is obvious, but also something that may facilitate talking to literal/somatic-minded people (like me for example) that when you say trauma you don’t mean trauma in the emergency medicine or traumatologist’s sense. You are talking about some imaginary condition, including the fact of having been impressed by some fairy tale –not necessarily having been oneself personally shot at or salvaged from the rubble. That might avoid this kind of misunderstandings.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 2, 2015, 1:38 pm

        Hi Echinococcus, I can assure you as a former sufferer of trauma and a psychotherapist that it is far from imaginary! Trauma affects the brain in individuals and in groups has a huge impact on group beliefs and behaviour. It is looked at in neuroscience, psychology, psychotherapy and sociology and social psychology. Far from imaginary it is very very real. Lots of literature out there. Unless you suffered from it, it’s hard to understand, I know. But the information is all there. I am not making anything up… Also, I always qualify what I say about Jewish trauma, Israel and all that with a clear distinction between an explanation and an excuse. It’s at the start of Hazel’s article and the interview itself and in a great deal of what I write and certainly when I speak in public about this topic…

      • rosross
        July 2, 2015, 9:41 am

        @echinococcus,

        there is nothing imaginary about mental dysfunction even if the ‘real’ causes cannot be clearly identified. There are patterns which apply to trauma and which can be identified as being at work.

        I don’t think anyone was saying or suggesting this was a literal trauma suffered by each individual but an inheritance of trauma, real and imagined, handed on through religion and culture.

      • echinococcus
        July 2, 2015, 3:31 pm

        Ms Abarbanel (and Rosross too)

        My proposal was for a little flexibility in making room for people who have a different (and widespread) definition of “real” as being non-subjective. It will advance understanding. I can well understand the reaction by Talknic. I have no doubt that having listened to stories about Haman or medieval York or the German camps can cause a lot of damage, no contest. It is experienced as real, sure.
        As I already tried to say, though, trauma for an ER guy necessarily involves direct physical violence and there is no point in refusing to agree on common words when talking to the literal-minded. It’s all only about using common words an d placing disclaimers. You don’t want someone snickering that “there was no trauma”.

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 4:16 am

        @ echinococcus,

        The misunderstanding seems to arise from your definition of trauma as would be defined in a hospital emergency department, when that is not what is being raised here.

        The definition of trauma, is physical, as in a medical emergency situation of physical trauma, and also at a mental level, psychological experience of trauma, which is the trauma being referred to here.

        However, as has been learned through psychology, experiences of trauma can be handed down to the next generation and beyond through family, society, culture, religion, nation etc., and while the ‘experience’ or effect of the original trauma will have lesser and greater impact on individuals, it remains trauma all the same.

        I have long believed that we also have a capacity to inherit trauma and experiences, no doubt very good ones as well as very bad although the latter seem to make a more powerful template, at the cellular level and more recent research into biology and physiology is beginning to say the same thing.

        http://discovermagazine.com/2013/may/13-grandmas-experiences-leave-epigenetic-mark-on-your-genes.

        Trauma is in essence shock, deep suffering and if one has a familial culture of trauma and an inherited ‘experience’ of trauma and it is not just supported but encouraged by the environment, i.e. Judaism as a religion or Irish and Armenian societies with their ‘refusal’ to let go of the past and heal from it, then the ‘trauma’ will be kept very much ‘alive’ and handed down through centuries, if not thousands of years.

        So, to make the distinction – we have a real trauma where someone literally, physically and emotionally suffers a terrible shock, grief, pain, suffering etc.

        That trauma as a cellular experience is handed down to children and where the individual does not process the traumatic experience in a healthy way, the children will be ‘encouraged’ also, to not resolve or release their inherited cellular experience of trauma and will maintain it, perhaps even endowing it with greater power through familial, social or religious belief.

        Much of this is likely to be done unconsciously.

        Certainly, the individual who suffered the original trauma can be said to have suffered the most and their trauma is more real, although given the capacity for the human mind to ‘block out’ suffering, it may in fact be less real, at least consciously.

        But inherited trauma is real in its own way and often far more difficult to release and resolve because it is harder to identify. Just as someone who has blocked out terrible abuse as a child will find it more difficult to release an heal than someone who has a memory of the trauma, so too, can descendants of someone deeply traumatised, find it harder to heal. That then breeds ongoing dysfunction.

        As the saying goes, ‘the sins of the fathers,’ and I would add mothers, perhaps even more so because DNA crosses the placenta from the baby to the mother and lodges in her body and brain and DNA also crosses over to the baby, are inherited. ‘Sin’ being to my mind, ignorance or unresolved pain.

        I also think that logic suggests that this is what is being talked about in this article and discussion, and does not refer to the literal, personal experience of trauma anyway.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 3, 2015, 9:33 am

        In all my writings and talks on this topic I am referring of course to what we call psychological trauma and by extension to societal or cultural trauma. Of course psychological trauma does alter the architecture and chemistry of the brain and to different degrees depending on the extent of it and whether the trauma was inflicted in early childhood or later in life. But I certainly do not mean physical trauma in the sense used in the field of medicine!

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 2:17 pm

        “to what we call psychological trauma and by extension to societal or cultural trauma.”

        I prefer to call it a “the trauma principle” or “trauma axiom”. That is, everything is regarded in the light of a trauma, especially things that need not be. A less-than-zero-sum, a lose-lose psychology.
        And there must be some directed pretense about it, or it’s real, and we will find the disabilities common to emotional trauma in every area of their lives. Do we?

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 5:39 am

        Yes we certainly do. The symptoms on the surface always hide a bunch of less visible problems underneath. Symptoms never exist in isolation. It’s also not a pretence. It is real alright…

    • rosross
      July 2, 2015, 7:22 am

      talknic,

      Zionism is an offshoot of Judaism and therefore inherited both the sense of being exceptional, other, superior, different etc., and the sense of being threatened by all non-Jews and the belief in trauma and victimhood, entrenched in the religion for millennia.

      Zionism may be a secular offshoot of Judaism, but it was sourced in the belief that Jews were a group, people, nation, pick a word, which should be together, i.e. colonists in Palestine in essence.

      So, while Zionists were not traumatised by the experiences with the Nazis, they had inherited the psychological trauma dysfunction of Judaism, passed down culturally even if not religiously and, given what recent research is showing, cellularly.

      However, while Jews were beginning to boycott Nazi Germany, the Zionists were more than happy to work with the Nazis to further their plans for Palestine.

      Jewish belief as I understand it, and please correct me anyone who thinks I am wrong, has taught that the true ‘place’ for all Jews was Palestine (or any of the religious names attributed to Palestine, like Judea etc.,) although given the opposition of orthodox Jews to the creation of a literal State of Israel, one presumes this was only ever meant as metaphor.

      Non-practising Jews as Zionists, literalised Judaism and worked for a Jewish State, one presumes, to display to others, the exceptionality of followers of Judaism.

      There were other potential sites for this ‘State,’ including Australia and South America, but the Zionists were pretty much fixed on Palestine. My understanding is that the Zionists talked to the Nazis about their plans for Palestine and received a ‘warm’ reception because the Nazis were keen to get rid of as many Jews as possible.

      Quote: The Haavara Agreement – see transcript of Circular 54/1933 of the Reich Ministry of Finance, August 28, 1933 below – was an official contract between the Third Reich authority and Zionist Authority benefiting the interests of both parties. Haavara was intended to promote both the emigration of German Jews and the export of German products to Palestine.

      137861_f260
      In 1935 the steamer “Tel Aviv” made its maiden voyage from Nazi Germany to Haifa with Hebrew letters on its bow and a Nazi flag fluttering from its mast. The Captain of the Zionist-owned ship was a member of the Nazi Party. A passenger described the spectacle as a “metaphysical absurdity.”

      As a result of the Agreement, German exports arrived in Palestine at bargain prices with the help of Jewish capital and Jewish commerical assistance. It boosted the Nazi economy at a time when Jews worldwide were boycotting German goods. Goods worth a total of 139.5 million Reichsmark were transferred by 1939. The Agreement also made it possible to settle a large number of German Jews in Palestine. The outbreak of war in September 1939 ended the transfer practice.

      http://unacuba.org/wordpress/the-incredible-haavara-agreement-between-nazis-and-zionists/

  33. rosross
    July 2, 2015, 5:47 am

    Yonah,

    You said: I wonder what kind of combination of pressures and attempts to ease the trauma would be necessary to cajole the Jews into letting go of their security mindedness. I do not think that someone who rejects almost everything about Judaism and Jewishness can be the one to assure them that the trauma is over.

    There are many people who dropped Judaism with absolutely no sense of needing to stay in the religion for protection or because of any trauma.

    Judaism requires a belief in trauma and threat which is why many remain members of the religion even if they do not practice it – of course it would be hard to find Jews who can be assured the trauma is over, because to remain a member of the religion, requires never letting go of the belief that one is threatened, a permanent victim, or not traumatised.

    You have answered your own question. Those like Avigail, who can recognise that unhealthy aspect of Judaism have absolutely no problem letting it go and one suspects she is not alone.

    However, after thousands of years of having a religion brainwash you into believing you are exceptional and other than non-Jews and must remain so and because of your special nature, self and religion, are threatened by non-Jews, it is hardly surprising that only the strongest and most balanced will be able to break free.

    • Mooser
      July 2, 2015, 3:22 pm

      “However, after thousands of years of having a religion brainwash you into believing you are exceptional and other than non-Jews and must remain so and because of your special nature, self and religion, are threatened by non-Jews”

      And of course, this is the thread, nay, the chain, which connects Orthodox Judaism (in it’s various forms) to Conservative and Reform Judaism? Is it constant through the Ashkenazim and Sephardi divisions? And the other lesser-known forms?
      Should be very evident then, and easy to trace in writings, beliefs, and practice. I’m especially awaiting the expose on how this is all so cleverly disseminated through the secular Jewish community.

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 4:31 am

        @Mooser,

        There is nothing clever about the dissemination of belief and neither does there need to be, particularly when someone is brought up in a religious system and culture.

        The most powerful messages a child receives are non-verbal and much of what we come to ‘believe’ is transferred to us unconsciously. Religions are designed to reinforced their beliefs, teachings and expectations – that is dissemination.

        Yes, it is the thread which connects because just as a person brought up as a Catholic who, as an adult opts to be non-practising, will convey Catholic beliefs to their children, consciously and unconsciously, so too will someone brought up in a Jewish culture, of any form.

        If it were not consciously or unconsciously important to that person to retain beliefs and teachings of Judaism they would drop the religion entirely and no longer call themselves a Jew, or they would convert to another religion and thereby dilute the Jewish teachings with some other form of religion.

        As someone with a great-grandparent who dropped Judaism completely, I can assure you, the Judaic attitudes and beliefs of Jewish relatives, descended from his siblings, whether they are Orthodox, non-practising or Reform, are very different to the attitudes and beliefs of the descendants of the ‘drop-out.’

        Judaism is a religion. Drop it or convert to another and you are no longer a Jew. Anyone who calls themselves a Jew is supporting, expressing and maintaining, to lesser and greater degrees, the beliefs and attitudes of the religion.

        NB: that is not to say that such beliefs, experiences, attitudes may not be at work to some degree in descendants which is why family ancestry research is invaluable. It is important to know if one has Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, Cathar etc., or Irish, Armenian, Russian etc., ancestors because we carry culture with us in unconscious ways and often we can understand ourselves better if we know who our ancestors were and what sort of experiences they had.

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 6:20 am

        @Mooser,

        I would just add, there are no secular Jewish communities.

        Secular means ‘not connected to any religious or spiritual matters,’ and Judaism is a religion so anyone retaining the use of the label, Jewish, remains a member of the religion and is connected to something which is religious.

        You can be a non-practising Jew, just as you can be a non-practising Moslem, Christian or Hindu but as long as you use the religious label you are a member of the religious community to lesser and greater degrees of course, but a member all the same.

        Those who are truly secular, drop the religion entirely and no longer call themselves Jewish, Christian, Moslem etc.

        The use of the name means that, for whatever reason you remain in the religion and therefore cannot be secular.

        Zionism invented the term secular Jew based on religious racism. It is oxymoronic and like atheist Jew, a blatant impossibility.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 3, 2015, 9:35 am

        While this should be true, Rosross, it isn’t in reality. Jewishness isn’t just a religion, it is a kind of a tribal and racial affiliation. Once again, please see my comment to Froggy. :)

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 9:57 am

        @ Avigail,

        Perhaps I lacked clarity. I understand how Israelis/Zionists/Jews interpret being Jewish but I was making the point that being a secular or atheist Jew, no matter what people believe, is impossible.

        Those Jews who call themselves Jews are Jews because by the use of the label they remain members of the religion, but they are non-practising as opposed to secular or atheist, or they would not call themselves Jews.

        I think this was touched on before but Judaism is not unique in having religious ethnicity; a sense of tribalism etc., because it exists in other religions, but it is unique in turning what is religious metaphor into literal expression which denies the human rights and freedom of a group of people who do not belong to the religion. And it does so, purely because they do not belong to the religion.

        No doubt the need to find some impossible way to ‘justify’ occupation, colonisation and apartheid in Palestine, also fuels this delusional stance that a religious affiliation can be interpreted beyond the religion.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 11:22 am

        “Jewishness isn’t just a religion, it is a kind of a tribal and racial affiliation.”

        It is also one hell of a dessert topping and floor wax. If you haven’t yet used Jewishness in those capacities, give it a try. Your floors and frappes will both thank you.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 12:18 pm

        “ancestors because we carry culture with us in unconscious ways and often we can understand ourselves better if we know who our ancestors were and what sort of experiences they had.”

        Do you think every goddam Jew is a balebatim and knows who and what his ancestors are. Did it ever occur to you there has been a great deal of family disruption (to put it mildly) that comes with the events connected with Judaism in the last 100 years or so?

        I suppose I could go to the web and make something up. And I could do one hell of a job at it, too.

      • Froggy
        July 3, 2015, 6:43 pm

        Mooser : Oh, the disruption goes back many centuries. Furthermore, nothing you could make up could be more bizarre than what happened to one of my employees, a friend that I had brought over from the US to work for us.

        She had been ill for a very long time — many years — with some kind of metabolic disorder that doctors couldn’t disgnose. Finally she was sent to a research team. One day she came into my office and informed me that they had a diagnosis, and asked if I would come with her to the appointment as she didn’t want to be alone when she was given the news.

        We sat there as the doctors, dieticians, and scientists confirmed her background information. Yes, she was Jewish; and a litvak on both sides of her family. They named the disease, a genetic disorder that neither she nor I had ever heard of, and explained that no Jew had ever been diagnosed with this rare disorder before.

        It was found only in Scandinavian groups, in Iceland, Greenland, Canada, a few in Northern Scotland, and amongst what they had traced to be the originating group: a sub-group of Inuits in the far north of Alaska. DNA tests had confirmed the connection.

        When we got back to her house she wondered how to tell her mother — a rabbi’s daughter, no less — the origin of this genetic abnormality.

        (Her mother surprised us by chirping cheerfully, ‘We’re a lot more interesting than I’d thought.)

        Now, when asked about her ethnic origins, my friend tells people that she’s a proud ‘Eskijew’.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 12:33 pm

        “I would just add, there are no secular Jewish communities.”

        Well, I can’t agree with that kind of exclusivity. I accept and welcome both the heterosecular and homosecular Jewish communities.

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 5:42 am

        @Mooser,

        I seem to have problems communicating with you or you seem to have problems understanding what I am saying.

        The reference to ancestry was simply to say that we do inherit from our ancestors, culturally, genetically and cellularly and it is therefore interesting to know what we can about them in order to better understand ourselves.

        Patently, for many that is not possible either because it is not possible or because they are not interested. Whether Jewish, Rastafarian, Christian, Hindu or any of hundreds of nationalities and numerous tribes, all of us can gain insight, if and where we can attain this knowledge.

        It is not required, but it is useful.

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:08 am

        @Mooser,

        If one uses the English language then the use of the term, secular in combination with a religion is not just an oxymoron it is impossible.

        Referring to one’s self as a secular Christian, Jew, Moslem is like referring to one’s self as a religious atheist. If one is an atheist one cannot be religious. If you call yourself Jewish, Christian Moslem etc., and align yourself with a religion then you cannot be an atheist or secular.

        Those who are atheists drop the religious terminology completely and separate themselves from the religion so there are no atheist Jews. There are no doubt atheists who were once Jews or Christians etc., but they are just atheists.

        Those who call themselves secular or atheist Jews are just Jews who do not practise the religion but remain members of the religion, i.e. Jewish.

        I realise this is not how you and many Jews might see it, but in a sane, logical world, this is how it is.

        I can call myself a unicorn and believe it all I like but it does not make me one. You can call yourself a secular Jew but that does not and will never make you one – you are Jewish or you would drop the label entirely.

      • Froggy
        July 5, 2015, 8:45 am

        rosross : “Those who are atheists drop the religious terminology completely and separate themselves from the religion so there are no atheist Jews. There are no doubt atheists who were once Jews or Christians etc., but they are just atheists.

        Glasgow is a city that has been divided by sectarianism for a long time.

        There is an old joke about two strangers meeting in a pub. They talk for quite a few hours and agree on Marx, socialism, workers’ rights, religion, and a lot of other important issues. Finally one man says to the other,’ Ah know yer an atheist. Noo are ye a Cafflik atheist or a Proddy atheist?’

        It’s a joke; except that it isn’t.

        A lot of Glaswegian atheists refer to themselves as Catholic or Protestant atheists. It has more to do with which community a person was raised in, how a person was educated, and whether the person is a Rangers or Celtic supporter.

        As a child I was raised on salted oats
        And tales of the savage past
        I learned to love the drifting rain
        And winter’s icy blast
        And all day long on the Holy Isle
        Far out in Lamlash Bay
        I walked the hills in creaking shoes
        Where the bones of the old ones lay

        Chorus:
        And at night the head of Wallace bled
        On solemn floral drapes
        And the flower of Scotland bloomed again
        Among Proddy dogs and Papes

        I was taught in school how Britannia’s rule
        Was forced on the Scots of old
        Bought and sold by a parcel of rogues
        For a handful of English gold
        Till our fate was sealed on Culloden field
        When the blood of the clans ran down
        Through the twisted sea of history
        To the streets of Glasgow town
        Where at night the head…

        On the long summer nights when the northern lights
        Burned the sky like acetylene
        The prods and tykes they fought on the dykes
        That ran round the housing scheme
        With sticks and stones we broke our bones
        For the sake of the good old cause
        That has kept our country bound and chained
        Under English laws
        But at night the head…

        And the old men lilt how the blood was spilt
        On the banks of the river Boyne
        Three hundred years of hate and fear
        Clutched like a miser’s coin
        And at Ibrox and at Parkhead too
        On the first day of the year
        See full-grown men drag it all out again
        While the fans on the terraces cheer
        And at night the head…

        I saw a lot of sectarianism when I lived in Glasgow.

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:10 am

        @ Froggy,

        Your story about the ill friend simply demonstrates what everyone knows but many Jews and no Zionists will admit – Judaism is a religion, not a race and it never was a race, or a nationality, or a people, beyond religious metaphor in the same way that other religions see themselves as a distinct group.

    • Mooser
      July 3, 2015, 12:54 pm

      ” it is hardly surprising that only the strongest and most balanced will be able to break free.”

      Uh-uh, this is starting to look very bad for weak, unbalanced, me. Trepped, like a ret!

      • Froggy
        July 5, 2015, 8:49 am

        Nah… Mooser. Yer a Long Island boy. Just tell ’em yer Eyetalian. Problem solved.

  34. bryan
    July 2, 2015, 2:15 pm

    Annie – “irresponsible …. at minimum. and callous or even cruel” seems to be a rather harsh response to someone who merely said that “the Holocaust was an horrific event that transcended the historic sufferings of” many other peoples. Having reflected, both before and after making that statement, I’m going to return to say I am still comfortable with that statement. “Transcends” does not mean morally more (or less) worthy, but simply “goes beyond” or “exceeds”. It has been pointed out here that other peoples have been slaughtered, citing for instance the Amelekites, but that is only aserted in a tract of religious propaganda that also argued, totally unverifiably, that the Hebrews came from Egypt, and that some god donated the entire Levant to a Yahwistic religious cult, and anthropological, archaeologic and genetic data suggests that many peoples “wiped out” by invading hordes have simply been absorbed into the incoming society . Other indigenous peoples have been largely dispossessed and wiped out, but also to an extent by the introduction, sometimes accidental, of European diseases (and strong liquor) to which they had no natural immunity. There have been attempts in the past to wipe out religious opponents, especially in ancient times pagans, or Christians in the early centuries AD, Albigensians in the early Middle Ages, and Moslems during the Crusader era, but that was before the development of concepts of religious tolerance in European society, and also was far different from the attempted Nazi destruction of Jewish and non-Jewish peoples perceived to be enemies of the state, and eradicated irrespective of whether they were Jewish, Catholic, Atheist or whatever. There have been numerous peoples who have suffered hugely, but usually because of callous disregard for their existence by ruling elites or an attempt to exploit them economically (e.g. feudalism, slavery, colonialism) or an attempt to re-engineer society in line with a totalitarian agenda (e.g. under Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao etc). What makes the Holocaust transcendental to many other examples of oppression and destruction is that in mid-twentieth century Europe, not only the language of human rights had developed to a point that such destruction was anathema to modern culture, but also the mechanics of state power, technology, transport, ideology, and bureaucratic competence had advanced to the point where it was possible to make huge inroads in the destruction of peoples (the Jews, the Roma, the Poles, and numerous Slavic peoples and other groups.

    As for Froggy’s remark that “the murder of the Jews doesn’t deserve any more ‘recognition’ than the murders [sic] of the 1m +/- people of Leningrad who died of starvation, disease, and cold during the 900-day siege of that city”, I’m lost for words. Next he will be telling us that the 1918-19 influenza pandemic was morally far worse than the carnage initiated by xenophobic militarists during the preceding war, or that the death toll arising from the Asian tsunami is on a par with the death toll that will be incurred by man-made and man-denied climate change.

    • rosross
      July 3, 2015, 4:49 am

      @Bryan,

      The problem with seeking to make the Jewish experience of holocaust greater than that of any other, or of a different magnitude is that it gives birth to the sort of religious exceptionalism which fuels the atrocities Israel commits today.

      Yes, many, probably most people believe as you do, but given the censorship on discussing the experience of Jews at the hands of the Nazis, and this is not the place to do it in any depth, the fact is that it is purely belief that the Jewish experience was ‘beyond’ any other and calculated in the way you suggest.

      A little research reveals that in 1933 there were around 500,000 Jews in Germany and on the eve of war, around 180,000 – many did leave Germany because the Government encouraged them to do so and actually worked with Zionists to begin the colonisation of Palestine. Most however went to the US and other countries.

      So, there is an argument to be had on how ‘exceptional’ their experience was but it remains largely irrelevant in face of the realities today for no exceptional experience of suffering will ever give a group the right to inflict suffering and injustice on others. That is the core point.

      Besides which, Jews are not a people, they are a religion. Poles, Roma, Russians are peoples – Jews are not, just as homosexuals, also targeted by the Nazis were not a people.

      • bryan
        July 17, 2015, 5:13 am

        “The problem with seeking to make the Jewish experience of holocaust greater than that of any other, or of a different magnitude is that it gives birth to the sort of religious exceptionalism which fuels the atrocities Israel commits today.”

        Three problems with that RosRoss: (1) I was not referring to the Holocaust as an exclusively Jewish experience, and attempts to monopolise that tragedy for one group of people are deplorable; (2) I cannot view current Israeli atrocities as resulting from “religious” exceptionalism since many of the perpetrators are staunchly secular nationalists: (3) a study of Zionism during the pre-war Mandate period will reveal a fully-fledged exceptionalism that was not created (but merely reinforced) by the holocaust.

      • Froggy
        July 17, 2015, 11:21 am

        bryan : “(3) a study of Zionism during the pre-war Mandate period will reveal a fully-fledged exceptionalism that was not created (but merely reinforced) by the holocaust.”

        How does that reasoning work when somewhere between 65-75 million people were killed worldwide, and of these just 6 million of them were Jews, unless… that 6 million are declared ‘unique’, for some reason?

    • Froggy
      July 3, 2015, 7:00 am

      bryan : As for Froggy’s remark that “the murder of the Jews doesn’t deserve any more ‘recognition’ than the murders [sic] of the 1m +/- people of Leningrad who died of starvation, disease, and cold during the 900-day siege of that city”, I’m lost for words. Next he will be telling us that the 1918-19 influenza pandemic was morally far worse than the carnage initiated by xenophobic militarists during the preceding war, or that the death toll arising from the Asian tsunami is on a par with the death toll that will be incurred by man-made and man-denied climate change.

      You make no sense at all.

      The flu pandemic of 1918-1919 was a natural occurance, as was the Boxing Day Tsunami. As ‘Acts of God’ the only immorality can be attributed to God.

      Climate change is / will be a series of natural events, caused by human greed. The goal our societies was to manufacture loads of stuff as cheaply as possible. The resulting climate change is a side-effect. No one had climate change as their goal. (This is far too simplistic an argument, but you get the idea.)

      The holocaust and the Siege of Leningrad were deliberate acts of murder, and I can see no difference between the two.

      Can you really see no difference between these events?

      I see no difference between the walling off of an entire city — a siege — where the intention of those putting the city under siege is to kill off as many citizens as possible, and the various methods of murder used by the Nazis to kill the Jews (and others). None at all.

      Would you argue that Anne Frank and her sister Margot died of natural causes because the girls died of typhus instead of being shot or gassed? (I wouldn’t.)

      Typhus also killed many people in Leningrad. How would you say Anne and Margot’s deaths differed from any two girls of approximately the same age who died of typhus during the Siege of Leningrad?

      Oh, and Froggy is a she.

      • Bornajoo
        July 3, 2015, 6:22 pm

        “The holocaust and the Siege of Leningrad were deliberate acts of murder, and I can see no difference between the two.” (Froggy)

        I fully agree with this statement. I do not believe that the Holocaust does (nor should) transcend any of the other evil and heinous crimes against humanity that have taken place of which there are many. By giving special status to holocaust victims we are somehow belittling the suffering of all the other innocent victims which is simply wrong. By going along with this we are also supporting the Zionist narrative that holocaust victims deserve some kind of special victimhood status above and beyond all others.

        Each and every victim of each and every one of these crimes against humanity deserve equal attention and equal recognition. It cannot and should not be any other way

      • yonah fredman
        July 4, 2015, 12:21 am

        The holocaust was a genocide and the siege of leningrad is not considered an act of genocide. (I may be wrong. prove me wrong easily and please link to a historian who considers that siege an act of genocide.) there is a difference between the two.

      • Froggy
        July 4, 2015, 8:05 am

        yonah fredman : “The holocaust was a genocide and the siege of leningrad is not considered an act of genocide. (I may be wrong. prove me wrong easily and please link to a historian who considers that siege an act of genocide.) there is a difference between the two.

        Nonsense.

        Grateful thanks to Tree and Bornajoo for their excellent comments.

      • echinococcus
        July 4, 2015, 2:46 am

        Mr Fredman,

        Golden words! You are absolutely right, the siege of Leningrad is not a genocide or part of a conspiracy to commit one, while the genocide of Gypsies and Jews is. Definitely not the same thing, albeit punishment for both is at the same level.
        It is also different than, say, the siege and blockade of Gaza, which is a crime against humanity both as a siege of horrifying proportions and at the same time as an act part of the carefully planned genocide of the Palestinian people.
        Now that you’ve shown that you understand exactly what is going on, I’m sure you will help punish the Zionist riffraff that, right now, is committing both an unspeakable act of siege and a genocide.

      • tree
        July 4, 2015, 2:49 am

        The holocaust was a genocide and the siege of leningrad is not considered an act of genocide.

        Both Nazi plans, Generalplan Ost and the Hunger Plan, were genocidal in nature towards the Slavic populations east of Germany and both preceded by several years the Wannsee Conference’s Final Solution.

        The Generalplan Ost (Master Plan East, GPO) was a secret Nazi German plan for the colonization of Central and Eastern Europe.[1] Implementation would have necessitated genocide[2] and ethnic cleansing on a vast scale to be undertaken in territories occupied by Germany during World War II.[2]

        The plan entailed the enslavement, expulsion, and/or extermination of most Slavic peoples in Europe, who the Nazis viewed as Untermensch and non-Aryan.[2][3] The programme operational guidelines, in the years 1939–1942, were based on the policy of Lebensraum designed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement, as well as being a fulfillment of the Drang nach Osten (English: Drive towards the East) ideology of German expansion to the east. As such, it was intended to be a part of the New Order in Europe.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost

        The Hunger Plan (German der Hungerplan, also der Backe-Plan) was an economic management scheme created by Nazi Germany during World War II, that was put in place to ensure that Germans were given priority in food supplies at the expense of the inhabitants of the German-occupied Soviet territories. This plan was developed during the planning phase for the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces) invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa). Germany itself was running low on food supplies, and the same problem faced the various territories occupied by Germany. The fundamental premise behind the Hunger Plan was that Germany was not self-sufficient in food supplies during the war, and to sustain the war it needed to obtain the food from conquered lands at any cost. It was an engineered famine, planned and implemented as a rational act of policy for the benefit of the German nation above all others.[1] The plan as a means of mass murder was outlined in several documents, including one that became known as Göring’s Green Folder.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger_Plan

        The Siege of Leningrad was a part of Generalplan Ost:

        Background
        The capture of Leningrad was one of three strategic goals in the German Operation Barbarossa and the main target of Army Group North. The strategy was motivated by Leningrad’s political status as the former capital of Russia and the symbolic capital of the Russian Revolution, its military importance as a main base of the Soviet Baltic Fleet and its industrial strength, housing numerous arms factories.[12] By 1939 the city was responsible for 11% of all Soviet industrial output.[13] It has been reported that Adolf Hitler was so confident of capturing Leningrad that he had the invitations to the victory celebrations to be held in the city’s Hotel Astoria already printed.[14] Yet, although various theories have been forwarded about Nazi Germany’s ultimate plans for Leningrad, including renaming the city Adolfsburg (as claimed by Soviet journalist Lev Bezymenski) [15] and making it the capital of the new Ingermanland province of the Reich in Generalplan Ost, it is clear that Hitler’s intention was to utterly destroy the city and its population. According to a directive sent to Army Group North on 29 September, “After the defeat of Soviet Russia there can be no interest in the continued existence of this large urban center. […] Following the city’s encirclement, requests for surrender negotiations shall be denied, since the problem of relocating and feeding the population cannot and should not be solved by us. In this war for our very existence, we can have no interest in maintaining even a part of this very large urban population.”[16] Hitler’s ultimate plan was to raze Leningrad to the ground and give areas north of the River Neva to the Finns.[17][18]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Leningrad

      • Bornajoo
        July 4, 2015, 5:35 am

        Thanks Tree!

        I still cannot go along with the idea that the victims of genocide somehow transcend the victims of other crimes against humanity or other instances of deliberate human slaughter

        Having your family dragged out to a local beach and shot or having your ancestors stuffed into slave ships during the atlantic slave trade where multi millions died are equally evil and tragic and deserve no less attention than the holocaust. We cannot rate one group’s suffering higher than another, in my opinion

        Dropping one ton bombs on apartment buildings with completely innocent people inside and wiping them out deserves exactly the same recognition in my opinion.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 5:49 am

        I agree Bornajoo! In therapy we never compare suffering. Each person’s suffering is big and important for them. I was however told that our suffering as Jews was the greatest in history and that no one suffered like us. This allowed us to always diminish the pain of others and obviously of the Palestinians too. In other words, whatever Israel does to the Palestinians the belief is that it is not that bad and that they are not suffering so much, because Jewish suffering was by far worse… This of course indicates a profound lack of empathy and concern for other human beings and an inability to see that Jews are just ordinary human beings. Unfortunately, and we see this in individuals, trauma is always take personally and can lead to a belief is specialness, or otherness. Sometimes people believe they are better than others and sometimes less than others. There is a variety of responses to trauma out there. The Zionist reaction is only one of them and not a special one at all — just one of those possible for human beings. It’s when a state is created on the basis of that belief system, with military, economic and political power that we begin to face serious danger.

        I quoted Netanyahu’s father in an interview he gave on Israeli TV on 7th February 2009. He said: “Today we are facing plain and simple, a danger of annihilation. This is not only the ongoing existential danger to Israel, but a real danger of complete annihilation. People think that the Shoah (Holocaust) is over — but it is not, it is continuing all the time” (My translation from the Hebrew).”

        Far from having been unique to this particular man, this view is shared among the majority of Jewish Israelis and many Zionist Jews around the world. Israel’s entire behaviour is regulated based on this fundamental belief.

        Zionism is a response to the fear that this belief system carries with that. As such it is obviously not a healthy movement. It’s not at all surprising that it caused the nab and that it’s still working day and night to ethnically cleanse the rest of the Palestinians out of historic Palestine.

      • Bornajoo
        July 4, 2015, 6:33 am

        Once again many thanks for your response Avigail. I’m glad you are feeling a little bit better and like me welcoming the cooler weather (i can’t stand the heat!)

        Thanks for the quote from Netanyahu’s father. I agree that this view is shared by Jewish Israelis and zionist Jews. This is precisely my own experience with the vast majority of my family in israel and here in the UK. This is a very deep and fundamental belief which has been somehow very successfully drilled into each and every one of them

        My nieces and nephews all grew up here in inner London. They’re in their 20s now but when they were toddlers I tried as hard as I could to prevent their Israeli mother from sending them all to Jewish zionist schools (the father, my brother, was indifferent at the time). I failed and they went to those schools. I have watched them grow up and I’ve witnessed the whole process of brainwashing and indoctrination. When they were really young and pre primary school they had and played with local friends from all different races and cultures but as they grew they began hanging around with exclusively Jewish friends. As they got older they became more zionist and anti everyone else. Then it was summer camp in israel and trips to Auschwitz

        You will be hard pressed to find more ardent full on israel lovers and zionists than 3 of these 4 kids (one somehow ‘escaped’ and the others no longer speak with her). And this happened right here in zone 3 London. If this isn’t a cult then what is? They have no empathy for “Arabs” as they always refer to them and it seems that the more israel kills, tortures and imprisons the Palestinians the better. Any kind of rational argument is simply impossible as it just ends with them shouting loudly and accusing you of being a self hating jew and jew hater etc.

        Lately 2 of them have also become very religious. To me I seem them as completely brainwashed and totally lost and I honestly can’t see any way through or back for them.

        My own experiences are different in that I realised that the religious mob who tried to brainwash us from a very young age were all completely insane. At 5 years old when I asked the Lubavitch rabbi where Adam and Eve used to hide when the dinosaurs came by he screamed “there were no dinosaurs!”. But then I said I’d seen the bones in the natural history museum to which he replied “they’re made of plastic”. So that was the moment that all ended even though I still had to go through with the schooling until I was 11!

        And a few years later the whole Zionist bubble burst when I travelled around the whole of Israel and saw what was really going on.

        But these kids see the same facts as I saw but they interpret these facts in a completely different way. Rather than shatter the illusions they seem to strengthen them. When I saw Palestinians being treated like human cattle I was appalled and immediately realised that I could not support that regime or ideology in any way. But when they see the same thing they say things like ‘if we don’t do this they will kill us’. ‘They deserve it ‘ or’ I would kill every Arab in Gaza rather than allow one Jewish child to suffer from their rockets. We should just kill them all ‘

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 7:39 am

        Thank you so much Bornajoo, and what a story. I wish I had met you when I was editing my book: Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists. Although you might not have fitted because you had the brain and intelligence to question everything from such a young age! Your story is very moving and I am very sorry about your nieces and nephews. Are you in touch with the one who is not going along with it?

        I am worried about my nieces who are growing up in Israel. Not sure what they will be like and what they will grow up to believe. The eldest is due to be drafted to the military in two years or so. She is very bright and could easily be snapped up to working in intelligence, although with an auntie like me, I might have ruined her chances… I am not sure what will happen when the three of them grow old enough to understand what I am doing… Their parents (my brother and his wife) are not raising them with any kind of proper political awareness to the best of my knowledge, although I think they are raising them to be kind. My sister in-law is a Zionist Israeli. So it’s hard to know. I hope against hope that at least one of them will grow up to think and question things. I’m ashamed that I only started to question things properly until I was in my early 30s about 10 years after I left Israel. But at least I did. My personal healing turned out to not be separate from my cultural one and also from my political development.

        Thank you so much once again. Feel free to keep in touch by email if you like. My email address is on my work website at: http://www.fullyhuman.co.uk

      • Bornajoo
        July 4, 2015, 11:27 am

        Thanks for the contact details Avigail. I just ordered your book which I look forward to reading
        I’m starting to agree about London, way too crowded, especially in East London where I live. I’ve also been picking up a lot of colds and infections travelling around on the tubes and trains or “germ incubators” as I like to call them. I have no doubt that you did indeed pick up your cold here in London!

        In answer to your question yes we do speak and keep in touch with the older one. She has a non Jewish boyfriend and eats non kosher food. She’s completely normal. Unfortunately that was too much for the others who have literally excommunicated her. It’s hard to explain just how deep the level of indoctrination is when you are able to literally disown your sister simply because she broke the tribal rules which are obviously more important to them than their actual relationship with her as a sister. You explain this so well in your comment to Just:

        “Unfortunately, the way I was brought up in the Jewish Israeli cult mindset, my individual identity was subservient to the group and I was in fact a ‘property’ of the group. I was to spend my life working for the survival of the group, using whatever gifts, talents, or education I have for that purpose only. I was not to ‘waste’ it on people outside the group, or if I did for a while, I would be expected to ‘return’ to the group eventually and continue to be a part of it and work for it.”

        In the case of my nieces and nephew this also goes for their sister who is now considered outside of the group. This discussion has been so incredibly helpful in explaining how this works

        With regards to your own family in Israel it all sounds eerily similar to the what is happening to the sons and daughters of my family over there. I don’t want to sound pessimistic but I don’t see much hope for any them and it’s probably going to be the same for your family too. I think that they may need to somehow come into contact with other ‘normal’ people who have already broken away from that mindset. Everything is possible. I recently met a young Israeli who was born here and was taken away to Israel as a baby to live as an orthodox Jew. He ended up spending time in Tel Aviv and bumped into some ‘leftists’ (as the right winders like to refer to them!) who helped him to mentally break free. He has now left Israel and lives here in London with his Polish girlfriend and said he can never go back. He said he cannot believe he was that person just a few years ago.

      • Froggy
        July 4, 2015, 9:22 am

        tree : Thank you for this.

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:24 am

        @ Froggy.

        Well said. By the way, how do you do the italics?

      • Froggy
        July 5, 2015, 7:48 am

        Ah… rosross :

        The italics are HTML tags. Check the light print below the comment box.

        http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2108318/css-html-what-is-the-correct-way-to-make-text-italic

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:28 am

        @ Bornajoo,

        And your statement reflects the murderous reality of Israel today where a society has taken up a belief that because their ancestors suffered more than anyone else has ever done or could do, that they have the freedom to do whatever they choose, including to act in the same way.

        There is not a sliding scale of holocaust experiences, there is just the experience.

        It is irrelevant if sixty thousand or six million Jews died – the death of one is enough. Ask the Palestinians, Cambodians, Rwandans and others in the trail of holocaust experiences since WWII.

      • Bornajoo
        July 4, 2015, 12:20 pm

        “There is not a sliding scale of holocaust experiences, there is just the experience.

        It is irrelevant if sixty thousand or six million Jews died – the death of one is enough. Ask the Palestinians, Cambodians, Rwandans and others in the trail of holocaust experiences since WWII.”

        Excellent comment. We need to counter the Jewish Zionist holocaust victim exclusivity narrative with comments like this and as often as possible. Zionist Jews have to stop believing that their suffering is somehow greater than anybody else’s. Psychologically I believe It’s one of the crucial first steps to their recovery and to a greater awareness of the real world around them. A first step into universal values and empathy.

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:31 am

        @ tree,

        Thanks for your comprehensive post but I would just make the point that no credible university in the world accepts Wikipedia as a source because it is, by its nature, subject to high levels of disinformation and propaganda, particularly on contentious issues, which I doubt applies to the nastiness of the Germans on anything, but certainly does on anything t do with Israel, Palestine, Zionists or Judaism. And any other controversial topic in science, medicine, politics, society or whatever where vested interests pay for the ‘information’ Wikipedia provides.

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:38 am

        @ Avigail,

        Thanks for another excellent post.

        The fact, as I am sure you know, is that Israel must maintain the myth of another experience of holocaust because it is the raison d’etre for its existence and for its continued subjugation and removal of the Palestinians, i.e. their land required for all the Jews around the world who for some bizarre reason will have to flee en masse to ‘safety’ in Israel/Palestine.

        This belief is the foundation of Zionism and always has been and in fact, even in the late 19th century, the Zionists were warning of the deaths of six million Jews in Europe and that having their own State was vital to avoid this. Clearly they were psychic, but the fact remains, Zionism, and Israel is a Zionist State, was founded and predicated on the belief that, despite the evidence to the contrary, no Jew would ever be safe except as a citizen of a Jewish State.

        I still shake my head that the world has gone along with such an irrational position and the religious bigotry in which it is sourced, for so long.

        It is perhaps little wonder that so many younger Jews are simply dropping the religion and marrying out. I saw a figure of 70% for the US.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 9:30 am

        That’s right Rosross. Good comment.

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:55 am

        @ Bornajoo,

        Your story of UK family is just tragically depressing. I believe that things have gotten vastly worse in the past few decades as Israel has become increasingly debased and more desperate, and its bigotry and paranoia has been infused through so many Jewish communities.

        In truth, while I recognise the terrible suffering and injustice of the Palestinians and am on their ‘side’ because of it, I feel so deeply that the worst damage has been done to Israelis and Jews because the levels of paranoia, denial and propaganda and brainwashing are so high, the mental illness is deeply embedded.

        As Israel has become less rational, more insane, so have Jewish supporters. No doubt for the same reasons.

        Anyone who spends time in Israel who believes in human rights, justice and tolerance cannot but be shocked at the open and blatant religious racism toward the Palestinians. But of course, they are open because to them it is not racism, it is not bigotry and they have plenty of Jews on the outside helping them maintain that fantasy.

        If Jews are the greatest victims in all of human history, as they believe, then the only racism, bigotry, victimization they can recognise is that done to Jews. Where they cannot find it, they invent it, to maintain the lie.

        There is something more horrifying even than the Jewish experience of holocaust, in watching this sickness invade and destroy most Israelis and many Jews.

        A very intelligent and committed Australian Jewish friend, said to me about a decade ago, in a voice of deep sadness: I cannot support what Israel is and does, because this was not how it was meant to be and I will always grieve for the loss of the dream we had.

        She did not discard her religion, but she did discard Israel.

      • Bornajoo
        July 4, 2015, 12:07 pm

        “In truth, while I recognise the terrible suffering and injustice of the Palestinians and am on their ‘side’ because of it, I feel so deeply that the worst damage has been done to Israelis and Jews because the levels of paranoia, denial and propaganda and brainwashing are so high, the mental illness is deeply embedded.”

        Thanks Rosross for this comment and the numerous others terrific comments you have posted. You have stated it really well. It is indeed a very deeply embedded mental illness. There is no doubt that the Israelis and Zionist Jews are far more mentally damaged than their victims. I do feel very, very sorry for all of them because they simply cannot see what is happening to them. I’ve regularly described my nieces and nephew, and my Israeli cousins as very mentally damaged people because that’s exactly what they are and the damage seems to be much deeper in the younger ones as they have grown up in an even more toxic atmosphere of fear, paranoia and hatred than their parents did. What scares me with the younger ones is the utter lack of compassion and empathy for anyone outside of their group. There is at least a small element remaining of these universal human qualities in some of the older ones (the ones that I know anyway).

        This whole miserable situation has to come to an end, and as soon as possible. Only then can the healing start.

      • just
        July 4, 2015, 7:58 am

        Bornajoo~ thanks so much for sharing your story.

        You’re such an inspiration to me. So is Avigail. There is a way forward, after all. This is quite possibly one of the most important threads on MW. Thanks to Hazel Kahan, too!

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 8:10 am

        There is most definitely a way forward just! If there wasn’t I wouldn’t be doing what I do for a living (and by the way my fallback career is as a baker if doing psychotherapy was not possible!). If change was not possible for us, there would be no point in psychotherapy, we should just give people cups of tea and say ‘there, there’… It’s been so inspiring on this thread, I agree with you and I too think that I have not seen a thread like this ever before on Mondo! It’s community building in action, don’t you think?? :)

      • Bornajoo
        July 4, 2015, 11:42 am

        many thanks for the kind words Just. I’m not sure I deserve them though. I only contribute a very tiny fraction of what you do here on MW and if anyone deserves those kind words, it’s you. That’s a fact

      • just
        July 4, 2015, 8:55 am

        (and by the way my fallback career is as a baker if doing psychotherapy was not possible!). If change was not possible for us, there would be no point in psychotherapy, we should just give people cups of tea and say ‘there, there’…

        It’s so delightful to know that you are a baker. I’ve always admired those that can create heaven with some sugar and flour, etc.. Way back in my life, I attempted to make a double batch of oatmeal cookies for everybody with my own meager earnings from mowing lawns. I bought the oatmeal and the raisins and cracked the walnuts, and managed to totally screw it up! I confused the baking soda with the baking powder and ended up with salty, runny cookies that I cried over as it was thrown away. btw, my arm ached for days after mixing that mass with a wooden spoon~ I was nine at the time!

        Baking is chemistry, and though I managed to get good grades in both organic and inorganic chem after that, I still prefer to cook atop the stove. Curries, soups, chilis, omelets, pasta, and crêpes. I can still whip up delightful, fragrant, and soothing stuff in a pot!

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 9:25 am

        Oh no, I can just see that little 9 year old boy Just… How sad. Did anyone comfort you at the time? I bake a lot but my particular favourite is baking bread of various types. I am always learning. I love cooking too. It is very therapeutic for me… Sounds like you do loads in terms of cooking. Try bread baking. Andrew Whitley who founded Bread Matters in Scotland has a lot of useful stuff to say and teach. Hoping to go to one of his courses next year. Particularly keen to master sourdough that I am in the process of learning at the moment… Politics aside, we all have to eat… :)

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 9:40 am

        @ just

        @ Avigail

        It was interesting to see the comments on baking. I love to bake and find it quite meditative. I love to cook fullstop but there is something more satisfying about baking because the combination of science and art brings about a transformation which occurs in no other form of cooking.

        Baking is chemistry and it requires adherence to rules even if one is talented enough to not follow a recipe. The quantities matter and so does the process, in order to transform the same ingredients into sponge, pudding, cake, biscuit, slice etc.

        Baking is a metaphor for human nature in many ways and it is hardly surprising we refer to bread as the ‘staff of life.’

        Every cuisine takes pretty much the same ingredients and comes up with its own delights. A bit like the human psyche and cultures in general to my mind.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 11:41 am

        Well said Rosross…!

      • Mooser
        July 4, 2015, 1:29 pm

        “So that was the moment that all ended even though I still had to go through with the schooling until I was 11”

        “Look, Bornila, my child” said the Rabbi, “All that paleontology, the extinction of the dinosaurs, it all really boils down to one question…..”

    • Annie Robbins
      July 3, 2015, 9:09 am

      seems to be a rather harsh response to someone who merely said that “the Holocaust was an horrific event that transcended the historic sufferings of” many other peoples.

      you didn’t say “of many other people”, you listed those peoples. for example, you listed ukrainians. to say the holocaust transcended the suffering of those who died in the holodomor, a forced starvation of millions, why would you do that? who are we (or anyone) to measure the suffering of others?

      i think irresponsible is a fair term. some might consider it callous. and to family or relations of those who suffered greatly from some of the others you mentioned, specifically called out … it might seem cruel to them that you have devalued the suffering of their loved ones by transcending others suffering over and above.

      What makes the Holocaust transcendental to many other examples……. the mechanics of state power, technology, transport, ideology, and bureaucratic competence had advanced to the point where it was possible to make huge inroads in the destruction of peoples

      i addressed that here already:

      “bryan, in your clarification, leaving “relatively unique” alone (because one could argue modern mechanisms did make the holocaust unique although any advance of weaponry could make past, present or coming genocides unique in their time)…..”

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:22 am

        @ Annie,

        Good post.

  35. Mooser
    July 2, 2015, 3:07 pm

    “However, after thousands of years of having a religion brainwash you into believing…”

    Wow, some kids have it really rough. My parents said I could stop Hebrew School pretty soon after my Bar Mitzvah if I wasn’t that interested.

    • bryan
      July 3, 2015, 3:58 am

      Perhaps, Mooser, you were very lucky (or enormously far-sighted) in your choice of parents.

      For all the talk of a Jewish cult of victimhood we are surely to an extent all victims of our history, culture, upbringing, family and community, but some surely are more victims than others, and are burdened with a history that has at times experienced virulent anti-Semitism, a culture that has emphasized the threat of “otherness”, an upbringing that (with its institutions of Hebrew School, summer camp and birth-right trips) has fueled blatant indoctrination, families that (as in the case of the unfortunate Judge Goldstone) can impose a brutal discipline on erring members, and a community that whilst at times welcoming, supportive, and inclusive will often resort to death-threats as soon as an individual rejects its orthodoxy.

      The little old lady, brought up in a small farming community, but now living in an inner-city, and terrified to go out lest she is mugged and terrified to stay in lest she is burgled, may be burdened with subjective fears, with exaggerated fears, with unrealistic fears but nevertheless her fears are intensely real for her.

      That is why Zionism is a cure worse than the illness it addressed, yielding not security but insecurity, not peace but eternal war, not self-preservation but a new spectrum of existential threats, not contentment but paranoia, schizophrenia and institutionalized trauma.

      • rosross
        July 3, 2015, 4:52 am

        @ bryan,

        Excellent post in response to Mooser.

        This particularly:

        That is why Zionism is a cure worse than the illness it addressed, yielding not security but insecurity, not peace but eternal war, not self-preservation but a new spectrum of existential threats, not contentment but paranoia, schizophrenia and institutionalized trauma.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 11:29 am

        “Perhaps, Mooser, you were very lucky (or enormously far-sighted) in your choice of parents.”

        Nah, they weren’t going to let me sit home a study Torah for a millennium or two! They wanted me to go get a job, to go to work!

    • rosross
      July 3, 2015, 4:51 am

      @Mooser,

      You do have a tendency to misinterpret and misread.

      I did not say parents brainwashed – I said the religion did. Sure, the parents play a part but it is the influence of the religion which does the brainwashing.

      If you went to Hebrew School and participated in Bar Mitzvah then yes, you were brainwashed to some degree.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 10:57 am

        “If you went to Hebrew School and participated in Bar Mitzvah then yes, you were brainwashed to some degree.”

        Oh no! What on earth can I do about it? I feel like I’m stuck in a front-loader on “fast spin”

        Oy Gevalt a few years in Hebrew School, a Bar Mitzvah and I’m fucked up for life.

        Well, lemme tell ya, pal, it was worth it. No we didn’t have a reception at some fancy hall, just an apres Bar Mitzvah brunch at the house, and I played the organ for the guests and relatives, in my Bar Mitzvah suit! I wasn’t brainwashed, I was a star!! Got a couple hundred bucks out of the deal, to boot.
        Changed my life, made a man of me, and you call me brainwashed!

        Oh gosh, did I ever tell you about the photos? My “Uncle” was an artist and wildlife photographer, and my Mom asked him to snap the bash. Well, I think there might have been some differences over the appropriate emolument for the job, because I am probably the only Bar Mitzvah boy from, from (lemme see…) oh ’63 who has a BM photo album of B&W “art shots” no group photos, none of Rabbi and etc. But some incredibly revealing shots, none the less. My “Uncle” Art (Swoger) could pack it away, and it was on us.
        I’ve still got the album.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 11:25 am

        “You do have a tendency to misinterpret and misread.”

        It’s probably cause my lips get tired when I read a lot. Having to sound all the words out and stuff. Maybe you could try not writing way over my head?

      • Philip Weiss
        July 3, 2015, 11:26 am

        Mooser, can you send along some of those photos for posting?
        I also had post-bar mitzvah brunch at the house; and my grandpa slipped me $100 bill that promptly disappeared. Long disputed who took it.
        Also be careful when you say something like “snap the bash” b/c readers under 59 may not know what that means and will think there was violence involved

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 11:36 am

        “Mooser, can you send along some of those photos for posting?”

        Don’t tempt me! I just went upstairs and checked, still got ’em. Besides, unless you knew what a typical professional Bar Mitzvah photo album looks like, it wouldn’t mean much. Also privacy issues and respect for deceased. Plus, my ears stick out exactly like two jug handles in every photo of me.

      • catalan
        July 3, 2015, 11:44 am

        “Oy Gevalt a few years in Hebrew School, a Bar Mitzvah and I’m fucked up for life. – ”
        I didn’t have a Bar Mitzvah or Hebrew school because of communism and the conformism of my family – they were communists when it was fashionable and right wingers when that came about.
        Nonetheless I still got screwed by learning Ladino curses from my grandfather and eating fried matzo balls.
        Then again, my grandma would put a huge pig, head and all, on our New Years table (Christmas was not allowed).
        I guess we were Helenized Jews.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 2:28 pm

        “Long disputed who took it.”

        Okay, okay, I’ll send a donation this month.

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:20 am

        @ Mooser,

        I must say you are a ‘star’ at misreading, misinterpreting and running with balls never thrown.

        The reference to ‘brainwashing’ was in regard to Judaism and its effect on people, unconsciously if not consciously.

        You seem to refer to yourself as a secular Jew, correct me if that is my mistake, but sound very, very, very secular and not very Jewish but you still retain the connection to the religion by calling yourself Jewish – that my friend is how brainwashing works.

      • Mooser
        July 4, 2015, 1:11 pm

        “You seem to refer to yourself as a secular Jew, correct me if that is my mistake,”

        No, I prefer the descriptor people have used for me my whole life: “typical”. Why fight my own custard?

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 3:56 pm

        “You seem to refer to yourself as a secular Jew, correct me if that is my mistake, but sound very, very, very secular and not very Jewish”

        Would you like to see my “Cradle Roll Certificate” from Brooklyn’s Women’s Hospital? Sure, sometimes it seems like before they made me, they broke the mold, but what can I do?

    • Mooser
      July 3, 2015, 11:09 am

      “Perhaps, Mooser, you were very lucky (or enormously far-sighted) in your choice of parents.”

      Oh heck no! I was just a shaigetz ainer. A born litvak!

      And my arrangement of “Blues in the Night” (“My Mama done told me, when I was in knee pants….”) blew them away at my Bar Mitzvah reception.

      • Mooser
        July 3, 2015, 12:41 pm

        Now, you gotta remember, I lived way out on the Lonkguyland, where there were trees and stuff.
        But I gotta tell you the story of another Bar Mitzvah I attended. Well, the older brother of the BM boy swept into the hall, and two Aunts near me went into ecstasies over the accomplishments of this young Jewish man, he was pre-med, a champion tennis player, played concert piano, had a gorgeous, accomplished GF, to boot, finally, one sighed and gave him the ultimate accolade: “He’s all that” she said, “and Oy Gevalt, you should hear him dahven!!”

        I knew right then I didn’t have what it takes. I took off my jacket, removed my tie, left out the front, came back in the kitchen, grabbed an apron, and started bussing tables and washing dishes

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:14 am

        @ Mooser,

        For what it is worth the obsession with the achievements of children and the supposed greater intelligence of the group is not particular to Jews although Judaism has turned it into something of an art form.

        Spend time with Indian Jains or Parsees and you get the same ego-driven attitudes and culturally, try the Chinese for ‘my son the doctor, my daughter the lawyer/concert pianist’ crap.

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 6:17 am

        @ Catalan,

        Variations on the theme of religion are common. I know plenty of Muslims who take every opportunity to drink alcohol when out of country and strict Indian vegetarians who order forbidden foods when away from home.

        One presumes when a home environment allows flexibility then flexibility is what you get.

        And for what it is worth, the Greeks were instrumental in educating Hebrews in the first place and the first educated Jews were very Hellenized.

      • Mooser
        July 4, 2015, 1:47 pm

        “Spend time with Indian Jains or Parsees and you get the same ego-driven attitudes and culturally, try the Chinese for ‘my son the doctor, my daughter the lawyer/concert pianist’ crap.”

        Feh the head chef gave me $40.00 and I picked up almost a hundred bucks in tips. And one waiter gave me a joint! Not bad for an afternoon’s work, back then! All I was getting out front as a guest of the affair was depressed!

  36. rosross
    July 3, 2015, 10:03 am

    @Avigail,

    Just to clarify that I read your excellent responses regarding the realities of Israel and I am aware of those facts having worked alongside Israelis for many years and spent time there.

    It is of course, completely illogical as a position but logic has a raw and brutal face when we are trying to defend the indefensible as Israelis and their supporters are seeking to do.

    In pointing out the logic, to those of open mind, as are most here, one hopes that they too might question the use of the term secular or atheist Jew and consider the wrongs inherent in a system which discriminates on the basis of an illogical interpretation of religious affiliation.

    • Mooser
      July 3, 2015, 11:02 am

      Just remember, while a cultural history of persecution can be a drag, I just keep telling myself: “Mooser, there’s really only one “first-class tragic trauma”. And I don’t think I’ve got it. I mean, I’ve often made people sore, but no one’s told me that before!

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 5:38 am

        @Mooser,

        I really did not understand what you were saying in response to my post.

      • Mooser
        July 4, 2015, 1:08 pm

        “I really did not understand what you were saying in response to my post.”

        I’m sorry, it was a reference to a translation of a ancient Geek play

        I was just trying to say that no matter how bad I might have it, I try to remember that there’s some people who really got it bad, and that ain’t good.

      • rosross
        July 5, 2015, 8:31 am

        @ Mooser,

        I was not saying you personally had it bad. You were misinterpreting the comment. I suspect compared to many the impact of Judaism at it worst will be minimal on you, but there will be an impact. :)

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 1:13 pm

        ” I suspect compared to many the impact of Judaism at it worst will be minimal on you, but there will be an impact. :)”

        Oh, I’m sure it’s about the same as anybody else. My Mom says I fought like hell, but the mohel got a couple of assistants to hold me down, and the “impact” took place.

        (And you listen to me, Jacob-the-Ripper! Maybe it was well over half-a-Century ago, but if you are out there, I will find you, and we can play hide-the-izmel with your privates! I’ve got theChianti chilling, and the fava beans simmering. We’ll see who is “chopped liver”!!)

        Anyway, I’m sure I was left with no more trauma than anybody else.

  37. Marnie
    July 4, 2015, 6:02 am

    Why does human suffering and man’s inhumanity to man invariably turn to the holocaust? The holocaust had a beginning and an end. For many people, and because I’m American I’m speaking of America. Two peoples, African Americans and Native Americans. Their holocaust, nakba, however you want to name it, hasn’t ended. Slavery is over; the “Indian Wars” are over. Black americans are no longer in the bondage of slavery, but the vestiges of slavery remain very prominent on the land they live in. How would it feel, I wonder, being a student at Stonewall Jackson High School? Or crossing the Edmund Pettus bridge? The confederate flag continues to grace state capitols and government buildings throughout the south, even though thousands upon thousands of Black men and women fought for the country to uphold the freedoms that many are denied. Too many to number statues and monuments to the fallen sons of Dixie? I could go on and on but you all know what I mean (except the usual suspects). Native Americans, some living on the reservations that their great-great-grandparents were forced into, who have the highest rates of suicide in the United States, who have fought bravely for a country that barely recognizes their existence. These were the true caretakers of a bountiful land, like Adam was in the garden. The names of the lakes and rivers, cities and states still bear the names they were originally given by the native people from whom it was stolen.

    There’s holocaust museums all over the US and even Canada (?) – the lands where Jews have flouished and prospered. There weren’t concentration camps, at least for Jews, in North America. Do Jews have the market on suffering or is Jewish suffering more sorrowful than anyone elses?

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      July 4, 2015, 6:37 am

      Hi Marnie, please see my latest comment to Bornajoo. For reasons I don’t fully understand, probably partly to do with Western guilt, Israel managed to convince the world that the holocaust is the biggest disaster that has ever befallen anyone and that the Jews are the only worthy and worst victim in the world.

      • Marnie
        July 4, 2015, 8:20 am

        Thanks for your reply. I hope you are on the mend.

        The Israeli state is a sick one, as the title says “a traumatized society.” The United States is also sick, as you had suggested, and has not recovered from the civil war. These two nations haven’t begun any of the hard work to heal from their respective traumas, so the last thing they need is to have is a mutual admiration society and each other’s backs, which has only led to the detriment of all of the rest of us. If you’re in treatment, AA or NA, you need to have a sponsor you can turn to for guidance or when you’re feeling vulnerable and are afraid of falling off the wagon, etc. The sponsor can’t be as fucked up as you are or they’ll do you more harm than good. I’m not so great at expressing myself so I hope this is understandable. Israel and the United States are sick and their partnership should be dissolved ASAP. A more sane, and infinitely more sober partner is needed for anything to change for the better for the Palestinians and those living in Israel who are sick of the status quo and want to live and raise their children in a healthy society.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 9:18 am

        I couldn’t agree more Marnie and you express yourself perfectly well and perfectly clearly! :)

      • Bornajoo
        July 4, 2015, 11:47 am

        ” Israel and the United States are sick and their partnership should be dissolved ASAP. A more sane, and infinitely more sober partner is needed for anything to change for the better for the Palestinians and those living in Israel who are sick of the status quo and want to live and raise their children in a healthy society.”

        here here Marnie! it is indeed a sick and evil partnership which needs to be dissolved as soon as possible. It’s the only way out of this mess.

        Many thanks for your great comments

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 9:16 am

        @ Marnie,

        It was interesting to see you raise the Civil War as the unhealed wound of the US. I cited this in an earlier post as what I saw as the deepest wound with slavery next.

    • rosross
      July 4, 2015, 7:03 am

      @ Marnie,

      In the US in particular Zionist/Israeli/Jewish agendas have been able to push the propaganda that the only victim is a Jew and all others pale into insignificance because of power in many areas, including Government, media and publishing.

      The ‘story’ has less strength worldwide but it has been pervasive all the same.

      And also in the US there is less recognition and attention to the indigenous people, at leas compared to places like Canada, New Zealand and Australia. I have always been struck on my many and lengthy visits by the absence of their presence.

      And the African American issue is particularly American since it was the one historically recent developed immigrant nation to have slavery. Having travelled with ‘non-pink or white’ friends in the US who were not American but who were quickly categorized, it is very clear that the nation has never dealt with its past in this regard.

      But I am sure it will. We are all on a path of learning and growth.

      • Marnie
        July 4, 2015, 10:27 am

        I sure hope so –

  38. Avigail Abarbanel
    July 4, 2015, 6:11 am

    @Bornajoo, I tried to edit my last response to you but the system reached the time limit for edits, which is a bit of a shame because my post is then left with all the typos in it… I also added a couple of what I thought were important points, but it’s all gone now… Should remember to type things elsewhere and then copy and paste… Och, never mind… Nothing I haven’t already said a million times before. :)

    • Bornajoo
      July 4, 2015, 6:44 am

      No worries Avigail! The same thing just happened to me. I was writing my last reply on a train on my mobile and as I was trying to correct the typos the train shook a bit and my finger hit the “post comment” button instead and I hadn’t quite finished the comment but it’s mostly there!

      You describe and explain so well everything I’ve experienced either personally or with so many others.

      You’re invaluable!

      • bintbiba
        July 4, 2015, 7:39 am

        Avigail,
        Bornajoo,

        Your comments and responses pour a healing balm on a painful wound from within the soul !
        I hope and pray that one day , if/when Palestine is free , its people will never ever retain any trauma, and will go on with their rebirth and development in a salubrious and life affirming fashion .

        Avigail,
        Thank you for remaining with us and giving of yourself so generously !
        I wish you a speedy and healthy recovery .

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 8:06 am

        Thank you Bintbiba, what a wonderful comment! I am so grateful to you and to everyone on this discussion thread. It’s been so respectful, caring and intelligent, not to mention so funny at times. It’s been such a privilege to be a part of this and like I said, I am almost glad that I have been ill because if I hadn’t been, I probably wouldn’t have had the time to engage the way I have. But it’s been worth it. Engaging with people lovingly and warmly is what it’s all about…

        It’s so wonderful to know that you feel that it’s been healing for you Bintbiba. I hope your wound heals and like you, I also hope that trauma will not linger in Palestine and in Israel or anywhere and in anyone for that matter. Trauma makes life very difficult and almost not worth living. I don’t know you personally but am grateful to you for saying what you did!

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 7:45 am

        Thanks Bornajoo, I hope you are having a good trip. I was in London last weekend and can’t say I like it there… Too many people for my taste and it was hot and sticky. I blame London for my cold… :)

    • just
      July 4, 2015, 6:52 am

      Avigail~ I have to thank you over and over again. You’ve actually helped me very much. I hope that you are feeling better ~ it’s amazing that you can impart such wisdom even when you’re feeling unwell.

      “I agree Bornajoo! In therapy we never compare suffering. Each person’s suffering is big and important for them ”

      Bornajoo gets it right (very often), and so do you. When one understands this very basic concept and stands fast to empathy for all, we are more free to enjoy life. When we cling to collective agony for the wrongs done to us, as a people, then the road goes nowhere. We have to work out our own personal junk and not associate our own trauma with ‘the group’ that we choose to associate with. That’s my experience. We’re only here for a short time anyway~ why not work for the present and future, instead of dwelling on the horrid past and claiming it as ours? This entire idea of ‘2000 years and Zion is ours because we suffer more than anyone else so you’re going to be punished, Occupied and killed’ is completely destructive to everyone involved. Accountability and not impunity for crimes and hurt must happen, though.

      I hope that you feel better today, and much better tomorrow!

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 7:57 am

        What a lovely response just! So kind of you to say what you are saying. I have to say that being ill and having the time to respond in this thread has been a great privilege and very medicinal. :)

        The cure to the world’s ills is in contact with others and in relationships where kindness and compassion regulate whatever else goes on. I have encountered a great deal of this in this thread and so much from you and from others as well.

        It is so nice to meet people who are like-minded and who do not get confused by what seems to be ‘complex’ issues. When I talk to people (and when I assess clients to see if I can work with them) I try to see whether they are capable of empathy and compassion. Because if they are, then no matter how much they suffered, they’d know what’s really important. You are absolutely right that we have to differentiate our stuff from the group’s. I translate it to ‘we have to make sure we heal whatever we can about ourselves’ and then emerge into the world able to embrace as many people as we can, not just our own little group or tribe…

        Unfortunately, the way I was brought up in the Jewish Israeli cult mindset, my individual identity was subservient to the group and I was in fact a ‘property’ of the group. I was to spend my life working for the survival of the group, using whatever gifts, talents, or education I have for that purpose only. I was not to ‘waste’ it on people outside the group, or if I did for a while, I would be expected to ‘return’ to the group eventually and continue to be a part of it and work for it. I can feel compassion for someone who is suffering but if they are harmful to others, I would focus on the victim not the perpetrator. Which is what I am doing here and this is considered betrayal by the group… But so be it. I am so glad that you are finding this discussion and our interactions validating and affirming. I am too.

        Thanks for your good wishes. I am feeling a bit better today but am still coughing a lot and sinuses are still stuffed… Warmest wishes from Scotland my friend! :)

      • bintbiba
        July 4, 2015, 8:16 am

        Avigail,

        Please come again to London. I promise my dear friend and family will organise a happy ,gentle welcome filled with healthy food , affection and Music !!

        Getting to know you via this thread is truly a great privilege !
        ( If ever in London and you have a little time to spare .. our lovely Annie Robbins has permission to give you my details .)

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 8:31 am

        Thanks Bintbiba, how nice of you and I’d be honoured and delighted! I do go to London a lot in fact for professional development and now also for personal reasons. I don’t have anything planned in the near future but I am sure there will be something soon. I would love to meet you and your family!! What a lovely invitation. :)

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 9:21 am

        @ Avigail,

        You said: The cure to the world’s ills is in contact with others and in relationships where kindness and compassion regulate whatever else goes on.

        I think this comment of yours is a core point, and never more so than with online discussions. I have commented on this topic online for a long time now and this discussion thread has been one of the most interesting and probably the most civilized, and as much as anything, because of your input.

        How much easier it would be to solve our problems, personally, nationally and internationally if your above quote resonated more often.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 9:35 am

        Thanks so much Rosross. I feel the same.

        So how about we all resonate it all the time, in every interaction with anyone we come into contact with personally or online, and see where it takes us?? :)

      • rosross
        July 4, 2015, 9:50 am

        @ Avigail,

        It is my general approach and I try to remain mindful that when others resort to attack or abuse, sadly all too common on many issues, that it is important to impute the best motives to others and to remain considered and considerate.

        It can be challenging sometimes and I am sure I get drawn in at times more than I would wish, but retaining compassion and seeking to understand is crucial.

        I have long believed people are more damaged than evil and more frightened than cruel.

        Take care. Hope you are fighting fit soon. :)

      • bintbiba
        July 4, 2015, 1:06 pm

        Avigail, July 4 at 8:06am

        “Trauma makes life very difficult and almost not worth living. I don’t know you personally but am grateful to you for saying what you did! ”

        Just a quick intro , Avigail… I was born in Jerusalem ,Palestine and belong to those ’48ers whose family left in disarray so many years ago , never allowed to return.

        Life has taken its heavy toll, yet I hope that I retain a will to care for and feel for my fellow man on this Earth. I have no idea why I am not riddled with the poison of anger and despair …. which allows me to open up and connect to outstanding human beings like you and such others ; a supremely enriching experience. !

        Again, my heartfelt thanks for engaging with all of us on MW.

      • Bornajoo
        July 4, 2015, 1:25 pm

        “Life has taken its heavy toll, yet I hope that I retain a will to care for and feel for my fellow man on this Earth. I have no idea why I am not riddled with the poison of fury and hate …. which allows me to open up and connect to outstanding human beings like you and such others : a supremely enriching experience. !”

        And you have every reason to be riddled with the poison of fury and hate Bintbiba. But instead you continually reach out to everyone including those that took so much away from you. Respect to you! It’s those that have committed the crimes against you and your people that are still full of poison and hate. You operate on a much higher universal human level than they do.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 2:48 pm

        @Bintbiba — I join Bornajoo in his/her message to you.

        (It’s funny with all those code names people use on these threads we don’t know whether we are talking to a male or a female, unless of course I’m being daft and I missed a clue somewhere… quite possible for me… :) )

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 2:46 pm

        Thank you so much Bintbiba. What a wonderful message. You clearly have a story to tell and I would love to hear it some time in the not so distant future! Thank you too for engaging with this discussion. It’s been an incredible experience for me and a great privilege. I am so fortunate to meet you and I have some idea about why some people aren’t filled with hatred or toxicity after having been affected by terrible events inflicted by other humans. Maybe we’ll get a chance to discuss it in person some time. My warmest wishes to you.

      • Mooser
        July 4, 2015, 1:23 pm

        I would never deny that the history of the Jews is replete with trauma. There is no denying that.
        But if God should appear to (far be it from me to really know) grant Jews lives without direct trauma or persecution, is there something so wrong with living that out?
        And it seems a much more respectful way to acknowledge the real trauma of Jewish history than pretending to it, or using intra-personal abuse (gee, isn’t it usually child abuse of one type or another?) to create it.

      • just
        July 4, 2015, 3:18 pm

        {{{bintbiba}}}

        Your children are lucky to have you as their guiding light and shining star.

        I am lucky to ‘know’ you.

        Here’s my favorite Israel, and may he rest in peace:

    • Mooser
      July 4, 2015, 1:37 pm

      “I tried to edit my last response to you but the system reached the time limit for edit…”

      Yes, gotta watch the time limit on the “edit window”! I think it is five minutes?
      BTW, just before the edit window is disabled, there is a confusing stage during which the post seems to take an edit, but then the original post disappears from the page! Refreshing the page brings the unedited comment back. ( This may help you avoid double posts, from thinking the original has been deleted.)

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 4, 2015, 2:50 pm

        Yes, it’s what I noticed as well… I always feel some mild anxiety as this is happening. It’s like operant conditioning by a computer… I don’t like this at all. :)

      • bintbiba
        July 4, 2015, 3:19 pm

        Avigail ,
        Bornajoo,

        If I had not been privileged enough not to end up under a tent in the boiling sun and freezing sleet, I may ,for sure, be full of the toxicity and fury … I can only be thankful for my family and their nurturing care…
        My ire and anger rises when I see the misery and agony of all those less fortunate than myself.

        Thank you both for your very kind words.

      • Mooser
        July 4, 2015, 5:36 pm

        “Yes, it’s what I noticed as well”

        Did you know that the bottom right-hand corner of the comments box can be ‘grasped’ with your pointer and pulled-down, expanded? Makes it easier to type longer comments in a nice large comment box.
        Okay, we have exhausted my knowledge of the comment system.

  39. bintbiba
    July 4, 2015, 3:34 pm

    Oh Just,
    I’m overwhelmed with your kind words!.
    I remember one thread some time ago , where you and Bornajoo would be together celebrating ,and I was going to be swinging from a star looking at you and joining in!!

    Your Izz has such a moving voice . He sings “Somewhere …..” so wonderfully!That song tugs at my heartstrings .
    I send you affectionate vibes, Just ! I’m so proud to know you, too !

    • tree
      July 4, 2015, 4:50 pm

      He sings “Somewhere …..” so wonderfully!

      Bintbiba I think you’ll also like this, one of my favorites. Its a medley of Somewhere and What a Wonderful World. At 2:10 he seamlessly segues from Somewhere to Wonderful and later segues back to Somewhere.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5JicO2bKec

      The scenes you see starting at 2:37 are of the ceremonial scattering of his ashes in the Pacific Ocean. He was much loved in Hawaii, for his voice and his activism.

      • just
        July 4, 2015, 5:10 pm

        His voice and message is ethereal.

        Thanks, tree. He was gone too soon, but his message and impact live on with his voice.

      • bintbiba
        July 4, 2015, 5:47 pm

        Thank you so much, Tree , for this lovely ,mellow rendering of “Somewhere…” and “Wonderful…”

        He has such a sweet gentle way about him. Very sad that he’s gone !
        I hope he rests peacefully upon his Wonderful Rainbow Yonder !

  40. just
    July 5, 2015, 6:15 pm

    I’m so very glad that this really important thread is still alive. Thanks to all.

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      July 6, 2015, 3:14 am

      I am joining Just here. Thank you everyone for an incredible thread.

      (Sniffle, sniffle, cough…)

      • just
        July 6, 2015, 4:03 am

        Summer colds stink.

        Be well, Avigail. You’re amazing.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 6, 2015, 4:24 am

        I’m blushing Just and it’s not the fever. Thank you! I think everyone on this thread has been incredible. People are so intelligent, so kind, thoughtful, curious, honest and funny too. It’s been wonderful so far and amazingly it’s still going… It’s over 400 comments now… What a gift to receive of all times when I am ill. I am so grateful for this engagement and I know Hazel is too.

      • Bornajoo
        July 6, 2015, 4:33 am

        Well said Just. Fully agree!

        Dear Avigail. This incredible thread has been made possible by your extraordinary generosity in replying with such detail to each and every one of us. Your last reply to Tree was really detailed and informative and I for one have learned a hell of a lot. Thank you!

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 6, 2015, 4:44 am

        Thank you Bornajoo. I don’t know what to say… It’s such a privilege to have such engagement from so many incredible people who care and who think and who I would love to have as personal friends.

  41. Avigail Abarbanel
    July 6, 2015, 4:28 am

    I forgot to say a big thank you for the links to Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s you tube videos. What a lovely singer. It’s such a shame he died so young and it’s almost 20 years since he died…

  42. bintbiba
    July 6, 2015, 5:48 am

    Avigail,

    I must join in by thanking you again and again for your most enlightening post..in response to ‘Tree’ ! The last few days in your company have been such an amazing learning curve…I’m lost for words ,as I so often am when I need them most!

    I send you a very emotional salutation !

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      July 6, 2015, 5:49 am

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart Bintbiba. I receive it all with gratitude and am sending the same back to you! Hope to meet you some day.

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 6:54 pm

        “But where empathy is impaired (eg. because of trauma) tribal behaviour will continue uninterrupted.”

        Well, ain’t that a kick in the head!
        Maybe the answer is this simple: Since Jewish trauma from outside is at a premium these days, and a traumatized way of thinking is necessary to the Zionist mind-set, or Israeli society, child abuse is the next best expedient. Child abuse to traumatize ’em, and a little psychological manipulation and societal cooperation encourages displacing the blame to acceptable targets” “the Arabs” or “the leftists”.
        Imaginary trauma is a poor substitute for the real thing, and the real thing is easy to apply at one stage of a person’s life, childhood.

  43. Avigail Abarbanel
    July 6, 2015, 2:53 pm

    Hi again Tree, I don’t have much time so will try to be brief. The study you mentioned is interesting and I am familiar with it. The problem with it was that it used adolescents as participants. The adolescent brain is not yet fully developed and adolescents tend to rely more on their limbic (mammal) brain than on their Prefrontal cortex. The fact that the limbic brain is prone to tribal behaviour is well known to be honest. Nothing new there. But like I said in a number of places above, what’s missing is empathy. If people’s prefrontal cortex is well developed, empathy will kick in even in the face of tribal instincts or peer pressure. But where empathy is impaired (eg. because of trauma) tribal behaviour will continue uninterrupted.

    I hear what you say about the Zionist movement and your view is valid. But I stand by what I said. Jewish culture and religion are trauma based and I believe that this was at the heart of what the Zionists did. Regardless of their original motives, since we do not seem to agree on those, they acted without empathy (even towards their own people) and that is consistent with trauma and/or psychopathy. I don’t really see that we are disagreeing on much at all to be honest…

    I hope you are catching up on what you have to do. Thanks again for your engagement!

  44. Avigail Abarbanel
    July 6, 2015, 2:56 pm

    @ Can Of Worms, hi again — Just a quick question if that’s OK.

    You say: “But your aim in having us define Israel as suffering from some trauma is something more than you let on. That’s the problem here.”

    I am curious what you mean by this and what you think the problem is here… I always say what I think and am extremely transparent with my writings and my talks. So, if you have a moment, I would really appreciate if you told me what you meant by that comment.

    • can of worms
      July 6, 2015, 4:54 pm

      @AA, I am trying to see why it is that I find the psychosis theory not only useless, but offensive to me.

      You say:

      “The purpose of the explanation is, apart from the fact that it is true, is to make it clear that none of this would happen. If the world was capable of doing what is necessary to stop Israel based on what Israel does, that would be great. I agree with you. But sadly this isn’t what’s happening”

      This is difficult to parse.

      (1) “The purpose of the explanation is, apart from the fact that it is true…”
      [non sequitur]

      (2) “to make it clear that none of this would happen. If…”
      [If what? Are you actually saying that none of Israel’s brutality would happen if Jews weren’t historically traumatized? Couldn’t they have just been eurocentric racists colonizing a land of ‘savages’, with the outcome in terms of brutality being pretty much the same?]

      (3) Doesn’t the psychology theory in effect regurgitate the same notions of exceptionalism it claims to disavow?

      (4) “If the world was capable of doing what is necessary to stop Israel, that would be great”

      [This is really the part I get the least well, so forgive me. If the world had the hypothetical ‘capability’ {interpretable as political will and clout} to ‘do what’s necessary to stop Israel’ – then what? Would advancing a theory of Israel’s psychosis then be rendered as somewhat superfluous? Or, would one then at last be able to turn the conversation around to the structural causes of Israel’s racism/militarization? The world evidently can’t stop the ”traumatized’ so-called Jewish State; but again, the psychosis-of-Israel theory is offered in order that the ‘world’ will do just that.

      (5) We still haven’t agreed on what it is that “Israel does” that has to be stopped, much less on who are the ones to stop it. You’ve said it was the occupation that “Israel does” and that the ‘world’ has to stop it; and you’ve not responded when I’ve repeated many times that it is the internal segregation (& how it creates a ‘Jewish State’) that ultimately produces what “Israel does”, and I think that Palestinians, when organized and conscious, have power.

      • Bornajoo
        July 6, 2015, 7:18 pm

        Can of worms. It seems like you are implying that Avigail’s explanation of Israel’s behaviour is some kind of excuse for that behaviour and that this somehow grants them exceptional status

        I think that segregation is a part, a symptom of their sick cult-like behaviour but not in itself the primary cause of their behaviour

        When I meet certain members of the Israeli side of my family, especially the younger ones, I see very sick, damaged and traumatized people. If I had to name the primary emotion which consumes them I would say it was fear. Followed by paranoia. None of these kids have lived through any real or physical trauma but somehow it has been packaged up and drilled into them relentlessly and they mostly end up being these horrible zionist people able to do unspeakable things to other human beings. This trauma-transfer leaves them devoid of empathy and compassion.

        Nobody is denying that this manifests itself as pure evil, but it’s just trying to explain how they keep the enterprise going through the different generations even though the initial trauma (whether real or not) happened a long time in the past.

        In my reading of the situation Avigail makes it clear that such traumatized people are dangerous, that the world is seriously mistaken if they believe that Israel will ever listen to reason and do the right thing. They need to be urgently stopped before they inflict even more suffering and crimes against humanity on the indigenous people

        Yet all we hear from the USA and their other allies is that peace will only come about via direct negotiations between the two sides. this is like putting a vulnerable child in a room with a very big, strong but very mentally disturbed, violent and dangerous psychopath and hoping there’s a happy ending. It’s not going to happen, ever. Israel is far too sick, crazy, violent, disturbed, evil, to ever do the right thing.

        This needs to be recognised as soon as possible so that an intervention can be made to rescue their poor victims who are being murdered and terrorised daily. The world has to stop believing that Israel is capable of ever doing anything morally and ethically right. You need empathy and compassion for that but they have neither

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 7, 2015, 2:53 am

        Thank you Bornajoo! Really appreciate your comment. Feeling better so worked all day yesterday and not as much time as before to respond to comments. But you made it all really clear here plus sharing the sad example from your family. Thank you.

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 10:39 pm

        The only conclusion I can come to is that they must traumatize their own children, to produce the necessary or desired state of mind. Very easy to traumatize children. Very easy to confuse kids about where the trauma comes from, and where their anger should be directed.
        Lovely set-up.

      • can of worms
        July 6, 2015, 11:48 pm

        @Bornajoo, @bintbiba, thanks….

        Ja. I guess another way to put it is that AA is arguing against avowed liberals, while I am more arguing against potential radical thinkers who fall into liberalism.

        Liberal-left Israelis loooove the trauma and psychosis discourse!

        You’ll find a mound of liberal-left articles going on about the ‘sickness’, the ‘trauma’, the ‘psychosis’ or the ‘addiction’ from which Israelis are suffering and have to be saved.

        It keeps the discussion away from some of the structures of society that would have to be revolutionized completely.

        I like tree’s responses.

        There’s an all-important relationship b/w enforced ethnic separation (social engineering) and every single crime and abuse perpetrated by the ‘Jewish State’. Once that is properly seen, the next step is indeed radical and, for many, alarming.

      • Mooser
        July 7, 2015, 11:40 am

        “It keeps the discussion away from some of the structures of society that would have to be revolutionized completely.”

        It keeps the discussion away from the fact (since this “trauma” becomes a free-floating thing nobody is responsible for, it’s just “jewish”. Another case of “blame the Jews”?) that about the only place the trauma can be coming from is, well, other Jews other Israelis.
        And really, everything I’ve ever seen tells me when there’s traumatizing to be done, a damaged person needed, you start on children. But where must the basic traumatizing be done for it to be truly effective? Probably in the home.

      • Froggy
        July 7, 2015, 1:02 pm

        Mooser : “It keeps the discussion away from the fact (since this “trauma” becomes a free-floating thing nobody is responsible for, it’s just “jewish”. Another case of “blame the Jews”?) that about the only place the trauma can be coming from is, well, other Jews other Israelis. And really, everything I’ve ever seen tells me when there’s traumatizing to be done, a damaged person needed, you start on children. But where must the basic traumatizing be done for it to be truly effective? Probably in the home.”

        This is why I never told my children what happened to my mother’s family during the Occupation. I couldn’t see anything to be gained from their knowing.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 7, 2015, 1:33 pm

        I agree with you Mooser but I imagine you realise it is a chicken and egg thing… Since families or home are a product of their society as well, then what came before what? We can draw a line somewhere and start there I suppose. Not sure it matters really except for curiosity’s sake but I think humanity starts perhaps at a disadvantage because we have evolved in difficult circumstances, ice-ages, scarcity of food, predators, who knows what else? We are predisposed to fear. Fear and our reaction to it kept us alive and brought us to 7 billion and growing… Our brain evolved that way.

        What we call trauma now, clinically, is when we get stuck in the fight-flight-freeze and can’t go back to a relaxed state. Trauma is quite addictive too because of the adrenaline rush you live with all the time. It’s exhausting and holds us back from our development and from accessing higher functions, but it has an element of excitement about it as well. Maybe what we call trauma now, is how we started? Maybe only in more recent times when we developed more control over the natural environment and made ourselves safer from the elements and predators, when we began to guarantee our food supply as agriculture began, we began to expect to relax and develop ourselves? Maslow said that the need to self-actualise (become all we can become) can only arise when our basic safety and belonging needs are met… Perhaps trauma was the natural state for us?…

        These are important and interesting issues, but wherever trauma began, it’s not an excuse to inflict it on others. Since people are not properly aware of themselves when they have trauma, someone has to point it out to them that they are either harming themselves or others. Israel has very bad ‘friends’ who rather than stop Israel and tell it how it is, they pander to it…

  45. bintbiba
    July 6, 2015, 7:40 pm

    Bornajoo, Thank you.

    …….”I think that segregation is a part, a symptom of their sick cult-like behaviour but not in itself the primary cause of their behaviour ” .

    and

    …….”You need empathy and compassion for that but they have neither “.

    Perfectly well said. Please allow me to hang on to your coat tails, as you have expressed so well what I couldn’t have said half as well in a hundred years !

    • bintbiba
      July 7, 2015, 6:51 am

      @ can of worms,

      “……Liberal-left Israelis loooove the trauma and psychosis discourse!

      You’ll find a mound of liberal-left articles going on about the ‘sickness’, the ‘trauma’, the ‘psychosis’ or the ‘addiction’ from which Israelis are suffering and have to be saved. “……

      I find your sarcasm somewhat misplaced, can of worms !

      I may not be as well versed In the political lingo and labels…. but I humbly and sincerely believe that with understanding human behaviour, be it negative or positive , comes more wisdom and clear thinking.

      What Abigail Abarbanel has provided us those last few days has been a cornucopia of clear and comprehensive scientific and humanist information to make it very clear that certain elements of behaviour are incontrovertible and need special knowledge and tools to be positively dealt with .

      • can of worms
        July 7, 2015, 10:26 am

        @ “What Abigail Abarbanel has provided us those last few days has been a cornucopia of clear and comprehensive scientific and humanist information to make it very clear that certain elements of behaviour are incontrovertible and need special knowledge and tools to be positively dealt with.”

        Well, I daresay it sounds like you’ve got yourself quite a big fruit of the loom.

      • MHughes976
        July 7, 2015, 1:09 pm

        Avigail has a modern scientific education, whereas my head is full old things. My model for Israel is Sparta, which has often astonished observers, at the time and later, by its ability to survive on astonishing terms – militarised as no one else could quite be, ruling extensive occupied territories at a time when freedom and autonomy were supposed to be the norm, always seeming to overreach, incessantly successful against expectations yet always somehow insecure. Not that the Spartans tried to survive by threatening all their neighbours with nukes.
        Xenophon tells the story of a conspiracy revealed by extremely bad omens – the seer tells the King in the heart of the City that ‘it is as if we are amid our enemies’. An informer then reveals that an ‘Inferior’, Cinadon, trusted enough to have recently been sent to arrest a woman whose beauty was undermining public morals, is organising a conspiracy, saying that he sees in the eyes of a whole mass of apparently reasonable and submissive people ‘the desire to eat the ruling class raw’.
        The romantic details of this story by a pro-Spartan author are no doubt a little improved for effect but Xenophon must have picked up something of the paranoia among the Spartans which had made the story popular. Which illustrates the fact that political paranoia, traumatic fear induced solely by official discourse and not by recent experience,, is hard to distinguish from fear that has a rational element. People who have been oppressed, frightened and humiliated over decades may seem, even to themselves, to be patiently reasonable but may have certain furies within them, which fact disturbs the dreams of the oppressors and makes them tell scare stories to each other.

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 7, 2015, 1:22 pm

        Hellow MHughes976 — this is a lovely way to look at this!

      • Avigail Abarbanel
        July 8, 2015, 4:53 am

        Dear Bintbiba, thank you for your support. I appreciate it.

        To be honest I am not sure I am clear about what Can of Worms is talking about exactly. His tone is unpleasant and he sounds as if he is almost accusing me of something… I don’t think I qualify as a Liberal-lef Israeli at all. First, because I renounced my Israeli citizenship in 2001 and am no longer an ‘Israeli’ legally or in spirit. Second, the so-called Liberal-Left in Israel are all Zionists and I am anything but. None of the people on the political left in Israel acknowledge or question the colonisation of Palestine or the nakba. They all talk about the 1967 borders as if that’s where the problem started.

        I am an anti-Zionist and it’s all over everything I write. I am so puzzled that people on the same side of the Palestinian Israeli conflict as me, can attack me and imply things about me that are as far from the truth as can be. I find it strange… You can disagree with what I said, fair enough, but like you it is the tone I take exception to. If we can be at least civil to each other, but preferably warm and caring, then what alternative are we offering really? We don’t have to agree to be kind and compassionate.

        Can of Worms’ knee jerk reaction against my explanation reminded me of the reaction of the George W Bush administration after 9/11, to those who dared to suggest that there is a reason behind the attacks. The knee-jerk reaction was that you couldn’t possibly looks at any reason for what the perpetrators did, because it would be like giving them a justification or an excuse… It was easier to just look at the perpetrator as pure evil and as ‘not like us’, and leave it at that. This attitude teaches us nothing about anything.

        Israel itself did the same thing during the Eichman trials. Any attempt by anyone to understand Eichman, his psychology, the context in which he was working met with outrage and accusations of betrayal. Israel was determined to paint Eichman as a pure demon and learn nothing from him. His diaries were suppressed although there was so much they could teach us about how a man like that becomes what he was. And look at Israel now, having learned nothing and using its own state mechanism for ethnic cleansing and genocide…

        No one suggests that an explanation is an excuse and those who can’t see beyond that are reacting to anger without thinking. What Israel is and what it is doing is very personal to me (in a different way to the Palestinian people of course who are Israel’s real victim). I am from there, served in that awful military and Israel claims that what it does, it does for me and in my name. I was basically complicit in Israel’s crimes and will always feel guilt about it, which is fine with me because it’s the right thing to feel under the circumstances.

        Even if people don’t like the idea, there is always a reason behind how people behave. It doesn’t mean that I would put up with any bad behaviour from anyone, or tolerate crime because the perpetrator is screwed up, is suffering or wounded in some way. Jewish trauma is real alright and so is the psychology of cult that is in Jewish Israeli life and among Jewish supporters of Israel anywhere. I hold Israel 100% responsible in the deepest possible way not only for what it does but also for not recognising the harm it does, the immorality of its existence, their profound lack of empathy. My favourite clients are those whose motivation for going to therapy is the realisation that they are not good to their children and are afraid they would pass on their problems to them through the way they treat them. They might be doing the wrong thing (I am not talking about full on abuse here) by their children but they can see that they are causing them pain and are determined to heal themselves so that they don’t do that any more. Israel isn’t a ‘client’ like that. I am angry with Israel too, but there is a reason for Israel’s behaviour and it is rooted in the psychology of trauma that determines Jewish identity and by extension the identity and behaviour of the state of Israel.

        I don’t know if Can of Worms will read this and I probably do not need to justify myself to him. But I don’t mind repeating myself and my ‘credentials’ from time to time. Heaven help us all if those on our side of politics can’t treat one another with compassion despite differences in opinion. If we put the desire to be right ahead of kindness to one another, what hope do we have and why are we complaining about the world being the way it is? It’s that cliché about being a part of the problem or a part of the solution. I don’t just want to speak the ‘solution’. I want to live it.

  46. Mooser
    July 7, 2015, 11:31 am

    “It is the organizing principle of the Jewish people….”

    Nah, can’t apply to me. In my entire life, the one thing I’ve never been accused of is being organized.

    • bintbiba
      July 8, 2015, 6:46 am

      Avigail, my heartfelt thanks for your response to my last comment to ‘can of worms’ …

      I find it difficult at times when I feel emotional. touched .or even angry, to express myself properly and fully.

      Just to say (and keep repeating ) how much I have appreciated and learned from this thread and mostly from you.

      I do fervently hope we do get to meet one day (soon) ,as I definitely function much, much better and more openly as one to one …as far from the crowd as possible. (No offense meant to the crowd ! ) The story of my life!

      Thanks again, Avigail. A privilege ! ….

  47. justicewillprevail
    July 7, 2015, 2:37 pm

    Avigail, thanks very much for this enlightening thread and subsequent discussion. It has been fascinating and instructive reading, and if Mondoweiss had a pantheon, this thread should go straight in it, for future reference.

    On a related topic to your interests in trauma and cults, I highly recommend Going Clear, a documentary about scientology. It is a fascinating account of the power of group thinking and psychological manipulation, including the ‘removal’ of trauma, only to be replaced with a new manufactured one. Though not exactly the same, there are some gotcha moments in relation to zionism.

    • Avigail Abarbanel
      July 8, 2015, 4:16 am

      Thank you so much for your supportive comment Justicewillprevail. I deeply appreciate it. I think it is a pretty amazing thread too and so many comments… Thanks also for the tip on the Scientology program. I think I saw a trailer for it and I do recognise the similarities.

      Cults obviously differ from one another and there are many ‘variations on the theme’. One of the things they differ on is the degree of oppression and control they exercise of their members, and also in the means or rather the lengths that each cult would go to keep its members in the fold. Zionism is most definitely a cult and Israel in my opinion exists as a state that belongs to a cult or is a cult. I have always identified with those clients I have worked with who are cult survivors. There are a lot of similarities in our experiences…

      Many thanks once again and hope you’re having a good week.

      • MHughes976
        July 8, 2015, 1:26 pm

        Can of worms, if I understand him/her, considers that only moral language should be used in this context and that medical language has the air of exculpation. I see the concern though don’t entirely share it.
        My comment about Spartan fear of the Inferiors – ‘they want to eat us raw’ – was meant to suggest that this rather shocking phrase captures something of what long-term trauma, wounds and insults, is like. I know that if I had had to suffer what Palestinians suffer there would be something vicious in my soul by now. I might dislike and try to control it but it would be there. So the Israeli response of fear to (as you in effect remarked) every man, woman and ‘little serpent’ is in part rational.
        Responses to fear are many and what might be called managed trauma is one of them, helping to turn fear and guilt into contempt. This is creating something that feels just like trauma from wound and insult but is really from contemptuous and angry official discourse, dwelling much on the past but current among individuals who in their real lives inflict wound and insult more than they suffer such. The elements of truth in this discourse – Jewish people have indeed been outrageously treated – do not remove its overall inflammatory and self-deceiving nature.
        This is an area where moral and medical language do become entwined with each other.

      • echinococcus
        July 9, 2015, 5:07 pm

        M Hughes,

        Medical language has no need of and no use for moral implications. As it proposes (and sometimes also provides evidence for, i.e. elucidates) mechanisms of action, it’s up to anyone to see this as exculpatory, aggravating or neutral. The mechanisms proposed by Can of Worms do not exclude those proposed by Abarbanel.
        Anyway, the Spartan fear of Helots does not invoke mental “trauma”, it is in fact a refusal to discuss (“they hate our freedoms”.) Xenophon had already done a Jabotinsky when explaining that nothing could be more natural and expected than the Helots’ aspirations, given the treatment meted out to them: nothing was more logical and reasoned than the Spartan fears. No paranoia.

  48. tidings
    July 9, 2015, 4:25 pm

    This is Hazel Kahan (aka Tidings, the name of my radio show).

    What a monumental thread! I’ve stayed on the sidelines but now that it seems the conversation is coming to an organic finale, I wanted to say how generous everybody has been, in tune with Avigail’s freely giving of herself and what she knows. It’s been approximately two weeks since Phil reposted my blog post from 2010 (yes, 2010!!) during which a truly remarkable gathering of intelligence and tolerance has taken place right here. I hope MW technology will preserve the wonderful happening and that it will remain a source for others to learn and understand. Thank you, everybody!

  49. bintbiba
    July 9, 2015, 4:50 pm

    Hazel,
    It has been a true pleasure , first meeting you and Abigail via your article… and following that the astounding number of interesting, informative, smart, and intelligent ‘give and take, that were and still are a fount of knowledge .

    The Archive on MW should save all the exchanges, which I, for one, will keep going back to .
    Thanks to both of you for a phenominal , enlightening session !

    • Bornajoo
      July 9, 2015, 6:06 pm

      “Hazel,
      It has been a true pleasure , first meeting you and Abigail via your Tidings interview…. and following that the astounding number of interesting, informative, smart, and intelligent ‘give and take, that were and still are a fount of knowledge .

      The Archive on MW should save all the exchanges, which I, for one, will keep going back to .
      Thanks to both of you for a phenominal , enlightening session !”

      I’d like to ditto every word of that! Many thanks Hazel and Avigail

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