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Tag Mehir, The Israeli Jewish Terrorist Organization. A price tag that is too high.

Tag Mehir graffiti at a burned-out mosque in Burka, this month.

By Dr Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin | Family Security Matters | 22 Dec 2011

As an Israeli Jewish psychoanalyst with a doctorate on Islam, I feel I have a moral responsibility and obligation to denounce the recent upsurge in Israeli Jewish violence committed by Tag Mehir (lit. Price Tag) against Israeli Muslims and especially the torching of their mosques and the destruction of their property. This has motivated me to share some thoughts and observations and hopefully a few possible solutions.

By Age Three the Personality is Formed to Hate

The need to hate and the need to have an enemy is in place by age three. Hatred of the other is learned behavior in the home. This goes for all peoples, including Tag Mehir, the Jewish terrorist organization which has been torching mosques and defacing them with obscene graffiti.

I have written extensively on Islam and its use by some Muslims as having a propensity toward violence, domination focusing on female submission and abuse of women by male dominated shame honor based societies. Now I have the unpleasant duty to take a stance against my own people, or are they my own? These recent Jewish terrorists who destroyed and burnt innocent Muslims' mosques terrorizing the Islamic community and their families in no way represent Jewish causes. Their acts of violence have nothing to do with fighting for a cause. This was clearly an act of aggression by a group of brainwashed manipulated youths whose rabbis incited them to act out of rage impulsively. This is not a far cry from what my colleague, Joan Lachkar, Ph.D, and I have described in our earlier work -- a borderline phenomenon, that under the guise of religion people can act out their most heinous crimes against humanity. What makes them borderline is the impulsive nature, their envy and attacking. They are destructive negative unhappy people.

It may not be fair to "diagnose" Tag Mehir who committed these crimes but certainly there are similarities, especially how their rabbis (assuming that they are religious people) did not think about how this act of violence would sabotage the Jewish and democratic State of Israel striving toward equality and inclusivity for all its citizens. Tag Mehir certainly does not enhance the world image of Israel. It provides Muslims even more fodder for their cause.

People often say to me "Now you see that the Muslim terrorists are not the only ones -- Jews do it too." (meaning they commit violence in the name of their religion). This is difficult to answer. I am not excusing those among the Muslims who have performed some of the most horrific crimes against humanity. Nor am I excusing Tag Mehir, the Israeli Jewish terrorist organization, associated with the settler movement torching mosques and smearing graffiti, which occurred recently.

Let me first begin by addressing the nature of the question -- but don't Jews do it too? This question begs to be examined from a psychological perspective.

"The You Do It Too" Syndrome

Elsewhere I have named this rhetorical question the "you do it too syndrome". It is an attempt to disarm the party that has been subjected to a chronic environment of terror, confusion and violence. It is a common strategy deployed by the aggressor who has murderous rage. It is the hallmark of a malignant borderline that is skilled at manipulating and deflecting attention away from merited criticism of his or her behavior. The aggressor projects his rage on to his prey while claiming innocence. He does this by creating a false equation through the accusation that "you do it too." This ambush is so fierce and startling that it can easily arouse guilt and terror. Think of the identification with the aggressor.

Horizontal vs. Vertical Axis

To look more specifically at the lopsided nature of this accusation, we need to take a moment to consider the sequence of the revelation of the sacred texts. People tend to read Judaism, Christianity and Islam as if they were in a row, on a horizontal axis. This gives the illusion that the Abrahamic faiths are on equal footing when they are not. Rather it is helpful to think of them as a stack of books with the first revelation at Sinai being the Tanakh at the bottom of the pile, followed by the New Testament in the middle and the Quran on top as Islam claims to be the final revelation. This vertical axis reading is in sync with the chronology of the revelations. Indeed the competition was so great between Islam and Judaism that Islam in its formation contended that while it was the final revelation like in football it had to do an end run around Judaism by creating the belief that it was the first. Many Muslim clergy still hold this view. Due to shame and honor, it has to assert that it is the first in order to save face.

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Da`wah, the call to Islam, is a core obligation. Muslims believe -- more and more is better. While Jews believe that less is more as it does not seek to convert the world.

Jews as The Chosen People (Narcissists) and Muslims as Perennial Victims (Borderline)

In a fascinating dissertation written by my friend and colleague Joan Lachkar, Ph.D. , she examined and analyzed the respective sacred narratives of the Jews and the Muslims. She proposed that the fantasies of the narratives made it possible to describe each people as having a collective personality disorder -- Narcissistic and Borderline. In a nutshell the Jews got the land flowing with milk and honey and the Muslims got the dry barren desert. Distilled to Object Relations Theory, the Jews held to a fantasy of hope and nourishment getting the good breast of milk while the fantasy of the holy Quran left the Muslims feeling abandoned and orphans of the desert or the dry breast of severe deprivation. Only in Paradise is there flowing rivers of wine, etc. Psychologically, the Jews came to view themselves as the "chosen people" (well nourished) while the Muslims feel themselves to be the perpetual victims. By the way, Muhammad was an orphan. . .

Can Jews be Borderline?

Definitely yes, when they engage in violence and hatred. This is the case of Tag Mehir. They destroy Palestinian property, olive trees and especially mosques. When property is confiscated and destroyed it is an attack on one's identity, which can become a downward slide into murderous genocidal violence.

Palestinian olive grove, burned by Tag Mehir.

While no rabbi to date has issued the equivalent of a fatwa permitting violence against Muslims, there was the related matter of the 50 rabbis who signed a document stating that Jews should not rent to Arabs in Safed. There was also a disconcerting book authored by two rabbis from the Yitzhar Yeshiva, and supported by a few other rabbis, in the West Bank in which they explain that Halacha permits the killing even babies of gentiles (Arabs in this case) if they endanger the People of Israel when they grow up. I would be remiss if I did not also mention Yigal Amir's murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin following a Halachic interpretation of the "law of the pursuer" (din rodef).

While there are passages in the Tanakh that refer to violence, it is not taught as a steady diet in the majority of Jewish homes, worldwide. Bloody scenes are not broadcasted hourly nor is martyrdom embraced as murder-suicide as in some Muslim societies. Yet Jewish terrorists in their downward slide could easily engage in suicide bombings. They are not immune from it. Nevertheless, if anything there has been an attempt after the Shoah to find some kind of balance between self-defense and killing an enemy who comes to kill you.

Tag Mehir must be dealt with swiftly and firmly by the Prime Minister of Israel, the Knesset and the Israel Defense Force. Israeli Muslim citizens, as well as Palestinian neighbors of Jewish settlers must be protected from the perpetration of violence by Tag Mehir. Violence unchecked breeds violence and aggression.

However, I assert that the peculiar perverse violence of Islamic suicide bombing crossed the red line in aberrant human behavior. I contend that it has precipitated an erosion of core values in Judaism especially within Israeli society to the point that Tag Mehir has arisen out of and has developed as a kind of aberrant regrettable mirror image of Islamic Terrorism. In other words, some of the Jews, the extremists have now crossed the red line and are terrorists. They unwittingly stooped to the level of Islamic terrorism having taken the bait of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah, Iran, etc. Tag Mehir is now engaged in an escalating bloody dance of revenge with both Israeli Arab Muslims and Palestinians as well as with fellow Israeli Jews who are not associated with the settler movement, especially our soldiers and the secular community.

Burned out school room at a Muslim girls’ school in As-Sawiya.

Initial Possible Solutions

So what can be done? I don't remotely pretend to have all the answers but here are some thoughts.

All mosques in Israel must now be supplied with surveillance cameras.

All Rabbis and Imams must receive IMMEDIATE diversity training together. Both need to ask themselves the degree to which the need to hate is being taught in the home and what that really reveals about their fragile sense of selves and a deficit in their respective communities.

There should be mandatory civic education for parents concerning teaching hatred in the home.

We as Jews have lost our sense of humanity and empathy if we do not nip this problem of Jewish terrorism in the bud. We are not "chosen" to be higher than the law. Chosenness is supposed to mean observing the 613 mitzvah in the Tanakh. Indeed it would be fitting for the rabbis to place a ban on Tag Mehir. Contributor Dr. Nancy Kobrin, a psychoanalyst with a Ph.D. in romance and Semitic languages, specializes in Aljamía and Old Spanish in Arabic script. She is an expert on the Minnesota Somali diaspora and a graduate of the Human Terrain System program at Leavenworth Kansas. Her new book is The Banality of Suicide Terrorism: The Naked Truth About the Psychology of Islamic Suicide Bombing.


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