The psychological term, False Self, refers to a person whose entire conduct is derived from the way others expect him to behave. This is a person who has relinquished his personality and individuality, and for whom every murmur of criticism is a source of anxiety, confusion and panic. What is true of an individual can also be true of a public, and even of a nation.
The Jewish character, as the result of unfortunate historical events, is sensitive to an extreme degree about “what the goyim will say.” Most of the writers who revived Hebrew poetry and fiction in the early years of national revival devoted a considerable part of their work to the description, and rejection, of these feelings of inferiority.
This literature had a great effect on the Jewish youth who aspired to free themselves from these complexes. The State of Israel was set up by those who managed (some of them, it transpires, only partly) to set themselves free. The hopes of the founding fathers were that those who would grow up with the state, and certainly their offspring, would reach a balance.
However the events of this past week have once again made it clear just how agitated and fearful we have remained, certainly in this respect; to what extent we have acted like an insecure community in the face of the flood of defamation from every direction. And what is most symptomatic is that we do not stop flagellating ourselves over not having done enough to provide “information” to those who hate us, as if they do not know the truth. For after all, had we simply provided them information (hasbara), they would have become our admirers rather than our enemies.
The writers of the national revival vehemently attacked the Jews for accepting the goys’ wickedness toward them and pointed an accusatory finger at themselves. The extent of their success is borne out by David Grossman and Amos Oz, who this week wrote articles reflecting primeval Jewish fears together with the desire to placate those who belong to that world of “What will they say.” The words of Chaim Weizmann were truer now than ever before: It is easier to take the Jews out of the galut (Diaspora) than it is to take the galut out of the Jews.
Most of the Israeli media did not immediately begin expressing regret over mistakes. The problem started when most of the world’s media started to take a stance against Israel, as if that was something new. Here, instead of deciding at a certain stage that we had enough of these critical reports, the media continued to stuff the public, which anyway was despondent, with an endless torrent of contemptuous remarks and scenes from the demonstrations held by Israel’s worst enemies.
And the public, who no one bothered to tell that a demonstration by a few hundred Arabs in New York was a failure and certainly did not express the public sentiment in the United States, continued to be worn out. Television news presenters Yonit Levy and Yaakov Eilon, who were highly disturbed by the fact that their colleagues in New York and Washington were angry, broadcast the criticism time after time, because after all it is the public’s “right to know.”
At the same time, not a word was said about the supportive attitude of TV stations that are viewed by tens of millions of Americans − true, they are not the majority on the campuses nor the majority of the readers of The New York Times − where the anchors and viewers actually love Israel, respect it for not bowing to terror and for constituting, even if not by choice, the front line of western civilization.
If “world public opinion” is reflected in the pictures of several hundred protesters in several dozen cities in the world (except for Istanbul, there was not even one real demonstration), then indeed “the whole world is against us.” But this specific world was against us a long time before the flotilla, and it will remain so even after the waves wash over it. The hatred for Israel among those who hate us is basic, inborn, and not the result of the present conduct of the Israeli government, its citizens or its army.
As we noted, there is “another” world, a world that supports Israel. For some reason, we know almost nothing about it. Diplomats, businessmen and especially tourists meet it. That world looks at what is happening here and has the feeling, even if it has reservations about us, that we deserve support; because if we fail, the day will not be far off when they, too, will have to face some of the difficult events we are facing now.
However, Israel shakes off those who support it. It does not feel good in their presence. In the past, it scorned those Arabs who supported it and called them collaborators, and more than once left them in the hands of their enemies, as happened with the village associations in Judea and Samaria and the Christians in south Lebanon.
After all, there is something strange, perhaps even perverted, when Arabs support Israel − not so? And Israel − this is the essence of its complex − is attracted in some strange way to those who deny its existence and murder its sons. But this attraction considered neither strange nor perverted.
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