Why The Palestinians, And by Extension The Arabs, Have Problems With The Jews

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Like many other columnists, I had no idea that I would be writing this week about the topic that I ended up choosing.  Who could have imagined that Hamas, the group that rules the Gaza Strip and that is one of Israel’s many sworn enemies, would have been able to pull off such a successful lethal assault on Israel?  The Jewish state was obviously caught with its guard down.  Of course, there are several reasons that Hamas chose to attack Israel when it did.  First of all, there is the idea that this is the fiftieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, another war where Israel was surprised by its adversary.  Then there is the fact that both the governments of Israel and the United States were distracted and weakened by deep political divisions within them.  Finally, there was a general complacency in Israel with regard to the situation in Gaza being stable and that nothing was going to happen to upset that stability.

Apart from causes with regard to the Hamas assault that have been connected to events and situations of the present moment, there have also been ongoing contributory causes that have created an element of instability since Israel first took over the Gaza Strip.  In particular, I would like to focus on the incredible sensory distortion involved with living in Gaza.  As its name suggests, Gaza is a narrow strip of land, 25 miles long and 4-5 miles wide on the southeastern coast of the Mediterranean next to Israel.  An important point to understand is that Israel inherited the Gaza Strip as it was, when it won the Six Day War with Egypt.  Gaza was a small piece of land that was extremely densely populated when Israel took over it, and it continues to become even more densely populated today. The press of so many people living together, without significant open spaces like nature parks to escape the crowding, such as one finds in and near urban areas in the States, is bound to create a lot of pathological behavior.  In particular, in the Gaza Strip, it takes the form of a lot of aggressive violent behavior.  In order not to explode apart from all of the aggressive violent energy being generated from the overcrowding, people need to have targets in order to be able to direct the energy out and away from them.  This is unfortunately where the Israelis and, in general, the Jews come in.  In Hamas’s charter, one of the main principles is killing off the Jews.  Not simply the Jewish Israelis, but all the Jews.  The founder of Hamas, whose name escapes me, maybe because I want it to permanently escape me, says in the charter of Hamas that he wants to kill off all of the Jews.  Total extermination.  All over the world.  In the process, the members of Hamas can get rid of that jailed feeling that is figuratively killing them.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not trying to imply that people pollution is the primary efficient cause for the murderous rage that Hamas feels towards the Jews.  The primary efficient cause can be found in the change of social status the Jews have achieved in the Middle East.  During the years of the sultanates and the caliphates, the Jews were allowed to live in these Muslim empires as dhimmis – second class citizens – who were proscribed from all sorts of activities and behaviors that Muslims were permitted.  The Jews were allowed certain kinds of clothing of certain inferior materials, only donkeys, not horses for transport, and homes of certain sizes that were smaller than their Muslim equivalents.  Imagine how humiliating it must be to have to deal with the Jews in today’s world, not just as equals, but in many ways, because of their economic and intellectual successes, as people who have socially moved ahead of them.  Before, as dhimmis, they, along with the Christians, Zoroastrians, and Hindus who lived in Muslim empires, were considered one of the protected peoples.  In return for this protection, they had to pay a special tax.  To me, it sounds very much like mafia tactics.  Supposedly, a Muslim who harmed a Jew arbitrarily would not go to heaven.  The hypocrisy of all this was demonstrated in the fact that periodically there were mass attacks against the Jews.

What we must ask ourselves is why is it particularly the Jews that are hated by the Arabs among all the other peoples who lived in dhimmitude.  As with the European Christians, the Arabs saw Islam as the monotheistic religion that was supposed to replace Judaism as the one true religion for the world.  Problems began for the Jews when they wouldn’t just quietly disappear, when they wouldn’t go quietly into the night.  When they insisted on continuing to exist.   This is what the war going on against Hamas today is really all about.

This is the first article I have written for Diario Judio where the focus isn’t principally on sensory distortion.  But then again, I have mostly thought of sensory distortion as one layer among several layers of causality.  Sometimes it is overwhelmingly the most important layer.  In this case, it is not.  

© 2023 Laurence Mesirow 

Acerca de Laurence Mesirow

Durante mi estadía en la Ciudad de México en los años setenta, me di cuenta que esta enorme ciudad contenía en sus colonias distintos "medio ambientes vivenciales", que iban desde muy antiguas a muy recientes; desde muy primitivas a muy modernas.Observé que había diferencias sutiles en la conducta de la gente y en sus interacciones en las diferentes colonias. Esta observación fue fundamental en la fundación de mis teorías con respecto a los efectos de la tecnología moderna sobre los medio ambientes vivenciales y sobre la conducta humana.En México, publiqué mi libro "Paisaje Sin Terreno" (Editorial Pax-México), y luego di conferencias para la U.N.A.M. y la Universidad Anahuac. También, presenté un ensayo para un Congreso de Psicología.Ahora que mis hijas son adultas, tengo el tiempo de explorar mis ideas de vuelta. Le agradezco mucho a ForoJudio.com y en especial al Sr. Daniel Ajzen por la oportunidad de presentar mis ideas.

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