A mental disorder has crippled Israel. This disorder has its roots in fear, but none have yet diagnosed this fear adequately.
When fear becomes pathological
The idea that fear permeates the Jewish psyche is not new. It is the well-known consequence of two thousand years of statelessness and dispersion, persecution and humiliation, pogroms and holocaust. It is the inevitable result of the world’s perennial and deadly hatred of Jews and Judaism.
There is nothing paranoid about this fear. It reflects a somber assessment of a typically hostile world. But this fear has been magnified and rendered pathological by a related fear. The triumph of democracy over Zionism in the mentality of Israel’s ruling elites, engenders this fear.
The fear of losing respectability
That democracy has replaced Zionism as the only justification for the State of Israel has profound but hitherto unexplored psychological consequences.
Since 1975, when the UN declared Zionism a form of racism, the legitimacy and respectability of Israel’s ruling elites have depended solely on their government’s democratic credentials. Despite Israel’s miniature size and precarious existence in the Middle East, its ruling elites have been conditioned to pursue policies toward Arabs which makes Israel appear more permissive and egalitarian than democratic America, a continental superpower. The policy of self-restraint vis-à-vis Arab terrorism is the most revealing case in point.
Fear of losing their democratic respectability is the a basic reason why Israeli governments have refrained from crushing the PLO-Palestinian Authority, whose genocidal intentions are manifest to all but fools. But crushing this enemy would make Israel appear as a fascist state, a prospect that terrifies Israel’s ruling elites. This compounds their fear of anti-Semitism.
Compounding this dilemma is the Jewish reputation for kindness and mercy. The benevolence of Jews on the one hand, and their having so often been the victims of oppression on the other, tend to inhibit Israel’s government from using overwhelming force even against such cruel enemies as the Arab Palestinians—but not against Jews themselves, as witness the government’s expulsion of 8,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza—now called “Hamastan,” an Islamic despotism.
When democracy becomes a mental disorder
However, when Jews habitually make no distinction between those who are and those who are not worthy of benevolence, they cross the boundary that separates sanity from insanity. What has induced Israel’s ruling elites to cross this boundary is Democracy!
Tolerance of violent behavior and leniency in the punishment of such behavior are characteristics of democracy—a mixed blessing. But these characteristics attain pathological levels in Israel because of the genocidal goal of pronounced both in the Hamas Charter as well as in the Charter of Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.
Israel’s inane and insane policy of surrendering strategically vital Jewish land to their implacable enemies should be understood as the consequence of democracy having become the only thing that endows Israel’s political and judicial elites with legitimacy and respectability. To safeguard their democratic reputation, they must be more democratic than their American counterparts, which compels them to minimize retaliation against terrorist attacks—even to ignore many of them—and thus make Jewish lives expendable. And this is not all.
Results of that fear
Having absorbed the “ethos” of democracy into their psyche, Israel’s ruling elites have imbibed the moral and cultural relativism that dominates the democratic mind. Hence they can no longer believe in the absolute justice of Israel’s cause. This relativism inhibits Israeli prime ministers from crushing Israel’s enemies. To do so would signify Jewish national pride—something Jewish democrats can ill-afford. Jews must be meek. Better to be victims than victors—to prove the Jew’s moral superiority!
And so the government must always make unilateral concessions, to the extent of turning over Jewish land to terrorists. Israel’s Supreme Court sanctifies such madness and self-immolation by ruling that this land is “occupied territory,” that it does not even belongs to the Jews—a position thoroughly refuted by American and Israeli professors of law, and above all in Howard Grief’s monumental work The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law.
But heaven forbid the Jews should stand tall and maintain their God-given right to Eretz Israel! No—this would smack of racism! This would undermine the democratic respectability of Israeli politicians and judges, of academics and journalists. Democracy is their life raft.
This democracy, steeped in moral egalitarianism, has emasculated Israel.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan on Zionism, racism, and the UN
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