For those of you who have received, either from me or another source, the video of Newt Gingrich on the failure of any public official to warn Americans of the existential threat Islam poses to their country, you may be interested in reading the updated version of Chapter 5 of Demophrenia: Israel and the Malaise of Democracy appended below. If you substitute “America” for “Israel” you will discover that both countries are suffering from the same mental and fatal disorder.
Unless I am mistaken, Mr. Gingrich will soon address the American Enterprise Institute on the subject he discusses in the aforementioned video. He is puzzled and dismayed by the intellectual and moral paralysis prevailing in America vis-à-vis the Islamic threat. That paralysis is a consequence of “demophrenia.”
If in life we are surrounded by death, so too in the health of our intellect, we are surrounded by madness.
—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Notebook on Culture and Value, 1944
From its inception in 1948, the government of Israel, regardless of which party or coalition was at the helm, has been afflicted by “demophrenia.” Demophrenia is a deeply rooted malady of national and even of world-historical significance. As indicated in the Prologue, demophrenia involves an antilogical and compulsive application of the democratic principles of freedom and equality to moral problems and ideological conflicts which are impervious to, and even exacerbated by, those principles. This disorder is most advanced in Israel, for its government is animated by a democratic mentality in conflict with Zionism, and ineffectual against the anti-democratic mentality of Israel’s Arab inhabitants and neighbors.
To show that demophrenia is indeed a widespread but hitherto unrecognized mental disorder, I shall first review, by way of this Introduction, some of the literature on schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is regarded as the core concept of modern psychiatry. Yet, after one hundred years of research, there is no commonly recognized causal explanation of this mental malady. In fact, the editor of a 1990 collection of essays written by clinical psychologists suggests that schizophrenia is not a meaningful scientific concept, that it does not refer to any empirically verifiable and naturally occurring entity, hence, that it should be abandoned.1
Various researchers distinguish between positive- and negative-symptom schizophrenia. The former includes hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorder; the latter includes autism, escapism, apathy, depersonalization, stereotypic behaviors, flattened emotional or affective reactions, impairment of volition, lack of self-esteem, paranoia, etc. Obviously, these negative symptoms exist on a continuum with normal behavior. (I ignore the pathological antitheses of some of these symptoms.) Indeed, some psychologists contend that mental illnesses merely form the end-points of continuously variable behavior—a provocative position given the apparent discontinuity of function in auditory hallucinations and mutism.2 In any event, it should be borne in mind that schizophrenia is not necessarily a unitary or “all-encompassing illness which sets the patient apart from his fellow man.”3 A World Health Organization (WHO) study concludes: “schizophrenics, for all their vulnerabilities, are in the full sense responsive social beings like the rest of us.”4
Still, those “vulnerabilities” can and do result in bizarre behavior. The renowned clinical psychologist Dr. David Shakow (seemingly) distinguishes four types of schizophrenic responses to diverse stimuli, which, to my initial surprise, accurately describe the reactions of countless democrats to the characteristically bellicose behavior of Arab-Islamic leaders on the one hand, and to the occasionally pacific utterances of those leaders on the other:
(1) The central, directly meaningful stimulus is avoided, apparently because it is disturbing; instead, the peripheral is endowed with meaning. (2) A casual attitude appears in which [only] part of the field is accepted as the stimulus. (3) The subject has a ‘fixed’ idea and resorts to it without regard for the [central and contradictory] stimulus. (4) The peripheral is … selectively attended to, captures attention, and is adhered to.5 Shakow cites Freud: “Protection against stimuli is an almost more important function of the living organism than reception of stimuli.”6
Moreover, to his false perception a schizophrenic’s response may be appropriate or inappropriate to that perception. Alternatively, his perception may be veridical but his response will be inappropriate. The consequence, of course, is maladapted responses to reality.
One of the most pressing realities, at least to serious people in the West, is the stress and violence and disorder so evident in contemporary democratic society. Although WHO studies have shown that the prognosis of schizophrenia is worse in the urbanized and industrialized West than in the Third World (66), no systematic attempt has been made to determine whether the moral relativism and chaotic pluralism engendered by democracy contributes to schizophrenia. This lacuna may be attributed to the relativism that modulates the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry, as well as the tendency of the medical profession to trace schizophrenia to biophysical causes.7
The absence of research on the possible adverse effects of moral relativism on mental health is all the more curious when one considers that psychologists include “alienation,” “anxiety,” and “loss of identity” among the symptoms of schizophrenia. These symptoms are conspicuous in secular, egalitarian societies where moral relativism thrives. Surely a loss of belief in objective moral standards has emotional and behavioral consequences, some of which may be deleterious. Indeed, many psychotherapists maintain that “belief-modification” can mitigate various schizophrenic symptoms.8 But if relativism or moral egalitarianism has adverse effects on the mental health of individuals, it may also impair, imperceptibly, the rationality of their government in matters of vital public concern.
A unique analysis of schizophrenia, with far-reaching significance for contemporary democracy, appears in Ignacio Matte-Blanco’s “Basic Logico-Mathematical Structures in Schizophrenia.”9 A profound student of Freud, Matte-Blanco takes his bearing (as does Shakow above) from the Freudian insight that the unconscious, as manifested in dreams, obliterates differences as if it were governed by an egalitarian logic which is anything but logical. Freud writes: “… the most insignificant points in common between two elements is enough to enable the dream-work to replace one by the other for any other purpose.” Indeed, even “contraries are not kept apart but are treated as though they were identical, so that in the manifest dream [and according to Matte-Blanco, in the productions of more important psychical structures] any element may also stand for its contrary.” Which means that “The governing laws of logic have no sway in the unconscious; it might be called the Kingdom of the Illogical.”10 Using Blanconian principles, I shall relate this “Kingdom of the Illogical” to the mentality and behavior of Israel’s intellectual and political elites.
As indicated in the Prologue, Matte-Blanco (a practicing psychoanalyst) examines schizophrenic as well as normal mentality in logical and not simply in dynamic, terms. Ordinary thinking, it was said, deals with things (objects, persons, or concepts) which are in some way distinguishable from one another and with the relations existing between them. To be more precise, the mind recognizes, or makes propositions about, one thing, another thing, and their relation. The relation between things, using Matte-Blanco’s terminology, can be either “symmetrical” or “asymmetrical.” For example, in the proposition “A is different from B,” the relation is symmetrical, whereas in the proposition “A is part of B,” the relation is asymmetrical. Underlying such propositions are certain logical assumptions or principles, such as: (1) the principle of identity: A is identical to A; (2) the concept of two-valued or Aristotelian logic: A or not A (either proposition A is true or not true); (3) the principle of formal contradiction: wo contradictory assertions cannot be both true at the same time; (4) the principle of incompatibility: A cannot be different from and totally equal to B.11 This said, let us examine Matte-Blanco’s examples of symmetrical and asymmetrical relations:
If John is the brother of Peter, the converse is: Peter is the brother of John. The relation which exists between them is symmetrical, because the converse is identical with the direct relation. But if John is the father of Peter, the converse is: Peter is the son of John. In this case the relation and the converse are not identical. This type of relation, which is always different from its converse, is called asymmetrical … 12
Now, according to Matte-Blanco, the “principle of symmetry” is not only a defining characteristic of the unconscious, but the unconscious treats asymmetrical relations as if they were symmetrical. This means that the unconscious uses a symmetrical logic that homogenizes the differences between things. Thus:
If John is the father of Peter, then Peter is the father of John. In Aristotelian logic this is absurd; in the logic of the unconscious it is normal … [In other words], the principle of symmetry represents the most formidable departure from the logic upon which all the scientific and philosophical thinking of mankind has been based. We see it constantly in operation in schizophrenic and unconscious thinking.13
To appreciate the political significance of the principle of symmetry, we must first note that in classifying diverse things (objects, persons, or concepts), the logical mind selects some characteristic which they have in common without negating their differences. To illustrate: Jacob (a Jew) is a member of set or class of “Israelis,” and so is Ahmed (a Muslim). This means that both satisfy some characteristic—say born in Israel—that defines or determines the class (which characteristic does not logically negate Jacob and Ahmed’s religious or other differences.) But in view of Matte-Blanco’s understanding of schizophrenia,
When the principle of symmetry is applied, all members of a set or class are treated as identical to one another and to the whole set or class, and are therefore interchangeable with respect to the propositional function®¯ [hereafter “characteristic”] ®¯which defines the class and also with respect to all the characteristics which differentiate them.
In Aristotelian logic each member of a class fully expresses the characteristic of the class, but it also expresses other characteristics as well, and it is in these other characteristics that the members of a class are different from one another. But if the principle of symmetry is applied this is no longer so.14
For example—and here I shall only substitute my own individuals and classes for those used by Matte-Blanco: Jacob is a member of the class of “Israelis” and so is Ahmed; this means that both satisfy the attribute which defines the class. But Jacob may also be a member of a number of other classes, such as “Zionists,” “secularists,” “humanists,” etc. Ahmed, on the other hand, is not an element of these classes to which Jacob belongs. The difference between them can be described precisely in terms of these characteristics which they do not have in common. If Ahmed were an element of all the classes to which Jacob belongs, then there would be no difference whatsoever between them. But if the principle of symmetry is applied it is sufficient that both are elements of one class (“Israelis”) to be identical. In scientific logic this is absurd.15
It follows that when the principle of symmetry is applied to the members of the class of “Israelis,” it negates Jacob and Ahmed’s ideological differences, which differences may well involve diametrically opposed goals or loyalties. Clearly, the principle of symmetry is a logical extension of the democratic principle of equality, one corollary of which is moral egalitarianism.
This may be illustrated by an example of “semantic subversion” (a theme to be discussed in Chapter 7). Thus, A, B, and C belong to a set of people which the democratic media designate as “activists.” But whereas A and B advocate armed struggle, C advocates political struggle, to achieve their respective goals. Moreover, whereas A‘s goal is to establish an autocracy, B and C‘s goal is to establish a democracy. When the principle of symmetry is applied, all members of the set of “activists” are treated as identical to one another and to the whole set, and are therefore interchangeable with respect to the characteristic which defines the set and also with respect to all the characteristics which differentiate them. Similarly, in the universe of discourse structured by moral egalitarianism, if A uses violence to destroy a democracy and B uses violence against A to preserve that democracy, both will be called “terrorists.” We are now prepared to examine the relationship between the principle of symmetry and the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, in particular those involving the affective reactions.
When, as a consequence of the principle of symmetry, all members of a set or class are treated as identical to one another regardless of their ideological antagonisms, a leveling of affects occurs. For as Shakow also saw, there can be no distinctions between the affects if there are no perceived distinctions between stimuli. Matte-Blanco’s analysis by means of the principle of symmetry is more revealing. To paraphrase:
The subtlety of responses to diverse stimuli presupposes the subtlety of differentiation. Confronted by an ensemble or set which contains everything, the individual’s affective reactions or contacts should be diverse and contain contradictory affects. But under the influence of the principle of symmetry, instead of sharp contacts in small “zones” of affects, the contacts are of a “global” quality. Any sudden changes of affect can be understood as flashes of “asymmetrization” in the midst of a world immersed in “symmetrical unity.”16
In such a world a patient may identify himself with any person, object, or concept.17 The loss of intellectual or moral discrimination may be accompanied by a loss of identity and self-esteem on the one hand, and by apathy and volitional impairment on the other:
[T]he principle of symmetry puts a total, absolute end to the possibility of logic-thinking in any ‘zone’ [or any political domain] of thinking-logic where it is applied. For this reason we may say that within its radius of action the principle of symmetry dissolves all logic: it is antilogical. It is obvious that it has no antilogical intentions, but only effects. We may more accurately say that the principle of symmetry is a logical way of describing an aspect of man which is completely alien to logic: an alogical component of man.”18
For example, those afflicted by moral egalitarianism or democratic relativism tend to dissolve the ideological difference between A, who uses force as a means of destroying a democracy, and B, who uses force as a means of preserving a democracy. They focus on the means and disregard the ends. This mode of thinking conforms to what Harry Stack Sullivan termed “selective inattention.” It exemplifies the symmetrical and therefore alogical mentality of schizophrenia. Here again the members of a set or class are treated as identical to one another and to the whole set or class, and are therefore interchangeable with respect to the characteristic which defines the class and also with respect to all the characteristics which differentiate them. This antilogical leveling of moral distinctions, so prominent in democracies, conforms to schizophrenia. Or as Dr. Blanco puts it:
If we study the essential structural aspects of schizophrenic manifestations and the characteristics of the unconscious processes we find that all of them constitute examples of different degrees of this process of unification and homogenization … [Hence] there is not only in schizophrenia but in all normal human beings, an aspect which tends to treat reality as though it were homogeneous and indivisible. This contrasts with the thinking-logical aspect of man, which tends to distinguish things from one another.19
It follows from Dr. Blanco’s ideas that schizophrenia is a misnomer, that the “classical term ‘splitting’ [of the personality] is hardly appropriate to what is observed in this respect,” that it actually corresponds to an “invasion” or to an “increase of symmetrical relations” in areas of life where such symmetries do not exist or appear in a lesser degree. What happens in schizophrenia is not “splitting” but the exact opposite, “namely the formation of more inclusive classes or sets, to which the principle of symmetry is applied: as a result, everything becomes a transparent, unstructured, colossal unity.” 20 Might not the term “demophrenia,” in the horizontal or classless societies of the democratic world, be a more accurate designation for negative-symptom schizophrenia?
Like many schizophrenics, those afflicted by demophrenia are capable of dealing effectively with various areas of social reality. In other areas, however, they, too, to suffer from a lack of congruity between the three elements that form the personality: intellect, will, and the affective reactions. This classical understanding of schizophrenia, modified by the Blanconian principle of symmetry, may best be studied in the Jewish and ostensibly democratic State of Israel, a state ensconced in a hostile Arab-Islamic sea. There demophrenics exhibit “selective inattention” to, as well as “symmetrization” of, contradictory aspects of cultural reality. While they ordinarily treat all the members of a set or population as identical to one another with respect to the general characteristic which defines the set or population, they typically ignore those characteristics which radically differentiate the members of that population. The result, as we shall presently see, is cognitive, volitional, and emotional impairment.
Although demophrenia encompasses these and other negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia, the malady is far more complex and difficult to recognize if only because it involves the dominant and democratic mentality of our age, one that has produced many blessings. Some evidence of demophrenia was presented in the previous chapters. The present chapter and the sequel will show, in a vivid and systematic way, that demophrenia is very far advanced in the State of Israel.
On December 9, 1987, Arab violence broke out in Gaza and quickly spread to Judea and Samaria and even to Israel’s pre-1967 borders, especially Jerusalem. Arabs threw stones, building-blocks, iron bars, fire-bombs, and other deadly objects at Jewish civilians, police, and soldiers. Thus began the first intifada—meaning expulsion in Arabic, but which the media has glamorized or sanitized as the “uprising.”
Encouraged by the government’s apathy and supine reaction to the terrorist acts just mentioned, the Arabs went further. Arabs threw rocks at moving vehicles (a crime classified as attempted murder in the United States as well as in Israel). Trucks driven by Arabs forced Jewish cars off the highways, into ditches and ravines. Arabs also threw firebombs at buses traveling with passengers and poured oil on the curves of roads leading to Jewish villages. As in the past, precious forests and orchards in Israel were set ablaze by Arab arsonists. Knifings and kidnappings ending in the sexual mutilations of Jews by Arabs became more frequent.
Moreover, to demoralize Jewish soldiers and gain world attention through the media, adult Arab men, in keeping with the centuries-old Muslim tradition of shabab (youth) fighting, endangered their own children and wives by placing them in the forefront of rock-throwing demonstrations, many of which were staged for Western television.21 Here let us pause.
Because its government boasts of being the only democracy in the Middle East, embattled Israel, a minuscule state, has to be more liberal than sheltered America, a continental superpower. Accordingly, whereas the American government imposed a media blackout during its invasion of Grenada and severely restricted and even manipulated the media during the first Gulf war, the government of Israel placed few constraints on the movement of foreign television crews and journalists covering the intifada. The media’s defamation of the Jewish State was thus facilitated by Israel’s own government.22
What is even more astonishing, Israel Television joined the chorus of foreign abuse and disinformation. It repeatedly portrayed the Arabs and the intifada in a sympathetic light, the effect of which was to delegitimize Jewish retention of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Similarly, various local newspapers, in English as well as in Hebrew, published statements and articles by prominent Jewish citizens of Israel who likened their country to Nazi Germany and the “West Bank” to a concentration camp; they called for Israel’s withdrawal from the “occupied territories.”23
And so, day after day, wittingly or unwittingly, Israel’s own media actually justified, and thereby incited, Arab violence; yet the government behaved as if it were suffering from aphasia. The democratic principle of freedom of speech and of the press had rendered the government speechless. This dogma of democracy—more immune to questioning than any dogma of religion—has produced the most ludicrous anomaly: The only place in the Middle East (excluding Cyprus) where the PLO was permitted to have its own press is in Jerusalem! Moreover, the Arab press was free to publish pro-Iraqi and anti-American propaganda during the first Persian Gulf war while Israel was being bombed by Scud missiles!24
Of course, this morally neutral freedom of expression (which logically entails the freedom to lie) serves “the people’s right to know.” Accordingly, leaders of the intifada were allowed to roam at large, given access to the foreign media, appeared on primetime TV, and offered lecture and other speaking engagements. Thus was the security and survival of a nation treated as a “media event,” something to titillate the jaded appetites of the masses.
Some old-fashioned liberals call this policy of Israel’s government “democracy gone mad.” One critic called it “permissive subversion.” In medical terms, this degree of democratic permissiveness—which surpasses that of the American Civil Liberties Union—is symptomatic of advanced demophrenia.
Here, demophrenic individuals do not respond to the concrete meaning and moral requirements of life-threatening events but to some fixed, democratic abstraction (which exemplifies Shakow’s classification of schizophrenic responses to diverse stimuli). In Blanconian terms, they react not to that which differentiates reality but to some homogenized or symmetrical preconception of reality. This egalitarian behavior negates or trivializes ideological conflict and inclines the demophrenic personality to tolerate, hence foster, what uncorrupted common sense or two-valued logic would simply regard as evil.
To appreciate the extent to which Israel’s government tolerated the evil of Arab terrorism, some quantitative data is necessary. The Center for Information, Documentation, and Media in Jerusalem summarized some of the key facts occurring during the first three years of the intifada: 122,218 incidents of rock-throwing, road blocks, demonstrations and rioting in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza; some 2,495 firebomb attacks; 157 sniper attacks using live ammunition; 58 grenade attacks; 1,004 reported cases of arson; close to 4,000 Jews injured and 57 killed.25 How did Israel’s courts deal with these cases of actual and attempted murder? A career officer of the Israel Defense Forces put it this way:
In most civilized countries, punishments reflect the severity of the crime they are supposed to deter others from committing. Justice in the military courts of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, however, is meted out somewhat differently. Every legal expert would agree that throwing a rock at a moving vehicle can kill a person–and often does. The crime: attempted murder. The penalty: a 2500 shekel fine [roughly $1,250 at the time] for first offenders.
With the PLO pouring in money to finance those fined for revolting, this type of penalty does little to deter deadly violence; rather, it encourages Arabs to spend their spare time taking pot shots at killing Jews. Most of the perpetrators never get caught anyway, and if they do–what’s a mere 2,500 shekels for attempting to crush somebody’s head? … Not only does such a penalty deviate from all standards of criminal justice the world over, it’s morally repugnant, especially when handed down by a Jewish court that should respect traditional Jewish values regarding the sanctity of human life.26
Given this democratic or demophrenic leniency, it is unsurprising that by April 1993 the number of Jewish men, women, and children killed by Arabs jumped to 170. But inasmuch as Israel’s judicial system exemplifies or fosters this pathological state of affairs, it cannot be said that demophrenia is merely a matter of political ineptitude. When a Haifa court acquits an Israeli Arab of incitement to violence who, in his “poem,” repeatedly urges Muslims “to smash the heads of Jews”; or when an Israeli Arab newspaper al-Sirat can with impunity call upon the “heroes of the intifada … to uproot the venomous fangs of the crusader snakes,” and “to silence the barks of the Jewish dogs with a knife,” referring to them as “murderers and drug dealers from the darkened alleyways of New York,” we have here something more than examples of libertarianism. We have here a mental disorder where ostensibly normal people—judges and politicians—virtually encourage Arabs to incite other Arabs to murder Jews and to uproot the Jewish state.27 The libertarianism of Israel’s Supreme Court encourages Arabs to test the limits of the law by subtle and not so subtle forms of insurrection.
The same may be said of Arab newspapers in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, which are subject to the liberal censorship system with which all Israeli newspapers must comply. PLO newspapers like al-Fajr frequently refrain from submitting articles to censorship prior to publication, knowing they would suffer nothing worse than a one- or two-week suspension. Given such leniency, these newspapers published headlines encouraging Arab terrorism and calling for “armed struggle” against the Jewish state. And since acts of the military commanders in the “administered areas” are subject to judicial review, the libertarianism of the Supreme Court made it almost impossible to deter Arab violence.
Such judicial manifestations of permissive subversion—others will appear presently—indicate that we are dealing with a national pathology and not merely with some random instances of obtuseness on the part of Israeli politicians. If it is not already evident, it will become increasingly so that those afflicted by demophrenia are incapable of coping with ideologically motivated hatred.
In 1985, Israel’s Army Radio, which has a mass audience, conducted a sixteen-hour talkathon. Politicians from every party, mayors, generals, labor leaders, university professors, and the cultural elite appeared on the program. “Speaker after speaker emphasized a single message—that the Arab governments and terrorist organizations are the enemy, not the Arabs of Israel or the West Bank Arabs.”28 The broadcast was staged to counter Rabbi Meir Kahane’s influence in the army. He had recently been elected to the Knesset, and with the help of the soldier vote.
Like the media in general, Israel’s Army Radio is dominated by the leftwing. Yisrael Harel (in the above cited article) writes: “Listeners to Army Radio sometimes wonder which army it represents—and similar opinions have been voiced in the past by chiefs of staff and defense ministers. When the previous chief of staff, Moshe Levy, tried to do away with the station’s newscasts and newsreels, he was savaged by the entire Israel media; that dauntless paratrooper was forced to retreat.” This is a familiar refrain.
Thus, referring to the Jewish community (the yishuv) in the pre-State period, Professor Gil Carl AlRoy observed: “One cannot help being astounded at the sheer determination with which the yishuv for so long denied conflict with Arabs—in the face of conflict. There was an extraordinary tension here between the empirical world and personal and group conceptualization.” Even when conflict was admitted, secular Zionists explained it away by saying the “Arabs did not truly wish it, but were put up to it by others [their leaders]”; or that Arab hostility, while real, “was contrary to the essence of the [brotherly] relationship [between Semitic peoples]” and the “historic alliance of Jews and Muslims.”29
In this spirit Menachem Begin’s Irgun addressed the local Arabs in June 1944: “We do not consider you enemies—we want to see you as good neighbors….The Hebrew government [to be established] will give you full, equal rights [as the Proclamation of the State of Israel was indeed to do]….We stretch out our hand to you in peace and brotherly love [this, despite the Arab pogroms in Jerusalem and Hebron].” Mordechai Nisan comments:
Both the Right and the Left in the Zionist camp refused to see the Arabs of the land as an unrepentant, dangerous and hostile element.
In comparison with this posture, the founders of America did not refrain in their Declaration of Independence from addressing themselves to the dangerous and hostile domestic element obstructing their progress. The document refers to “the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.” The Zionists might have described their domestic adversary in like terms, and if not in their own words, then by quoting those of Ibn Khaldun, the Arab historian. He had written long ago that … “the Arabs are people who plunder and cause damage…. Savagery has become their character and nature.” Unlike the Americans who demonstrated courage in words and actions, the Zionists cowered low and kept quiet.30
The meekness and escapist mentality of these Zionists—their inability to respond appropriately to Arab-Islamic hostility and savagery—is typical among secular humanists. One may even call this mentality secularized Christianity insofar as it preaches self-effacement and benevolence toward those who hate you. In contrast, Islamic mentality is not only religious, but its most humble adherents are incredibly proud. Writes AlRoy: “That the illiterate Muslim, living in squalor and filth, presumed to be grateful for what the modern [Zionist] settler would do for him—some even went so far as to promise him a nominal half of power in bi-nationalism—that that wretch, as seen by the Jew with his water toilets, soap, Beethoven and Bach, was actually feeling as naturally superior to the Jew as English aristocrats would in olden days feel toward Cockneys—surely that was not the most obvious thing to the average individual in the yishuv.”31
Ironically, the Zionists pitied the Muslim. Because Jews are the perennial victims of injustice, how could they not sympathize with the demands of Arabs who purvey themselves as victims of injustice? Demophrenics tend to identify with their enemies and feel compelled to yield to their demands even when, by so doing, they jeopardize their own interests.
Of course, their enemies couch their demands in democratic language—in terms of “rights” or “legitimate rights”—knowing that such language disarms the political and intellectual leaders of democratic, that is, of demophrenic regimes. Demophrenic personalities never challenge the alleged rights of their enemies. Instead, they try to “understand” their enemies, to “see things from their point of view.”32
This empathic attitude incites their enemies to even greater hatred, especially if the hatred is based on a religious ideology. The reason is this. The demophrenic personality is imbued with the moral egalitarianism and cultural pluralism inherent in this democratic era. Wishing to live in peace and equality with others, he urges on others an attitude of tolerance, of mutual respect and equality. But this symmetrizing attitude tacitly denies the validity of any religious ideology that claims to possess the absolute truth, and whose followers see no logical reason why they should tolerate error or live in peace and equality with skeptics or unbelievers.
Although demophrenic personalities may be superficially aware of their enemy’s ideological hatred, they themselves are incapable of such hatred if only because their relativism prevents them from regarding the enemy as evil. Relativism impairs the demophrenic’s capacity for hatred or prevents this emotion from attaining ideological intensity. Thus, Israeli journalist Uri Avineri, reflecting the moral poverty that parades as objectivity in the democratic media, could write about his intimate relationship with arch terrorist Yasser Arafat in a sentimental tract entitled My Friend, the Enemy.33
A more serious example is Shimon Peres, foreign minister during Thirteenth Knesset. Questioned during a February 2, 1993 interview about the fate of Jewish settlers on the Golan Heights if the latter were surrendered to Syria, Peres replied: “I don’t understand what’s wrong with this. Arab settlements exist under Jewish rule, and Jewish settlements will exist under Syrian rule.” Notice the moral egalitarianism or relativism: as if living under a democracy were equivalent to living under a tyranny. (One can only wonder why Israeli governments tried to gain the freedom of 4,000 Jews living in Syria!)
Clearly, relativism diminishes moral sensitivity. Since nothing is intrinsically evil, so nothing is intrinsically good or noble, an idea that undermines a nation’s fortitude, its ability to persevere in a conflict fraught with death and destruction. Also, the demophrenic’s inability to hate his country’s enemies tends to impair the love he may bear for his own people, or to diminish his anger or indignation should his people be the targets of violence or vilification. We see this in the policy of “self-restraint” pursued by one Israeli government after another, despite the thousands of Jews that been murdered and wounded by Arab terrorists. Thus, while Jews were reduced to body parts, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in an interview published in Ha’aretz Magazine on April 13, 2001: that his son Omri had taught him “not to see things in black and white.”
As relativists inclined to humanism, demophrenic personalities minimize the evil of their enemies by regarding them either as the innocent victims of ambitious leaders, or as the wretches of historical accident.34 The consequence of their humanism is to “humanize” their enemies, that is, to excuse their evil acts and hatred.
Hated by their enemies, Jewish demophrenics succumb to self-effacement—an attitude utterly contrary to Torah Judaism. The Torah designates the Jews as the Chosen People, “a people that shall dwell apart and not reckon itself among the nations.” To dwell apart, intellectually and morally, to derive one’s identity and self-respect from the Torah rather than from the acceptance of the nations—this aristocratic attitude is too difficult and threatening for democratized Jews, especially in Israel. Their self-effacement signifies a lack the courage to stand alone. Many of them are not oblivious of the majestic character of the Hebrew Bible, the magnificence of their Patriarchs and Prophets, the grandeur that was once Israel—the Israel of King David and King Solomon. They are far more conscious of how the Jewish people have been maligned, tortured, and decimated. Hence they harbor paranoid fear. They have no desire to be the suffering servants of the Lord. They wish to be like others, to live in peace and security, and in a pluralistic yet homogenized society. What tremendous irony!
For no matter how much these Jews—Israel’s political and intellectual leaders—assimilate, the bulk of mankind remains antagonistic. It were as if this anti-Semitism exists only to ensure the failure of assimilation or of any secular democratic regime in Israel.
Still, the persistence of anti-Semitism reinforces the self-effacement of demophrenic Jews. This self-effacement is compounded by guilt. The guilt arises from their symmetrical logic: as egalitarians they have no grounds for denying self-determination to the Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza; and as secularists they have no claim to any part of the Land of Israel that is morally superior to that of the Arabs. Having abandoned traditional Judaism, they have forsaken the only solid justification for Jewish sovereignty over the land of their fathers.
This guilt-laden self-effacement prevents demophrenic Jews from upholding their own rights or from making any demands on their enemies. They prefer to appease their enemies either by meekness or by acts of kindness. Their enemies include their own fellow-citizens, the Arabs of Israel to whom I must now turn.
These Arabs—more than a million—naturally identify with their kinsmen, the so-called Palestinians residing in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. To this extent Israel’s Arab citizens identify with Israel’s enemy, the PLO-Palestinian Authority, a conglomeration of terrorist organizations committed to Israel’s destruction.
Now, in the mid-1980s, that is, even before the official date of the first intifada, “Israeli” Arab violence increased in dramatic fashion, including the kidnapping, murder and rape of Jewish men, women, and children, the planting of bombs on busses and open-air food markets, and the knifing of Jews, young and old. This upsurge in Arab violence may be attributed, at least in part, to an unprecedented decision of Israel’s cabinet in May 1985. A government of national unity unanimously agreed to exchange 1,150 Arab terrorists for three Jewish soldiers captured in Lebanon by the PLO, and to allow 600, including those who had been convicted of murder, to return to their homes in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza!35 Future intifada leaders would not be lacking.
This flagrant disregard of justice and the rule of law—of course in the name of “saving” Jewish life—could not but incite contempt for Israel’s government, undermine the deterrent power of its penal system, and encourage Arab violence. Brazen attacks on Jews increased in the heart of the country. An early 1986 police report found a 50 percent increase in ideologically motivated violence by “Israeli” Arab youth.36
Thus when the first intifada erupted, ostensibly in December 1987, only those afflicted by demophrenia were shocked when Arab citizens of Israel were heard screaming “Itbach el yehud”!—”Slaughter the Jews”! (Living in a make-believe world, they were again shocked in 1990 when Israel’s Arab citizens applauded Saddam Hussein’s threat to incinerate the Jewish state.) A normal government, one might think, would take action to nullify the citizenship of at least some of these insurrectionary citizens, as may be done by enforcing the Nationality Law of 1952, which applies to Jews and Arabs alike.37 Its failure to do so made Arabs more contemptuous of Jews and made a mockery of Israeli citizenship. There is virtually nothing Israel’s demophrenic government would not do to appease its Arab citizens.
In March 1992, the Knesset (without even a majority of its members present) enacted Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom. Under the provisions of this bill—and given a Supreme Court animated by egalitarianism and judicial imperialism—Arabs would be entitled to (1) purchase land anywhere in Israel (even land purchased for Jews by the Jewish National Fund); (2) build mosques and houses in Jewish neighborhoods; (3) receive the material benefits granted to Jews immigrating to Israel; (4) have Arabic, already an official language of the state, placed on an equal footing with Hebrew in all the media of education, etc.
The authors of the bill were obviously animated by hostility toward anything distinctively Jewish. But something far more profound is at work here than secular bias, however fanatical. The bill is a demophrenic escape from reality. Its supporters—and some were religious—utterly ignore the attitude and behavior of Israel’s Arab citizens, specifically: (1) their well-known religious animosity toward Israel’s existence; (2) their blatant indifference to the laws of the Knesset, even though they are represented therein by Arab members; (3) their notorious evasion of taxes; (4) their exemption from military service for reasons of national security; (5) their overt support of the PLO, to the extent of facilitating terrorist attacks in Israel.
Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom grants to Arabs, who would destroy Israel, the rights and benefits of Jews, some of whom sacrifice their lives for Israel. Thus, to say that such equality is illogical and morally perverse or that it manifests Jewish self-abasement, does not go to the root of things. Such egalitarianism is pathological. Moreover, this pathology is of national proportions, since the law in question received support across the political spectrum!
Viewed in political terms, this law manifests the pathological influence of democratic equality on the intellect and emotions of Israel’s political and intellectual elites. In medical terms the law is symptomatic of national demophrenia, a malady that afflicts not only leftwing and rightwing secularists but fainthearted religionists. Autism and paranoia, modulated by Jewish benevolence and self-effacement, prevent them from seeing that the law logically entails the abandonment of Zionism, say, rather, of Jewish nationhood or the right of the Jewish people to have a sovereign and independent state of their own in the Land of Israel.38
By treating Jews and Arabs as unqualifiedly equal, Israel’s political leaders obscure or minimize the differences between Jews who identify with democracy, and Arabs who identify with autocracy. This moral equivalence undermines Jewish self-respect on the one hand, and fosters Jewish appeasement of Arabs and Arab despots on the other.
In contrast, for Jews who take their bearing from the Torah—which can provide logical and salutary constraints on democracy—only those individuals and nations are worthy of respect which abide by the Seven Noahide Laws of ethical monotheism. These universal laws prohibit murder, theft, immorality, and cruelty; forbid idolatry and blasphemy; and require the establishment of courts of justice to try cases involving these offenses.
However, since 1948, but as in the past, Arabs have pillaged and destroyed many synagogues; burned sacred books and Torah scrolls; denigrated the Old Testament; desecrated many Jewish cemeteries; murdered, dismembered, and sexually mutilated many Jewish men, women, and children. These are not merely sporadic and spontaneous acts of sacrilege and barbarism. They are systematically encouraged by Islamic rulers, educators, and “holy” men (who instill in Muslims, from infancy on, hatred of Jews). Yet Israel’s government seeks their peace and even their friendship.39 Such demophrenic self-debasement cannot but arouse the contempt of Muslims and spur their desire to erase the Jewish state from the map of the Middle East (explicitly vowed by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmanidijad).
Before continuing, I must point out that demophrenic self-abasement can coexist with egoism . Consider the following.
On June 9, 2005, Ehud Olmert, who was then Israel’s Vice Premier, displayed remarkable interweaving of self-abasement and egoism in a speech to the Israel Policy Forum in New York. Israel’s government, then under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was in the process of preparing some 50,000 soldiers and police to implement Sharon’s plan to withdraw from Gaza and expel its 8,000 Jewish residents. Here is how Daniel Pipes reported Olmert’s speech in a New York Sun article “The Gaza Withdrawal – A Dreamy Return to Oslo”:
He [Olmert] calls the withdrawal “a remarkable process … that will have an enormous impact on everything that will happen thereafter, in the State of Israel and in the Middle East.” He emphasizes its unilateral nature: “we don’t have to wait anymore, that we really don’t need the United States to lead the process in the Middle East, we will lead this process in the Middle East.” He then soars with this theme of leadership [notice the egoism as well as obtuseness]:
We will lead it because it’s good for us. And we will lead it because it may do good to the Palestinians. And we believe that if it will be good for us and will be good for the Palestinians, then it will be good. It will bring more security, greater safety, much more prosperity, and a lot of joy for all the people that live in the Middle East. …
We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies. We want them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors.
What remarkable irony! The Second Lebanon War broke out in July 2006, less than a year after the Gaza withdrawal. By then Olmert had become Israel’s prime minister. Judging from Israel’s debacle in that war, Olmert could indeed say “we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies.” Some may say these are the words of a degenerate egoist. A more revealing diagnosis is demophrenia, which is endemic in democratic societies where moral relativism undermines awareness of the enormity of evil and the ability to take measures against it.
The pernicious consequences of the Gaza withdrawal were predictable to rational minds. Israel’s highest military and intelligence officials warned in vain against the Gaza withdrawal in testimony before the Knesset’s Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs. Gaza has become a base for international terrorism. Thousands of missiles launched from Gaza have struck and depopulated the town of Sderot. Israel’s government nonetheless persists not only in its policy of self-restraint. but withdrawal from Judea and Samaria remains on its demophrenic agenda!
For Israel’s government to continue to think that self-effacement and retreat can dissolve fourteen centuries of Islam’s overweening pride, malevolence, and imperialism betrays more than an error in judgment—and error that fifteen years of Oslo and some 10,000 Jewish casualties might correct—but a mental disorder widespread in the democratic world, a world infected by moral relativism. This mental disorder, manifested so deadly in Israel, renders it impossible to confront, with intelligence and courage, Arab-Islamic hatred of the West in general, and of Jews in particular.
What appears externally as a disjunction between intellect and will, is a demophrenic inability to cope with ideologically motivated hatred and violence. Israel’s government cannot even cope with the disloyalty of its own Arab citizens because the egalitarian or symmetrical logic of demophrenia impairs the mind’s ability to make black-and-white moral distinctions and to act consistently and vigorously therewith.
Animated, or so they think, by reason, demophrenics cannot understand why reason, graced by benevolence, fails to overcome the malice and cruelty of their adversaries. Even when their assailants falsify reality and defame them, they desist from speaking the truth and exposing their calumniators as vicious liars. Obviously, this demophrenic mentality emasculates them. Their very instinct of self-preservation is bungled.
As we have seen, Israel’s political leaders know the truth about the deadly intentions of the Arab-Islamic world. But to act in a manner commensurate with this truth, Jews must have confidence in the absolute justice of their cause. They must believe that it is their God-given right and duty to maintain exclusive possession and control of the Land of Israel. As we have also seen, however, wholehearted dedication to this higher truth has been undermined by the end of ideology.
As a democratic phenomenon, the end of ideology permeates the mentality of Israel’s democratic elites. There it wages war with Zionism. This inner conflict between the end of ideology and democracy on the one hand, and Zionism on the other, is exacerbated by the anti-democratic and anti-Zionist environment of the Middle East. The result is political schizophrenia. Israel’s government is entangled and enervated by compounded contradictions. It tries to escape this bedlam by yielding, as it were, to symmetrical logic. But reality, that of Islam, refuses to make peace with this demophrenic government. Its occasional acts of self-assertiveness may be understood as flashes of “asymmetrization” in the midst of a world immersed in “symmetrical unity.” Fragmented by conflicting ideas and emotions, this dysfunctional, multiparty government stands transfixed by the single-minded goal and deviousness of the enemy. Alone in a hostile Arab sea, it broods about its image in the democratic world. The irony is of biblical proportions:
Because Israel’s demophrenic government cannot base its Arab policy on truth, it is constantly the victim of lies. Yearning for the acceptance and approval of the nations, it is repeatedly condemned by the United Nations.
Truth demands the exposure of lies and of those who slander you. But this requires a sense of honor, of intellectual and moral integrity which presupposes a basic congruity between reason, emotion, and volition. All this is lacking in demophrenic personalities and governments. The Arab hoax of a distinct Palestinian people, the fraudulent use of the democratic principle of self-determination to dignify the “Palestinian struggle for national independence,” the mendacious description of Judea and Samaria as the “West Bank” or as “occupied Arab land,” the vilification of Jews as “oppressors”—of Jews who have treated their Arabs enemies with greater kindliness than will be found in any Arab-Islamic regime—these Arab lies and slanders go virtually unchallenged by Israel’s political and intellectual elites. Indeed, one of the unwritten rules of the so-called Middle East peace process is that Israel’s government must not tell the truth about its adversaries. To this rule it faithfully adheres, and must if there is to be any “peace” conference.
By attending such charades, Israel’s ruling elites place themselves on the same moral level as Arab despots and terrorists. The “good” and the “bad,” apparently asymmetrical, become equal or symmetrical, or so it seems. However, the symmetrical logic of demophrenia compels the “good” to yield to the “bad,” for the logic of the latter is utterly asymmetrical. The “bad” do not suffer from the moral egalitarianism or relativism that afflicts the “good.”
It has been said that those whom the gods wish to destroy they first drive mad. In Isaiah 5:20 we read: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.” Relativism leads to folly, ultimately to madness, the madness of demophrenia. The subject is further elaborated in the next chapter.