Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Test Yourself: The Mideast in 10 self-deceptions or less

I'm not usually one for these typical "test yourself" thingies you find in waiting-room mags or chip wrapper gutter-rags but here's one that appeared in Haaretz regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict. My score is at the bottom. I think this test worked for me...

By Bradley Burston

There's no deception like self-deception.

There's no self-deception like the personal truths we tell ourselves about ourselves, in order to feel better about ourselves.

There's nothing quite like the personal truths - truths we hold to be self-evident - which we tell ourselves about those we sincerely revile. In order to feel better about ourselves.

There's no struggle quite like the one we will put up to preserve our personal truths, our bedrock self-deceptions. As far as we can tell, they keep us safe, keep us happy, keep us focused, keep us ourselves.

If our self-identity is threatened, we will fight as if our very lives depended on it.

This may be applicable whether the identity in question is that of a respected surgeon, a revered cleric, or a devoted football fan.

Which brings us to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Can there be another conflict on God's green earth which in the space of a few generations has generated two entire new cultures, two entire new identities, each at war with the other, each dismissing the validity of the other, the rights of the other, the very authenticity of the identity the other is trying so vigorously to hang onto?

There are those on both sides, propagandists, fanatics, columnists, who insist that their own side is the sole heir to antiquity, the sole claimant to the property and the history of the Holy Land, the sole injured party, the sole heroic player.

They believe it with everything they have.

The best part, of course, is that they tend to believe that anyone who sees things differently is deluded. A victim of self-deception.

In view of this complex reality, how can you know truth from self-deception - Here's a simple self-test that may help:

1. True or False: One side is regularly condemned internationally for war crimes it is alleged to have committed. The other is shielded, left to commit them at will.

2. True or False: One side desecrates holy places. The other respects religious shrines, and the right of all to worship as they choose.

3. True or False: One side can be trusted to observe negotiated peace accords and agreed cease-fires. The other side violates them at will.

4. True or False: One side takes care to abide by the terms of peace agreements and cease-fires, until such time as the other side blatantly violates them.

5. True or False: One side has learned the lessons of the Holocaust. The actions of the other side are reminiscent of those who perpetrated it.

6. True or False: One side has a legitimate historical claim to territory of the Holy Land, being direct descendants of its ancient inhabitants. The claims of the other do not stand up to factual inspection.

7. True or False: One side repeatedly launches attacks which kill innocent civilians. The actions of the other are acts of legitimate self-defense.

8. True or False: One side genuinely seeks peace. The other side truly wants the land on its own terms, and is prepared to continue to kill people on the other side as long as its actual desires are unattained.

9. True or False: News media are over-sympathetic to one side only.

10. True or False: The people who support and speak for the other side are either lying or self-deceived.

HOW TO SCORE: Count 10 points for every "True" answer, none for every "False."

If you scored 0 - 20: Chances are that you still harbor a secret belief in the eventual possibility of peace.

Chances are that you are reluctant, at this point, to reveal this to anyone.

People on both sides are sure to tell you that you are deceiving yourself.

If you scored 30 - 50: Chances are you once harbored a belief in the eventual possibility of peace.

Chances are that you have stopped discussing this with people on the other side.

People on your side will now tell you that you have finally come to your senses.

You are on your way to self-deception.

If you scored 60 - 100: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes perfect sense to you.

You are a victim of serious self-deception. Unbeknownst to you.

My score was 10: guess which one of the ten statements I found (broadly speaking) to be true...


At 3:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out Kampfeblog for the latest installment of The Sinister Roots of Zionism - failed ideological construct: part deux - Turkish Bloodbath! And Happy Chrisma-Hanna-Kwanzakaa!

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a pretty darned good test! I won't share my score.

It really shows how ridiculous the whole thing seems from a martian standpoint...

The test helps to prove that separation only leads to more separation. A bi-national state is the only solution.

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Sorry Behemoth, but I don't buy into any "sinister roots of Zionism".

At 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gert, I have a hard time understanding why you keep such a distance from my blog when you share a great many beliefs with it...

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Gert said...


Actually that isn't true. On the face of maybe it but not upon closer inspection. For one, you're anti-Zionist and I'm not. Simply (too simply) put you could describe me as "pro-Israel" and "pro-Palestinian", all at once. The conflict is doesn't really lend itself to such simple descriptions though...

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You have me mistaken. I am pro-human just like you.

Allow me to explain. Zionism is the support for the current state of Israel - with all of its flaws and trappings.

I am anti-Zionist in that I am against the state of Israel AS IT EXISTS TODAY. I am also against the idea of an EXCLUSIVE homeland for the Jews - (I will only support an INCLUSIVE one).

I support changes for democratic reform, bi-nationalism, and an end to segregation in a future NEW State of Israel.

So you see, it's not as simple as me disliking Israelis. In fact, I have many Israeli friends and a few relatives.

I am interested in seeing an improved state emerge.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Gert said...


Thanks for the clarification.

But I think you're analysis (on your blog) of Zionisms history is deeply flawed.

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please explain why my analysis does not satisfy your logical criteria.


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