The young woman I described used the Jews as her explanation for her emerging severe psychiatric disturbance. While it helped her preserve some false self-esteem for a time, it also made it impossible for her to accept the help that she so desperately needed. She identified all Doctors as part of the Jewish conspiracy and as a result could not accept their medication. She would even attack those who could help her (as with the policeman who brought her into the hospital for her second admission.) Without her needed medications, she suffered frequent and worsening psychotic episodes; her life deteriorated apace until she was finally left homeless, friendless, and estranged from those who loved her.
Contrast that with the behavior of the Arab legions who so hate Israel and the Jews. Rather than spend their energies trying to build their own societies, they devote their lives to destroying their imagined enemies. One of the great ironies has been that when the Israelis finally gave in to despair and began to build the fence to separate themselves from those who hate them so much, the Palestinians complained that the Israelis were preventing them from earning a living.
The Arabs have a choice of facing their own dysfunction and struggling to join the modern world or continuing to blame the Jews for all that ails them. One course leads to a chance of a better life; the other leaves them nearly friendless, homeless, and isolated.
As with a paranoid patient, the delusions, unless confronted (in a patient with medication), spreads and poisons all relationships; their delusions contaminate their own ability to think and adequately evaluate reality. The Muslim Jew-haters are becoming increasingly bizarre in their beliefs, unable to evaluate the impact of their own behavior, and more and more isolated. Their delusions spreads. They convince themselves the Americans are colluding with the Jews to threaten them. They convince themselves that they can destroy the Jews and the Americans. The misinterpret restraint as weakness and convince themselves that their own bravado represents strength. All who do not support them then become agents of the enemy, which causes them to attack those who might help them. As their house collapses around them, they voe to keep fighting, to use the most vile means to kill their enemies, even while their behavior discredits them and alienates their neighbors and friends.
Like the patient I described, they will end up homeless, in tatters, with no friends, no jobs, and no prospects, all in obeisance to their delusions of persecution and grandeur.
Once a person has been infected with paranoid anti-Semitism, the treatment is extremely difficult and often to no avail. Once a society has been infected with paranoid anti-Semitism, they may well be untreatable. Israel is offering the Arab a chance to repudiate their hatreds and begin to build their own society; if they cannot see their own responsibility for their plight, there is no hope for them and they will eventually be ground into dust.
The ShrinkWrapped post links Gagdab Bob at One Cosmos, who says:
It is actually not difficult to tell when one is on the receiving end of projective identification. That is, you suddenly feel is if you are unwillingly being enlisted into someone else's psychodrama, and being forced to play a part. The person acts toward you as if you have the qualities they have projected into you, and may well goad you into responding in ways that confirm to the projector that you actually have those qualities--that they aren't projections at all. If any of my readers are married, you probably don't need any further explanation.
Although he doesn't use the term, Lee Harris's excellent book Civilization and Its Enemies describes the phenomenon perfectly. First, he points out why the process is invisible to us. That is, people who have gone through the "civilizing process" forget that this took millennia, and have no understanding of those who have not completed the human journey. They "forget how much work it is to not kill one's neighbors, simply because this work was all done by our ancestors so that it could be willed to us as an heirloom.”
Just because we as a nation no longer have enemies that we need to primitively project our bad qualities into, we are fooled into thinking that we actually have no enemies, or that if we do, there is some rational, logical, "root cause" that can explain it--that if we are only nice enough, or compassionate enough, they will come around. But as Dr. Sanity or ShrinkWrapped will confirm, this is completely ineffective with projective identification, because the projector emotionally needs you to have the qualities they are projecting...[T]he Islamists need Israel or America to be the source of all evil in the world...
In reality, an enemy is someone who regards you as an enemy, whether or not you deserve the title. We clearly had an enemy for twenty or thirty or seven hundred years before 9-11, not because Islamists were our enemy, but because we were their enemy. We couldn't see it because it was a completely irrational process, based on projective identification. But with sufficient provocation, we have finally been enlisted into the Islamists’ psychodrama, taking on the role so vital to their psychological equilibrium. In other words, we are not their enemy because we are evil--because we have done anything in the real world, such as placing our soldiers on Saudi territory, or supporting Israel. Rather, as Harris points out, we are evil because we are their enemy.
First, there is an obvious psychological need for the projective fantasy, or it wouldn't be there to begin with. As Harris explains, a fantasy ideology such as Islamism is not a rational response to the world arrived at in a logical, sober manner. Rather, like "Leftism," it is a transformative belief, meaning that its primary purpose is to psychologically transform the person who believes the fantasy. And believing the fantasy is an end in itself--it has no purpose other than to make the fantasy seem like reality. Therefore, the real reason for 9-11 wasn't actually to bring down western civilization. Rather, it was to further the fantasy by getting us to play along with it. There's no way to reason with these psychologically unsophisticated abduling banjo-pickers and nonlocal yokels.
Iranically, what this means is that, even though we have no real enemy and the Islamists have only a make believe one, because of projective identification we end up with a real enemy. However, underneath it all is a fantasy that we must nevertheless eradicate, and the only way to do that is to bring a little thing called reality to the Islamic world. In the coming days, let us pray that the Jews, who have long been instrumental to the cause of human post-biological evolution (”three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax,” in the words of Walter Sobchak) will successfully introduce a little reality to the psychotically evil fantasists that surround them. Oddly enough, it's what they're begging for. Why not give it to them, good and hard? It's the empathic thing to do.