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The therapist blurts

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Writes a friend:

Hope you don’t mind disclosure, but an interesting experience:

Just went for first consultation with psychotherapist I have been referred to and towards end of emotionally painful session, having made number of allusions to Israel/Palestine given my work and experiences, I emphasized by way of introduction to myself, that Palestine solidarity was a big part of my life. He immediately shot back “Why not Syria or Saudi Arabia or Iran?”. My heart sank, then hardened. I asked him directly if he had an opinion on the matter. He hesitated but just continued to say that his point was there were many other places I might be involved in, adding China to his list. I explained that because of my studies I had become involved, and once you know what is happening there is no turning back – it is such a powerful moral struggle against Israel’s efforts to deflect criticism, and the impunity afforded to the state by the West, not least my country. I admitted that I am used to the kind of response he made from Zionists at protests, and it made me anxious. I asked once more if he had an opinion on this subject. He again attempted to justify his question by saying there were many causes on my doorstep, such as homelessness and poverty that I might be involved in, and he was just curious. I pressed him and cautiously he began to state his position: he proffered that he was perhaps ignorant of certain facts given he had not “visited the Arab territories” and was more familiar with the other side. Nervous by now, he delicately tried to defend himself by quoting the words of – he believes – the playwright, David Hare of Israeli Jews: “They are like people who have escaped the fire and landed on other people’s heads”, adding that he supposed he thought more about the people who had escaped the fire.

He didn’t have to expose his bias – indeed perhaps it was unprofessional – but is it unrealistic to think you can have this kind of trusting relationship when you are both unable to hold back about such a politically and morally divisive issue?

And yes I will ask for another psychotherapist!

I think this sort of thing happens a lot, actually. And what is most interesting here is the extent to which a political prejudice on the therapist’s part overrides his professional instructions; so he blurts his opinion and ends the professional relationship. Also, he is intimidated by my intelligent friend, and so he prevaricates rather than copping to the infraction. In 2002 during the second intifada I was at the Hyatt in Washington on an escalator. I was covering some political conference and there was a conference of psychologists going on at the same time, and one of them looked up from a newspaper she was reading and shook her head in grief, meeting my eyes in a Jew-meets-Jew moment. “The suicide bombing,” I said. “It’s not a suicide bombing. It’s a homicide bombing. I’ve written to the newspapers about this,” she said angrily. So a psychologist was denying that a suicide bomber was a suicide? I realized that psychologists are political animals too, and have conventional opinions…

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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84 Responses

  1. traintosiberia on July 4, 2012, 12:12 pm

    “He immediately shot back “Why not Syria or Saudi Arabia or Iran?”.
    This is patently unprofessional.Therapist are not supposed to challenge /confront the patient but is supposed to work on the effects,meaning,struggle of the activities.He is not supposed to give alternative or suggest areas where the patient can experience success without stress or anxiety.This is not weight reduction advice i.e between choosing diet or exercise or surgery.

    • Mooser on July 6, 2012, 3:31 pm

      “This is patently unprofessional.”

      And the “funny” (meaning strange, unusual) part is, what does the shrink expect to gain from it? This always puzzles me. Is Israel going to send him a check to replace the lost fees? Will his Rabbi (assuming he even has one) give him indulgences for it? Does he brag to his friends about it, in the Turkish bath? (“Oy Gevalt the crazy people you run into in this racket! But I told that self-hater off! Crap, my cigar has gone out, must be the steam)
      We saw a lot of this, unfortunately, at certain threads on Mondoweiss. Is it just the pleasure and feeling of power which comes from being a gate-keeper?
      And how would it have hurt the shrink to simply listen to him, and reserve judgement, like a goddamed shrink is supposed to do, maybe learn a little bit, or if this fixation on Israel is a mental illness, try to cure it?
      What the hell motivates this kind of behavior. I could understand it if there was some tangible or even religious reward for it, but this inability to sit still and listen to another point-of-view may be reward enough in itself. One gets a crackling good Ziocaine high out of it, I suppose.

  2. American on July 4, 2012, 1:09 pm

    ”I think this sort of thing happens a lot, actually. And what is most interesting here is the extent to which a political prejudice on the therapist’s part overrides his professional instructions; ”

    The death of professionalism.. objectivity and impartiality… is rampant in everything these days, maybe it always was. I think it’s a special kind of ignorance.

  3. ColinWright on July 4, 2012, 1:30 pm

    I would suggest converting the psychiatrist — but it’s ridiculous to pay someone $500 an hour or whatever for the privilege of arguing with them.

    Kind of amazing really. I would guess that I could go into that psychiatrist’s office and describe a desire for anything from sex with cats to killing my wife — and the psychiatrist would discuss my needs with more sympathy than he revealed here for what is objectively merely a political opinion.

  4. ColinWright on July 4, 2012, 1:41 pm

    “…”The suicide bombing,” I said. “It’s not a suicide bombing. It’s a homicide bombing. I’ve written to the newspapers about this,” she said angrily…”

    I take it she was behind the times. It’s interesting how we’ve transmogrified the significance of suicide so that it no longer evidence of individual desperation but rather merely adds to the horror of the act.

    • Eva Smagacz on July 4, 2012, 5:48 pm

      Transmogrification of suicide bombing into an act of unique moral depravity rather than act of incredible personal bravery and sacrifice comes from the same force that transmogrify anti-Israelism into anti-Semitism.

      • MRW on July 5, 2012, 1:31 am

        Wise comment, Eva.

      • dimadok on July 5, 2012, 9:31 am

        Bravery you say? Is going into the cafe or restaurant, or standing in line to the dance club with teenagers around and then blowing yourself, killing and maiming everyone around is brave?! Perhaps you could explain to me why there were far less suicide bombings against military installations then civilian ones? Blowing up the passenger bus is brave for you? What is the purpose of that “sacrifice” rather than just hurt the most unprotected part of the civilian life of your enemies? You romantise these atrocities and it’s been only 7 years since last suicide bombing. Your exemplify a “butterfly ” memory when it comes to the acts of the Palestininas, loosing any moral grounds for the future.

      • Desrtrat6 on July 5, 2012, 2:23 pm

        Do we really need to get into the myriad of reasons behind targeting a bus or club vice a military installation? First and foremost they are the “softer targets” and anyone familiar with insurgency or guerrilla warfare, and of course Sun Tzu, knows you hit the enemy where they are weakest. Second, military personnel are paid to put their lives on the line and thus a strike against them would not elicit the same intense media coverage as a bunch of civilians. Finally, in a democracy the people, not the government, are the target. The government supposedly works for the people and, in a real democracy, should adhere to their wishes. Of course we know that is not the case when it comes to Israel and the US. This list is not all-inclusive; these are just a few. Of course there are many other tactical, operational, and strategic reasons, but not enough space or time to school you on unconventional warfare.

      • Eva Smagacz on July 5, 2012, 3:48 pm

        Dimadok, you have just handed me an example of transmogrification on the plate, for which I am very grateful. You have taken one issue – that of committing (deliberately) suicide in the process of defending one’s country, and you switched it into a different issue : that of deliberately, or otherwise attacking civilians to achieve military objectives ( very now topic with obituaries of Yitzak Shamir, wouldn’t you agree?).

        I am happy to discuss each of the issues on its own merit, but judging one issue to be morally repugnant and then subsidising another issue so that it is smeared with the same brush, AND doing it repeatedly, deliberately and consistently is, for me, a sucessful propaganda exercise that must be called for what it is.

      • eljay on July 5, 2012, 4:27 pm

        >> Bravery you say? …. You romantise these atrocities … Your exemplify a “butterfly ” memory when it comes to the acts of the Palestininas, loosing any moral grounds for the future.

        So says dimadok, whose “butterfly” memory – like that of most (all?) other Zio-supremacists who romanticize the “bravery” of Jewish terrorism, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands, and the creation of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish state” – has loost [sic] him all moral grounds for the future.

      • dimadok on July 5, 2012, 7:59 pm

        Ah, the “deux et machina” propaganda word- is it so nice to use it when the opponent presents something hard to argue against?!
        Please,by all means, explain to the silly old me how would you define the bomber who kills himself while committing murder of the civilian population. Perhaps “freedom fighter” would be better or “la resistance” ? Please take this exercise for me and give me some examples, explaining the morality of these acts.

      • Eva Smagacz on July 6, 2012, 5:42 am


        You are asking: “how would you define the bomber who kills himself while committing murder of the civilian population?”.
        My answer is that I define him as a suicide bomber.

        Are you calling killing of civilian population with bombs murder?
        You see, there is something we are closely in agreement with. Which takes us back to legacy and obituaries of Yitzhak Shamir.

      • Woody Tanaka on July 6, 2012, 7:07 am


        Given the manner in which the filth of the zionist state attack the civilian population of the Palestinian people, and have for generations, you have the gall to complain about getting a small speck of that returned to you in a suicide attack?? The atrocity is the occupation. Period. When the israelis stop occupying, oppressing, and violating the civil rights of israel civilians, then you can complain about suicide bombings. Until then, it’s a small, small payback.

      • eljay on July 6, 2012, 9:18 am

        >> Please take this exercise for me and give me some examples, explaining the morality of these acts.

        There’s nothing to explain. Unlike you – a hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist and a hypocrite – I romanticize neither Palestinian suicide bombings nor Jewish terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine employed for the purpose of creating a supremacist state.

      • Mooser on July 6, 2012, 3:36 pm

        “loosing any moral grounds for the future.”

        Yes dimmy, she is in fact “loosing” “moral grounds for the future”.

        You dimmy, your comment writing is a lot like Zionism. You’re always ready to incorporate a mistake as a fact.
        Learn to spell and use a dictionary, chump.

      • dimadok on July 6, 2012, 10:57 pm

        You are a fool, Mooser- you didn’t bother to read my comment before you’ve posted yours. You are quoting someone else here.

      • dimadok on July 6, 2012, 11:00 pm

        So if my enemy is Palestinian I should target first and foremost civilian targets. Too bad that yours ” unconventional ” warfare sounds like a terror tacticts to me. Also, according to your logics, all the acts of terror committed against civilian targets are valid. Mind if I ask you where you live?

      • dimadok on July 6, 2012, 11:04 pm

        When the bomb is deliberately set to explode at the civilian target it is a murder – when the bomb explodes at the scene of the armed conflict, and civilians are not the primary targets of it ,they are considered collateral damage. Sounds cold and harsh but these are the warfare logics. Now, if you arguing that IDF targets specifically civilian targets how is that we are still fighting, you don’t think that soldiers do not know how to shoot, aren’t you?

      • Blake on July 7, 2012, 7:01 am

        Yep Woody always ignoring the root cause.

      • Citizen on July 7, 2012, 8:05 am

        How would a Japanese Zero pilot understand what you say, Eva?

  5. Mndwss on July 4, 2012, 1:45 pm

    I blurt sometimes, but i am not ashamed.

    During the Gaza massacre by “the most moral killers in the universe”, in a lunch break a collegue made a comment about how Palestinians deserved to die if they were so stoopid to send rocets against Israel.

    I was shocked.

    I just had to ask how he could compare fireworks with the high-tech Israeli weapons.

    My boss (A missionary who had travelled to Russia to re-christian the evil atheists after the fall of USSR) was sitting next to me.

    My collegue and i was hired on the same day. On three month contracts that could be extended for up til 2 years before the company had to hire us permanently.

    My collegue was offered a permanent job.

    My contract for the last 3 months was not approved.

    So i had to go home and learn how you can get hurt if you say what you mean.

    • lyn117 on July 4, 2012, 2:17 pm

      The missionary sounds worse than the psychiatrist

    • W.Jones on July 4, 2012, 3:42 pm

      It goes practically all the way to the top.

    • ColinWright on July 4, 2012, 4:21 pm

      “…My collegue was offered a permanent job.

      My contract for the last 3 months was not approved.

      So i had to go home and learn how you can get hurt if you say what you mean…”

      Happens to a lot of us, I’d guess. In college, I had a job at small market research company, running the xerox machine, delivering and picking up questionnaires, whatever. Not bad — I used my own car, got mileage, and used to get to respond to questions like ‘Hey Colin, can you get to LAX in 45 minutes?’

      ‘I dunno, but I’ll certainly try!’ Short of Nascar, one of the few jobs where a twenty year old kid can actually get paid to drive like an idiot.

      Anyway, it was 1982 when I graduated from college, and the unemployment rate was over 10%, and I was very, very interested in going on to work full-time for the company.

      As it happened, one of the two high paladins of the company was an ex-colon from Algeria, and he’d hired a nephew or something as the other xerox geek. The nephew got going one day on how blessed the Algerians had been to have been ruled by the French, and I rather innocently but vehemently disagreed.

      That may have gotten back to the high paladin. Apparently, the other high paladin had been inclined to keep me on and see what could be done with me. The ex-colon had disagreed.

      Hard to say that was all of it. I’ve always tended to be rather blindly determined to do everything exactly as I think right, and employers aren’t necessarily completelyenthused about that (a problem which I eventually resolved by just going into business for myself).

      However, looking back, I’d guess there may have been a connection.

  6. joer on July 4, 2012, 1:52 pm

    That reads like a scene in a Woody Allen movie: “I’m sorry Doctor, I can’t have a psychiatrist who isn’t up on the Mideast. How can you understand my feelings if you don’t know about the latest Israeli home demolitions?”
    He did have a typical response, so if you want a psychiatrist who understands the history of Israel and Palestine, you are limiting yourself to about 1% of the available psychiatrists. Shrinks always turn the questions back of the patient-that’s what they’re trained to do. And even if you are drawn to the issue of Palestine because of some unconscious Freudian type trauma-like seeing your rabbi’s penis in the men’s room when you were three, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t an important issue and you aren’t doing important work.

    Also, do you also ask house painters and plumbers if they are Zionists before you hire them? Probably they’re the ones who referred you to a psychiatrist.

    • lyn117 on July 4, 2012, 2:21 pm

      It isn’t that they don’t “understand” the history of Israel and Palestine, it’s that they understand it wrong

      Someone who knows nothing about it would be better, and I hope that would be more than 1% of psychiatrists. I agree, this one was unprofessional

    • ColinWright on July 4, 2012, 3:44 pm

      “…He did have a typical response, so if you want a psychiatrist who understands the history of Israel and Palestine, you are limiting yourself to about 1% of the available psychiatrists…”

      I don’t see that as valid. The patient presumably didn’t expect his psychiatrist to understand the history of Israel and Palestine, and the psychiatrist didn’t need to. He merely needed to understand that in the mental universe of his patient, there was this issue he cared deeply about in which his views were opposed to those of many around him.

      The psychiatrist didn’t take that attitude. He immediately implied that his patients’ concern was illegitimate, and that he should abandon it.

      If I was a psychiatrist, and I had a patient who was really into animal rights, I might not agree that chickens have rights too, but that would be neither here nor there. I don’t even need to be up on the rights and wrongs of current practices in the poultry industry. All I need to do is grasp that this is important to my patient. From a psychiatrist’s perspective, that is the crux of the matter.

      • Citizen on July 7, 2012, 8:12 am

        If Hitler went to a shrink, would the shrink think a particular political view of Hitler’s was “the crux of the matter”?

    • ColinWright on July 4, 2012, 3:51 pm

      “Also, do you also ask house painters and plumbers if they are Zionists before you hire them? Probably they’re the ones who referred you to a psychiatrist.”

      Again, this misstates the issue. It was the psychiatrist who injected his Zionism into the relation, not the patient. If I hire a house painter and he objects to the Palestinian flag I have flying out back, it is he who has a problem, not me. If I discovered a potential customer had an Israeli flag flying, I would just break off the relationship as soon as tactfully possible. I wouldn’t start trying to make him take down the Israeli flag.

    • Mooser on July 6, 2012, 3:43 pm

      “Also, do you also ask house painters and plumbers if they are Zionists before you hire them? “

      Of course I do. Anybody who is stupid enough and dishonest enough and bigoted enough (especially when it isn’t even you freakin people or religion) to believe in Zionist ideology, is too stupid, dishonest and bigoted to do a good job, or refrain from cheating me. And all they have to do to justify it is tell themselves :”He’s (me) a Palestinian”.
      Let’s face it, I’m a Jew. So can you give me any reason why a Zionist would treat me any different than he would treat a Palestinian? Especially, especially if the Zionist is a non-Jew. Scratch a Zionist, and you’ll find a liar, a theif and a bigot, every time, unless, like Bill Kristol they’re just dull witted “believers”.

  7. talknic on July 4, 2012, 1:52 pm

    The I/P issue has divided us in more ways than one. Never before have Jewish folk been so polarized. I believe the polarization will deepen even further before we see a turn towards a law abiding State of Israel. There is so much to be unpicked.

    It took me some years to come to terms with what I’d been brought up to believe and what I was reading via the UN/UNSC resolutions and Jewish statements to those bodies.

    Stand by your convictions dude!

  8. ritzl on July 4, 2012, 2:02 pm

    Said it before, but his issue corrupts everything it touches. Everything.

    I hate to ask, but does one who believes in justice for Palestinians have to start asking a Jewish therapist what their views are on that, before starting therapy? Or do they risk being destructively manipulated during therapy? Obviously this therapist couldn’t separate feelings for Israel from professional judgement/ethics.

    Is this common? Does this inability (and need to ask the upfront question) extend to all professions? I started thinking about this when one of the local zios launched into a “the PCUSA will be ‘sorry’ come fundraising time” spiel. It was such a strange statement, I couldn’t help but ask why?

    If a Jew is in a professional position to hurt you and disagrees strongly on support for Palestinians (or whether you are sufficiently pro-Israel), will they take that opportunity to do so?

    It’s a disgusting question and a frightening scenario, even in the asking. But the snowballing strenuousness of the scorched-earth, consequences be damned, end-stage, Israel-Right-or-Wrong advocacy is starting invite the question more and more. I don’t think even abortion as a manipulator issue has this level of effect/affect.

    • ColinWright on July 4, 2012, 3:59 pm

      “Said it before, but [t]his issue corrupts everything it touches. Everything…”

      Yeah. I wistfully yearn for the days when Judaism and whether someone was Jewish simply wasn’t important to me. It just wasn’t. It was like whether you’re left-handed or right-handed. ‘Oh, you’re left-handed.’ A fact without consequence or significance. Looking back, I can see that about 20% of the people I grew up around were Jewish. I literally just never thought about it.

      I remember in a college discussion once I announced there was no anti-semitism in America. That made a couple of jaws drop in the room — and I’d now say the remark was idiotic. But it was indicative. There was no anti-semitism in me — and like all of us, I tended to assume everyone else must see the same world I do.

      Well, that’s changed. It’s pretty hard for me not to consider whether or not someone is Jewish now — and that little bundle comes straight from Tel Aviv.

    • Mooser on July 6, 2012, 3:46 pm

      “Or do they risk being destructively manipulated during therapy?”

      If a shrink is so willing to throw over his professional obligations, simply to have a self-righteous story to tell in the steam-room, how deep could his professional ethics be?

  9. Sumud on July 4, 2012, 3:05 pm

    I started to write “snap” because I was seeing a psychotherapist for a while who was jewish, but then thought this might not be such a rare coincidence :-)

    We never really discussed religion or politics. I self-censored and didn’t talk about Palestinian activism – it wasn’t really relevant – but also I didn’t want bring it up because I didn’t know her opinions on Israel. A can of worms I didn’t want to open..

    We did get to the topic one day and she let me know subtly that she thought there was some crazy stuff going on Israel (the crazies being zionists), and we moved on.

    I think the person Phil’s friend saw acted in an extremely unprofessional way. If my shrink said “Why not Syria or Saudi Arabia or Iran?” like that I would have got up and walked out, or done exactly what they did – asked them bluntly what their opinion was, all the while knowing the answer.

    There’s some excellent drama and/or comedy gold here…

    • Mooser on July 6, 2012, 3:50 pm

      “There’s some excellent drama and/or comedy gold here…”

      Like my dentist revealing his Zionist bent (I don’t know what his religion is and I don’t care, I’m no bigot) when my mouth was full of bite-blocks, dental dams and novacaine? I immediately told him off, by saying, in no uncertain terms: “mmph fllggh oenitols chews mailphinians inrusmmumph!” And I meant every word.

      • Citizen on July 7, 2012, 8:28 am

        I did the same during a recent colonoscopy.

  10. W.Jones on July 4, 2012, 3:40 pm

    For what it’s worth, I think alot of times psychoterapists are a waste. When talking about things like personality conflicts, girlfriends, stress, work, and dealing with these issues, I find it would be equally, if not more helpful to talk to a clergy person or relative. In this case, perhaps you can find a rabbi who shares your vies on the subject.

    • Mooser on July 6, 2012, 4:00 pm

      “In this case, perhaps you can find a rabbi who shares your vies on the subject.”

      That’s what Mondoweiss needs! An Anti-Zionist Trades Clearinghouse! And the search for a proferssional who meets your needs can be further refined with “1-State solution only” and “2 State solution acceptable” or “Thinks violent outcome inevitable” etc.
      A situation like the one so movingly described in the post need never happen again!

      • Mooser on July 6, 2012, 4:02 pm

        “In this case, perhaps you can find a rabbi who shares your vies on the subject.”

        What I meant to say was that this may be more possible than you might think. At any rate more possible than it has been for a long time.

  11. Scott on July 4, 2012, 4:36 pm

    I started thinking about this when one of the local zios launched into a “the PCUSA will be ‘sorry’ come fundraising time” spiel. It was such a strange statement, I couldn’t help but ask why?

    This is funny. Does he imagine Zionist Jews fund the Presbyterians, sort of like the local library and museum? Or that rich Presbys will know better?

  12. Brewer on July 4, 2012, 6:31 pm

    For ten years, my great friend Bob has called at 5pm every weekday for coffee and a round up of the day’s news and gossip. He qualified as a Clinical Psychologist but, during Student days, worked for a newspaper. The ink got in his veins and he gave up Psych and became a noted journalist.
    On occasion he trots out some psychobabble. I always tell him:
    “Bob, one day there will be foot high headlines in the NY Times. They will read ‘Psychotherapist cures patient’.”
    Talk to your friends Phil. Its free and it works.

  13. The Hasbara Buster on July 4, 2012, 7:10 pm

    We anti-Zionists need to stop being defensive and apologetic when someone asks us why Israel and not Saudi Arabia.

    First of all, there’s a concept called freedom of thought. I choose the issues I care about, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong about that, and it isn’t unfair to criticize any one country in particular.

    In the second place, it is absolutely reasonable to become involved in hotly disputed issues, rather than in those everyone agrees about. Why should I criticize Saudi Arabia when there are no pundits, bloggers or think-tankers defending that country’s record? It would be a waste of time; we all know the kingdom sucks. It is much more logical to blast Israel, a country about which egregious lies (“the IDF’s purity of arms requires soldiers to put their own lives at risk to avoid harming civilians”; “Jewish terrorists did not target civilians “; “the territories are disputed, not occupied, and the settlements are not illegal”; “Arab leaders incite the people against the Jews, but there’s no Jewish incitement against the Arabs”; …) are being told — and believed — all the time.

    • Sumud on July 4, 2012, 10:03 pm

      We anti-Zionists need to stop being defensive and apologetic when someone asks us why Israel and not Saudi Arabia.


      No-one needs to ever justify their interest in Israel/Palestine.

      To justify is to accept the premise of the attack which is “unless you are fighting all crimes everywhere in the world simultaneously you have no right to fight any one crime” – obvious garbage.

      • ColinWright on July 6, 2012, 12:09 am

        For the reasons I’ve given below and elsewhere, I’d go further than that: I would always oppose Israel in particular, and I feel that is entirely appropriate. What would be hypocrisy — what is hypocrisy — is to ignore the evil we have direct responsibility for and instead criticize others whose crimes at least have the virtue that they can’t be laid at our doorstep.

    • ColinWright on July 5, 2012, 12:29 am

      There’s also the point that Saudi Arabia works. Whatever its problems, they are its problems. I’d be extremely reluctant to wade in and start trying to ‘fix’ Saudi Arabia. People get the leaders they deserve, and in at least a certain sense, the people of Saudi Arabia did choose the system they have.

      It wasn’t imposed on them by invaders from across the sea. In particular, we played no role in imposing it.

      Israel differs on all these points and quite a few others as well. It doesn’t work. It requires continual attention, continual support, is continually at war with everyone (literally) within a thousand miles of it, and was at least partially our idea.

      It’s our baby, it’s not getting along with the other children, and we should fix it. None of this applies to Saudi Arabia. I read about some Saudi matron beating her Sri Lankan maid, and I say ‘tut tut.’ However, I’m not sure what if anything we should do about it.

      I read about Israel, and I read about what she is doing with my money, and I read about how we’re supporting and protecting her in her latest abomination, and I know exactly what we should do about it. Cut the power supply. Turn off the tap. Quit supporting this abomination. It’s only still there because of us, and it’s only because of our support that it is able to run amok.

      I will return to the analogy I have employed at least twice already. If a teenager rapes a girl, that’s deplorable. If the teenager that rapes a girl happens to be my son, that’s an abomination, and I am obliged to do something about it.

      • peeesss on July 6, 2012, 2:49 am

        Saudi Arabia “WORKS” ? Please . The “people of Saudi Arabia chose its system.”? It is a family military dictatorship that “works” only because of unlimited United States support , military, diplomatically. Only difference from Israel is that Saudi Arabia pays for the military hardware ,which goes to Israel gratis. Saudi Arabia is using US hardware to subject its people and others in the area, Bahrein, not to to even think of shaking off the chains of the feudal overlords in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia is “our baby” also. We should show our displeasure even as we reject Zionism and Israeli policies. BY the way Saudi Arabia is bankrolling with US understanding the turmoil in Libya, Syria and involved in US Israel aggression against Iran. So I would think Colin , you should save a little bit of your anger to our Saudi allies.

      • ColinWright on July 6, 2012, 3:04 pm

        All this may be more or less true: however, we did not create the Saudi system, nor did we install it, nor is it some alien importation.

        For all these reasons it is the Saudis’ business and not ours in a sense that is almost exactly reversed if we come to consider Israel.

        For the sake of argument, let us assume that the two systems are each exactly as vile. In that case, which should we concern ourselves with? I submit it should be the one that we helped install, and that only survives by dint of our continuous and enthusiastic support.

        Finally, there’s the question of what, if anything, we could do to improve matters. When it comes to Israel, this is clear: eliminate it. Presumably, no one here is espousing eliminating Saudi Arabia, so there matters become more obscure. I cannot think of any formula for reform that I would care to attempt to impose. I simply have no certainty that the result would be a net improvement — indeed, our efforts in this direction have been so uniformly disastrous elsewhere that I would just as soon we didn’t try.

        The Saudis already sell most of their oil elsewhere. If you want to force them to turn to others for their arms purchases, I have no particular objection, although I’m not sure it’s actually going to lead to any net improvement in anything for anyone except their new suppliers. Beyond that, Saudi Arabia simply isn’t my business. The same cannot be said for Israel.

      • CloakAndDagger on July 6, 2012, 3:31 pm


        The more I read your posts, the more I like your way of thinking, even if I don’t always agree with you. A belated welcome to MW!

      • Avi_G. on July 7, 2012, 12:12 am

        All this may be more or less true: however, we did not create the Saudi system, nor did we install it, nor is it some alien importation.

        Actually, Colin, you might want to brush up on how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia came to be. In the early part of the 1900s, Britain propped up the House of Saud.

        Much as Britain and the United States were responsible for creating Israel, the United States helped support Israel and continued to support it until today. The same applies to Saudi Arabia.

        Surely, you’ve heard of Lawrence of Arabia. While the movie is riddled with Orientalism, the main character is based on a real-life person.

      • Citizen on July 7, 2012, 8:36 am

        There’s no good excuse to support Saudi Arabia, but there is a most immediate practical reason even the dimmest American knows: oil. I don’t know anyone who would defend Saudi Arabia as even a semi-reputable state. And we don’t give that country anything for free and with no strings attached.

      • gamal on July 7, 2012, 8:58 am

        Dear Colin please allow me to return the favour of your graciously correcting my howlers re:roman christianity. the creation of saudi arabia and propagation of Muhwahhidun (wahabi) ideology was intimately caught with british imperial policy, sorry but the links are not very good but anyway give a notion of the issue. there is all the hempner stuff, very funny propaganda forgery by the germans i think, but it none the less shows what the issues were in the eyes of the competing powers who were all involved in the break up of the empire of the sublime porte and the creation of SA among other successor states. i am not as erudite as Hostage, nor your good-self, so its only a starting point.

        As to SA working it all depends what you mean by that, it sure works for the imperium of that there is no doubt, SA and Israel are the primary regional opponents of the indigenous “nationalist” cause more properly the struggle for independence.

        The Creation of Saudi Arabia
        Ibn Saud and British Imperial Policy, 1914-1927
        By Askar H. Al-Enazy

        Published September 24th 2009 by Routledge – 224 pages

        Series: History and Society in the Islamic World

        Recommend to Librarian

        Purchasing Options:

        Hardback: 978-0-415-45372-1: $130.00 Add to Cart
        eBook: 978-0-203-87199-7:
        Not Yet Available

        Author Bio

        Overturning previous interpretations that see the territorial expansion of the Saudi state between 1915 and 1926 as the result of an aggressive Wahhabi ideology carried out by a politically ambitious Ibn Saud, this book explores the links between Saudi territorial expansion and British Imperial policy.

        Depicting this expansion as the outcome of the implementation of Britain’s imperial policy to achieve specific regional military and political objectives in the Middle East, the author examines the Anglo-Saudi legal arrangement which fully integrated Saudi foreign policy into the framework of Britain’s imperial policy system in order to serve specific British military and political objectives in the Middle East concerning primarily, but not exclusively, the occupation of Palestine. The personality of Ibn Saud and his religious ideology of Wahhabism served as most effective policy instruments.The author shows how Ibn saud’s motivation was primarily defensive, preservationist and in agreement with the acquiescent nature of Wahhabism in which absolute obedience to the ruler constitutes its cardinal principle. In this context, he compares its inherently antagonistic attitude towards non-Wahhabi muslims with its fundamentally benevolent outlook towards non-Muslims, particularly western Christian powers.


        So, to recap: it was the British who directly and indirectly aided in the establishment of the Wahabi state in Saudi Arabia and it was the Anglo-Americans who directly and indirectly aided in the establishment of the Wahabi state in Afghanistan. In both cases it has been the self-interested, short-sighted policies of the West that has stimulated, spread and consolidated fundamentalist Islam at the expense of other expressions of Islamic religion. Support for the oil-rich Saudis has also facilitated the continued infiltration of Wahabi doctrine into the new Western Muslim communities. Islam in the West has been characterized by prolonged “turf wars” to see who controls and speaks for the Western Muslim communities. In most cases, Muslims in the West have been dislocated from the traditional madhabs and have little or no clerical supervision in their new homes. In these circumstances, Salafism – aided by Saudi money – finds fertile soil.

    • Mooser on July 6, 2012, 4:05 pm

      “We anti-Zionists need to stop being defensive and apologetic when someone asks us why Israel and not Saudi Arabia.”

      That’s one of the nicer things about being Jewish. If anybody asks me “Why Israel” or “Why Zionism” I simply answer that it is the biggest and most immediate threat to Judaism today. That it will kill both the Jewish religion, and even Jewishness itself, if allowed to.
      So for me, it’s a simple matter of self-interest. Nobody wants their religion taken over by gangsters.

      • philweiss on July 6, 2012, 10:41 pm

        well put mooser

      • seafoid on July 7, 2012, 8:11 am

        I think Judaism is already terminally ill, Mooser.

        I just don’t see the point of the mitzvot when the covenant with “g-d” actually apparently means ethnic cleansing. Is it the same as ethics cleansing ? I can’t see how the disconnect between the traditional morality and what the bots are doing right now in Gaza in order to fulfil what the orthodox consider to be the word of” g-d” can be rationalised.

        All those Palestinians being tortured in the Russian compound and the Gush Etzion police station, all those caterpillar machines destroying family homes so that so many observant Jews can observe Shabbot by not turning on lights in West Jerusalem and all over the settlements and honour “g-d”. It is so FU.

      • Citizen on July 7, 2012, 8:42 am

        I feel the same way: Zionist values and methods have replaced American values and methods. A simple matter of self-interest. Paranoia is not a traditional American value–or norm.

      • Ellen on July 7, 2012, 11:49 am

        I’ve noticed the shift in traditional American values to those of fear and division that was not so characteristic a few decades past.

        The kicker was when the US created the “homeland” security agency. The language “homeland” is a Zionist expression for Israel. It was never before a word for the United States.

        It was so foreign sounding, evoking fear and otherness.

      • Citizen on July 7, 2012, 9:00 am

        Mooser, I see you need to become a virtual IDF soldier–you should play Israel Ranks. Earn those virtual badges on the game’s web site.

      • on July 7, 2012, 10:59 am

        – “[Zionism] will kill both the Jewish religion, and even Jewishness itself, … Nobody wants their religion taken over by gangsters.” – Mooser

        But how come Mooser and Phil, that your co-religionists in America and elsewhere in the world keep supporting these “gangsters” that “will kill the Jewish religion”?

        You have to resort to some Jewish-Freudian drive of self-destruction to explain that.

      • philweiss on July 7, 2012, 11:22 am

        there’s a movement inside Jewish life to save us from religious nationalism. It includes some Jewish Freudians. I think this sort of generalization is not unrelated to generalizations about Islam that ignore progressive anti-traditional trends

      • on July 7, 2012, 1:02 pm

        Let me just add: Mooser and you must be Jewish heretics.

      • on July 7, 2012, 1:22 pm

        You just cancelled a comment of mine. Mooser and you are in a logical trap:

        1. The Israelis are Jewish ‘gangsters who will kill Judaism and Jewishness’.
        2. The majority of Jewry supports Israel.
        Conclusion: The majority of Jews have a Freudian ‘death-drive’.

  14. DICKERSON3870 on July 4, 2012, 9:37 pm

    RE: “I realized that psychologists are political animals too, and have conventional opinions…” ~ Weiss


    • DICKERSON3870 on July 4, 2012, 9:53 pm

      RE: “A mind is a terrible thing .” – me (above)

      FROM ANNIE HALL (1977):

      Duane: “Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist, I think you’ll understand. Sometimes when I’m driving… on the road at night… I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The… flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.”

      Alvy Singer: “Right. Well, I have to – I have to go now, Duane, because I, I’m due back on the planet Earth.”

  15. Charon on July 5, 2012, 12:49 am

    Psychotherapy might help people, but it is another form of mind conditioning or brainwashing. Just like self-help stuff, it’s stuff to condition your brain to think/feel a certain way. Again, it might help people overcome problems. When you deconstruct it though, it’s treatment through brainwashing. Is that a good thing?

    The “Why not Syria or Saudi Arabia or Iran?” is no different than hasbara. Because hasbara is like psychotherapy. Think about it.

  16. talknic on July 5, 2012, 5:15 am

    “Why not Syria or Saudi Arabia or Iran?”.


    1) How many wrongs make a right?

    2) They’re not our Jewish homeland state. I’d like my homeland state to at least adhere to the laws it said it would when we were given over half of Palestine. Then it might be in a position to be critical of others.

  17. Nevada Ned on July 5, 2012, 10:14 am

    What ABOUT Saudi Arabia?
    If an intifada erupted in Saudi Arabia (as happened in Tunisia and Egypt, causing the downfall of longstanding pro-US dictatorships), I’d say “hurray!”
    The Palestinians have had two intifadas, which were uprisings of an oppressed people.
    Anyone with eyes that can see should support the Palestinians.
    Not everyone has eyes that can see.

    • ColinWright on July 6, 2012, 12:13 am

      What’s mildly disgusting is contemplating what would happen if an intifada did erupt in Saudi Arabia. I won’t claim to be a great Arabist, but my impression is that Saudi Arabia has a large and marginalized Shi’a minority — at a guess, that would be the group that would rise up.

      …and we would back its repression. And there would be the usual rationalizations and hypocritical calls for ‘reform.’

  18. lobewyper on July 6, 2012, 11:32 am

    Hi All,

    A couple of things. First, I was in the market for a psychotherapist several years ago, and in the first session with each of the two Jewish practitioners I interviewed (one a psychiatrist, another a psychologist), I mentioned that I didn’t approve of Israeli conduct toward the Palestinians. One said nothing, and the other agreed with my remark, “I hope this I-P problem gets resolved fairly, and soon.” He agreed. (He was also the therapist I have seen since with what I consider very good results, but not merely because he was sympathetic to the Palestinians–see below.) So, what happened with Phil’s friend and me was, we were testing the therapist’s ability to remain non-judgmental (and not see anti-Semitism where it didn’t exist) which is of course necessary for good therapy. Note that in one important sense that the therapist actually “did the right thing.” By his challenge to your friend (why not Syria, etc.?), he clearly communicated his own biases, which then allowed your friend to make the correct decision, which was to not continue with him.

    Now, as a psychologist (not therapist) myself, let me say a little about psychotherapy, because I see that several of you consider it to be helpful brainwashing at best, and a complete fraud at worst. Some assert that a good friend is an adequate substitute for a therapist.

    I suppose you could see me as a “Freudian,” in the sense that I believe that disturbed behavior is the result mainly of unconscious drives/conflicts, tho I am really partial to a much-modified version called “psychoanalytic object-relations theory” well set forth by Otto Kernberg and others. (We have learned a great deal since Freud, thankfully.)

    To reveal these unconscious factors by therapist (and patient) interpretation takes a great deal of time, exclusive focus on you the patient–so it’s not like occasionally getting good advice from a friend or clergyman–although such is often invaluable and typically not available from one’s therapist. Therapists usually try to help the patient reach greater self-understanding, and through such, greater awareness of self and others, and better self-control and personal relationships.

    Not all troubled people are the same. Neurotic folks are relatively high-functioning (well put together) from a clinical standpoint and benefit from a variety of therapies.
    More seriously ill individuals can often benefit from the “uncovering” approach advocated by psychoanalysts or “psychoanalytically oriented” therapists.

    Unfortunately, there are too many therapists that are poorly trained, not well-adjusted themselves, and sometimes lack the personal qualities needed for really good therapy (empathy, objectivity, warmth, good memory for what you tell him/her, etc.). So, like the song goes, “You gotta shop around.” Find someone you have good chemistry with and helps you feel comfortable!

    • lobewyper on July 6, 2012, 1:04 pm

      Back to the point. The risk seems to me substantial that a psychotherapist who supports the Israeli regime could act out in destructive ways toward a client (i.e., manifest “negative countertransference”) who had a clearer picture of history, past and present. Avoid such a therapist–thanks, Phil, for calling this important consideration to our attention!

      • Citizen on July 7, 2012, 9:33 am

        Yep, why should the heavy dose of Jewish American shrinks practicing be immune from ziocaine?

        Would anyone here go to a shrink who admired Hagee? Or Michelle Bachmann? Or Joe Lieberman?

    • ColinWright on July 6, 2012, 3:13 pm

      “…Unfortunately, there are too many therapists that are poorly trained, not well-adjusted themselves, and sometimes lack the personal qualities needed for really good therapy (empathy, objectivity, warmth, good memory for what you tell him/her, etc.). ..”

      Indeed, I dare say that not being well-adjusted themselves and lacking the enumerated interpersonal skills is often what tends to draw people to the field of psychology in the first place. Disproportionately, well-adjusted people who relate well to others are simply never going perceive the field of psychology as one fraught with problems — they probably can’t relate. If all my plumbing works just fine, it’s never going to occur to me to learn all about plumbing.

      This isn’t to say all therapists are head cases themselves — it’s just that disproportionately, they will tend to be. It’s a bit like police forces tend to draw people who have a tendency to be bullies. They’re not necessarily recruiting from the ideal base.

      • lobewyper on July 6, 2012, 10:01 pm


        I generally agree with your points. Personality disorders (e.g., Borderlines, Narcissistic personalities–there are several others) generally should not be doing therapy without first undergoing successful treatment. Other disorders (the neuroses) are often far less disabling and better contained, but should still be treated. Training programs should carefully screen applicants for the necessary minimum skills and counsel out those who don’t meet them.

        Another part of the equation is the quality of training and mentoring, which is often inadequate.

        Being an effective therapist isn’t easy. Consider: you can be one heck of a dentist, mathematician, or surgeon and not be particularly well adjusted just to mention a few of the myriad of professions that are less emotionally and psychologically demanding than being a therapist.

        In the final analysis (pun not intended), psychotherapy is caveat emptor as with most other services we seek. If you’re not comfortable for ANY reason with your therapist, address the matter directly with him/her. If his/her answer is not and continues not to be satisfactory, seek another therapist.

        P.S.: It’s been my impression that a fair number of psychologists/psychotherapists/psychiatrists are pretty together folks who do good work.

    • Citizen on July 7, 2012, 8:54 am

      I know a scientologist who would make, in somewhat different language but the same effect, the same comment as you did, lobewyper. Scientology despise Psychology/Psychiatry and visa versa, but in my experience with two relatives close to me who belong to Hubbard’s “church,” it always escapes them that it’s often the pot calling the kettle black.

      • lobewyper on July 7, 2012, 2:27 pm


        I’m not sure which of my comments you’re referring to, but the psychology I favor differs substantially from Scientology–I’m basing my opinion here on Hubbard’s book.

      • Citizen on July 7, 2012, 5:40 pm

        Which of Hubbard’s books? Scientology has many books, same as Psychology.
        I still say, in my experience with Scientologist relatives, and also, having read some of Hubbard’s key books, theories, etc, there are many methods that are similar with psychology; the nomenclature and analogies used differ. I don’t know why my relatives don’t see that because sometimes it just jumps right out off the page. Freud et al didn’t use psuedo computer and classical scientific language; he used basic poetic metaphors, bible stories, classical Greek and Roman literature, theatre, etc.

  19. proudzionist777 on July 7, 2012, 8:29 am

    Good luck with your psychotherapy. I hope it helps.

    • lobewyper on July 7, 2012, 2:28 pm

      Thanks, proudzionist–appreciate it! I know that it has been and continues to be helpful.

  20. Citizen on July 7, 2012, 9:26 am

    Perhaps the therapist blurting out is nothing new:

    I’m not in the slightest surprised by this little tale of subjectivity in a professional. It really does not take much to scratch the surface and see professionals are merely humans too.

    Anyone can read the basic concepts involved in psychology/psychiatry. And they can apply them to themselves. Raise their own consciousness of themselves thusly respecting the myriad of patterns and theories, the indicia of afflictions according to the DSM IV & evolving V. Save oneself a lot of money.

    When talking over a personal problem with a friend or relative, one may be helped or hindered, but it’s always wise to be aware of the defects in the shoulder one picks to cry on.

    Shrinks may be as useful as rabbis or priests or pastors. I personally wouldn’t go to any of them, let alone pay for that too. I can think of other ways to entertain myself and retain any vanity I’ve managed to salvage over the years as a joke.

    • lobewyper on July 7, 2012, 2:35 pm


      Psychotherapy’s obviously not everyone’s cup of tea. When the client has emotional conflicts that are mainly if not entirely unconcscious, cause distress, and lead to maladaptive behaviors/feelings, then he/she does usually need a therapist to help get past his/her defenses and down to the heart of the matter. I think my fairly extensive reading of clinical books has been somewhat helpful, but nowhere near as much as my therapist.

    • lobewyper on July 7, 2012, 5:19 pm


      The article by Jessica Kraft to which you link suggests that her admiration of Jewish contributions to psychotherapy and psychology generally has crowded out her better judgment. She mentions talking out disturbing feelings with family, rabbi, and friends as a way of reducing stress and restoring tranquility in a manner that suggests Jews were the first to discover this approach. Research on primitive African tribes that have never had contact with modernity shows that they do exactly the same thing. To suggest that one needed to be Jewish to go against political correctness and speak of childish sexual impulses toward parents is patently ridiculous. (I only wish that I would be in a position to make a major tho politically incorrect discovery re: human personality as was Freud. Believe me, even though I’m a gentile, I would jump at the chance.) Kraft is a hasbarist that tries to show the rest of us how indebted we are to Jews while subtly suggesting that Jews are intellectually superior to non-Jews. My $.02, and thanks for the interesting read!

  21. talknic on July 7, 2012, 9:41 am

    Maybe continuing to see the shrink and continuing the debate might be the best therapy Phil and the shrink could have …. Place a wager on the fee tho. A deduction for every Hasbara point shown to be nonsense

  22. lobewyper on July 7, 2012, 1:51 pm

    So, you’re a Jewish psychotherapist, know as much real I-P history as the average American, and your client says he feels the Palestinians have been given a raw deal for decades. You smile back, know you’re supposed to be neutral and non-judgmental, but subconsciously because of your tribal indoctrination, you feel that the patient must hate Jews and want Israel to be wiped off the map (but you can’t really ask to be sure). Odds are, you will unconsciously retaliate despite your professional training–which in any case is far weaker than the typical Jewish sense of loyalty to the tribe. If you as a client have feelings for the Palestinians, check out your therapist’s position and if he strongly disagrees with you but then tells you that “there’s nothing to worry about,” find another psychotherapist!

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