Self-Hating Palestinians Spotted?

Everyone knows about self-hating Jews.  Alvin H. Rosenfeld of American Jewish Committee recently published a booklet about self-hating Jews today.  The booklet became the subject of a not too flattering New York Times article (thank you Lupo for the link).  And of course, later on NYT issued a small correction.  Oh well, that’s the least they can do.  As it happens NYT has a history with corrections on Israel- and Jews-related topics.

A good argument can be made about self-hating Americans.  They are dime a dozen in the Bay Area, for instance, but that’s a whole separate topic.

Some may argue that we are now discovering self-hating Palestinians.  If I had heard a week ago that some Palestinians are suggesting that they don’t deserve a state, I would not believe it.  If Condi Rice doesn’t believe that inter-Palestinian civil war that erupted as expected should preclude Palestinians from obtaining statehood, why should Palestinians?  

I don’t think they qualify for self-hating people though.  First of, Palestinians who share this opinion are unlike self-hating Jews or Americans accuse their country and their compatriots of the most fantastic wrongdoings.  Palestinian criticism of their society is entirely justified: Their society is, in fact, run by a bunch of thugs.  Second, and more important, self-hating Jews and self-hating Americans are guilt-ridden.  They seek out ways to demonize their country and their community because of their own dark internalized feelings.  Palestinians speak of shame, not guilt.  Consider the following quote from the feature referenced above:

“Everyone here is disgusted by what’s happening in the Gaza Strip,” said Shireen Atiyeh, a 30-year-old mother of three working in one of the Palestinian Authority ministries. “We are telling the world that we don’t deserve a state because we are murdering each other and destroying our universities, colleges, mosques and hospitals. Today I’m ashamed to say that I’m a Palestinian.”

A healthy doze of guilt wouldn’t hurt Palestinian psyche.  Instead of being embarrassed by the behavior of their savage compatriots, Palestinians could and should feel guilty that their society produced those monsters in the first place.  And notice that they are embarrassed by Arab-on-Arab violence.  Blowing up Jewish mothers in Jerusalem cafes or systematically launching rockets into Israeli civilian areas didn’t cause any embarrassment, let alone guilt. 

In any event, the embarrassment some Palestinians now feel is a good start.  


February 4, 2007. Random thoughts.

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