Part I. Schizophrenia
Like his Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and his Education Minister Yuli Tamir, Ehud Olmert is tainted by multiculturalism, hence by cultural relativism. Hence, he cannot wholeheartedly believe in the justice of Israel’s cause vis-à-vis the Palestinians—and this is why he is ready to surrender even part of Jerusalem. Moreover, although all human beings are susceptible to egoism, relativism conduces to self-aggrandizement, moral indifference, and even schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is deemed the core concept of modern psychiatry. Fortunately, schizophrenia is not necessarily an all-encompassing illness that sets those affected apart from their fellow men. A World Health Organization study concludes: “schizophrenics, for all their vulnerabilities, are in the full sense responsive social beings like the rest of us.”
Various researchers distinguish between positive- and negative-symptom schizophrenia. The positive includes hallucinations and delusions. The negative includes escapism, apathy, self-effacement, anxiety, stereotypic behaviors, and impairment of volition. These negative symptoms obviously exist on a continuum with normal behavior. Consider Ehud Olmert.
On June 9, 2005, Olmert, then Israel’s Vice Premier, addressed the Israel Policy Forum in New York. The Sharon Government was then training 50,000 soldiers and police to implement withdrawal from Gaza and the expulsion of its 8,000 Jewish residents—a crime that has no name. Olmert described the planned withdrawal as “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 emphasized its unilateral nature and proceeded to make two remarkable statements:
(1) We don’t have to wait anymore … we really don’t need the United States to lead the [peace] process in the Middle East, we will lead this process … We will lead it because it’s good for us. And we will lead it because it may do good to the Palestinians…. 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.
(2) 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 them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors.
What 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.” These words are symptomatic of degeneracy stemming from egomania. This would be the diagnosis of Dr. Max Nordau, a prominent Zionist who was also a psychiatrist. Egomania, however, seems to contradict the self-abasement manifested in schizophrenia. The inconsistency is superficial, as I will now explain with Nordau’s help.
Part II. Degeneration
In 1895, Nordau published Degeneration, a book republished in 1968 by the University of Chicago Press. Nordau sees that moral relativism leads to egoism and degeneration. His book provides insights relevant to Israel’s ruling elites and their fixation on land for peace.
Nordau found that nearly all degenerates “lack the sense of morality and of right and wrong.” Their moral relativism engenders “egomania.” He also discovered that in many degenerates, egomania coexists with “self-abhorrence.” Nordau sees that the egoism and self-loathing of degenerates render them unstable and suggestible. The combination of egomania and self-loathing conduces to impulsive and irresolute behavior (Recall Olmerts’ behavior in the Second Lebanon War.).
Degenerates, says Nordau, also lack a sense of honor as well as a lack outrage at the suffering of others. Notice how Olmert, like his four predecessors, consorts with Arab terrorists, shakes their bloodstained hands, and fail to retaliate, in a sustained way, against terrorist attacks.
Nordau claims that the degenerate is “incapable of correctly grasping, ordering, or elaborating into ideas and judgments the impressions of the external world….” He “surrenders himself to the perpetual obfuscation of … fugitive ideas.” He is given to “fixed” ideas, however visionary or unrealistic [such as land for peace]. Moreover, “facts which do not please him he does not notice, or so interprets that they seem to support his delirium.”
Nordau anticipates David Shakow and Harry Stack Sullivan’s concept of “selective inattention.” Thus, despite the fatal consequences of Oslo and the warnings of Israel’s highest military and intelligence officials, the Government persisted in the evacuation of Gaza. And despite the Gaza debacle, Olmert wants to withdraw from Judea and Samaria,
This selective inattention to disturbing stimuli raises the question of whether Olmert and his predecessors consciously lie about reality. Of course, lying is common among politicians, especially when they have supported a disastrous policy, like the Oslo policy of land for peace.
The Government tried to defend that policy by propagating the idea the Arab birthrate would lead to an Arab demographic majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, which would doom the Jewish state. Hence, Israel must retreat from the “West Bank”—or so they wanted us to believe. This pessimistic projection was exploded in January 10, 2005. A study of the American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG), was published in Israel’s Hebrew-language newspaper Ha’aretz, that Israel does not need to retreat from Judea and Samaria to secure Jewish demography.
The study shows that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics inflated the Arab population in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem by nearly 50%. Rather than 3.8 million Palestinians, it was no more than 2.4 million. Since those registered as Jews in Israel comprise almost 80% of Israel’s population, they make up a 59% majority with Gaza plus Judea and Samaria and a solid 67% majority with Judea and Samaria without Gaza!
The results of the study appeared again in Ha’aretz on January 24, 27, 28, 2005 (as well as in subsequent months). Moreover, not only did members of the American-Israel Demographic Research Group discuss the results of their research on Israel National Television, but they also made presentations to MKs of all political parties. Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that Israel’s Government was cognizant of this momentous demographic research.
Now, recall the date on which the new Demographic study first appeared in Ha’aretz—January 10, 2005. This was seven months before the Sharon Government’s unilateral retreat from Gaza in August 2005. More striking is this: On January 4, 2006, one year after the new Demographic revelations, Olmert became Israel’s acting prime minister. On January 24, in his first major policy address, Olmert declared at the Herzliya Conference that he backed the creation of a Palestinian state, and that Israel would have to relinquish parts of the West Bank to maintain its Jewish majority!
Was Olmert unaware of the new Demographic study, which members of the Knesset had seen and which had been circulating around Israel throughout the year preceding his Herzliya policy statement? This is hardly credible, unless Olmert was suffering from “selective inattention.” Or to apply psychologist David Shakow’s diagnosis to Olmert: “The subject has a ‘fixed’ idea [territorial retreat] and resorts to it without regard for the [contradictory] stimulus” [the new Demographic study]?”
Finally, ponder this. Even while Hamas was mobilizing an army in Gaza, even while Hamas was firing Kassam missiles on Sderot, and even though Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ own Fatah security men were released by the PA despite their having plotted to assassinate him, Olmert consorted with Abbas at the November 27, 2007 Annapolis Conference, fixated on the futile and fatal policy of “land for peace.” Indeed, he was virtually anxious to surrender Judea and Samaria to Israel’s sworn enemies. Conventional explanations of such behavior obscures what seems to be a serious a mental disorder: perhaps schizophrenia or what I call demophrenia.
Olmert poses a mortal threat to Israel. He should be removed from office!