Egomania and the Denial-of-Evil Syndrome

This protester in Rabin Square called on Ehud Olmert to resign. Did his egomania provoke this display?
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Egomania and the Denial-of-Evil Syndrome are quite prevalent among Israeli prime ministers, especially of those who have negotiated with the despotic PLO-Palestinian Authority. The mere fact that an Israeli prime minister, despite thousands of Arab-Islamic attacks on Israel before and after 1948, believes that he can overcome Islam’s 1,400-year tradition of murderous hatred of “infidels,” especially of Jews, is indicative of monumental arrogance or egomania.

A prime minister should know better

This is not the proverbial “arrogance of ignorance” prominent among liberals or leftists in America and Europe, so many of whom are half-educated diplomats who can boast of a college education. Although higher education may have warped their minds via the academic doctrine of moral equivalency, this doctrine permeates the State Department, as noted by John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. [See his book, Surrender is not an Option].

The arrogance of ignorance, in contradistinction to arrogance per se, hardly applies to Israeli prime ministers. Consider former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert could hardly have been oblivious of the bloody consequences of Oslo: the murder and maiming and traumatizing of many thousands of Jewish men, women, and children.

The fatal consequences of Oslo were anticipated and predicted Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash, head of IDF Intelligence, and Avi Dichter, Director of the Shin Bet (General Security Service). Olmert boasted that “unilateral disengagement” from Gaza would be a major step toward peace – never mind the fact that Muslims, according to the Center for the Study of Political Islam, and as reported in Front Page Magazine, February 21, 2007, Muslims have slaughtered approximately 270 million people since the ascendancy of Muhammad!

Egomania on display

But we were speaking of Ehud Olmert. On June 9, 2005, when Olmert was Israel’s Vice Premier, he addressed the Israel Policy Forum in New York. Israel’s Government, then under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was in the process of training some 50,000 soldiers and police to implement Sharon’s plan to withdraw from Gaza and expel its 8,000 Jewish residents. Olmert described the planned Gaza withdrawal as “a remarkable process … that will have an enormous impact on everything that will happen thereafter, in the State of Israel and in the Middle East.” Dwelling in wonderland, Olmert spoke glowingly of the projected Gaza withdrawal and proceeded to make two remarkable statements cited below:

  1. “We don’t have to wait anymore … we really don’t need the United States to lead the process in the Middle East, we will lead this process in the Middle East. We will lead it because it’s good for us. And we will lead it because it may do good to the Palestinians…. It will bring more security, greater safety, much more prosperity, and a lot of joy for all the people that live in the Middle East.”
  2. “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies. We want them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors.”

Irony: war thrusts itself upon him

What remarkable irony! The Second Lebanon War broke out in July 2006, less than a year after the Gaza withdrawal. By then Olmert had become Israel’s Prime Minister. Judging from Israel’s debacle in that war, Olmert could indeed say “we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies”!

Olmert’s remarks are clearly symptomatic of the degeneracy stemming from egomania. This would be the diagnosis of the eminent Zionist Dr. Max Nordau, a psychiatrist of remarkable breadth of learning. Nordau discerned the servile mentality of many assimilated Jews (as opposed to the pride of religious Jews in Europe’s ghettos). Egomania, however, seems to contradict the self-abasement evident in Olmert’s remarks. The inconsistency is superficial, as I will now explain with Nordau’s help.

Egomania symptomatic of degeneration

In 1895, Nordau published a heavy tome entitled Degeneration. Republished by the University of Chicago Press in 1968, Degeneration has been the subject of several doctoral dissertations.[1] Of profound significance, Nordau regarded the nexus of moral relativism and egoism the basic cause of psychological degeneration. His book provides insights relevant to Israel’s ruling elites and their fixation on the policy of “land for peace.”

Nordau, who practiced psychiatry in Paris, finds that nearly all degenerates “lack the sense of morality and of right and wrong” (18). An inevitable concomitant of their moral relativism is “egomania,” which Nordau discusses at great length (241-372). Nordau also finds that in many degenerates, egomania coexists with “self-abhorrence” (20). Interestingly, Nordau sees that the egoism and self-loathing of degenerates render them quite suggestible. The combination of egomania, self-loathing, and suggestibility obviously conduces to weakness of will (19, 22, 23, 257-261).

Degenerates, says Nordau, also lack a sense of honor as well as a heightened sense of outrage at the suffering of others (260). (Notice how Israeli prime ministers consort with Arab terrorists, shaking their hands as if those hands were not responsible for Jewish bloodshed. Notice, too, how Israeli prime ministers have so often failed to retaliate against terrorist attacks, such as the suicide bombing of the Sbarro restaurant that occurred in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001, when 15 Jews were killed and more than 100 were wounded, many maimed for life. Here let us pause.

Refusal to recognize reality

Nordau claims that the degenerate is “incapable of correctly grasping, ordering, or elaborating into ideas and judgments the impressions of the external world….” He “surrenders himself to the perpetual obfuscation of … fugitive ideas” (21). He is given to “fixed” ideas, however visionary or unrealistic [such as land for peace] (242). Moreover, “facts which do not please him he does not notice, or so interprets that they seem to support his delirium” (31). These observations, which manifest the denial-of-evil syndrome, are also manifested in the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, as I have documented in Demophrenia: Israel and the Malaise of Democracy. Incidentally, the denial-of-evil syndrome accords with the fear- or anxiety-driven phenomenon of “selective inattention,” a concept elaborated by the eminent American psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan (1892-1949).

However, in this writer’s opinion, insofar as “selective inattention” applies to Israeli prime ministers who have negotiated with the PLO-Palestinian Authority year after year since Oslo, and have done so in the name of the “peace process,” the concept of “selective inattention” may be regarded as a euphemism for serial mendacity, that is, for a willful dismissal of factual truths.

Thus, despite the known and fatal consequences of Oslo, indeed, contrary to the warnings of Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash, head of IDF Intelligence, and Avi Dichter, Director of the Shin Bet, i.e., General Security Service,” Israel’s government persisted in its evacuation of Gaza and the expulsion of its Jewish residents, and of course conveyed to the public that this was a salutary measure and not a servile and shameful appeasement of evil.

Deliberate denial of evil

I am suggesting that the Oslo policy of territory for peace induced Israeli prime ministers to deliberately obscure the implacable nature of Israel’s enemy. Nordau contends that conscious and habitual liars eventually believe in the truth of their fabrications (25). He deems this ego- and fear-driven behavior degeneration (19). But such is their habituation to mendacity, which covers their inability to face reality, that even their instinct of self-preservation, according to Nordau, is crippled (31).

Now let us return to Olmert’s speech to the Israel Policy Forum, and allow me to abbreviate his above remarks about the Middle East peace process. On the one hand, he boldly declares: “we really don’t need the United States to lead the process … we will lead this process in the Middle East.” On the other hand, he boasts and yet despairs: “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies …” This curious blending of egotism and self-abasement is precisely what Nordau attributes to degeneration, in which he discerned the nexus of egotism and moral relativism.

Does Netanyahu suffer the same fault?

Finally, despite the fact that the Gaza withdrawal brought Hamas to power in Gaza, Prime Minister Netanyahu persisted in the fixed idea of “territory for peace” and endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. But as we have learned from Nordau and from what Henry Stack Sullivan said of “selective inattention” or of habitual mendacity, Oslo has produced an intellectually fixated Israeli Prime Minister well-described by Nordau. As already indicated, this Prime Minister pursues “fixed” ideas however visionary or unrealistic [such as ‘land for peace’ (242).] Moreover, “facts which do not please him he does not notice, or so interprets that they seem to support his [illusion or] delirium” (31).


[1] Page reference appears in the text.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.