Friday, September 16, 2005

Once they were mosques...

A compelling-and timely-article in Haaretz about hundreds of mosques that were destroyed and dozens of others that were converted to synagogues, cafes, and even a cowshed. Long-live Zionism.

Hilmi, a member of a non-profit group affiliated with the northern faction of the Islamic Movement which keeps track of abandoned mosques faxed over seven handwritten pages, which included two lists. One list, with 34 names, enumerates mosques that now serve a different purpose: most were turned into synagogues or museums, a few became residences or storerooms, at least two are cafes, and one became a cowshed. The second list, 39 names, catalogs abandoned mosques to which access has been cut off. "A partial list," Hilmi wrote. He also noted that it did not take into account the mosques and Muslim houses of prayer destroyed since 1948. How many were destroyed? ...hundreds, considering the fact that about 600 villages were expelled or chased off or abandoned...

More at


Blogger Moses said...

Odd. The Boers made that very argument for a white only Orange Free State near the end of the apartheid era

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"anonymous" (the last one) is demonstrating a psychological phenomenon known as projective identification (I'm a psychotherapist). In projective identification, someone projects an emotion or part of themselves onto another, then behaves in a way that provokes the other to act in the projected manner. It's one step beyond simple projection in that the person actually makes the projection come true through provocation. It's thought this develops as a manner of communication during infancy and continues to be used by people who have arrests in their psychological development. In other words, by terrorizing the Palestinians the Israelis have turned Palestinians into terrorists, so that the Palestinians will act out the paranoid fears of the Israelis, which are rooted in the Israelis' own self-concept and psychological structure. For more on the subject I suggest the works of Otto Kernberg.

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting Anne - I was reading the first chapter to Noam Chomsky's 'Middle East Illusions', and he says roughly what you are saying, only about the situation directly before Britian gave up its mandate and buggered off to leave these poor folk to their fate (Jewish folk and Palestinians).

An escalation to a pattern of extreme violence, tit-for-tat, if you like, which fed into the terrible immediate post-mandate period of mass expulsion etc. So sad, when there was so much co-operation taking place and things didn't need to turn out as they did. It was not a foregone conclusion by any means.

Anyway, where was I - Oh yes, actually Abu Shaar my good friend, didn't Hitler say the same thing about Jewish Bolsheviks and and Jewish Capitalist Rothschilds etc - that's the thing about scapegoats and 'projective identification', who cares if it doesn't make sense, it's only sub-humans we're talking about and they don't count anyway - brains were low down the list of Hitler's ideal attributes for his supermen

I love your article's Laila !

2:36 AM  
Blogger Abu-Issa said...

Anonymous (#2)
A 'mixed' state, would be a true Democracy! A shining example to everyone on the planet that it is possible for us to all live together: Jew, Christian, Muslim.

3:49 AM  
Blogger أبو سنان said...

They left the synagogues there as nothing more than a cynical ploy for PR. What better than to have Muslim Palestinians tearing down Jewish synagogues splashed all over the media? The Israelis are nothing if not media savvy.

The biggest synagogue should have been left as it was and made into a national museum about an-Nakbar(The Ethnic Cleansing of 1948) and the occupation. The rest should have been converted into youth centers and health clinics. The inept Palestinian leadership never misses an opportunity to look bad.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't resist elaborating on my subject: Projective identification goes hand-in-hand with other primitive mechanisms, including "splitting," which is exactly what it sounds like, dividing the world into all-good and all-bad, and grandiosity (inflated self-concept, often used to camouflage shame and humiliation, and/or to provide a rationalization for violating the rights of others--ex. "we are the chosen people"). To maintain grandiosity, the other must be demonized, which of course exacerbates the paranoid fears. On a cultural level, the grandiosity along with the paranoid fears of the other help to solidify a sense of identity for the group...someone I know who has worked for both the U.S. State Dept. and the CIA once remarked to me that without the Palestinians to hate, Israeli society would fall apart, because it is so internally fractious.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that it was me who quoted Prof Chomsky above and left a small reply to Anne's wonderful observations.

I forgot there are different types of comments boxes

PS I am off to see if the great Mohammed Omar of Rafah Reports has anything yet on the wonderland of the open border (if only for a few days)

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne -
You are obviously enamoured of your subject but I'm not sure I would trust my mental health to someone who is willing to give a diagnosis based on a couple of lines in the comment section of a blog.


10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I didn't give any diagnosis. I was discussing a common psychological phenomenon.

2:04 AM  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Most functioning democracies are fractious. The basic governing documents normally keep the society from being ripped asounder. The former state and cia official merely leaves an opinion, possibly more guided by special experiance, but only an opinion.

But we are more than ready to see what life will be like when totally separated from the Arabs whose sole desire is destruction of the Jewish people.

Some democracy. The majority with the needed religious ferocity to start the second holocaust.

One wasn't enough for you?

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne -
A common psychological phenomenon that you applied to an entire racial group using second hand knowledge and conjecture. I'll elaborate with one e.
You applied the term "grandiosity" to the qualifying statement "we are the chosen people", a typical misconception. "Chosen people" does not refer to being grandiose or even special. It refers to being chosen to follow the commandments G-d passed to Moses, all 613 of them with all of the work that entails. Yes it is a priveledge, but also a duty and even a burden. Gentiles are not required to follow them nor are they to be judged for not following them.
Yes Israeli society can be fractious but for all the unity they gain from the common "enemy" of terrorism, they lose unity in the range of opinions on how it should be handled and in their vision for the relationships with the Palestinians, from war to peace and even friendship.
Perhaps instead of reading books to find a nice tidy package you can place Israelis in, or talking to people who might have greater knowledge, you could make the effort to meet a few and get to know them.
Hopefully with an open mind as that is a lot of the problem in this part of the world.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne said
".someone I know who has worked for both the U.S. State Dept. and the CIA once remarked to me that without the Palestinians to hate, Israeli society would fall apart, because it is so internally fractious."

Why exactly do you quote this remark? Do you believe in it? So we are to take it that all Israeli's hate all Palestinians?

Yup, I'm with Joyce here. I wouldn't trust a psychotherapist who put stock in a remark that was so guileless, and such a sweeping generalisation.

Perhaps you should come and meet some Israeli's and Palestinians, and then truly see how they feel about each other, before you feel free to comment with authority about the situation.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For anyone out there who hasn't came across IT ,or Aby-Av as IT calls ITself - don't waste your breath on IT, unless your a racist as well, then you'll have alot to talk aboout.


10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried to leave this comment earlier -
So what, leaving opinions around in public spaces ? Don't you trust engineers or historians, for instance, if they choose to work in the public domain - why the special opt out, or opt-in, for psycho-therapists ?

I think 'another anonymous 10.10, is taking 'Israel' to mean 'all Israeli people' ie 'Arab -Palestinian' Israelis as well - clearly a case of projection going on here.
'another aqnonymous' is deliberately choosing not to catch the drift that here 'Israel' refers to its governing elites and structures.

Anyway, Israel doesn't officially have any borders and 'Israeli citizens' are another of those bizarre confections invented by Israel (Israel in the sense 'anne' intended and I pointed out above - an easy concept to grasp hence easy to deliberately distort as well).


10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, I have traveled twice to Israel and the Palestinian Territories in the past two years. I've met Israelis and Palestinians, including staying in their homes. I think I mentioned this in an earlier post... The purpose of using psychological theory to analyze cultures is not to claim that all the individuals in the culture are the same, but to analyze the culture itself as an entity. In relation to what Joe said, I'm actually not sure I 100 percent agree; ordinary people do have an influence on the culture, but I do agree that the ruling elites not only have undue influence on the culture, but also manipulate the worst aspects of the culture for their own gain. We see this in the U.S. with the manipulations and propaganda of the Bush regime. As for the definition of grandiosity, the concept of being "the chosen people," the definition of which I am well aware, still fits with grandiosity. It's a notion of being "special."

2:57 AM  
Blogger Gila said...

"someone I know who has worked for both the U.S. State Dept. and the CIA once remarked to me that without the Palestinians to hate, Israeli society would fall apart, because it is so internally fractious. "

Well isn't it lucky for us that, even if we were to come up with a final settlement tommorow, Hamas and the other terror organizations will continue to try and drive us into the sea? Guess we will be able to go on hating them for a while.

In truth, yes, the situation does allow us to ignore or delay treatment of societal problems. The question is whether the relief of the situation will force us to address them. I choose to be optimistic. (Of course, I also vote...these forward looking governments do not form themselves).

The real question is how the Palestineans will manage when they have to govern themselves, and can no longer blame Israel for everything. What will happen when Hamas actually has some measure of political control, and has to take responsibility for helping to run a country. If we are lucky (and I do mean the "we", because peace and prosperity for the Palestineans is good for the Israelis --and vice versa), Hamas, the PA and so on will all bite the bullet, cut out the corruption and hate-mongering, and focus on providing good, solid government. If we are unlucky, I suspect that it is only a matter of time before Hamas bombs start going off in Palestinean markets, and we hear more and more reports of Palestinean on Palestinean assassinations.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hamas To Convert Synagogue to Weapons Museum

So, some mosques have been converted to synagogues and some to cafes. One was even turned into a cowshed!
Do you know of any case where a former mosque was turned into a museum that glorifies mass murder?

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne -
Where to begin.
Firstly - you are to be commended for making a trip to see for yourself. I hope you had the opportunity and time to see a wide variety of people for yourself from all walks of life and political persuasions, not some pre packaged "get to know the situation tour" which tend to be geared towards a specific political philosophy and find people who exemplify that philosophy.
Second. "Gradiose" and "special" are not the same thing - a quick look at the dictionary will verify that. If you feel that anything which people turn to in their culture/faith/nationality/education to give themselves a feeling of self worth causes them to feel "special" and therefore "grandiose" you should pretty much throw everyone bar a few Bhuddists who have transcended the ego.
As for the concept of "chosen people" the only people who stress this are either Religious Zionists (a minority) or Christians who feel that this threatens their relationship with G-d. At the end of the day, this is a statement from the Old Testement of the Bible, not some modern mission statement so if someone has a problem, they should wait until they die and then take it up with Moses.
Psychological theory as it relates to personality is just that, theory, as issues of personality are impossible to verify empirically. They are the results of thousands of observations of thousands of individuals which have been repetetive enough to be considered "accepted". There is no "accepted" theory pertaining to national "personalities" and to develop one would take thousands of observations and many years (although I would be a fool to ignore the prevailing attitude that nations and cultures can have a distinct "flavor"). While applying theory developed for individuals may be an interesting personal excercise it borders dangerously on the territory of "make up your own stereotype". Stereotype being defined as: "a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment." (Websters). I would go with oversimplified opinion in this case.
As for Israeli culture. Israel is a land of immigration, much like the US. Each culture that comes influences the culture that prevails and changes is. There is no question that Israel is a state in flux and that makes defining it even more difficult. Fractious? No more than any other democracy. Take a look at the US and the current warring between left and right. United by a common enemy? Again, no more that anywhere else, if you really want world peace, hope for agressive aliens to attack the Earth. Hate Palestinians? Some do. Others fear them, misunderstand them, like them, are bemused by them, ignore them (easier to deal with the issue). Israeli elites (I hate that word)? Which one? Old guard? New lefties? New right wing? Religious? Sephardic? Askenazi? Russian? Nouveau riche or the IT techies? Israeli politics swing rythmically between left and right, much like in other parts of the world.
As for culture, population and leaders, I think each influences the other. Much as I detest Bush, I would never call it a regime - to do so ignores the fact that a sizeable group of people voted for him and perpetuates the ineffectual response of the left and the media to his governments attempts at manipulation.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have degrees in Psychology and Human Physiology and have lived in the UK, US and Israel for extended periods of time, speak Hebrew and dated a West Bank Palestinian just in case someone wants to attack my credentials.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe 90 -

"So what, leaving opinions around in public spaces ? Don't you trust engineers or historians, for instance, if they choose to work in the public domain - why the special opt out, or opt-in, for psycho-therapists ?"

I wouldn't trust an engineer who builds a bridge without using the correct materials or without a good plan. I wouldn't trust a historian who doesn't look over original documents. Its not a question of public domain, it's a question of methodology.

"Anyway, Israel doesn't officially have any borders and 'Israeli citizens' are another of those bizarre confections invented by Israel (Israel in the sense 'anne' intended and I pointed out above - an easy concept to grasp hence easy to deliberately distort as well)

Eh? So what is that internationally recognized line between Israel and Jordan? Or the other one between Israel and Egypt? Or the other, more disputed ones between Israel and Lebanon and Syria if not borders? And if no Israelis, what are those passport thingys they use to enter other countries? Aaaah. Sorry. Israel as you - Joe 90 define it in your infinite wisdom. And how exactly do you define Americans, the French, Australians, the Chinese, Nigerians etc. etc.?

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne -

Last but not least, you do realize don't you that all of your theories, projective identification, splitting and grandiosity and the way in which you apply them absolve the Palestinian leadership of any responsibility for their own behaviour. ( I won't say the people as I believe that the vast majority just want a quiet peaceful and prosperous life and rightly so).
Of course Amin al Husseini murdered the legitimate leadership, but the Jews MADE him do it. Of course the PLO had in black and white the goal of pushing Israel into the sea - but the Israelis made him do it. Of course they could have taken the path of passive resistance (think Ghandi, MLK, millions of Palestinians lying in the streets blocking traffic, stopping all industry) but the Israelis forced them to use arms. I mean really, those Munich athletes just had coming after all.
I don't like the way the State of Israel has behaved towards the Palestinians, at all. But to say that the Palestinians have been forced in their every move? What a shame to assume that they are completely incapable of making decisions, of charting a path. How does this help them to build a state?
Heard of Enabling? Infantilism?
Interesting to note that Projection is frequently mentioned in relation to the therapist/patient relationship with the patient viewed as infantile in nature.

I'm done. This isn't my blog and I'm turning into a blog hog.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to comment further, but I don't take well to being misquoted. I never said that the Palestinian leadership, or Palestinians in general, were absolved of responsibility for their behavior. However, I should point out that dispossession, long term disempowerment, imprisonment, trauma and loss, hopelessness and depression can change character. I fear that in the past 50 years,forced expulsion, the occupation, etc. may have damaged the collective Palestinian personality. Of course if you aren't interested in the whole topic of culture as personality, which obviously Joyce isn't since she thinks it's an overly dangerous endeavor, then you're not going to agree with that either. by the way I don't think, nor would I ever suggest, that one needs academic or professional credentials to see the obvious.I was merely trying to explain how what we can all see right before our eyes, which you do not really need a psychotherapist to point out, dovetails with psychological theories that are in fact broadly accepted.

12:59 AM  
Blogger أبو سنان said...

The cowards killed over a dozen men, women and children. How are they different from a suicide bomber? They arent. At least a suicide bomber sacrifices his own life, these cowards just pull a trigger and go home.

2:49 AM  

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