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Michael Ratner’s journey away from Zionism

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This is an amazing interview about Jewish identity and Zionism, in which Michael Ratner answers questions from Paul Jay at the Real News. I can’t say enough about the human rights lawyer’s remarks as a model of transparent reflection and struggle. His sense of accountability are an answer to anyone who says that Zionism is dyed into Jewish culture — it is not — and an inspiration to all individuals who struggle with cultural demands.

Ratner is a friend (and a friend of this site) who gave me one of the touchstones for my progress when he told me years ago that his friend the painter Leon Golub had said to him, What does it mean to be a Jewish progressive artist? It means you don’t talk about Israel. I accepted that disclosure as a painful secret, and an oath to be undone; but the beauty of this interview is that there are no secrets. Having traveled a long road of awareness on the Israel issue, Ratner feels that sharing his story of Zionist community will help us all.

Watch the interview for yourself, but here’s a pointed summary.

Ratner grew up the son of immigrants in a big Cleveland family. His parents spoke Yiddish till he was four or five. His identity was formed by strong Jewish family: “partly security against being different from the other people around us– an immigrant family.” And Zionism was part of the family culture.

“My family, it was just assumed, Israel is a good thing, we have to support it…. You never heard a word about Palestinians, not a word.”

His community exposed him to unrelenting propaganda for Israel, and Ratner bought it. “I stayed home from school to finish [Exodus] because it was such a good book…  Israel was pushed and pushed, and not just by Jewish people.”

Even then there were Jews who questioned Zionism. Not ones he knew. “There were Jews who felt, this is not a good idea… This is going to hurt Jews, in the world.”

He first went to Israel in 1956, his bar mitzvah year, and saw a beautiful country.

“All the places I thought that my actual ancestors walked on. I came back really romantically in love with the place…. I even painted a map of Israel on my room… That was not completely unusual for people of my generation.”

On a visit in 1961, his family visited the Prime Minister’s office and saw a huge map of Israel on the wall, and Israel as a blue dot in a sea of brown. The message: “We are a beleaguered country… That’s why we need support.” Though today he understands that message as: Israel is “an outpost, a western settler colony that will only face toward Europe.”

Jay asks how did he get to that awareness? Only with great difficulty.

Ratner felt misgivings after the Six Day War. “It didn’t seem right to me that they needed the entire West Bank for their defense… It was an intellectual feeling that this is wrong… That they’re occupiers. But emotionally I couldn’t break with my attachment.”

His confusion disabled him from speaking out about the conflict. He understood that what Israel was doing was wrong, as a settler imperialist country. But his emotions were still so tied to “this is the land of my people” and concerns about the Holocaust and his many relatives in Israel.

It took Vietnam and the US role in the world to help Ratner wake up: observing US immorality led him to question Israel’s role as an American client state. Still he didn’t feel that he “knew enough” (the old literacy test) till the 1980s. He only began to speak out “quite late,” he says. And even today in New York people feel strong inhibitions about speaking out.

Ratner cites two factors that allowed to speak out. They are both so important that I need to emphasize them.

First, “Getting to know Palestinians was probably very important on that adventure.” Amen.

Second, he needed others. They granted him “freedom,” he says, “because I had a community that would protect me. It wasn’t just me going out there.”

That’s a reminder of what social beings we all are. Even the most independent-thinking individuals lean on others.

When did he really let go? It was in 2010, and Ratner couldn’t get into Gaza for the Freedom March and he flew on to Israel and then the West Bank.

“That was astonishing. If you ever want to talk to anybody about Palestine and Israel, send them to Hebron. And see one of the most discriminatory outrageous treatments of human beings that you will ever see.” A thriving Palestinian city with a colony of Jews inside, protected by Israeli forces.

“I think going to Hebron was the final moment,” Ratner says. “I don’t think there’s any rational argument to make for what Israel has done not only in the occupied territories but also in Israel itself.”

So he began to write about it and speak out in a new way.

And his family?

“My family is very varied. I have a huge family…It varies like any community varies. You have people who have a heavy belief in a state of Israel, in a  Jewish state of Israel. And then you have people in the middle, who believe that the occupation is just outrageous, but Israel itself should be able to be there… Then you have people, fewer, like me, that ultimately believe in a one state solution, that there should be equal citizenship for every single person there…. Like any family, particularly Jewish families, it varies along a wide spectrum. I would be certainly on the far end of that spectrum.”

Honest, moving, and a model for all who struggle with identity politics.

(I have one minor challenge. Ratner’s doorway to a critique of Israel was anti-imperial engagement; seeing immoral U.S. conduct enabled him to regard Israel in the same light, and overcome the Jewish community’s prohibition against criticism of Israel. I wonder, to what extent was a critique of US conduct part of the Jewish experience of the older generation among whom Ratner and I grew up. I.e., Chomsky’s father fled military service under the czar in Russia, and knowledge that the czar was a bastard fed my mother’s opposition to the Vietnam war, and maybe Chomsky’s too. But what if your American experience is actually less oppositional than the frame carried over from eastern Europe? If this society granted you enormous freedom and proved philosemitic? Well then you are more open to the Israel lobby theory, and the idea that the Iraq war and support for Israeli occupation flow not from imperial ambition but from neoconservative hubris.)

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29 Responses

  1. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw
    March 11, 2014, 11:33 am

    Good riddance to Michael and Phil in America, where the steady decline of Judaism goes on unabated.

    • Cliff
      Cliff
      March 11, 2014, 2:20 pm

      Good riddance to ‘Jackdaw’ and other religious/nationalistic fanatics, liars, and thieves.

      Thank G-d for humanists like Michael Ratner and Phil Weiss.

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      March 11, 2014, 3:12 pm

      But Jack, Israel absolutely depends upon the largess of the US taxpayer.

      If Judaism is on a decline (as most all organized and institutionalized religions) in the US as you say, does that explain why it is that Zionists organizations now court the isolated and ill informed “Christian” fundamentalists for love and support and money?

      You know, those (like Zionists, I guess) who believe that stories put down by nomadic Bronze Age tribes are real estate laws?

    • justicewillprevail
      justicewillprevail
      March 11, 2014, 3:15 pm

      Well, renounce the money, arms and myriad of tax breaks and favours you demand from US taxpayers, and stop expecting the US to cover for you at the UN and other international fora. The decline of zionism is not the decline of Judaism – it might be its saviour.

    • puppies
      puppies
      March 11, 2014, 6:12 pm

      @Jackdaw – It’s almost worth praying that it were so. Unfortunately, within a so-called Western world that is increasingly ridding itself of insane superstition, the United States continues to keep unabated religiosity and obscurantism on the same level as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. From all available signs, religious Jews are even on a revival upslope, no doubt as a result of their Zionist intoxication and the incestuous relationship between the shitty theocratic state and its pinkwashing homosexuals.
      What I can’t understand for the life of me is that “good riddance” clause. Michael Ratner is definitely not religious. As for Phil, whatever he lets through here lets one think he isn’t either. What’s your point?

    • talknic
      talknic
      March 11, 2014, 6:20 pm

      @Jackdaw “Good riddance to Michael and Phil in America, where the steady decline of Judaism goes on unabated”

      That’s odd. Lying, making false accusations, coveting the property of others are basic tenets of Judaism Nowhere are they declining at a faster rate than in Israel and in support of Israel’s illegal expansionist policies http://wp.me/PDB7k-Y#ignorance

  2. Krauss
    Krauss
    March 11, 2014, 1:46 pm

    Great interview. I recommend viewing the 1st part, too. I have not yet viewed the rest but I will soon.

    the idea that the Iraq war and support for Israeli occupation flow not from imperial ambition but from neoconservative hubris

    Aren’t they the same? The main difference is that neoconservatism has Zionism, an ethnic and tribal underpinning, at its core. While American imperialism is more about political power. But this isn’t necessarily spelled out in your question, and it suggests, in your assumptions.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      March 11, 2014, 3:43 pm

      @ Krauss
      Are they the same? For neoconservatives like Bolton, Chaney, and other non-Jewish neocons? Do they really care about Zionism; aren’t they model American imperialists? Or is that your point? What are you striving to distinguish here, other than that in politics “one hand washes the other”?

  3. Krauss
    Krauss
    March 11, 2014, 1:54 pm

    One of the most interesting things he says in the interview is that by 1967, he started to understand intellectually where Israel was headed. He had previously been taken in with romanticism, as his first contact with the country was for a few months when he was 13, and you could say it was Birthright before the term was invented.

    Yet at the same time, he explains, he couldn’t separate himself emotionally and he calls this being “disabled from speaking about Israel”. I think he’s correct when he says a lot of Jews are like this, especially older Jews.

    This also explains the state of the Jewish debate surrounding Israel within our community, which is characterized by silence and censorship more than anything else.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      March 11, 2014, 4:21 pm

      “Yet at the same time, he explains, he couldn’t separate himself emotionally and he calls this being “disabled from speaking about Israel”.

      The Zionists were brutal with their own people although they reserved special cruelty for the Lebanese, the Egyptians, the Syrians and the Palestinians.

      “Switching off Tikkun Olam” and switching off the attack dogs was easier than standing up for Judaism. Do you want the land or the morals and they went for the land almost every time.
      Mike Marqusee was one of those who didn’t. Why was Ratner different ?

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/mar/04/israelandthepalestinians.bookextracts

      “The first person to call me a self-hating Jew was my father. It was in the autumn of 1967. Dad was 39, a successful businessman who was also, along with my mother, active in the US civil rights and anti-war movements. I was the oldest of his five children and had already, at age 14, intoxicated by the ideals of justice and equality, begun my career as a footsoldier of the left. It was not only the first time I had been called a self-hating Jew, it was the first time the phrase, the idea, entered my consciousness, and it was a shock.
      As a young man, against the family grain, my father had taken an interest in social and especially racial justice and at college was drawn to the Communist party, which is how he met my mother, who was the product of a very different strand of the New York Jewish tapestry. This was in the heyday of anti-communist hysteria, of which my parents were first victims, then accomplices. After giving a speech against the Korean war at a student conference in Prague in 1950, dad was denounced as a traitor. His passport was seized. His father told the press that if his son had said such things, he was no son of his. It was in this period, I think, that he came to rely implicitly on my mother, the girlfriend who stood by his side when his life seemed most precarious.
      They were married in 1952 and a year later I was born. Shortly after that, the FBI came knocking on the door. After months of pressure, from his own family as much as from the repressive organs of the state, my father, with my mother by his side, just as before, agreed to name names. “To this day we regret the mutual decision we made,” my mother wrote. “It has been a source of incredible pain and shame.” When my father, 45 years after the event, lay dying, sapped by chronic pain and humiliating dependence, he went over it yet again, as he had with me many times. “I fucked it up,” he moaned. There was no absolution anyone could give him. All the other contributions he had made seemed outweighed by this ineradicable betrayal.
      In the early 60s, having a wife and five kids, a big suburban home and a blossoming career as a real estate developer, was not enough, and he and my mother threw themselves into the struggle in the American south, raising money, organising meetings, sheltering young activists, supporting boycotts and pickets. In 1964, my dad went to Mississippi to deliver supplies to the beleaguered grassroots movement. It was a frightening time: they were now killing whites as well as blacks. Years later I learned that my mother was furious with my father over this adventure. She told him he was trying to compensate for his earlier sin, that he had no right to put his life at risk, to put this need for redemption above his obligation to his children. But in my eyes, the Mississippi visit, followed by his participation in the Selma march for voting rights in Alabama a year later, made my father a hero, along with the other heroes of the movement, which for me in those days included everyone from Martin Luther King to Stokely Carmichael.
      All of which partly – but only partly – explains why, when he lowered the boom on me in the autumn of 1967 by suggesting I was a self-hating Jew, it came as an uncushioned blow, an attack out of nowhere, or out of a place of which I was previously unaware. “

      • tree
        tree
        March 11, 2014, 5:01 pm

        Wow, seafoid. Great article. It’s an except from Marqusee’s book, “If I Am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew”. I’m going to have to add it to my reading list.

        Phil,Annie, Scott: You might want to add an except from Maequsee’s book to MW. I was particularly drawn to his narrative of how hearing an Israeli soldier make a racist comment in his American Hebrew school (in 1967!) made him start to question Israel and Zionism, despite the overwhelming pressure from his teachers, classmates and his father not to question. This was from the Guardian piece. I’m sure there are other important insights in the book itself.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 11, 2014, 5:52 pm

        It’s surprising that it has taken this long , Tree. I suppose the religious aspect to Zionism kept people quieter for longer. And the bots are vicious and rule by fear, especially in the US. But the edifice is going to come down. It’s just not cricket.

      • tree
        tree
        March 11, 2014, 6:23 pm

        I don’t think its religion, seafoid. I think its an identity issue. See Marqusee here:

        So what was the creed we were taught in Sunday school? It was not about God. It was about the Jews. A singular people who had given wonderful gifts to the world and whom the world had treated cruelly. A people who were persecuted. A people who survived. A people who triumphed. Despite the Holocaust, we were not a nation of losers, of victims. There was a redemptive denouement. There was Israel, a modern Jewish homeland, a beacon to the world. A shiny new state with up-to-date, Coke-drinking people like us. Liberals, like us. Bearers of democracy and civilisation, making the desert bloom. A little America in the Middle East.

        You get taught that in school and you start to think that you are something special, not because you are you, but because you are Jewish. You are smarter, more moral, better than non-Jews. You are a “gift to the world” because you are Jewish, and Israel proves it. Your identity becomes dependent on Israel’s identity.

        If Israel is not really as it is portrayed, then those who identify most strongly with it see such a reality as an attack on their own identity, their own sense of moral goodness and intellect. The strong ones, or the the ones most willing to create their own independent identity, can separate themselves from Israel and see what it is. The others cling more tightly because they don’t have a strong enough internal identity, and so a criticism of Israel is perceived as a personal attack upon themselves.

        In essence its a question of dealing with one’s own racism and bigotry towards others. Internally, for Zionist Jews, its a hard question to face because an integral part of the Zionist bigotry is the false concept that Jews as a group are incapable of being bigots or racists. Therefore any non-Jew who criticizes the rampant Jewish bigotry in Israel and Zionism (which is of course assumed to be non-existent) must be anti-semitic, and falsely criticizing Jews. And any Jew who does the same must be a “self-hating” one. (The “self-hating” terminology is a tell, because it assumes one’s individual identity is necessarily enmeshed with Israel.)

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 11, 2014, 6:36 pm

        But it is not an identity that is mediated via the religion ?
        Judaism is supposed to be moral, good, whatever and you get this Israel thing along with it.

        I don’t understand how Marqusee’s Dad couldn’t see the hypocrisy of being at Selma and then signing up for Zionism. Maybe he did but thought it was just too fragile to question.
        If Jim Crow was wrong how could the occupation not suck ? And do most American Jews need Israel to belong ?

    • puppies
      puppies
      March 11, 2014, 6:37 pm

      @Krauss – “I think he’s correct when he says a lot of Jews are like this, especially older Jews”
      I’ll beg to disagree again. That generation was not raised in the uniformity of Zionism. Bundists, veterans or the resistance, other secular antizionists, humanists who never considered themselves “Jewish”, Americans of Jewish parentage who abhorred the idea of being open to suspicion of foreign loyalty, rabidly antireligious activists, were all still alive and kicking. All of these are among the disappeared or disappearing species now. One only sees a sea of uniformity with few exceptions. Some anti-Zionists or self-called such not exceptions, as they are only trying to ensure a continuation of the Zionist entity as a racist state by trimming its post-67 conquests.

  4. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    March 11, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Phil – I don’t get why it’s so hard for you to understand: it’s not an either/or scenario between “Imperial Ambition” and “Neoconservative hubris” – it’s dialectic.

    Also, you’re really in no position to challenge Ratner – he evolved long before you did, and, let’s put it this way – he’d have tossed out his sodastream maker without a second thought, Rabbi and mom be damned.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      March 11, 2014, 3:45 pm

      By dialectic, do you mean Imperial ambition and neocon hubris are a synthesis? Is Zionism then just a tactic within this synthesis?

      • Dan Crowther
        Dan Crowther
        March 11, 2014, 3:54 pm

        I think you could say they’ve been synthesized, but have kept their original contradictions. Actually, the more I think about it, I’d say american imperialism and zionism were the two “antitheses” and neoconservatism is the synthesis. I havent smoked any weed yet today, so I might be confusing things.

      • Donald
        Donald
        March 11, 2014, 6:11 pm

        “I think you could say they’ve been synthesized, but have kept their original contradictions. Actually, the more I think about it, I’d say american imperialism and zionism were the two “antitheses” and neoconservatism is the synthesis. I havent smoked any weed yet today, so I might be confusing things.”

        That seems about right. I used to read “Commentary” in the 80’s and much of the 90’s , just to see what the rightwing loonies were saying. It was sort of neocon central. And it was a place where American and Zionist imperialists came together. About the only time there was trouble in paradise was when someone like Buchanan was discussed–Buchanan, as I recall, was pretty much the typical far right Cold Warrior type, but he wasn’t a Zionist and was seen as an anti-semite. (I don’t know if he was or wasn’t.)

    • piotr
      piotr
      March 12, 2014, 10:21 am

      “Imperial Ambition” versus “Neoconservative hubris”?

      My first thoughts were exactly that: what is the difference?

      Perhaps the difference is best explained by imperialist “realists”. They do not go an extra intellectual mile to question if empire is good for a country. Britain lost her empire quite thoroughly, and without much loss. In its heyday, it was a very profitable institution, source of materials, markets for industry etc., but even then materials could be simply purchased, like cotton from southern USA, and markets existed whether they were colonies or not. However, colonies were transforming the economies of the subjugated countries in a way that was increasing profits, so it was making sense.

      But in late 1940s these reasons for the empire were largely gone, direct control would require money and blood with not much to show for it.

      After the Cold War, American empire is in the situation of the British empire 40-50 years earlier. Hard to show any gains anymore. I would argue that the combination of imperial dollar and “free trade” imperial ideology fosters de-industrialization and decline of standard of living, but even if you do not buy that, there is no clear explanation what USA gains by being directly engaged in all those places. Here come neo-cons: this project is about manufacturing causes for the empire and thus maintaining the imperial institutions like military-industrial complex. From that perspective, defending Israel is a perfect cause, and while lacking in rationality (and thus irritating the realists) it is still the most cherished brand in imperialist basket. “Control of world oil supplies, chiefly Persian Gulf” comes second, and then there are some forlorn causes like defending our allies in Europe and Far East against putative Russian or Chinese aggression (the problem with the last causes is that our allies can do it with some minimal help, so one could do well there with a fraction of the current cost).

      Neo-conservatives manufactured the cause of safe pro-Western democratic Middle East that would love USA and Israel, and additional utopian causes in former Communist states. Perhaps it would be good to present a good progressive-libertarian-realist critique, this is already emerging. Progressive view (we do harm there and at home) and libertarian view (we waste money there and loose liberty at home) are not the same, but they may be complementary. Realist critique is close to libertarian, if less comprehensive .

  5. seafoid
    seafoid
    March 11, 2014, 3:48 pm

    “Ratner felt misgivings after the Six Day War. “It didn’t seem right to me that they needed the entire West Bank for their defense… It was an intellectual feeling that this is wrong… That they’re occupiers. But emotionally I couldn’t break with my attachment.””

    Frank felt misgivings after the children were abused. It didn’t seem right to do that to a baby. It was an intellectual feeling that this is wrong..they are child abusers. But emotionally they were my people. I couldn’t let them down.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 11, 2014, 3:49 pm

    “Even then there were Jews who questioned Zionism. Not ones he knew. ‘There were Jews who felt, this is not a good idea… This is going to hurt Jews, in the world.'”

    So, is the distinction between some Gentiles who get interested in this subject that the Gentiles get interested as backers of humanism writ large, while for some Jews the interest is humanism writ small, that is, “Is it ( will it be down the road) good for the Jews?”

    • puppies
      puppies
      March 11, 2014, 4:07 pm

      @Citizen – Very well said. Unfortunately this is too often the case. Enough to look at those people and organizations who make such a big hoopla of some totally unsubstantiated “antisemitism” and “Holocaust(TM) denial” when it has zilch to do with the job in hand.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        March 11, 2014, 6:07 pm

        Agreed.
        I’ve been a member of MW, and a personal charitable supporter of MW since 2007, but I think Phil needs to look more closely at this–I don’t think the woman who raised her voice from the audience at the Summit a few days ago was a holocaust denier, and I don’t think she was defended by Blankfort for being so–the point is we must all remain truth seekers, both in terms of historical narratives and current narratives. Justice, and of course, the way to attain it, deserves a uniting of both. Blankfort made that point; he was clearly not defending Holocaust denial, nor ignoring the memory of Anne Frank. I think Anne, if alive today, would support Blankfort as well as Phil.

      • puppies
        puppies
        March 13, 2014, 7:34 pm

        @Citizen – “I’ve been a member of MW, and a personal charitable supporter of MW since 2007, but I think Phil needs to look more closely at this”
        Agreed about the need, but not very optimistic given the censorship when it comes up.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      March 11, 2014, 6:18 pm

      Sure. We have the same thing with Americans. Some Americans argue that invading Iraq and funding Syrian jihadis is bad for America and make self-interested arguments. Other Americans just think that destroying other countries and having people suffer from jihadi theocracy is just bad period.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      March 11, 2014, 6:42 pm

      @ Citizen
      People get interested in this subject for various reasons. I think that in most cases it’s a combination of different reasons.
      In my opinion, you are a bit unfair to anti-Zionist Jews here. There are many violations of international law and human rights around the world. As you can’t fight ALL of them, you need to make a choice. And it is totally logical that you choose an issue that you have some kind of personal connection with. For a Jew, this would be the self-declared “Jewish state”. By fighting a state (Israel) that commits crimes in your name (Jews), you can kill two birds with one stone:
      1) helping the Palestinian victims
      2) whitewashing your own reputation
      I can’t find anything wrong with that.

      By the way, I had no idea that Michael Ratner is Jewish.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    March 11, 2014, 11:14 pm

    RE: “His [Ratner’s] confusion* disabled him** from speaking out about the conflict. He understood that what Israel was doing was wrong, as a settler imperialist country. But his emotions were still so tied to ‘this is the land of my people’ and concerns about the Holocaust and his many relatives in Israel.” ~ Weiss

    * FROM BRITANNICA.COM [cognitive dissonance]

    cognitive dissonance – the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The unease or tension that the conflict arouses in a person is relieved by one of several defensive maneuvers: the person rejects, explains away, or avoids the new information, persuades himself that no conflict really exists, reconciles the differences, or resorts to any other defensive means of preserving stability or order in his conception of the world and of himself. The concept, first introduced in the 1950s, has become a major point of discussion and research.

    SOURCE – http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/124498/cognitive-dissonance

    ** FROM WIKIPEDIA AS OF 1/28/14 [Defence mechanisms]:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, defense mechanisms are psychological strategies brought into play [primarily ~ J.L.D.] by the unconscious mind[4] to manipulate, deny, or distort reality in order to defend against feelings of anxiety and unacceptable impulses to maintain one’s self schema [and to minimize cognitive dissonance – J.L.D.].[5]
    These processes that manipulate, deny, or distort reality may include the following: repression, or the burying of a painful feeling or thought from one’s awareness even though it may resurface in a symbolic form;[3] identification, incorporating an object or thought into oneself;[6] and rationalization, the justification of one’s behavior and motivations by substituting “good” acceptable reasons for the motivations.[3][7] Generally, repression is considered the basis for other defense mechanisms.[3]
    Healthy persons normally use different defences throughout life. An ego defence mechanism becomes pathological only when its persistent use leads to maladaptive behaviour such that the physical or mental health of the individual is adversely affected. The purpose of ego defence mechanisms is to protect the mind/self/ego from anxiety and/or social sanctions and/or to provide a refuge from a situation with which one cannot currently cope.[8]
    Defence mechanisms are unconscious coping mechanisms that reduce anxiety generated by threats from unacceptable impulses[i.e., a refuge from cognitive dissonance – J.L.D.]..[9]
    Defence mechanisms are unconscious coping mechanisms that reduce anxiety generated by threats from unacceptable impulses.[9] . . .
    . . . The list of defence mechanisms is huge and there is no theoretical consensus on the number of defence mechanisms. . .

    Vaillant’s categorization of defence mechanisms

    Level 1: Pathological

    Level 2: Immature

    Level 3: Neurotic

    Level 4: Mature
    These are commonly found among emotionally healthy adults and are considered mature . . .
    • Thought suppression: The conscious process of pushing thoughts into the preconscious; the conscious decision to delay paying attention to an emotion or need in order to cope with the present reality; making it possible to later access uncomfortable or distressing emotions whilst accepting them. . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_mechanisms

  8. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    March 11, 2014, 11:27 pm

    RE: “Ratner cites two factors that allowed to speak out. They are both so important that I need to emphasize them. First, ‘Getting to know Palestinians was probably very important on that adventure.’ Amen.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “Rich People Just Care Less”, By Daniel Goleman, N.Y. Times, 10/05/13

    [EXCERPT] . . . In politics, readily dismissing inconvenient people can easily extend to dismissing inconvenient truths about them. The insistence by some House Republicans in Congress on cutting financing for food stamps and impeding the implementation of Obamacare, which would allow patients, including those with pre-existing health conditions, to obtain and pay for insurance coverage, may stem in part from the empathy gap. As political scientists have noted, redistricting and gerrymandering have led to the creation of more and more safe districts, in which elected officials don’t even have to encounter many voters from the rival party, much less empathize with them.
    Social distance makes it all the easier to focus on small differences between groups and to put a negative spin on the ways of others and a positive spin on our own.
    Freud called this “the narcissism of minor differences,” a theme repeated by Vamik D. Volkan, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia, who was born in Cyprus to Turkish parents. Dr. Volkan remembers hearing as a small boy awful things about the hated Greek Cypriots — who, he points out, actually share many similarities with Turkish Cypriots. Yet for decades their modest-size island has been politically divided, which exacerbates the problem by letting prejudicial myths flourish.
    In contrast, extensive interpersonal contact counteracts biases by letting people from hostile groups get to know one another as individuals and even friends.
    Thomas F. Pettigrew, a research professor of social psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, analyzed more than 500 studies on intergroup contact. Mr. Pettigrew, who was born in Virginia in 1931 and lived there until going to Harvard for graduate school, told me in an e-mail that it was the “the rampant racism in the Virginia of my childhood” that led him to study prejudice.
    In his research, he found that even in areas where ethnic groups were in conflict and viewed one another through lenses of negative stereotypes, individuals who had close friends within the other group exhibited little or no such prejudice. They seemed to realize the many ways those demonized “others” were “just like me.” . . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/rich-people-just-care-less/

    P.S. ALSO SEE: Sigmund Freud: Narcissism of Small Differences & Judging Others – http://psychologyorphilosophy.blogspot.com/2012/06/sigmund-freud-narcissism-of-small.html

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