Yesterday Larry Derfner penned an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post in which he attacked the credibility and motivation of those involved in illuminating the Al-Durah Affair. Apparently, even as I was reading the piece, Richard Landes was working on a proper fisking of it.
Larry Derfner has an op-ed at the Jerusalem Post on the Al Durah Affair which lays out in a quite striking fashion the aggressive aspect of the mentality of the Masochistic Omnipotence crowd (MOS) crowd. In the Dreyfus Affair the term “intellectual” was coined to describe someone who was capable of looking at the empirical evidence and changing his or her mind. Derfner’s rant suggests that the term could not, by the remotest stretch of the imagination, be applied to him. On the contrary, one has to wonder what could drive him to such heights of irrationality as to assault people who call into question so base a story as that of al Durah.
I strongly urge you to read Richard's piece in its entirety and would like to highlight one passage in particular.
You seem to be an outspoken member of what I call the Jewish hyper-self-critics who show their greatness of soul by beating their breasts in atonement for whatever we have done, might have done, been accused of doing, in the hopes that it will elicit from our Palestinian/Arab/Muslims brothers a corresponding generosity of soul so we can all get on with our lives. In itself, such willingness to take the first step is admirable. But when met consistently with a demonizing assault — “We knew you did everything we accused you of!” — and further assaults — confession is s sign of weakness and an invitation to further aggression — then it’s time to show some sanity.
Nor is this problem just one of Jewish hyper-self-criticism. It’s a larger problem shared by many alleged “progressives” who believe that “we have met the enemy and he is us.” I call this kind of thinking Masochistic Omnipotence Syndrome (MOS): Everything wrong is our fault, and if only we could be better we could fix everything. It’s not only profoundly deluded, but it is a kind of megalomania in which the solution to everything is in our hands. If only we repent enough, concede enough, self-criticize enough… then the rest of the world will love us. It’s a disease that strike many progressives, Jewish and non-Jewish, and represents a pathological turn in an otherwise exceptional and rare quality, the ability to self-criticize. And right now it’s become a danger to the health and resilience of civil society at a time when we need precisely those traits. [Emphasis mine-SW]
I would like to extend Richard's argument in two important directions, one rather specific, based on a patient I treated a number of years ago, and the other more general, with applicability to the upcoming election and our current political divides.
A number of years ago I saw a 40 year old woman,