*By Andrzej Koraszewski, 7 January 2024
I've never heard a politician say that Ukrainians have the right to defend themselves. Maybe they don't want to expose themselves to ridicule. Some, however, say that Israel has the right to defend itself, and this is proof of their morality and nobility. In fact, they say that even Jews have the right to defend their lives, which for some may be proof of their deep humanitarianism, and for others a violation of laws and customs, because it is unheard of.
On my computer there is a picture of a lone Israeli soldier walking with an Israeli flag away from the gate at Auschwitz. For me it’s symbolic. A condition for "Never Again" is Israel's ability to defend the lives of its citizens. Many question their sacred right, inventing the most bizarre reasons for denying Jews the right to defend their lives. No wonder, because for nearly two thousand years they did not have this right.
Today, thousands of people are marching through the world screaming genocidal "from the river to the sea", accusing Israel of genocide and demanding the extermination of the Jews. Is this indictment of Israel inconsistent with their explicit expectation? It depends on how you look at it. This type of inconsistency is extraordinarily common.
On September 7, exactly one month before the largest massacre of Jews since World War II, Western media reported on antisemitic statements made by "President" Abbas. (This "president" is actually a dictator who has refused for years to call elections.) Abbas assured his audience that:
They say that Hitler killed the Jews because they were Jews and that Europe hated the Jews because they were Jews. Not true. It was clearly explained that [the Europeans] fought [the Jews] because of their social role, and not their religion.
He also added the old canard that European Jews are not real Jews.
Of course, this Palestinian intellectual did not invent anything himself. He studied in Moscow, and in his doctoral thesis he quoted Soviet anti-Zionist literature abundantly; he combines the age-old European antisemitism with the age-old Muslim anti-Judaism.
He didn't have to lie when he talked about European hatred, and he knew perfectly well that even Nazism had never cured Europe of the multi-generational perpetuation of absurd prejudices.
Born in 1935, Abbas found himself with his family in Syria as a result of the Israeli War of Independence and went to Egypt to study law. Was he influenced by the Nazi-affiliated Palestinian Arab national liberation movement in his youth? This is highly likely, because it was the dominant movement in both Syria and Egypt. We know that growing up, he embraced the Soviet Union and a more secular ideology that would lead to the same goal that led the father of the Palestinian Arab national movement, Mufti Amin al-Husseini, to argue for the close affinity of German Nazism and Islam. In 1965 Abbas joined Fatah, which means that even then he thought that it was better to seek the extermination of Jews under the banner of the Soviet formula of struggle for liberation than to openly adhere to the ideas of Nazism, which was already so unfashionable.
The Soviet Union had collapsed, although not in the same dramatic way as Nazism. Mahmoud Abbas was one of the closest men to Yasser Arafat, who came to the conclusion that it was necessary to move on under the Western banner of the struggle for peace. He, too, believed (and perhaps even knew) that the West had not recovered from its old prejudices and that he would find many allies there; it only required a slight change in rhetoric. However, betting on this horse aroused the suspicion of more conservative Muslims, who wanted to openly proclaim their goal, which was and still is the world caliphate, i.e. the subordination of the world to one god and one thought.
How do ideas colonise minds? The twentieth century brought two mental plagues that swept away millions of minds and claimed hundreds of millions of lives. Both of these ideas were fascinating, raised hopes, gave a sense of community, and encouraged sacrifices, including the readiness to give one's life for them.
Over a year ago, a book by an American historian, Richard Landes, was published under the notable title Can the Whole World Be Wrong? To paraphrase the Communist Manifesto, we could say that a spectre is haunting the world, a spectre of collective delusions. Our date and place of birth determine what collective delusions we will be exposed to. My father, in an attempt to immunise me against believing too hastily in what seemed obvious to me, often said that history makes a fool of everyone. Richard Landes is a medievalist, and his specialty is the millennial movements, i.e. a collective psychosis spreading like wildfire across the prairie, combined on the one hand with the fear of an apocalyptic catastrophe and on the other with the need to save the world. Is he right to translate his knowledge of the Middle Ages into our present day? I've talked to a lot of ex-communists, trying to understand the mechanism of infatuation. Neither reading books nor having dozens of conversations can provide complete clarity here. However, the date and place of birth, combined with the environment in which a person grows up, seem to be what most strongly determines the willingness to swallow a Murti Bing’s pill*. When you swallow it, the rally becomes a social event and the screaming becomes a drug. The colonisation of minds, however, is a phenomenon as old as time.
As far as I can make out, some of the great ironies of the twenty-first century— and there are many candidates—are:
• Since the 9/11 assault by devout Muslims, many more Muslims proudly wear hijabs in the West, and many fewer Jews, out of fear, wear kippahs in public.
• The Jewish people are the only people who are the standing targets of state-sanctioned incitement to hate and genocide, but also the only people who are themselves accused of being genocidal.
• The same people who make heroic efforts to ban hate speech that might offend others, have immense tolerance for hate speech directed at themselves and at their Jewish co-citizens.
• The post-moderns, whose philosophy was to renounce both the illusion of objectivity and grand narratives, have produced a political movement that, in the name of progressive values and peace, has adopted a warmongering premodern grand narrative, and use “science” and “facts” to promote their cause.
• Vast numbers of people around the world want to emigrate to societies whose own elites have come to consider them the embodiment of evil.
• Western democracies, who had convinced themselves and their Jews that they had renounced Jew-hatred after the Holocaust, may be destroyed by a medieval apocalyptic movement that exploits their unacknowledged Jew-hatred.
Is this hatred of Jews more than just a genocidal hatred of one small nation, or is it a mental contagion dangerous to the human species as a whole? How does this virus spread? Is the American historian right when he says that the virus mainly attacks people who hate democracy? In a warning to readers, Richard Landes writes:
Intoxicated mentally by the messianic dream of a global Caliphate [i.e., Islam from ocean to ocean], which will finally achieve the expansionist dreams of the most radical Muslims; contaminated by the monstrous and rooted “certitude” that in this catastrophic and absurd world there exists a people chosen by Allah and that, consequently, all the actions of an obsessive, psychological and pathologically exclusivist religious triumphalism are justified; educated and trained in the idea that any suffering that has been inflicted, or will be inflicted on everyone else, especially on the Jews, will always be inferior to that which they themselves suffered in the Nakba, the Palestinians endlessly scratch their own wound to keep it bleeding, to make it incurable, and they show it to the world as if it were a banner. Jihadis seize hold of the terrible words of Allah in the Quran (8:12): “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore, strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” Palestinians want all of us to feel guilty, directly or indirectly, for the horrors of the Nakba; Caliphators want us to renounce the most elemental critical judgment and for us to transform ourselves into a docile echo of their will; Caliphators want us to recognize de jure what, in their eyes, is a de facto reality: absolute Muslim impunity. From the point of view of the Muslims, Islam cannot ever be brought to judgment, because the infidel has humiliated it, and because Allah is on their side.
It's kind of funny, because it's a paraphrase of an antisemitic tirade by a Western intellectual, in which Landes replaced the word Israel with a global caliphate, God's chosen as Allah's chosen, the Palestinians replaced the Jews, and the Nakba the Holocaust. This quote shows how the mind virus works by inverting the truth. Can the “whole world” buy such an inversion? If not the whole world, then enough for the public to be constantly fed the counterfeit truth. In the Middle Ages such counterfeits of truth were spread through pulpits, which was effective enough to induce people to commit mass murder. Today, we have better technology. Male and female intellectual virgins are sent to respectable editorial offices, from where they convey to the public their admiration for figures such as Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Khomeini, and Abbas.
The New York Times wrote about Adolf Hitler in the first months of his rule:
“He begins to speak slowly and solemnly but when he smiles — and he smiled frequently in the course of the interview — and especially when he loses himself and forgets his listener in a flood of speech, it is easy to see how he sways multitudes. Then he talks like a man possessed, indubitably sincere.” What’s more, “Herr Hitler has the sensitive hand of the artist.”
This newspaper (arguably the most important newspaper in the world) carefully covered up Stalin's crimes, the great famine in Ukraine, the extermination of Jews by the Nazis, Mao's crimes, and today, 90 years after that interview with the bewitching Mr. Hitler, it publishes an interview with the mayor of Gaza, who tells us about Israel's immeasurable crimes.
Of course, the newspaper fails to mention that the mayor of Gaza is in office on behalf of a genocidal power whose ideology has been linked to Nazism since its inception and whose fighters are fond of using the Nazi salute. Viruses of the mind must be delivered gently and unnoticed, preferably under the cover of nobility and compassion for the weak, preferably with the help of pictures of children, because this allows the virus to break the immunological barrier.
We may ask why genocidal ideologies so often use anti-Judaism as a tool to overturn the ban on killing. The stereotype of the Jew as anti-neighbour is the most deeply rooted image of the dehumanised human figure. Starting mass murders with Jews makes it easier to continue the murder of others. This is the easiest place to break the line and start a murderous orgy. It doesn't always start there, but often enough for open or disguised antisemitism to be a constant temptation for pathological leaders.
Who are pathological leaders? Recently, an American author mentioned a book by the Polish psychiatrist Andrzej Łobaczewski, who in 1984 published Political Ponerology in the West. Born in 1921, Łobaczewski, while pursuing his psychiatric practice in a hospital, analyzed how dictatorships based on genocidal ideology co-opt psychopathic individuals into their governments. The first manuscript of this work (written in the early 1970s) was burned a few minutes before the search by the secret police. Another attempt to send the reconstructed manuscript to the Vatican ended with a denunciation by the Roman correspondent of the Polish People's Republic in the Holy See and the author was offered to leave the country (losing all the collected materials and notes). In the U.S. he reproduced his work but did not find a publisher. In the end, the book was printed in a small edition and sent only to a group of scientists.
Łobaczewski studied immediately after the war, during the worst years of Stalinism, and watched with astonishment as young, fanatical supporters of the murderous system were born. Some were captivated by the false promise of doing good, and they realised relatively quickly that they had been deceived, while others, on the contrary, were fascinated by the possibility of doing evil within the system. According to Łobaczewski, this division resulted mainly from personality differences and innate tendencies. We are aware of the fact that many people are born with psychopathological tendencies. Under normal circumstances, we have no idea how many of our neighbours would pick up an axe at the cry of "today it is permissible to kill." Is this number constant or does it vary from one society to another? How much influence is genetic and how strong is the influence of religion, ideology, and culture?
October 7 revealed that there are millions of people in Western societies eager to pick up an axe. We are also seeing a very significant strengthening of homicidal instincts in Muslim societies.
When it comes to individuals with innate psychopathological tendencies, the options are limited—physical elimination when they murder, isolation from society when their attempts end in being overpowered. The question is, how often are the minds of good people colonised by murderous ideas?
Probably no one knows the answer to this question. We know that arousing revulsion for one's eternal anti-neighbour enables the abandonment of the principle of "Thou shalt not kill," and that this revulsion is gently awakened without interrupting the dream of one's own nobility.
I look at the headlines of the reports from "my" Polish newspaper which are copied on the latest pages of my notebook:
Stop the massacre in Gaza. Thousands demonstrate in support of the Palestinians.
Children identify the corpses of their mothers and fathers. Gaza Report.
Doctors at the hospital in Gaza: I have never seen such wounds in my life, and I have seen many.
Another difficult night in the Gaza Strip. Israel is bombing and shelling Palestinians, and the number of casualties is increasing.
The West Bank lives in fear of the Israeli army and settlers.
Another day of bombing in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of victims of the broken truce.
Another clash in the West Bank. Six Palestinians killed.
It goes on page after page, one out of ten headlines is relatively neutral. It is no different when I read Hamas news broadcast by the BBC, Reuters, or the Guardian. There is not a trace of an honest depiction of Israel's terrible and almost hopeless struggle for survival. Of course, there can be no information about the ideology aimed at the victory of a world caliphate, because it would be Islamophobia. Psychopaths are given food of the highest quality. A good person has little chance of becoming immune to the plague. The captivation of minds is progressing step by step.
Is there any chance of the decolonising captive minds? In places like Gaza, it takes a resounding defeat of the organisation that nurtures sadistic murderers. In the democratic West, there is no hope for the time being.
Luai Ahmed, a Yemeni living in Sweden who has managed to free himself from the heritage of his religion and his country, writes that he has been warned that he could be targeted by the most dangerous Islamists in the West. He replies:
But the West's most dangerous Islamists are the clueless academics and journalists who sit comfortably in their ivory towers and force mass Islamic migration on gullible Westerners. I'm not scared of Islamists threatening me. I am just one person who will live a short life like everybody else; I am worried about the Islamization of the West which would lead to the suffering and oppression of billions of people for centuries to come.
This horror may become real depending on the degree of colonisation of minds. For the time being, we see marches of thousands who support Nazi Hamas, we see good people who follow the media reports and are ready to believe those who inform them, without a chance of getting to reliable knowledge.
* Murti-Bing’s pill is an invention of a Polish writer, Witkacy. It’s a pill that gives the person swallowing it a world-view which makes him/her happy and fulfilled. The idea was used by Czesław Miłosz in the book The Captive Mind to describe how young, idealistic people swallowed Communism after WWII.
Translated by Małgorzata Koraszewska and Sarah Lawson
Alisdare Hickson from Woolwich, United Kingdom - A Prayer for Palestinian Children, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=138840023
On 7 January 2024 at 17:03, Ben Dor A. wrote:
Thank you Anjuli Pandavar
What happened in Nazi Germany can repeat itself in the US in the next generation.
51% of young people in the US believe that Israel should be destroyed and given to Hamas.
Ben Dor A.