The Psychology of Jews Who Embrace Their Enemies

By Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, INN

“A number of Jews and Israelis embrace criticism coming from anti-Semites and extreme anti-Israelis. They have many precursors in the lengthy history of the Jewish Diaspora.

“This phenomenon reveals great similarity, at the level of human psychology, to the response of children subjected to chronic abuse. Such children tend to blame themselves for their suffering. In their helpless condition, they have two alternatives. They can either acknowledge they are being unfairly victimized and reconcile themselves to being powerless, or they can blame themselves for their predicament. The attraction of the latter – ‘I suffer because I am bad’ – is that it serves the desire of being in control, fantasies that by becoming ‘good’ will elicit a more benign response from their tormentors. Both children and adults invariably seek to avoid hopelessness.”

Kenneth Levin is a psychiatrist, historian and author of several books, among which is The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege.1 He is a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

In The Oslo Syndrome, Levin explains the attitude of Israeli self-haters: [There is] “a wish to believe Israel is in control of profoundly stressful circumstances over which, unfortunately, it has no real control. Genuine peace will come to the Middle East when the Arab world, by far the dominant party in the region, perceives such a peace as in its interest. Israeli policies have in fact, very little impact on Arab perceptions in this regard, much less than the dynamics of domestic politics in the Arab states and of inter-Arab rivalries.”

Levin adds now: “Popular hatred for Israel, which is fanned by Arab governments, education systems, media and Muslim clerics, runs deep in Arab opinion. This is not a totally isolated phenomenon, but fits into a much broader framework. Since the earliest days of the existence of the Arab-Muslim world, there has been widespread animosity against both religious and ethnic minorities in the region. It would be a mistake to attribute, for instance, the pressure on Christian minorities exclusively to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Popular Muslim-Arab hostility has also led to pressures on non-Arab Muslims such as the Berber populations in North Africa.

“While those Jews and Israelis who embrace anti-Jewish arguments typically do so in the hope of ingratiating themselves with the Jews’ enemies, they will rarely acknowledge this motive. Rather, they typically claim that their position reflects a higher moral or ethical position.

“In the past and present, a common claim by anti-Semites has been that Jews are interested exclusively in their own well-being. This has led many Jews to focus their energies on broader social causes, even as the Jewish community suffered unique disabilities. Jews who take this course typically do not admit they are doing so to avoid being accused of Jewish parochialism. Rather, they claim to be righteously transcending narrow concerns to address more universal needs.

“During World War II, particularly after the Nazi extermination program was revealed in late 1942, many American Jewish leaders sought to raise public awareness of the plight of Europe’s Jews and promote rescue efforts. Yet they also limited their campaign out of fear of arousing public anger over Jewish concern with a Jewish issue, and they often rationalized their doing so as reflecting devotion to the greater patriotic task of winning the war. It was largely non-Jewish voices which insisted the Nazi extermination program was not only a crime against the Jews but a crime against civilization and all of humanity and therefore should be of concern to everyone.”

Levin observes: “In the last sixty years, the American Jewish community at large has energetically embraced support for Israel. This has been made much easier by the fact that the wider American public has traditionally been sympathetic toward the Jewish state.

“On the other hand, Israel has come under much criticism in certain American media, on many American campuses and in several mainstream liberal churches. Those segments of the Jewish community who live and work in environments hostile to Israel, commonly embrace the anti-Israel bias around them. And they often insist they are being virtuous by doing so.

“The psychological dynamics of communities under attack explain why, both abroad and in Israel, the virtual siege placed upon the Jewish state will continue to lead segments of Jewish communities to support the besiegers and to urge Jewish self-reform as the path to winning relief. Yet the path they advocate is no less delusional than that of abused children who blame themselves for the abuse they experience. All too often such children doom themselves psychologically to lives of self-abnegation and misery. In the case of Jews indicting Israel for the hatred directed against it, the misery they cultivate goes far beyond themselves and ultimately, undermines Israel’s very survival.”

March 4, 2012 | 11 Comments »

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  1. The only thing that separates these “Jews” is the fact is that they have no connection to Torah. So they think they can appease others and hopefully they will blend in or be accepted but they are very wrong dead wrong! They have no idea what they are living for and who’s really in charge. But that’s a whole argument in itself for another time.

  2. Anti-Zionist capitalists – we need to beware of them too.

    There are plenty of anti-Zionist among successful Israeli capitalists. Many of them are doing excellent business with the PA and Gaza. Some of those companies have very close business ties with individuals in government.

    Companies profiting from trade with PA/Gaza and their friends in government advocate for Israel’s partition and for policies that favor Arabs over Jews.

    Investigative reporter David Bedein has addressed this issue, offering names and details. (Unfortunately David Bedein no longer has his radio show on A7 Israel National Radio. He was outspoken and politically incorrect.)

    Writing on the past campaign to release terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit, David Bedein wrote:

    “The Israeli media has delivered a monolithic message, as if the only way to free the one kidnapped Israeli citizen in Gaza, Corporal Gilad Shalit, would be to trade hundreds of lethal murderers for his freedom.

    “There is another option: The government of Israel can clamp a complete and total economic shut down of Gaza until the Gaza regime hands over a kidnapped citizen of Israel that it now holds for ransom.

    “There is one possible reason why Israel has not applied that option: According to a study released by Globes, Israel’s daily business paper, Israeli firms export 2.7 billion shekels of products to the Palestinian Authority.

    “An economic boycott would cause Israeli firms to lose profits.

    “One of the Israelis firms that would express outrage at an economic slowdown in Gaza would be Dor Alon, Israel’s leading gasoline conglomerate, which owns a contract as the primary supplier of gasoline to Gaza.

    “The new owners of ‘Dor Alon’ now include former Israel Finance Minister, Beiga Shochat, and son of the the former head of the World Jewish Congress, Matthew Bronfman.

    “Another Israeli firm that does business in Gaza is Nesher, Israel’s cement cooperative, which is owned in part by the influential former Israel Defense Forces Commander in Chief, Amnon Lipkin Shahak.”


    Anti-Zionist government policies would not stand a chance if there was a greater sense of outrage among Jews.

    So-called “right wing” coalition MKs are still treated with great deference by settlers, in spite of their dreadful anti-settlement voting record. That needs to change.

    Police/IDF harassment against Yesha Jews is constant. They are detained without charge. They are expelled from their homes in the middle of the night and their homes razed. But there’s hardly any reaction among Yesha residents. No attempt to unite and organize against these polices and in favor of Israeli sovereignty over their land. Not even a serious protest.

    Also, the anti-Zionist elite, particularly journalists, professors, and politicians, need to be denounced more strongly. What they advocate is nothing less than the weakening and eventual dismantling of Jewish Israel. That should not be tolerated as a legitimate ideological option in Israel.

    And business deals that empower the enemy in detriment of Israel should also be denounced for what they really are.

  3. Very excellent comment! Yes, let’s save our compassion for Patriotic Zionists. As one myself, I am frequently demeaned by my fellow “jews” or JINO’s, whichever term you prefer. They are absolutely deranged as liberalism has become their religion and entire existence. They are beyond fools, they are traitors. I thank my righteous Christian brothers and sisters who stand loud and proud for Israel. And yes, there are still many Jews with brains left to fight. NEVER AGAIN!

  4. Not so sad. Right now there are no friends worth having.

    On the bright side you don’t have to eat dinner with the Ogoilemas. They probably have stewed Jews for desert.

    The Muzzards are welcome to assimilate Paris and those filthy anti-Semitic French, It’ll be fun seeing the Eiffel tower replaced with a minaret.

  5. The sad fact of life is that Israel is truly friendless- we need to serve ourselves and look after ourselves irrespective of what others say.

  6. I just finished reading “The Memory Chalet” by Tony Judt.
    Any opinion here on Tony Judt?

    The book is not about Jews embracing enemies per se, it is a book of autobiographical reflections. However I think there is enough there to study the psychology of those who develop that psychological disease of a certain kind of self destructive leftism.

  7. Paradox: Patriotic Jews offer their lives to save their country, but anti-Zionist Jews sacrifice land, religion, and heritage in order to save THEMSELVES and their status among Gentiles.

    The “Oslo Syndrome” theory when applied to Jews is absolute bunk.

    We carry genetic memory of much injustice and crimes against Jews. The moral response is not national/cultural suicide.

    There is NO EXCUSE for genocidal hatred against one’s own people, religion and heritage.

    Anti-Zionist and indifferent Jews know that Arabs are today’s Nazis and that Israel and Jews are in peril.


    Keep in mind that the current anti-Zionist (or Post-Zionist) movement started among highly educated German Jews at the same time as Herzl was desperately trying to promote the idea of re-establishing the state of Israel.

    There was no Jewish “occupation” of Israel, no Arab refugees.

    On the contrary, Jews were helpless victims of pogroms and discrimination everywhere, including in the Ottoman Empire.

    But German anti-Zionist Jews waged relentless war against Herzl.

    Not even the Holocaust was enough to inspire compassion among those German Jews. Their hatred was so deep that they continued to agitate from their safe places in exile against Jewish return to ancient Israel, and then against the reconstitution of the state.

    They lost but they didn’t give up. Entrenched in academia, they indoctrinated generations of Jews with their anti-Zionist poison. Today their intellectual offspring are professors themselves, teachers, journalists, politicians, judges.


    Here is an illustration of the despicable, treasonous, and twisted anti-Zionist mentality:

    During Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Israel, anti-Zionists were desperately trying to save his life.

    The anti-Zionists’ guru, Professor Martin Buber, “was disconsolate, running from meeting to meeting with other professors from Ben Gurion University writing letters and hoping against hope that Adolf Eichmann might be granted clemency and given a life sentence of agricultural work on a kibbutz instead.” (The Jewish State by Yoram Hazony, page 282.)

    Today’s anti-Zionists are just as evil:

    – They release Arab murderers (today’s Nazis)
    – They have given much Jewish land and heritage to the Arabs, and continue to offer them more so that they can establish a country of their own – a launching pad for the destruction of Israel.
    – They harass and disempower Jews, confiscate their weapons, and tell police/IDF not to shoot Arab rioters or terrorists.
    – They perpetrate pogroms against Jews (Amona).
    – They dismantle small outposts and entire Jewish towns so as to give land to the Arabs.
    – They agree with the funding, arming and training of a Nazi army in the PA.

    And from today’s news:

    Cabinet Ministers defeated National Union bill requiring the Star of David on ambulances operating in Judea and Samaria because it might “lead to “annexation” and damage the ambulance service’s “international standing”.

    A year ago the Anti-Zionists in the Knesset and the sheeple who vote along with them defeated a National Union bill for extending sovereignty over Yesha. There were only four votes in favor, all National Union.


    Anti-Zionists are often enthusiastic collaborators with a wave of genocidal hatred against Israel, Judaism and the Jews – whether from their armchairs or from positions of influence in Israel.

    So, let’s stop making excuses for anti-Zionists and attributing their evil acts to “Oslo Syndrome”. Let’s save our compassion for patriotic Zionist Jews victimized by both Arabs and powerful anti-Zionist Jews.

  8. The Jewish Federations, CIJAS, and other organizations are too weak in their support of Israel. I am citing the terrible IAW, which actually started in Toronto, because the Feds did not have the balls to say to the Jewish students who wanted advice about whether they should allow this to proceed.THE ANSWER SHOULD HAVE BEEN THIS IS NOT FREE SPEECH, THIS IS HATE SPEECH. This is a very stressful event, and should be banned from the universities.
    I think of someone I know in the commuity who had the guts to take on Ernst Zundel, and have him tried for incitement of hatred. he was found guilty , went to Germany TO JAIL FOR HIS ANTISEMITIC POSTINGS>
    We need to be empowered to stand up for Israel. It may not be perfect, but compared to others around, we are truly a democracy.

  9. Jewish anti-Semitism is the result of the world’s hatred of the Jews, not its cause.

    It would be surprising if some Jews did not perceive their own people in a negative light. There have been many such examples throughout Jewish history.

    And will be in the future. Every one wants to be liked and Jews are no exception.

  10. As a re-framing exercise, simply replace Jew or Jewish with Obama in the foregoing article. This trick tells us that the fastest and most direct path to conflict is to appear weak and opposed to your own best interests. That’s fine if you are an Alinskyite like Obama, but not if you are interested in peace and survival.