Europe has an obsession with Jews - II
by Michael Brenner on 13 Dec 2023 0 Comment

In more concrete ways, Europe’s vassalage to the United States obliges it to follow Washington down whatever policy road the seigneur takes - however reckless, dangerous, unethical, and counter-productive. In predictable fashion, they have walked (or run) like lemmings over whatever cliff the United States chooses next under its own suicidal impulses. So it’s been in Iraq, in Syria, in Afghanistan, in regard to Iran, in Ukraine, on Taiwan and on all matters involving Israel. The string of painful failures and heavy costs produces no change in loyalty or mindset. It cannot - for the Europeans have absorbed totally the habit of deference to the Americans’ worldview, their skewed interpretation of outcomes, and their shamefully fictitious narratives. The Europeans no more can throw this addiction than a life-long alcoholic can go cold-Turkey.  


That condition impels them to downplay the ominous trends in American politics and foreign policy. The choice of mentally unstable and /or incompetent leaders, erratic actions by unhinged political forces, high-risk ventures abroad, the baiting of designated rivals – none of it moves Europeans to throw off the yoke placed on their minds, their emotions, and their morals.


Moreover, we should bear in mind that contemporary America has become hysteria-prone. First was the Global War On Terror that for twenty-odd years had it rampaging around the globe on the hunt for jihadis from the Hindu Kush to the Sahara desert while shredding its Constitutional guarantees of individual rights and due process. Then, the manic Russo-phobia: Dostoevsky removed from literature courses, Anna Netrebko summarily cancelled in all Western opera houses on the grounds that she once accompanied Putin to a fundraiser for refugees from Donetsk who fled Ukrainian artillery strikes that killed 14,000 of their fellows, boycotts of Russian goods including sewing needles, etc. etc.


Simultaneously, the conjured China ‘menace’ has been stoking our fevered imaginings. That hysteria triggered the ‘spy’ balloon psychodrama. Congruent with this psychopathological syndrome, America today is a culture where draconian measures are taken by all manner of institutions under pressure from braying militants, to rid themselves of persons who as much as suggest that gender identity is not just a matter of personal preference.


The Europeans, for their part, are no less hysteria-prone. It spread from the United States at epidemic speed. Imagine a convent circa 1623. The most emotionally flammable young woman loses it in declaiming that she is possessed by a lecherous demonic agent. Soon, the other nuns are infected and mass hysteria breaks out. Today, when a whole society is dissociated from reality, there are no Mothers Superior or exorcists around to contain the ensuing bedlam.


Indeed, the universal hysteria serves the purpose of those who calculatingly promote and use that hysteria to draw a “line of blood” between the collectivity and responsible, humane behaviour. For once one has demonized Palestinians in general as guilty, thereby justifying gruesome acts, it becomes almost impossible to retreat into a position of condemning those selfsame acts of criminal revenge that you previously blessed since that means inculpating oneself. Even those prominent public figures who simply have kept silent in the face of atrocity thereby fall into this trap.


The stunning, frightening truth is that Western societies - American & European – are behaving hysterically. For the Senate in Washington to pass a near unanimous resolution condemning what it called “anti-Israel, pro-Hamas student groups” is a clear sign of abnormality. It is unmistakable from statements by supporters that the label is applied to anyone who protests the onslaught in Gaza or expresses support for the Palestinian people. Widespread denunciations and purges of individuals who voice those sentiments confirm that. Some might question how one can describe as hysterical the actions of private institutions and governments as well as individuals as being part of an irrational mass psychosis – and on a matter that does not concern them directly.


After all, these countries are composed of educated, autonomous, diverse members schooled in civic ethics – the majority secular and unattached to any dogmatic creed or movement. We are not speaking of medieval cloisters or theocracies or totalitarian societies. That is exactly the point. The observed phenomenon meets all of the criteria for a diagnosis of mass hysteria – speaking objectively. Manifest hysteria where you do not expect to see it at once underscores the psychopathology and raises the most profound questions as to what species of social entity we have become. The few, very rough historical analogies are not ones we want to contemplate.


Collective hysteria does have predictable effects. One is that participants cease to think independently – some, including leaders, are unable to think at all. That is to say, to interpret reality in ways other than that dictated by the fixed, unqualified and simplistic narrative of what is happening, why it is happening, as well as with whom the rights and wrongs lie. Uniformity of outlook impervious to observed facts is what we have seen in the impassioned Russo-phobia, and now regarding the Palestinians. This phenomenon, orchestrated at the top by leaders who themselves are prey to dogmas and irrational emotions, stifles critical thought and judgment even when faced with the most stark, most bloody and gross sins against the very principles that we celebrate as underlying our morally superior Western societies.


A related effect is that deception and self-deception blend into a homogenous mindset. It is insulated from encroachments by a mental Hepa filter which keeps out anything – even the smallest particle of truth - that could stimulate doubt or self-awareness. Consider the likes of Biden, Trudeau, Sunak, Schulz et al. Their endorsement, and thereby encouragement, of mass murder in Gaza – once expressed becomes imprinted. Thus, if you were to probe for justification in a quiet one-on-one exchange, you would get the same canned, elusive sloganeering that marks their public statement.


The mental faculty has become paralyzed. Sustaining this unnatural state is helped by the systematic suppression of dissent. Doing so serves two purposes: it keeps at bay any dissonant, reality-based idea or evidence challenging the fixed mindset, and unjust suppression /punishment of dissenters creates an additional disincentive to critical reflection since that threatens to evoke feelings of shame for those revealed misdeeds.


What this tells us is that the phenomenon that we are describing is most pronounced among Western political elites. Their hysteria, mutually reinforcing collective emotion, uniform attitudes and fixity of reference points combine to produce perverse behaviour.


The one aspect of the situation that shows a measure of conscious celebration is the political – in particular, the electoral. It is Biden’s worries about his faltering Presidential campaign that led him to the surprise declaration that Israel was at risk of exceeding its quota in killed Palestinians. That is accompanied by a cavalier rewriting of the earlier record of when Washington promoted unrestricted Israeli retaliation and lobbied neighbouring governments to accept the expelled Gazan population. Accommodating media are only too happy to go along with the mendacity since it erases the memory of their own cheerleading for those draconian actions.


We should understand Emmanuel Macron’s sudden advocacy of a ceasefire in the same vein. It is a mistake to imagine that this shift was the outcome of a sombre reflection on the moral and diplomatic issues involved. Macron is another one of those self-designated messiahs without message or mission – like Barack Obama – whose sole concern is self-promotion and self-advancement. In Macron’s case, he has his eye on an even bigger position than President of France – Secretary-General of the United Nations or President of the European Union. Preferably the former. So, presenting himself as a Gaza humanitarian could win him votes in the global South and also make him more palatable to Russia and China. The rest of the French political elite are still insisting that protesting crimes against humanity in Gaza is tantamount to an act of anti-Semitism.


Back to Europe. In the Middle East, the net effects are 1) that Europe is burdened with the heavy baggage of interventions that inflame Muslim hostility toward the West, and 2) to create the psychological imperative to find some way to assuage their own sense of guilt by finding, and magnifying, the sins of their victims. That dubious enterprise acquires a thick veneer of contrived virtue by making a tight embrace of Jewish Israel the ultimate symbol of their good intentions and by blinding themselves to the transference of their accumulated guilt for historical abuse of the Jews into empathy for their former victims’ abuse of Arab Muslims. 


P.S. The internal dynamics of the United States are very similar to those of Europe – with three exceptions. One, guilt regarding historical mistreatment of Jews is largely absent. Yes, individuals may feel something about the Christian scapegoating of ‘Christ-killers,’ but generally speaking, it is far more abstract. The empathy for Israel has arisen, and intensified, mainly from an instinctive sympathy for the underdog threatened by people you view negatively (1956, 1967) – a heart-wrenching narrative that has been vastly strengthened by vivid accounts, cinematic and written, of the tragic 20th Century Jewish saga. Moreover, there is the exceptional influence exerted by the powerful pro-Israel lobby.


Two, the dramatic growth in the influence of a politicized Evangelical movement has added a significant factor to the equation. The Book of Revelation is their guide and inspiration. Therein, they are told that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and Armageddon will be signalled by the restoration of the Jews in their Hebrew homeland. What happens next, of course, is blurred by both Israelis and the Evangelicals.


Three, the United States’ rededicated project to entrench its global dominance has spurred American assertiveness around the world. Its long-time focus on the Middle East for multiple reasons inclines Washington to secure what it sees as prized assets. That strong impulse is accentuated by its declining influence elsewhere in the region – especially the Gulf. With creeping doubts as to its prowess, and of its presumed calling to be the prophet of progress for all the world’s peoples, America compulsively grasps every occasion in order to confirm that it is Destiny’s Child and to be reassured that its national mythology is inscribed in the heavens.



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