I recently have received the following message from an Islamo-Fascist (according to the name, tone and manner of correspondence) reader of mine: "Please explain however whether Norman Finkelstein, Israel Shamir, Noam Chomsky, Walt & Mearsheimer, Illan Pappe, Gilad Atzmon or the thousands of other anti-Zionist Jews who are on your "self-hating-Jew-list" are also "Islamo-fascists" or "Jew haters"?
While I was writing my answer, I realized that I and other defenders of Zionist ideals of Jewish people have been using the term "self-hating Jews" quite often in order to simplify a message of self-hate which is quite common among Jews. The issue, as I and others have explained, is more complex and disturbing.
Regardless of the political antagonism toward Israel's position that some Jews have adopted at the moment, they are our brothers and sisters! I only use term "self-hating Jews" as a description of a behaviour, in order to save time and space in my letters, but never with hate toward them.
A minority of Jews have chosen an anti-Israel position quite deliberately for hypocritical and self-promotional reasons in order to improve their professional or financial standing - In short, to make a better living!
Others, there are more of them, simply have need and are looking for attention - It is not only children only who suffer from Attention Seeking Syndrome. This disorder is quite common among adults. Many people, not just Jews, find that any attention, even negative, is better than none! By taking an anti-Israel point of view they gain the support of anti-Semites and rebuke from Jews. It is a win-win result for them – What else one can wish!
Many Jews, under continuous external pressure in an anti-Semitic environment, are consciously or subconsciously just trying to fit in. And the best way to be accepted is to behave like others. They use this bizarre, self-bashing behaviour pattern as a cry of "I am not like them – Love me!"
But the biggest proportion of the Jews who have adopted the anti-Israel point of view are definitely suffering in various forms from Stockholm Syndrome which is described as "a psychological shift that occurs in captives when they are threatened gravely... tend to sympathize with and think highly of their captors... When subjected to prolonged captivity, these captives can develop a strong bond with their captors". For too long Jews have been hostages in hostile environments. No one is able to sustain extreme unhappiness indefinitely! Identification with the surrounding anti-Semitic majority brings to themselves a false sense of security and acceptance.
In many countries after people have experienced a trauma, be it a robbery or a terror act, they would receive a counselling. Unfortunately, for too long Jews have been subjected to the continuous pressure of the ugly reality which has been surrounding us, without any counselling or help at all. Yes, we have developed many techniques in order to survive - humour is one of them. Jews have survived two millennia of humiliation and persecution. But not without casualties. We must move from survival mode to living with dignity!
Steven Shamrak, born in the Soviet Union, lives in Melbourne Australia. He is a qualified civil engineer and software specialist, and was an active participant in the nascent Moscow Zionist movement before he arrived in Australia 25 years ago. Believing that "a sense of pride, nationhood and connection to all Jewish land" is missing from Jewish hearts, he spends his spare time Educating Jews and non-Jews about Jewish history in the Middle East.
He worked as a construction engineer at the Moscow Olympic Games project and as a computer consultant in Australia. For several years, he has been publishing an Internet editorial letter about the Arab-Israel conflict since August 2001 and has a website http://www.shamrak.com/.