Shia Altman

“I am a self-hating Jew.”

Ah, the self-hating Jew.  No, no, not me.  Don’t worry, I haven’t gone over to the dark side.  But so many of us have, and it always becomes more evident when Israel is in the midst of a crisis.  Yes, the self-hating Jews, those pathetic fringe elements of our faith who never admit to what they really are; in fact, they insist they are the right Jews, the better Jews, the more honest Jews, and they clamor to be representative of our ancient heritage.  Rarely missing an opportunity to condemn and criticize Israel and its supporters, they slink into conversations without invitation, until they are exposed by the light of truth.  Then they scamper hurriedly away like the cowards they are, seeking out and creepily weaving into the next thread when the darkness upon which they thrive envelops their senses.  I just wish they would at least be honest.  I might then have some respect for them.  (Well, not really.)

After the blog I penned last week, I attracted a number of people, claiming to be Jewish, who took blunt exception to my words.  One hater called me a lazy and violent American Zionist.  My mother used to call me a lazy bum; hey, I didn’t become a doctor.  But violent?  Me?  Geez, when I find crickets in the house I catch them and take them outside.  (OK, so spiders I dispatch without compassion.)  As for American Zionist, I accept that label with pride.  Anyway, I took a look at the Facebook pages of those and other Jewish anti-Israel rageaholics, and saw post after post excoriating Israel and those who defend it.  It seems the main, if not only, reason for so many of them to Facebook-live is to spread their self-hating lies and tirades to anyone stupid enough to listen.  I was fascinated, saddened and repulsed all at once.

I will not notate any of the repugnant, horrific writings, but I did notice that while some posts were formed by haters who could put words together in a halfway decent manner, it seemed so many more expressions appeared to be written by folks who must have majored in Gibberish in college.  It went beyond nonsensical.  I mean, yikes, I didn’t know whether to be more outraged by the nasty and ridiculous rants, or by the inability of someone Jewish to write a sentence in a coherent and proper fashion.  And as if it is proves anything at all, many Jewish self-haters post and share pictures of Neturei Karta Chasidim at anti-Israel rallies.  For those of you who don’t know, this radical Chasidic sect, is vehemently anti-Zionist and so, anti the State of Israel.  A good number of them actually live in Israel, and sponge off the government as they travel the world to lambaste the country that is too democratic to just kick them the hell out.  “Hey look!  Here are some Jews, even Rabbis, who hate Israel!”

In any event, I pondered two questions.  First, why can’t these bottom-dwellers be honest even for a moment and just admit what they really are?  Just stop with the mishigas and admit it.  Say it loud and clear, “I am a self-hating Jew.”  They would still spread their venom of course, but at least those of us who haven’t lost our minds completely could tell the confused ‘Who are the right Jews?’ masses that these vitriolic vermin admittedly remove themselves from the rest of us.  What is it that is written in the Passover Haggadah?  “The wicked son, what does he say?  ‘What is this service to you? ‘  He says to you and not to himself.  Therefore, because he has excluded himself from the community, he has denied the foundation of our faith.”  So why won’t the self-haters simply exclude themselves?  The answer is this.  They know what they are, but they are so evil they want to embarrass and hurt the Jewish people in any way they can, so they masquerade as the real deal.  If they said they were Jews only by birth, or even better, did not mention their religion at all, they would not gain the attention of the naive and gullible.  Even “the wicked son” is more palatable than the self-hating Jew; at least the son admits it.

My second question is, what the heck happened to someone that he hates Israel so much?  It is so unfortunate.  Were one or both parents self-hating?  Or too far to the left?  Too far to the right?  Was he suckered in by the media?  How does one go from Hebrew School to Hebrew hater?  Was it the Hebrew School?  Did he get beaten up?  Perhaps a bad influence?  A bad cholent?  I have noticed that some of the people who spend an inordinate amount of time lashing out at Israel are simply anarchists, and they say so.  But when a Jewish person’s anarchic bitterness is directed toward only one place, Israel, and not toward the many much more influential governments and institutions all over the world, something else must be going on.

To find out more and not just speculate, I spoke with Dr. Mark Lovinger, Director of the Advanced Therapy Center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio.  He is an expert in child and adult development and behavior, is periodically interviewed on local and national television and has nearly 30 years experience as a psychologist.  The best way for the good doctor to determine what issue(s) someone may or may not have, of course, is by his speaking directly with that individual.  But I thought it would be counterproductive to contact and try to arrange a dialogue with anyone suffering from IDS, Israel Derangement Syndrome.  (“Um, hi there.  I’m writing a column  about troublemaking, worthless, scumbag, self-hating Jews, and I thought you would be perfect for the piece.  Soooo, how is your day going?)

For those Jews who make outrageous anti-Israel statements, in the absence of serious psychiatric issues like a thought disorder or psychosis (in which case we should pity those who suffer, and to whom I am not referring), Dr. Lovinger had a number of theories, part or all that might be acting in concert.  It was possible “something may have happened in the self-hater’s past, that someone very close might have hurt him very badly.”  Or the person could have been bullied, victimized or emotionally wounded, “giving a feeling of isolation and defiance, and causing long-lasting damage, where he will wish to do to others what was done to him.”  Dr. Lovinger explained that a past trauma could have caused his Jewish identity to become ego-dystonic – meaning being uncomfortable and feeling guilty about one’s own identity.  (What?  A Jew feeling guilty?  No way!)  “He hates his Jewish identity so much that he hates what other Jews are doing, and refusing to appreciate and/or understand the conflict, he focuses myopically on Israel’s actions.”

It is also possible the hater, “could just want to be provocative, to inflame, to get a reaction, that the person doesn’t have much to do except get people mad.”  By attacking supporters of Israel, and making it clear at the same time he is Jewish, the self-hater has fulfilled his goal.  “More likely than not,” the doctor added, “for many, it wasn’t just that the Jewish self-hater was traumatized as a person, he was traumatized because of being Jewish.”  The doctor concluded that unless he wants to, the typical self-hating Jew cannot be saved because he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with him, and he feels he is right.

So there you have it.  It is hard enough, without having to battle our own.  So we must be vigilant.  We need not confront nor engage the self-hating Jew, but in a more global sense, we must not be silent.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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