The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

05-Dec-2006

Is The PM Suffering From A Mental Disorder?

Filed under: Oslo/Peace ProcessPoliticiansDisengagementBELIEFS & PERSPECTIVES — eidelberg @ 1:38 am Edit This

[Transcript of the “Eidelberg Report,” Israel National Radio, December 4, 2006.]

In my book Demophrenia, published in 1994, I mention various symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions of grandeur, escapism, illogical thoughts, stereotypic behaviors, flattened emotional reactions, and impaired volition. These symptoms obviously exist on a continuum with normal behavior. A World Health Organization study concludes that “schizophrenics, for all their vulnerabilities, are in the full sense responsive social beings like the rest of us.” Still, these “vulnerabilities” result in bizarre behavior, as may be seen in innumerable democratic politicians, including certain Israeli prime ministers.

In saying this, my purpose is not to denigrate them, for their mentality has been conditioned by the democratic mentality of the present era. Instead, I want to warn Israel that the most important political behaviors and policies of their political elites are irrational and destructive.

On June 20, 2005, while Ariel Sharon was in power, The Jerusalem Post’s courageous political analyst Caroline Glick wrote an article entitled “A Coward for a Prime Minister.” The term “coward” concealed more than it revealed. Some close observers believed that Sharon’s behavior, especially his adoption of Labor’s Gaza Withdrawal Plan, was symptomatic of mental deterioration, if only because Sharon, with uncanny prescience, warned of the dangerous consequences of that plan in a Jerusalem Post op-ed of March 31, 1995. Nevertheless, unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was the culmination of his policy of self-restraint toward Arab terrorism ever since he was elected prime minister in February 2001. That he tolerated the murder of more than 1,000 Jews during his premiership suggested to serious commentators that the Old Warrior was suffering from in impairment of his rational and volitional faculties.

As for his successor, Ehud Olmert, more than 1,000 missiles have fallen on Sderot and Olmert refrains from launching an invasion into Gaza to stop this reign of terror. But to call this cowardice is superficial. Let’s probe deeper.

On June 9, 2005, eleven days before Glick wrote “A Coward for a Prime Minister.” Olmert was in the US to promote Sharon’s disengagement plan. Addressing the Israel Policy Forum in New York, Olmert unwittingly incriminated himself by saying, “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies …” This amazing utterance indicates that Olmert lacks the fortitude as well as the dignity or stateliness required of a prime minister. It also shows that he is detached from reality, from the implacable hatred of Israel’s enemies, from their unmitigated cruelty and bellicosity.

In the same speech, Olmert said of Israel’s Arab enemies, “We want them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors.” This gibberish not only confirms that Olmert lacks political sobriety, but that he may also be suffering from a mental disorder. His attitude and behavior bear no logical relationship to the enemy’s unsurpassed barbarism: even the Nazis did not use their children as human bombs. That Olmert wants to be friends with Arabs whose media depict Jews as apes and pigs is symptomatic not only of a lack of honor but of mental decay or degeneracy widespread among Israeli politicians and intellectuals.

Defending the disengagement policy in New York, Olmert said that what is remarkable about this policy is its unilateral character. Because it’s unilateral, Olmert drew the grandiose conclusion that “we [in Israel] really don’t need the United States to lead the [peace] process in the Middle East; we will lead this process [ourselves].” Yes, Olmert is known for his loose tongue and bravado—dangerous traits in any government official; but this kind of bravado is also symptomatic of his disconnect from harsh reality.

He assured his audience that the disengagement plan “will bring more security, greater safety, much more prosperity, and a lot of joy for all the people that live in the Middle East.” This drivel prompted Daniel Pipes to describe Olmert’s speech as something from Cuckoo Land!

Olmert lives in two worlds, one is a fantasy world. Despite the disastrous consequences of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, Olmert boasts to this day that he expedited that policy. His self-importance has made him delusionary—mindless of the fact that Israel’s highest military and intelligence officials had testified against the withdrawal.

Nine months after the withdrawal, former CIA director R. James Woolsey wrote in The Wall Street Journal (May 2006) that the withdrawal “had utterly failed.” It not only led to the ascendancy of Hamas, but transformed Gaza into a base for global terrorism. Woolsey went so far as to say that Israel should not receive U.S. backing for compounding the failure by withdrawing from Judea and Samaria. Yet this remains on Olmert’s agenda in defiance of reason and reality!

Psychologists regard such bizarre behavior as symptomatic of schizophrenia. The renowned clinical psychologist Dr. David Shakow distinguishes three types of schizophrenic responses to diverse stimuli which happen to describe the reactions of people like Olmert to the bellicose behavior of Arab leaders. For schizophrenics:

(1) The central, directly meaningful stimulus is avoided, because it is disturbing; instead the peripheral is endowed with meaning. (2) The subject has a fixed idea and resorts to it without regard for the [central and contradictory] stimulus. (3) The peripheral is selectively attended to, captures attention, and is adhered to.

Apply this to Israel. Poll after poll indicates that the Palestinians overwhelmingly support the terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority. This is the central stimulus, rendered more meaningful by the PA’s explicit commitment to Israel’s annihilation. Yet this stimulus is habitually ignored by Israel’s ruling elites. Instead, they attend to the PA’s agreement to occasional cease-fires, which the elites view as a step toward implementing the policy of territory for peace—for Olmert and others, a fixed idea.

Here’s an example: On Sunday morning, November 27, Olmert announced a Gaza cease-fire. He explained as follows: “Last night the chairman of the Palestinian Authority [Mahmoud Abbas] called to tell me of the decision by all the Palestinian factions to cease their fire, cease all their violent actions, including smuggling [of weapons] in tunnels [from Egypt to Gaza], [end] the deployment of suicide bombers and the firing of Kassam [missiles]. I was happy and congratulated the head of the Authority, and the two of us will do all we can for the cease-fire to get started this morning.”

By 6 a.m. all IDF units had abandoned their battle stations in Gaza, as ordered. A few hours later the cease-fire collapsed: the Palestinians launched a dozen rockets while the arms smuggling into Gaza continued. Although various terrorist groups rejected the cease-fire, Olmert did not order any retaliation. Indeed, like Sharon, he spurned the warnings of the IDF and said he wants to extend his delusional cease-fire to Judea and Samaria!

Clearly, Olmert’s behavior is divorced from reality. The reality is plain to any normal observer: every cease-fire with the Palestinian Authority is short-lived and is nothing more than an opportunity for the terrorists to gain tactical advantages and acquire more weapons.

Another example: Israeli prime ministers habitually invite Egypt into their tête-à-têtes with the Palestinians in disregard of Egypt’s malevolent military dictatorship. Recall that Sharon allowed Egypt to station military forces on the Philadelphi corridor, avowedly to prevent arms from being smuggled from the Sinai into Gaza. He simply avoided the central, meaningful stimulus that Egypt has been aiding such smuggling for more than ten years! Olmert is of the same mentality, which clearly exhibits the symptoms of schizophrenia mentioned earlier, to which we may add “selective inattention.”

For example, Israel’s ruling elites unfailingly disregard Egypt’s ceaseless treachery and the blatant Jew-hatred of its state-controlled media. The same treachery and Jew-hatred characterize the behavior and media of the Palestinian Authority. Yet, despite Israel’s superior military power, such are the delusions of Israel’s ruling elites, and so impaired is their will, that they persist in the fixed idea that the conflict with the Palestinians can be resolved by diplomacy and territorial retreat!

They repress the fact that war, not pacifism, is the modus operandi of Islamic history. As one Muslim spokesman recently said, Islam’s confrontation with infidels “has nothing to do with Socratic debates, Platonic ideals and Aristotelian diplomacy. It holds, rather, to the ideals of assassination, bombs and destruction, to the diplomacy of the rifle and submachine gun.”

Clearly, Olmert lacks the mental resources—above all the fortitude and realism—required to face the enormous evil confronting Israel. He admitted to being tired; unfortunately, he is not tired of being prime minister. Otherwise, I would urge him to resign and vacation in Disney Land. Seriously, however, he, like many Israeli politicians, is in dire need of mental therapy.

Addendum

So what is to be done to save this country? First, every effort must be made by patriotic groups to subordinate their agendas to the task of finding a great man—a man of the courage and wisdom to lead Israel against its implacable foes.

This man must not be tainted by the policy of “land for peace.” He must be a Jew proud of his religious heritage. He should be learned in one of the sciences to render him more eligible to both observant and non-observant Jews. Beginning with a nucleus of three, let ten prominent Jews representing diverse professions and sectors of Israeli society unite and go on a “talent scout” for the man Israel urgently needs. Let the search and its purpose be advertised in the newspapers to reinforce what is already widely felt: that the Olmert government has utterly failed to protect the lives and property and honor of our people and must therefore resign.

An alternative government must be formed. It should be housed in an appropriate building in Jerusalem. Several committees paralleling key cabinet ministries should be established and headed by professional people. The alternative government will draft a national program. Included will be institutional reform that diminishes the power of parties and increases the effective power of the people. A grass roots movement will be initiated, and leaders of non-parliamentary groups will be invited to form an advisory counsel. At an appropriate time, the alternative government will form what may be called, for the lack of a better name, the New Government Party.

I have drawn up an extensive working paper for what I have here only outlined.