Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin
Psychoanalyst & Counter Terrorist Expert

Fenced In By Denial

Screen shot paralyzed-how-hamas-busted-israels-defenses/
I wish to thank the Times of Israel and the photographer

The Key Tool of Hamas Terrorism

War Blog #4 (revised 08.1123

Israeli forensic experts have revealed that 80% of all bodies among the murdered were victims of rape and torture.

Israel War Room, Intelligence Brief 16 October 2023

Why blog about Denial?
In life we are not alone. We are as human beings interconnected like it or not. Unfortunately, we are forced into being “coupled” with Hamas. Yes, you read that right – this is an Abrahamic couples’ affair. It’s no different than what we see in domestic violence but much, much, worse, more lethal and as the above quote from the Israel War Room’s Intelligence Brief, Hamas will not stop at anything. Like serial killers they have to mutilate and torture their “partner” – the Jew who is a stand in for their Ummi, i.e. mother. This is our 1st denial that Hamas, like it or not, is our annihilating “partner.” We have been wedded to them for far too long and the Gaza war is a war for a final divorce.

Hamas needs to annihilate us because we are the first Abrahamic faith and they feel themselves to be fraudulent. They must externally impose their mortality on us. Theodor Reik, a famous psychoanalyst, I believe used this phrase or maybe it was Wilfred Bion, who was a British tank commander during WWII and then turning out to be one of the best psychoanalysts on – of course – group dynamics. If you were ever in a tank, you would know why he understood the psychodynamics in profound detail.

Also, and while it is not politically correct to say this as we seek normalization of relations with Islam, we have long been Islam’s dumping ground as the target of antisemitism and annihilation. In my first book The Banality of Suicide Terrorism, I demonstrated how suicide bombing was a form of murder-suicide or political domestic violence.

One of the most prominent Israeli counter terrorist experts who will remain anonymous called my work “sh*t”. Another asked me if suicide bombers had borderline personalities, revealing to me that this alleged expert knew virtual nothing about psychology. In addition this person berated me three months before my aliyah that I had “no right” to make aliyah! while screaming at me in a public restaurant in New York. Then there was the expert who remarked that focusing on early childhood development of the jihadi was too labor intensive and not worth it. How tragic as we now watch the numbers of the murdered and maimed and hostages rise.

I knew then that I had touched the third rail and that this was the second denial of – unconscious psychodynamics stemming from early childhood. The experts turned away from their unconscious because they were too terrified. One wondered too what they did behind closed doors in his family – but we put that issue aside for the moment. . .

Denial Defined
I quote from my The Jihadi Dictionary:

A statement saying that something is not true or real; a statement in which someone denies something; psychology, a condition in which someone will not admit that something sad, painful, etc. is true or real; the act of not allowing someone to have something.349

√ 1520s; meaning unconscious suppression of painful or embarrassing feelings first attested 1914 in A.A. Brill’s translation of Freud’s Psychopathology of Everyday Life; in denial popularized 1980s.350

Ψ “Defense mechanism. Ignoring unpleasant facts, filtering out data and content that contravene one’s self-image, prejudices, and preconceived notions of others and of the world.”351

“Part of defense mechanisms to put away unpleasant thoughts and wishes from our conscious awareness. Also called disavowal.”352

X (the crossed swords of Jihad) The jihadi mentality is dependent upon the primitive defense mechanism of denial to avoid reality. Jihadis cannot accept the existence of any narrative counter to their violent one of jihad because they are so psychologically fragile. A good example of this is the invented category of the infidel―that only jihadis are the “true” believers. Another would be the myth of the 72 virgins.

My Being “In Denial”
As you can read from this entry, I focused exclusively on the mind of the jihadi not on our mind. My mistake was that I failed to deal with the other side of the story – our denial. I did not deal with the deep sense of denial that plagues us all concerning Islamic terrorism. This blog seeks to rectify my omission. We too have our own problem with defense mechanisms such as denial but “the images of individualized inhumanity” to quote Robert Satloff, reveals why we looked away from the intel that we were receiving about the Hamas build up because we sensed unconsciously that their brand of jihad, of terrorism is just too devastatingly terrifying as it uncannily intersects and hooks into our maternal terrors. We all have them.


The Cloak of Complacency

Norman Samuels wrote an important analysis of the Israeli “Konceptsia” noting that the intel assumptions made were faulty and in large part due to complacency, overconfidence and arrogance.


These are all defense mechanisms used to protect the self from the terrors.

Samuels asserts that the surprise attack signaled confusion at the level of leadership. I would add that confusion is disorganizing and a primary sign of denial.

I am not one to cast stones at glass houses because I too turned away from jihadi terror when I wrote the entry on denial. I failed to deal with the other half of its story. Tragically the depth of denial runs deep because in our mind’s eye we have the deep-seated need to preserve a picture of an intact human body, especially that of the life giving mother. For whom do soldiers cry out as they are dying? Their mothers. . .

To conclude
No matter how sophisticated we may be with a high-tech fence and 8200 cyber unit, we need to be able to mobilize and tap into our unconscious emotional terrain to track the projections coming at us from Hamas, and not just their rockets. If not, we will be held captive and paralyzed by our unconscious terrors. You do not need to be a psychoanalyst but you do need to listen with your “third eye,” i.e. your body as well as listening careful to others. This is in order to understand the ongoing dynamics of dual projective identification. We must gird ourselves for the impending onslaught and NOT be terrified. We must remain prudent not paranoid. Otherwise we will remain “fenced in” by the denial of our terrors.


About the Author
Dr. Kobrin made aliyah in 2010 and is an internationally renowned counterterrorism expert and psychoanalyst holding a PhD in Islamic literature, aljamía 16th c. Author of five books. She has conducted prison interviews, a former military contractor with an academic appointment as external expert at La Universidad de Granada. She is a senior research analyst for The Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism Center. She also works in citizen diplomacy. In August 2020 she was the first Israeli to be live-streamed from Islamabad.