Thursday, July 15, 2010
I SEE A FORM of the Oslo Syndrome operating here. In the Oslo agreements, Israel embraced Yasir Arafat and his PLO as its “peace partner” even as Arafat and those around him were making clear, in word and deed, that their goal remained Israel’s annihilation. In looking at Israel’s self-destructive Oslo policies, I discussed the phenomenon of segments within a minority population that is under siege – whether the situation be a minority marginalized, denigrated and otherwise attacked by the surrounding majority within a polity, or a small state under constant assault by larger neighbors – commonly embracing the indictments of their enemies, however bigoted or absurd or murderous those indictments. They delude themselves that by doing so, and promoting concomitant self-reform and concessions, their enemies will be appeased and grant them peace.
While most common among minorities at risk, the same phenomenon can be seen within large and powerful populations faced with new and dangerous external threats. This became obvious in the United States after 9/11.
The perpetrators of 9/11 and their myriad supporters quickly made clear their objective of imposing their Islamist rule worldwide and their comprehension of doing so as a religious duty. Yet many in America sought, and continue to seek, to recast the threat, to rationalize it, and to urge policies aimed at appeasing Islamist leaders and followers in the delusional hope of thereby extricating the nation from the dangers it faces.
Geert Wilders argues that Islamofascism derives directly from Islamic teachings, including Koranic exhortations. His movie, Fitna, advancing this argument, is unimpeachable in its citations of Islamic scripture and in its images of Islamofascism on the march. That those who oppose him are motivated in large part by a wish to appease the purveyors of the Islamist threat is indicated by the fact that the negative responses to Wilders have focused not on rebutting his arguments but on demonizing him and using anti-democratic means to silence him. As Roger Simon suggests, they are compelled to hate Wilders because they so want to cling to their delusional denial of the threat.
The ugly, perverse, self-destructive nature of the assault on Wilders, and the necessity to defend him, have been articulated by many. Particularly noteworthy is the stance of Daniel Pipes, in that Pipes disagrees with some of the substance of Wilders’ arguments, believing in the possibility of a moderate Islam, but has forcefully supported Wilders and attacked the shoddy treatment to which he has been subjected, the anti-democratic efforts to silence him and punish him through the courts, and the broad movement – as illustrated in the indictments of Wilders - to quash free discussion of the nature of the Islamist war being waged against the West. Pipes has stated that Wilders’ unique confronting of the Islamist challenge – pursued without the baggage of neo-Fascist, nativist, or conspiricist extremism that have characterized some others in Europe decrying Islamic inroads – has rendered him the most important European alive today.
The above is a quote from Dr. Kenneth Levin, a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a Princeton-trained historian, and a commentator on Israeli politics. He is the author of "The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege."
Read the whole conversation: Symposium: The Fear that Wilders is Right.