Over-compensating by turning pro-Israeli

2:12 pm - October 26th 2009

by Carl Packman    

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My old psychology dictionary of terms informs me that overcompensation can be ‘a Freudian defence mechanism, whereby an individual attempts to offset weakness in an area of their lives by focusing on another aspect of it.

I thought back to those English Defence League marches, where 2 things are promised every time; that an Israeli flag will appear to show solidarity with Israelis over Muslims (like it was a simple choice between the two), and a couple of beered up scummies will produce the fascist salute (for examples see here and here).

It came up again when Nick Griffin stumbled over his words on Question Time tell the audience that his party was the only one to give full support to Israel and their right to exist during its clashes with Gaza, or more precisely:

[National Socialists in UK] loathe me because I have brought the British National Party from being, frankly, an anti-Semitic and racist organisation into being the only political party which, in the clashes between Israel and Gaza, stood full square behind Israel’s right to deal with Hamas terrorists.

Interestingly with the last example, Griffin was one of those anti-Semitic members of the British National Party. He was the author of a pamphlet entitled Who are the Mindbenders (have a guess, go on) in which Jewish names are listed to testify that Jews control the media.

Griffin’s argument then was to suggest that Jews are responsible for indoctrinating people to think that criticising Jewish people is automatically anti-Semitic, appreciation for multiculturalism is fine, homosexuality is not “creepy” and Britishness is racist.

Interesting that these people choose pro-Israeli, or Zionist, sentiment to undercut their otherwise anti-Semitic image. Not unique however.

Adolf Eichmann, the man known as ‘the architect of the Holocaust’, a Nazi who managed to juggle two seemingly inharmonious positions as anti-Semite and Zionist, whose aim was to channel as many European Jews as possible to Palestine. Eichmann was encouraged by one Baron Van Mildenstein – a man who wanted to forge a collaboration between Nazis and Zionists – to study Jewish society and history so as better to understand the Jewish enemy. Eichmann did so, earning him a special place in the Reich. Before long Eichmann changed his mind on promoting a strong Jewish state, but nonetheless his Zionism was situated on the idea that the Jews belonged elsewhere, and that a small section of the Middle East, mandated by the British, would be where that place was sited.

The Final Solution was an act that aimed to destroy the Jewish race from the root, an act most favoured by Nazis then and now, but Eichmann’s Zionism – before his part in the Holocaust – was to separate Jews from other Europeans, something Eichmann himself felt was borne, not out of anti-Semitism, but, on the basis that races can not mix, particularly the Jewish race. He also denied turning from a Saul to a Paul on the matter, wanting to secure Jewish racial particularism, or, simply, one place for Jews and a European place for aryans.

The charge that an individuals pro-Israeli words should write off an anti-Semitic history is a most naive way of disavowal, but nonetheless, rather typical behaviour of someone who is either in, or wants to be in, the political mainstream.

As Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman senior political editor, recently replied to Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, “are we ‘really so naive [to think that] supporters of Israel can’t be anti-Semitic at the same time?” The pro-Israeli over-compensation by the above should provide answers to this question.

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About the author
Carl is a regular contributor. He is a policy and research analyst and he blogs at Though Cowards Flinch.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Foreign affairs ,Middle East ,Race relations ,Realpolitik

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Reader comments

Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him.

Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his fellow man.

You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help our fellow man (immigrant) in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

This current climate of blaming others for our woes is not new. We have had this before and we have conquered it.

Remember “Evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing”. Raise your voices with those of us who believe we are equal and we can win this battle again.

A rightwinger waving an Israeli flag doesn’t necessarily like Jews. He just hates Arabs more.

3. organic cheeseboard

well yeah. See the usa too where there are an awful lot of anti semites like ann coulter who also cheerlead for israel. Mehdi has it about right and this all takes you back to the old confusion of israeli and zionist and jew-which, sadly, both sides of the argument interchange far too often.

You misunderstand.

There is no intellectual contradiction between Griffin’s probable anti-Semitism and his support for universal ethno-nationalism.

He supports Zionism because Zionism is ethno-nationalist in nature. (Okay, one could substitute the “ethno” to “religio”)

Zionism supports a homeland for Jews, run by Jews that gives Jews priority rights to settle there.

The BNP have a similar vision for Britain.

The siding with Jews by odd bed fellows is common, look at the conservative right in America, the Christian Right who fundamentally believe that Jews will have to repent or die play a crucial part in end time mythology and so are allies, until Christ comes with a big fuck off sword that is.

It is an interesting new development that the right is becoming increasingly attached to what was its greatest foe and the left, speaking very generally, becoming distanced from the Jewish cause because of the terrible treatment of the Palestinians.

On top of what Reza points out at #4, it’s also worth considering that almost all right wing organisations have this strong militaristic aesthetic, which makes Israel, and especially the legendary Mossad, super sexy to them.

Plus, of course, they might just not always make the connection. Friends of mine had an encounter with some German skinheads who completely failed to conflate Israeliness and Jewishness, to the point where they (my friends) were lionised by the gang as “beating up those darkies” or whatever. It’s important to remember that one of the defining characteristics of fascists is that they are dumb.

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