The Mass Psychopathy of Shamelessness: From Israel to the UN

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2116 ... June 8, 2020
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The Mass Psychopathy of Shamelessness: From Israel to the UN

Judith Deutsch

Why write about sadism and shamelessness now? Because it’s worse, it’s complex and its causes and effects need to be better understood. Its physical and psychological manifestations are day-to-day, uninhibited, and public: daily extra-judicial police killings like George Floyd in Minneapolis, the police killing of 32-year-old Iyad el-Hallak in Jerusalem, Muslims in India.

Historian J. Huizinga 100 years ago wrote about the waning of the middle ages and poetically characterized "the violent tenor of life" at that time. He found that as things fall apart, salient tendencies become more extreme. Our modern age may be an especially awful waning of all human life, with an emergent "sadistic tenor of life" in many quarters across the world. Despite many laws against torture, cruel and unusual punishment, incitements to violence, and abuse of civilians’ and particularly children’s rights, state-sanctioned violence is now practiced with relish and impunity.

Can "genocide" be applied here descriptively or legally? Has the Holocaust and its usages contributed to... reticence about the genocide question in current brutalities? Israel is one of many culpable nations but its practices focus questions about genocide. Michel Warschawski, director of the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem, wrote: "The whole society is sick, terribly sick." In addition to the political sleeze of corruption and Israel’s limitless confiscation of land and resources, Israeli Jewish dissenters themselves report gratuitous sadism that is now manifest in many of Israel’s state-sanctioned responses to Palestinians in the time of pandemic and in its world trade in grotesque weaponry. There cannot be legitimate claims of "not knowing" about intentionally inflicted human disasters in well-documented cases like Gaza and Yemen, as there was by Germans about the Holocaust.

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