The Mystery of Hate: Can Pallywood have anything to do with it?

Yair Lapid, an Israeli columnist asked a long, painful, and highly relevant question. Why the hate? Not Palestinian hate, but Arab, Muslim? My attempt at the beginning of a answer aftewards.

The Mystery of Hate
by Yair Lapid

Hundreds of years of fighting, six and a half wars, billions of dollars gone with the wind, tens of thousands of victims, not including the boy who laid down next to me on the rocky beach of lake Karon in 1982 and we both watched his guts spilling out. The helicopter took him and until this day I do not know whether he is dead or survived. All this, and one
cannot figure it out.

And its not only what happened but all that did not happen – hospitals that were never built, universities that were never opened, roads that were never paved, the three years that were taken from millions of teenagers for the sake of the army. And despite all the above, we still do not have the beginning of a clue to the mystery of where it all started:

Why do they hate us so much?

I am not talking about the Palestinians this time. Their dispute with us is intimate, focused, and it has a direct effect on their lives. Without getting into the “which side is right” question, it is obvious that they have very personal reasons not to stand our presence here. We all know that eventually this is how it will be solved: in a personal way, between them
and us, with blood sweat and tears that will stain the pages of the agreement. Until then, it is a war that could at least be understood, even if no sane person is willing to accept the means that are used to run it by.

It is the others. Those I cannot understand. Why does Hassan Nasralla, along with tens of thousands of his supporters, dedicate his life, his visible talents, his country’s destiny, to fight a country he has never even seen, people he has never really met and an army that he has no reason to fight?

Okay, here’s a pop quiz: is this question naive? (i.e. he doesn’t know)? Or is it cognitive egocentrism (by his [civic] “rational” standards there is no reason)? Is Nasrallah’s reason — Islamic triumphalism by which no non-Muslim entity can exist within dar al Islam if it is not subject to Islam — not reason enough? Does Lapid not know about this? Has he ever granted his Muslim neighbor, his “other,” enough respect to listen to what he says and understand how he thinks?

Why do children in Iran, who can not even locate Israel on the map (especially because it is so small), burn its flag in the city center and offer to commit suicide for its elimination? Why do Egyptian and Jordanian intellectuals agitate the innocent and helpless against the peace agreements, even though they know that their failure will push their countries 20 years back? Why are the Syrians willing to stay a pathetic and depressed third world country, for the dubious right to finance terror organizations that will eventually threaten their own country’s existence?

In other words, why do they so consistently choose zero-sum games which they are so likely to lose that they almost guarantee negative outcomes.

Why do they hate us so much in Saudi-Arabia? In Iraq? In Sudan? What have we done to them? How are we even relevant to their lives? What do they know about us? Why do they hate us so much in Afghanistan? They don’t have anything to eat there, where do they get the energy to hate?

This question has so many answers and yet it is a mystery. It is true that it is a religious matter but even religious people make their choices. The Koran (along with the Shariaa – the Muslim parallel to the Jewish Halacha) consists of thousands of laws, why is it that we occupy them so much?

There are so many countries who gave them much better reasons to be angry. We did not start the crusades, we did not rule them during the colonial period, we never tried to convert them. The Mongolians, the Seljuk, the Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, the British, they all conquered, ruined and plundered the whole region. We did not even try, so how come we are the enemy?

And if it is identification with their Palestinians brothers then where are the Saudi Arabian tractors building up the territories that were evacuated? What happened to the Indonesian delegation building a school in Gaza strip? Where are the Kuwaiti doctors with their modern surgical equipment? There are so many ways to love your brothers, why do they all prefer to help their brothers with hating?

Right on. Just scratch the surface of the Arab solidarity with the Palestinians and you’ll find that given a choice between bettering the Palestinians and damaging Israel, the latter wins out every time.

Is it something that we do? Fifteen hundreds years of anti-Semitism taught us – in the most painful way possible – that there is something about us that irritates the world. So, we did the thing everyone wanted: we got up and left. We have established our own tiny little country, where we can irritate ourselves without interrupting others. We didn’t even ask a lot for it. Israel is spread on a smaller territory than 1% of the territory of Saudi-Arabia, with no oil, no minerals, without settling on another existing state’s territory. Most of the cities that were bombed this week were not plundered from anyone. Nahariya, Afula, and Karmiel did not even exist until we established them. The other katyusas landed on territories over which no one ever questioned our right with regards to them. In Haifa there were Jews already in the 3rd century BC and Tiberias was the place where the last Sanhedrin sat, so no one can claim we plundered them from anyone.

However, the hatred continues. As if no other destiny is possible. Active hatred, poisoned, unstoppable. Last Saturday the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called again “to act for the vanishing of Israel”‘ as if we were bacteria. We got used to it so much that we don’t even ask why.

Israel does not hope and never did for Iran to vanish. As long as they wanted, we had diplomatic relations with them. We do not have a common border with them or even any bad memories. And still, they are willing to confront the whole western world, to risk a commercial boycott, to hurt their own quality of life, to crush what’s left of their economy and all that for the right to passionately hate us.

I am trying to remember and cannot: have we ever done something to them? When? How? Why did he say in his speech that “Israel is the main problem of the Muslim world”? more than a billion people living in the Muslim world, most of them in horrible conditions. They suffer from hunger, poverty, ignorance, bloodshed that spreads from Kashmir to Kurdistan, from dying Darfur to injured Bangladesh. How come we are the main problem? How exactly are we in their way?

I refuse to accept the argument that claims “that is just the way they are”. They said it about us so many times that we have learned to accept this expression. There must be another reason, some dark secret that because of it, the citizens of South Lebanon allow to rouse the quiet border, to kidnap the soldiers of an army that has already retreated from their territory, to turn their country into a wasteland exactly at the time they finally escaped twenty years of disasters.

We got used to telling ourselves worn expressions – “it’s the Iranian influence”, or “Syria is stirring behind the scenes” – but it is just too easy explanation. Because what about them? What about their thoughts? What about their hopes, loves, ambitions and their dreams? What about their children? When they send their children to die, does it seem enough for them to say that it was all worth while just because they hate us so much?

There are, it seems to me, several components of this problem, and they reinforce each other. First, the obvious, but apparently still unspeakable point is that Israel’s very existence shames them. The fact that the author does not even mention this strikes me as eloquent evidence for why Israelis don’t understand their foes.

The second reason for this hatred comes from the images that their own media constantly feed them about Israel. If we were inundated every day with ugly images of Muslims killing, planning murder, spewing hatred, we’d probably grow to hate Muslims. That’s why our MSM are so reluctant to show us this face of Islam, precisely for fear of our reaction.

But Palestinian, Arab and Muslim elites take the exact opposite position: they do everything they can to create this hatred, and as the author suggests, they do so despite how much their own people — far from the influence of the Israelis — suffer from poverty and despair. Or, maybe because… This is classic scapegoating. Blame Israel, feed your people the poisoned meat of hope for honor revenged, and you can distract them from the real sources of their misery — you.

This catastrophic tendency of Muslim media to scapegoat Israel has enormous implications when viewed in the light of Pallywood, the systematic effort to create images of hatred. When such grotesque and patently dishonest material gets affirmed and reified by an incompetent — an Augean — media, then the impact of such imagery multiplies.

If you were a Muslim, inundated with images of your fellows ruthlessly murdered by heartless Israelis — carried by a MSM that convince them that this is “true”, wouldn’t you hate them?

Perfect storm: honor-culture shamed, triumphalist religion defied, scapegoating media affirmed by a western media duped. That’s why they hate you.

What can you do about it? Start by realizing what’s going on.

20 Responses to The Mystery of Hate: Can Pallywood have anything to do with it?

  1. fp says:

    RL>why do they so consistently choose zero-sum games which they are so likely to lose that they almost guarantee negative outcomes.

    I am not so sure about that. what we call loss they call gain (71 virgins) and getting close to allah. and in the long run we are much more likely to lose than they.

    RL>Just scratch the surface of the Arab solidarity with the Palestinians and you’ll find that given a choice between bettering the Palestinians and damaging Israel, the latter wins out every time.

    Right on. Mubarak has admitted explicitly why the palestinians were invented in the first place very recently:

    “Egypt has made it clear that it does not want to be responsible for providing the Gaza Strip with fuel and electricity,” a senior Hamas official in Gaza City told The Jerusalem Post. “They have informed us that the Gaza Strip must remain Israel’s problem.”

    YL>Why did he say in his speech that “Israel is the main problem of the Muslim world”? more than a billion people living in the Muslim world, most of them in horrible conditions. They suffer from hunger, poverty, ignorance, bloodshed that spreads from Kashmir to Kurdistan, from dying Darfur to injured Bangladesh. How come we are the main problem? How exactly are we in their way?

    Boy, are these people stupid!!! It’s exactly that they suffer and the israelis don’t that’s a major source of shame, envy and hatred. Among many others that RL specifies.

    RL>What can you do about it? Start by realizing what’s going on.

    Given the overwhelming, clearcut evidence, if it has not happened already, it won’t happen. The YL’s DON’T WANT to realize, it’s too hard to contemplate. And note how anti-semitism is causing the mental paralysis. That’s what happened to the 1938 jews too.


  2. Sophia says:

    Brilliant piece, thank you.

    I’ve been reading some articles popping up here and there on the Egyptian blogs and people – Egyptians – are beginning to ask THEMSELVES this question, in view of what they can’t help but regard as an invasion of their country by Gaza.

    Pallywood has been incredibly effective and why not? I’d bet enormous sums are spent on professional public relations materials and advice, deliberately constructing a myth that in and of itself creates the preconditions for war – which then reinforces people’s worst nightmares.

    It is a vicious circle – true – but I don’t think it started recently. The German scholar Matthais Kuntzel, and others besides, have linked today’s Middle Eastern judenhass directly to European and Nazi propaganda that was widely disseminated in the 1920’s and 1930’s, including both “The Protocols” and “Mein Kampf.” Certainly the British and probably the French also brought anti-Jewish sentiments with them when they jointly colonized the Middle East: the Ba’ath party, Vichy France, antisemitic Brits and the Nazis all played a direct role after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and before WWII, and prepared the way for the pogroms that erupted throughout the Middle East as well as the civil war of 1947 and the war against Israel that broke out the very day she declared her independence.

    Lost in the dust: the history of the internecine war between the Arabs of the Mandate – Benny Morris’ Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited is very strong on this point but it’s been discussed before also. The “Arab Riots” or “Arab Revolt” of the 1930’s wasn’t a revolt merely against the British nor were the Jews the only targets. Rather the same kind of violence and factional and probably religious assassinations and intimidation that we saw recently between Hamas and Fatah took place, and often this took the form of inter-familial or tribal warfare as well as differences in outlook and political opinion. Unfortunately the “strong horse” was al Husseini.

    His legacy lives on.

    I do not have the first clue about how to combat this but it must be fought. If I had the billions to spend I’d start fighting fire with fire and hire the best PR firms money could buy. I don’t think this is essentially a matter of “changing policies” as is often argued: if the Israelis would only do xyz everything would magically be alright. But I don’t think it would although anything that could reduce strain and hardship and direct confrontation would probably help.

    Meantime, entire peoples are being damaged, futures destroyed and opportunities squandered.

    Unfortunately the very people who should be in the vanguard – the Western liberals and what remains of the Left – seem to have abandoned the fight for human rights and now endorse the worst of the fascistic far right as long as it appears to be “indigenous”. That means incitement not only isn’t being fought in the West, some of it is coming from the West, just as the Nazi philosophy seeped into the East and now erupts in a Hezbollah parade.

    Unfortunately the “perfect storm” bears the might of religious fervor as well as “mere” prejudice and political opinion and “outside” poisons.

    Given the highly polished use of “Big Lies” and media expertise and the continuously reinforced propaganda on top of all these other factors, affecting people from the cradle and reinforced by the bitter taste of war, it might take an outright miracle to get people to change.

  3. AT says:

    We live our miserable and pathetic lives, and we want to matter … we want to be part of the greater mission for which this world was created.

    The fundamentalist Islamic myth lets Ismael Muslim participate in this grandeur, a sense of greater meaning and purpose for which one can proudly die.

    Which is scarier … living a life of irrelevance devoid of meaning, or dying as a soldier in Gd’s army, a pawn in the greater mission for which our world was created?

  4. fp says:


    this “participation” you’re referring to is exploitation by clerics and corrupt leaders of uneducated masses who prefer their people to kill infidels and themselves rather than pay attention to how they are being exploited, manipulated and oppressed. i don’t think ignorance, killing and dying — including children — can be viewed as giving
    meaning to life except by those who are robbed of anything else that gives meaning to life.

    is delusional stupidity due to inflicted ignorance meaning?

    (incidentally, if you really feel you live a pathetic and miserable life don’t project that to all of us. i hope you were just playing devil’s advocate of sorts).

  5. Athos says:

    René Girard speaks of the “problem of the doubles,” in which a model/rival dynamic becomes the raison d’être for the rivalrous party which seeks a kind of ontological substantiation from its model.

    Is it not manifestly true of Judaism and Islam? The latter loathes yet mimetically models itself on the former, is helpless to detach itself from that which it ostensibly would destroy yet surreptitiously envies.

    Or as Robert Hamerton-Kelly once said, “It is a mind enslaved. It desires not only to possess the other, but to consume or destroy. It wishes not only to imitate the other, nor merely to possess itself in the other, but to destroy the other as the place where the self is alien to the self.”

  6. Cynic says:

    … why do they all prefer to help their brothers with hating?
    Right on. Just scratch the surface of the Arab solidarity with the Palestinians and you’ll find that given a choice between bettering the Palestinians and damaging Israel, the latter wins out every time.

    because they, the Arabs principally, have used the Palestinians as an excuse all these years to bash the Israelis.
    The hatred did not start with 1948.

    Where are the Kuwaiti doctors with their modern surgical equipment?

    Hah! Where were the Arabs with food, medicines and fuel for Gaza?
    Make the Israelis pay in money and blood.

    They don’t treat the Palestinians as brothers and it should have been obvious given Egypt’s behaviour in Gaza.

  7. fp says:


    don’t overintellectualize and make it too bastract.


    they hate the jews more than they care about themselves and their children. the more they continue like this — and the indoctrination of their children gauarantees that they will — the greater the envy, shame and hate.

    there is no solution to this except extermination and with the help of iran, a collapsed, gullible and cowed west, and a crsis of leadership in israel they start tasting it, which means there is no point in stopping now, when they “see the light at the end of the tunnel”. Consider this:

    Syria’s ‘furious’ frenzy

    Everybody’s into missiles, while the US cannot even deploy its missiles in europe. That’s what they had to give up to make Putin agree to sanctions against iran, which won’t help anyway.

    How pathetic, and why does anybody doubt where all this is inexorably leading?

  8. fp says:


    lapid professes ignorance when the evidence is all around him?

    The Hamas Propaganda War

  9. wolf terner says:

    The answer as to why Arabs hate Jews is really very simple. So simple, in fact, that the reason is always overlooked.

    The children of Isaac and Ishmael are still fighting a war over inheritance. The children of Jacob and Esau are fighting a war over inheritance. The children of Ishmael and Esau intermarried and are so joined together that they are as one. The Bible records it all in Genesis. It may not be fashionable to accept this idea, but there it is. And as Hillel said, “the rest is commentary.”

  10. Eliyahu says:

    I am used to Ya’ir Lapid’s opinionated blather in the Israeli press and on TV. A lot of opinion but not much information, let alone a knowledge of history which should be a prerequisite for any columnist offering opinions in the Israeli press. To be honest, Ya’ir got his start through Daddy –Tommy Lapid, a long-time columnist at Ma`ariv– who also gladly spouts opinions, although he seems more knowledgeable than his son.

    Nevertheless, I can recommend a book –yes, a book rather than a TV documentary or a newspaper column or a comic strip– for Ya’ir’s edification. Prof Rafael Yisraeli [Raphael Israeli, in Eng. lang. publications] has written L’Hiyot `im haIslam [לחיות עם האסלאם], Living with Islam. He discusses Islam in general, particularly in regard to dhimmis, and also covers the modern Islamic fundamentalist. After that, he can read those of Bat Ye’or’s books that have been published in Hebrew. He can also consult books and articles by Moshe Sharon and David Bukay in Hebrew and English, some of them published in the bimonthly journal Nativ, which has a website with Hebrew articles, plus an English-language website attached with some of the articles in English. Yohanan Friedmann has an article in English “‘Islam Is Superior…'” in Jerusalem Quarterly, Spring 1979.

    So there really is no excuse for Little Ya’ir’s ignorance except his own intellectual laziness.

  11. fp says:


    the evidence is all around, obvious and overwhelming. if YL was really interested in knowing and understanding, he would have done so already. i don’t think that’s the point of this type of article.

    just the opposite: he simply does not want to let any evidenc force him to accept the unavoidable realization that the conflict is not about land, but about extermination. this is now characteristic of the majority in the west, scared shitless of such a conclusion.

    here’s melanie phillips:

    We are indeed finished

  12. Bart Teush says:

    To reinforce the Islamist Nazi connection rightly made by Sophia, historical evidence of actual collaboration notwithstanding, we need only remind ourselves that Mein Kampf (My Struggle) could accurately be translated, My Jihad. The Islamists and their Arab enablers carry on the Nazi’s mission, prescribed in the Koran and now decked out in the rhetoric of liberation politics pasted onto the ersatz “palestinian nation”. Quite the mess, this Augean Stable. Short of resurrecting Hercules, this blog is welcome. I thank all who contribute to it.

  13. Eliyahu says:

    Bart’s point is well taken. Aryeh Stav drew the same analogy between kampf and jihad in his booklet comparing the Czechoslovak crisis with the territorial demands made on Israel as part of the “peace process.”

  14. fp says:

    The hatred may be similar, but the nazis were not sexually repressed and told they would get 72 virgins in paradize if they killed jews. That enhances the motivation.

    There were quite a few among the nazis who liked being part of the killing machine. But the majority of them did not particularly enjoy the drudgery of the job. Indeed, most germans did not want to know about it.

    Compare this with the jihadis’ ecstasy and joy. Somewhat different animals.

  15. fp says:

    see what I mean?

    Turkish Islamist Website: Each Muslim Must Kill An Infidel For Allah’s Grace

    Hardly comparable to Nazis.

    And these are not pals and they don’t wanna kill just jews.

  16. Cynic says:

    prescribed in the Koran and now decked out in the rhetoric of liberation politics


    I suppose one could sum it up as Replacement Theology!

  17. fp says:

    Further on the nazi-islamofascim connection:

    Hitler, Muhammad, and Islam 1

    Hitler, Muhammad, and Islam 2

  18. Lorenz Gude says:

    I’ve been known to find fp overly pessimistic at times and kid him a bit. Not this time.

  19. Effexor.

    Effexor side effects. Effexor. Effexor xr and diabetis.

  20. mab says:

    The media is undoubtedly going a long way towards presenting a “reality” of the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Palestinian, that is extremely conducive towards furthering the hatred of Arabs towards Jews. The question is why are they doing that? This is a question we must ask about just about every media outlet world-wide. Why are they all choosing to deny the obvious — that Israel is a tiny speck in a sea of Islamic countries — striving to survive, that Israel is a democracy that does not throw out its Arab population, but instead offers them rights and opportunities — unlike the other Arab countries that have forced, through their policies, Jewish evacuation?, and so on and so on. These are the questions I would like answered.

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