A pioneering research study dealing with Israeli Jews' memory of the conflict with the Arabs, from its inception to the present, came into the world together with the war in Gaza. The sweeping support for Operation Cast Lead confirmed the main diagnosis that arises from the study, conducted by Daniel Bar-Tal, one of the world's leading political psychologists, and Rafi Nets-Zehngut, a doctoral student: Israeli Jews' consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians and insensitivity to their suffering. The fighting in Gaza dashed the little hope Bar-Tal had left - that this public would exchange the drums of war for the cooing of doves.That's not even the worst part of this. The worst part is how the people who do know the facts, namely Israeli leaders, actively work to nurture mental illness in their own society for the simple fact that it makes their goals easier to achieve.
Bar-Tal emphasizes that the Israeli awareness of reality was also forged in the context of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens, but relies primarily on prolonged indoctrination that is based on ignorance and even nurtures it. In his opinion, an analysis of the present situation indicates that with the exception of a small minority, which is capable of looking at the past with an open mind, the general public is not interested in knowing what Israel did in Gaza for many years; how the disengagement was carried out and why, or what its outcome was for the Palestinians; why Hamas came to power in democratic elections; how many people were killed in Gaza from the disengagement until the start of the recent war; and whether it was possible to extend the recent cease-fire or even who violated it first.People don't want to know. They don't want to be confused with facts, especially facts that make them look bad. The official structures of Israel society -- the government, the education system, the media -- accommodate Israeli popular culture, which can be described in one word: victimhood.
...Bar-Tal claims that this distortion of memory is no coincidence. He says that the details of the plan do not appear in any textbook, and this is a deliberate omission. "Knowledge of how the land was divided could arouse questions regarding the reason why the Arabs rejected the plan and make it possible to question the simplistic version: We accepted the partition plan, they didn't."
Zionism is an incurable disease of the mind.
The Israelis really crossed the line, however, when they insisted on bringing this mental illness into the United States of America. As an American, I do not appreciate that two percent of our population wields power out of all proportion to their numbers. From print media to television to radio to movies, the Jewish point of view has been amplified to a deafening roar. Just imagine if you woke up one morning to find every prominent Jewish American replaced with a Native American -- a different 2%. You would find Native Americans all throughout our government, from the president's chief of staff and senior adviser, to many top positions in the economic and financial world, to various important diplomatic and foreign policy positions. You could not open a newspaper or turn on a talking-head show without the Native American viewpoint being amply represented. NPR would be Native American Public Radio. Seriously. (Have you heard Terry Gross trying to talk about the Israeli war crimes in Gaza? She sounds personally stricken.) If you think that would be a little weird, then why is it not weird to have the Jewish perspective taking up this much room in American life?
Well, that's the way it is, and that's the way it has been, and here were are. The discourse about Israel has been so twisted that most Americans would not even know where to begin to untangle it. But it's actually not so complicated: the Israelis are the aggressors. That is a Conspiracy Fact, like it or not. Justice is not going to come out of this situation until people begin to acknowledge the facts, and the facts cannot be acknowledged until people begin to talk about them, and people will not begin to talk about them until they begin to see that our entire discourse is being managed to avoid this very topic.