Michael J. Salamon

I Am Not Vulnerable

“I can’t sleep. I have nightmares. I keep seeing storm troopers and Nazi thugs breaking down the doors and setting our homes, businesses and synagogues on fire. It feels like November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht about to happen again.”
“They hound us in the streets. They hold rallies against Israel but in truth they are really against all Jews.”
“I have lived here all my life but they are treating me like a stranger, an unwanted.”
“They seek to torture us even eradicate us. This wasn’t supposed to happen again, especially not so soon after the Shoah.”
I have been increasingly hearing comments like these in the last few days from people as far removed as Paris, Lyon, Vienna, Berlin, Belfast, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Belgium and even South America. Some are reaching out for tips on how to handle trauma and stress. Some are seeking referrals to local therapists in their home countries hoping I may have someone for them to help them cope. Others are just voicing their concerns. I have only standard responses: Try not to focus too much on it, Don’t watch the news too much, Get the information you need and move on, Have a safety plan, Do things that bring you pleasure things that are a distraction, Socialize more with likeminded people, Get involved in charitable activities, and most important, show your support and invest emotionally in Israel.
In truth, I have similar agitation and sleeplessness. I lay awake listening for my Israel Red Alert app to signal the next incoming rocket attack or more hopefully, the surrender of Hamas and the start of mutual respect and a possible two state solution. Then I remember that Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamic Jihad for signing a peace treaty with Israel. And, I remember that Islamic Jihad and Hamas are the same in their terror philosophies and are one with Hezbollah, al Qaida and even with ISIS. A peace treaty with any of these organizations is not likely to occur. Look at their charters and listen to their speeches. They seek a worldwide caliphate that either eradicates all Jews and Christians or, at the very least, causes all non-Muslims to be dhimmis, second class citizens of the Islamic state with significant restrictions of liberty and life.
Lest you think I am a conservative, right wing nut, I wish to be very clear that I am not. I consider myself an independent, bordering on liberal. But they say that a conservative is a liberal that was mugged. I am feeling a little mugged just now. Mugged by the liberal agenda that seeks to create a moral equivalency and disregards the need for Israeli, or should I say, Jewish self-protection. I feel mugged by the European Union and I feel mugged by countries I thought to be democracies bow to the hatred of fundamentalists. While support for Israel in the United States remains high it feels like it is wavering. Throughout the rest of the world Muslim rioters seem to have captured the radical left agenda. It seems that the liberals of the world have lost all awareness to the fundamentalism of the caliphate. That is why Swastikas are appearing in France and windows are being broken in London and signs in stores in Belgium say “no entry to dogs and Zionists” and Christians are being evicted from Iraq and no one is crying foul.
I was recently asked to discuss the psychological causes for someone becoming a terrorist. There are several theories and I was about to start elaborating them when one just came tumbling out. I said “All you need is one friendly charming terrorist to be given the ability to speak to a vulnerable teen. That is when the grooming begins. That is when they are taught to hate and kill. That is when they are brainwashed to believe in hatred.” It is hard to undo that type of brainwashing. It is hard to reverse the indoctrination that occurred especially when there seems to be broad support for it.
A friend from Cleveland just called to tell me that she was shopping in her local supermarket when a clerk that she knew for years started talking about Hamas. The clerk spoke favorably about Hamas and my friend tried to explain that Israel was trying to protect itself from terror. The clerk responded “Are you a Jew, because if you are you are a big fat loser and I hope they get you also.” My friend reported the incident to the manager and the clerk was removed. The clerks firing will not change her politics. It may even harden her views.
There was a posting on an international professional list serve for mental health specialists that I associate with. The doctor writing asked how to respond to a patient that said “I like you because you are a good doctor, Jews make the best doctors, but I hate Israel for what it is doing to innocents.”
So what can we really do?
We can be proud knowing that we are who we are. We must be self-respecting and not rise to the bait but not back down either. We may never be weak. We must tell ourselves that we are not vulnerable and arm ourselves with the proper attitude to maintain that stance. And we must be eternally grateful for our homeland!

About the Author
Dr. Michael Salamon ,a fellow of the American Psychological Association, is an APA Presidential Citation Awardee for his 'transformative work in raising awareness of the prevention and treatment of childhood sexual abuse". He is the founder and director of ADC Psychological Services in New York and Netanya, the author of numerous articles, several psychological tests and books including "The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures" (Urim Publications), "Every Pot Has a Cover" (University Press of America) and "Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims."