Obsessive Critics / Dr.Israel Barnir

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder that causes repeated unwanted thoughts. Often, to get rid of the thoughts, a person does the same tasks over and over. OCD is a chronic, or long-term, illness that can take over one’s life, hurt one’s relationships, and limit one’s ability to work or go to school. People inflicted with OCD realize that in addition to being excessive and disruptive, their obsessions and compulsions are superfluous, neurotic, and unreasonable, they often feel embarrassed and are ashamed of their illness and rarely reveal their symptoms, if they can help it.

To remove any doubts I state that I have not joined the medical profession, and that this is not a medical article. The article deals with the compulsive obsession that compels people to engage in criticizing Israel within the context of the Israeli Arab conflict. It is an obsession that exhibits all the symptoms of OCD.

It is a phenomenon without precedence in the History of mankind. In an average day, when the guns are silent, between 800 and 1,000 items - news, articles, op-ed pieces, etc., about Israel and/or the Israeli-Arab conflict appear in the English language media alone. When the war drums start beating that number is augmented by at least an order of magnitude. Journalistic items from unrelated areas are often “embellished” by some sort of a reference to the Israeli-Arab issue. It is rarely done in a manner complimentary to Israel’s image. The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal which appears in the UK, published recently a “study” which found a correlation between wife beating by their Palestinian husbands and the “occupation” (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2809%2961...) A search, albeit superficial, failed to find similar studies about the treatment of Arab wives by their husbands in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. This was not the first case. Another piece of “research”, published several months ago, correlated the number of people suffering from diabetes in the Gaza strip and the “siege”.

Israel is nowadays the most slandered state in the world. It is the only state in the world facing a world wide systematic vilification campaign, a campaign well organized and financed by hostile states, by international organizations - both governmental and non governmental, as well as by private donors, to the tune of billions of dollars each year. Not a week passes without there being one form or another of an anti Israeli demonstration somewhere. It takes place in campuses, in town halls, and in the streets. At the same time, large budgets are allocated to recruit thugs that are sent to disrupt meetings where speakers sympathetic to Israel’s cause try to have the Israeli side heard. They are not selective in their tactics and frequently resort to physical violence.

All over the world or, as it is put in the Bible - from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces, Israel is the “bad boy”. The one and only state that endangers world peace. The one and only state that occupies other people’s territory. The one and only state guilty of imposing an apartheid regime. A plethora of organizations, all carrying the banner of freedom, equality and human rights, see in Israel the appropriate target to be condemned for all that ails mankind. No state is or has ever been subject to a similar demonizing campaign.

Why is that so? What is it that makes the Jewish state worthy of that dubious “honor”? Are we really that bad? Or is that obsessive campaign just a new form of the old hatred which was the fare of the Jewish people in previous times? However, raising this possibility is met with the knee jerk reaction you always hide behind anti-Semitism! Not every legitimate criticism is anti-Semitism! End of discussion.

“Legitimate criticism”? No doubt, sifting through the multitude of news items, articles and op-ed pieces published every day about Israel (who has the time to do it?), one may encounter some tidbits qualifying as “criticism”, but that would be a mere drop in an ocean of fiendish invective consisting of half truths, lies and distortions. The verbiage employed by the self styled critics is carefully selected with one, and only one, goal in mind - demonizing of the State of Israel and delegitimize its right to exist. Every act of self defense by Israel is depicted as a “massacre”, as a “genocide”, as a “carnage”, as a “war crime” or as a “crime against humanity”. This is not criticism, let alone a legitimate one. This is a manifestation of pure and simple hatred. Hatred of the worst kind. Hatred of the type that we had hoped would no longer be there after the Holocaust had shown humanity where it can lead.

George Orwell defined an anti-Semite as “someone who hates Jews more than is absolutely necessary”. In a similar fashion, we can define today’s anti-Semite as “someone who criticizes the State of Israel more than is absolutely necessary”. The excessive “criticism” of the State of Israel is to all intents and purposes anti-Semitism by content if not by intent.

Recently, a British Baroness (an ex MP) blamed Israel for the stealing of organs from victims in Haiti by the IDF humanitarian mission. She did not put it so bluntly. She employed a clever tactic developed by Israel’s detractors for such occasions. She said that “allegations that members of the IDF mission in Haiti stole organs from victims” have to be “investigated”. What “allegations”? Allegations by whom? Most likely the allegations were made by the lady herself. It should be remembered that a short while ago a similar libelous story – the stealing of organs from Palestinian victims by the IDF - appeared in the Swedish press. The method in this type of defamation tactic is simple. First on the scene are “rumors” or “allegations”. No one knows where they originate or who is behind them, nor is there a shred of proof or evidence to substantiate these rumors/allegations. They are repeated until the media get hold of them. Next , the matter, once it has made headlines, must be “investigated”. To add credibility, a grain of truth is inserted into the story. Thus, in the present example, the Baroness’ libel did in fact contain some truth - the presence of the IDF mission in Haiti was an undeniable fact.

Another example will serve to better understand how it works. Let’s backtrack a few years back. Eight years ago to be precise. In the spring of 2002, in the wake of a particularly murderous terrorist attack in the coastal city of Natanya in Israel, the IDF waged operation “Chomat Magen” (Shield Wall), aimed at destroying terrorist bases in the Shomron (Samaria). For those who don’t remember the details, the battle in the town of Jennin was most difficult, since it was conducted in a built up area. In order to avoid hitting the civilian population, the IDF refrained from employing its armored units, its artillery or the Air Force. The results for Israel were disastrous - 23 Israeli soldiers were killed and about 60 were wounded in the ferocious fighting that ensued. In similar circumstances, in Iraq and/or in Afghanistan, the NATO forces employ their full might indiscriminately resulting in large numbers of casualties among the non combatant population, but who cares? In Jennin about 50 Arabs, all of whom were armed terrorists, were killed as well - under the circumstances not a high number of casualties. Regardless of what went really on, the media reported about a “massacre” that had been perpetrated by the IDF, with the BBC leading the pack by airing that falsehood every evening for a whole week. Even papers like the Observer and Le Monde - both organs not “guilty” of harboring any pro Israeli sympathies, deemed it appropriate to condemn the BBC for its exaggerations. In the US it was referred to as “the massacre that never was”. Motivated by the media storm, Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General at the time, called for a “fact finding” commission to be sent to the region (a precursor of the Goldstone commission) in order to “investigate” the events. When Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, told him unequivocally that Israel would not accept such a commission the Secretary General had second thoughts and retracted his initiative. In the meantime the Palestinian Authority admitted that only 50 Arabs - all combatants, were killed and that there was no “massacre”.

But the story did not end there. A “Human Rights” organization (the milieu of “enlightened” intellectual circles which hasten to condemn Israel on every opportunity is teeming with such organizations and advocacy groups) picked up where the BBC left, and reproduced that concoction in the form of a written “report” on the events. The authors of that report had the temerity to claim that their opus was based on authentic “testimonies” collected “on the ground”. BBC fallacious reporting is not exactly a “testimony collected on the ground”, neither is it an “authentic evidence”, but who cares about such small details?

That’s still was not the end of the story. An Israeli Arab movie producer came up with the idea to use that report as a basis for a “documentary” movie. The movie is rife with scenes showing armored bulldozers employed by the IDF to level inhabited houses with the residents inside, and to dig mass graves for the “thousands” of victims of the massacre that never was. The movie won accolades in international movie festivals and the producer turned into a celebrity overnight. One owner of a movie center had the following explanation as to why he continued to screen the movie despite its obvious libelous nature “The pictures showing ruined houses in the movie are authentic, thus there is an element of truth there” - it is hard to argue with that since, after all, some houses were in fact destroyed in Jennin during the fierce fighting that had taken place there . . . To this day, that movie is a permanent fixture in the agenda of meetings and demonstrations where Israel is condemned for its treatment of the Palestinians.

It may sound like madness, but there is a method in this madness and it is well structured. At the beginning there are innuendos and insinuations. These are repeated until they eventually become “solid” allegations. These of course must be “investigated”. Who will investigate? What sort of a question is that? A special, objective and independent, “fact finding” commission will be formed to carry out this mission. Goldstone is packing his suitcase.

Back to the present. In the last days of 2008, in order to put a stop to the almost daily barrage of missiles aimed at civilian centers in Israel from the Gaza strip, the IDF waged operation “Offeret Yetzuka” (Cast Lead). Right away, at the onset of the operation, before any details were known, petitions condemning the operation were circulated in the media, accusing the IDF of carrying out a “carnage” (Shechita) of the Gaza population. The rumors/allegations production industry went into high gear and the manufacturing of horror stories about “war crimes” committed by the IDF became a favorite pastime among Israel’s critics. Since no one has any reliable statistics as to how many casualties were incurred and how many among them were non combatants any number goes. Needless to say, in all these petitions, condemnations, and denouncements, not a single word mentioned the missiles aimed at civilians in Israel, nor was there any mention of the Arab use of the civilian population, including children, as human shields - a war crime per se. With few exceptions, the media coverage of the operation was not much better. Operation Cast Lead is still in the news. The news raised concern among the group of countries who champion the cause of human rights, led by Cuba, Lybia, China and other, similar, epitomes of human rights, and a “fact finding” commission was set up and sent to the region in order to establish that the IDF did in fact commit war crimes. The head of the commission and its individual members were carefully selected to ascertain that they understood precisely what was expected from them, and that they would not spend time on such nonsense as trying to find out what really happened.

The commission was up to expectations, and the resulting report was a scathing condemnation of Israel and the IDF for every imaginable crime. One of the consequences of that report, aka the “Goldstone report”, is that various Israeli officials and members of the military are now being threatened with law suits in Kangaroo courts worldwide.

Needless to say, the factual basis of the “findings” of the Goldstone report is similar to that of the BBC report on the massacre that never was, mentioned above, but who cares?

However, this time the report has been endorsed by the UN council of Human Rights (led by Cuba, Lybia, China and other, similar, epitomes of human rights), the UN General Assembly and many members of the European Union. It is on the agenda of the UN Security Council. Under the present US administration, it is not at all certain that the UN Security Council will not endorse the report too, despite the fact that taken at face value the assertions made in the Goldstone report delegitimize the US war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq as well.

In fact, the Goldstone report is now a key component in the delegitimization diplomacy - a term coined by Dore Gold, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN - conducted against Israel. This diplomacy borrows from the success of similar campaigns against Rhodesia, Uganda and South Africa in the past and, more recently, against Serbia. However, in all the past cases the campaign was aimed at the regimes with the goal of making them mend their ways, while this time the campaign’s goal is to undermine the very existence of a State, the Jewish State. People who embrace the anti Israeli campaign with such an enthusiasm are oblivious to this difference and, more often than not, they don’t really care. The need to fulfill a compulsive insatiable urge, no matter how irrational, overshadows all other considerations and leads to a total disregard of the consequences of one’s actions. The Goldstone report, which by referring to Israel’s “war crime”, in fact delegitimizes Israel’s right to self defense, serves as an example.

Referring to the obsessive criticism of Israel as a “disorder”, does not tell the full story. In fact it is a far more serious affliction. For lack of a better term I’ll call it mental AIDS. AIDS - short for Acquired Intellectual Deficiency Syndrome. It is a term that I invented. People experiencing it do not suffer pain, nor are they in risk of dying from it. Those inflicted by it, however, are the ones who find moral justification to the acts of suicide bombers.

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters (without spaces) shown in the image.