Cognitive Egocentrism, Dry Bones style

H/T fellow medievalist/blogger Jeffrey Woolf at Obiter Dicta who entitled his post “Cognitive Egocentrism, but didn’t link to the definitive introduction to the current problem.

From the inimitable Dry Bones.

I believe we have the definitive illustration of useful infidelity.

17 Responses to Cognitive Egocentrism, Dry Bones style

  1. Lorenz Gude says:

    One way I see the denial satirized by this cartoon is as an unconscious manifestation of colonialism. A refuasal to take the ‘other’ seriously. To even listen, and instead to impose one’s own ‘narrative’ regardless of the evidence. Given the ruthless and uncompromising nature of KSM perhaps these folks will meet their Milosevic.

  2. sshender says:


    The torrent of the most recent Channel 4 Dispatches about the UK “Israel Lobby” is up and running in less than 24 hours. I’m downloading already to see what all the fuss is about.

  3. Cynic says:

    this link might be of some interest
    UPDATE: Top British documentary makers peddle conspiracy theory about secretive Zionist lobby ahead of landmark TV show

    This article has been updated with links to the full pamphlet explaining the show which airs Monday night. The distortions therein are quite breathtaking. ….
    Something reprehensible is happening and it is largely or wholly concealed from view. In the specific case of alleged Jewish conspiracies there are usually additional hints that large amounts of money are involved and that a part of the conspiracy emanates from abroad.
    Oborne and Jones are peddling a conspiracy theory. QED.

  4. Cynic says:


    Here’s a report by Jonathan Hoffman on CiFWatch which should give you some idea:
    Inside Channel 4’s Conspiracy Factory

    From a link in the above:
    [John] Snow’s denial of Hamas’s crimes and Ahmadinejad’s Christmas message appeal to the tastes and interests of only the worst bigots of our society.
    Peter Oborne’s Dispatches program this evening, “Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby”, could only have appealed to the same people. The deliberate conflation of bloody bodies and Jews eating dinner was an early low.
    Because where is this all-powerful Israeli lobby? Why did it not manage to convince the UK to veto the Goldstone report at the UN? How did it fail to stop the UK from starting an arms embargo on Israel? How did it allow our Foreign Minister to attack Operation Cast Lead as ‘disproportionate’, or the UK to finance the Breaking The Silence organisation?

    What we can take away from those questions is that Osborne is not interested in presenting facts but in inciting the ignorant masses and racists a la the 1930s
    on taking the next step.

  5. sshender says:

    In other news: Fort Hood was an Inside Job!!! I’m not kidding…

    I was right wondering when the trufers would catch up…

    P.S. Following the tradition of W&M, I present you O&J (or just OJ to make it simple and sound more appropriate).

  6. sshender says:

    After the M&W libel came out in the for of a book, I took it upon myself to gather ALL the criticism of their thesis available and I still have it on one of my hard drives. I read through ALL of them thoroughly and was astonished at how shoddy and one-sided their scholarship was and how infantile was their logic. It stroke a chord with me because I believe that this kind of pseudo-intellectual assault on Israel and Jews is far more dangerous than the outright in your face Nazis or Islamofascists.

    But two things stroke me as odd about most of the ctitics – they rarely contested the historical and human rights record of Israel as was presented in the book and dismissed any Jewish prominence and influence as bigotry and hate-mongering. My approach is that we have to establish the facts first. And the facts are that jews are disproportionately represented in the Academia, Intelligencia, Media, Finance and sometimes politics. No one can deny these facts, and unfortunately most critics of the lobby perceive the mere stating of this fact as anti-semitic bordering on the Elders of Zion. This is why so often you read the critics of that criticism and find yourself in an awkward position where the starting premise of your opponent is true, and you have to admit that your side is wrong – not a good starting point in an argument.
    Now, the main problem of the Israel Lobby thesis is that it perceives all Jews (or gentile pro-Israelis) as one entity, whereas it’s probably the most diverse group you’d ever meet. The problem begins when they automatically brand every Jew as part of the Lobby (and that’s exactly what they eventually end up doing) and deduct that since Jews are very influential and powerful, so must be the Lobby. QED. Or so they have us believe.

    There is of course a very powerful underlying emotional sentiment behind it as well. Israel has been demonized to a point where most people in the west see it as a pariah state. At the same time, the west keeps good relationship with this “pariah” state. How do you explain the gap between perception and reality – in come the Lobby. Since Israel is a pariah state not worth of our support – so the thinking goes – then its existence must be the result of some clandestine force – enter The Lobby.

    I’ve still not downloaded the program entirely so I can’t judge for myself, but given what I’ve already heard and read in their pamphlet, it is basically the same W&M crap repackaged for the UK.

  7. Eliyahu says:

    sshender, there is an old tradition of Jewish conspiracies in the UK, really, as well as of sinister Jewish characters in fiction. Look at Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Marlowe’s Jew of Malta, not to mention the medieval mystery and passion plays, etc.

    In the 19th century they had Oliver Twist and Svengali [in the novel Trilby]. In the 20th century, they had John Buchan’s 39 Steps [the movie eliminated the overt Judeophbobia] and his Three Circles of LIght. The latter novel does not mention Jews explicitly but the scheming evil character, Dominick Medina, can be deduced to be a Jew through a name connection to Sidonia in Disraeli’s Coningsby, as well as his family history, going back to Spain. Medina is also a combination of a Jewish enemy with an Irish enemy, bizarre as it may seem.

    At any rate, all this Jewish conspiracy, Jewish scheming, Jewish plotting evil stuff goes far back in Britain’s theatrical, religious, and literary traditions. Of course, there are many reasonable, logical and informed folks there who do not accept the channel 4 line or the bbc or groniad, etc.

  8. sshender says:

    Eliyahu, while I’m yet again impressed with your knowledge, I fail to see what bearing it has on the issue at hand. I tend to distinguish between the “old anti-semitism” and the new one. The whole Israel Lobby hype is the result of some people’s discontent at the normalization of the Western country with Israel, which they perceive as the ultimate evil. I wholeheartedly agree that for some Antisemitism is what lies at the root of the problem, but for too many this is simply a manifestation of a political ideology that happens to be hostile to what Israel (and the US) stands for. They are anti anything that is positive about Israel because it does not settle in with their worldview and they seek to delegitimize everyone who is because they honestly think that these ties with Israel are detrimental to their country. This is M&W’s backbone and this is the same with this UK hitpiece. They first establish guilt and then go about cherry-picking whichever evidence (and half truths) support their views.

    This has less to do with the greedy malicious Jews and much to do with realpolitik. IMHO. :)

  9. sshender says:

    A Must read:

    Peace is not a must,7340,L-3806263,00.html

    Finally, someone tells it like it is!

  10. Eliyahu says:

    shender, I’m glad that you comfort yourself with the belief that it’s all really Realpolitik. In the case of the UK, recall that UK policy during the Holocaust and WW2 was to prevent Jews from being rescued. Maybe some of the ingroup there see getting rid of Jews as an interest, not a material interest to be sure, but an interest involving goals that you might consider irrational or unreasonable. But suppose they look at the Jews as people who have won an inordinate number of Nobel prizes in the sciences. People like that might be considered the vanguard of civilization or its backbone or some such. Hence, if one wants to get rid of civilization, then one must get rid of Jews as soon as possible.

    Do you know that Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, when he learned of persecutions of Polish Jews by the Nazis, wrote to the govt, concerned that some of these persecuted Jews might be allowed into the Land of Israel [“palestine” to the king]?? You should not assume that Realpolitik aspires to serve rational interests –interests that seem rational to you. If Realpolitik aims to serve aspirations that you would not consider rational, like undermining one’s own country, then you might not be able to understand the policy. Yet, the UK has allowed hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants into the UK since 2000 –they encounter far fewer obstacles than the Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany– despite the bombings and thwarted bombings perpetrated by Muslims there. Do you think that nobody in the UK govt understands that allowing Muslim preachers –like that hook-armed mamzer– to preach jihad against Christians and Jews and Hindus will encourage Muslims living there to act out this seditious preaching?? In other words, by allowing Abu Hamza [is that his name?] to preach jihad the UK govt itself encouraged jihad against the non-Muslim population in the country.

    Look at Neville Chamberlain. Didn’t he understand that appeasing Hitler would bring on a terrible war? Was he stupid or ill-informed?

    Wouldn’t it have been advantageous to the Allied war effort during WW2 to encourage Jewish resistance, especially armed resistance, to the Nazis? But only the USSR encouraged Jewish partisans. The UK and USA did not. The bbc failed to broadcast and then minimized broadcasting about the Holocaust in its “news” programs. When Orwell wrote about the Ministry of Truth he was talking about the bbc and related govt agencies in the UK. Anyhow, have a nice day.

  11. sshender says:

    Eliyahu, I’m nowhere as confident as you are about the true motives, and try to tread with caution. I was, however, exposed to a lot of different views and explanations to the current dire state of affairs, and I must disagree politely with some of the things you have written.

    I reject your interpretation of the West’s inability and lack of interest in stopping the final solution. I do not see here anything nefarious. What I do see, and Rwanda was just such a reminder, is that people are selfish as individuals but aslo as a group, and will almost never step up to save another individual or group whome even at little risk, much less when in the middle of an existential war. The West’s apathy for the plight of the Jews was just that – apathy and the reasons why it was hushed down is a simple psychological defence against an unsettling reality. If it’s too hard to stomach – close the curtains. (See Neurotic repression & suppression at

    In Chamberlain’s case it was a mix of denial, distortion, fantasy and projection. He wasn’t a fool – just a coward trying to appease the bully – which we know never works.

    What can I say, I try applying the occam’s razor principle here too, and plain human nature and psychology are enough to explain the phenomenon.

    One more thing you seem forget is the shifting moral Zeitgeist. A good historian never judges the past in the present framework. The collective western psyche has been transformed by the two world wars and has since morphed into something never before seen in human history, thus it would be a mistake to frame the anti-Zionist attitudes of today in the same antisemitic terms.

    It’s very easy to judge with hindsight, but not all mess-ups can be prescribed to pure malice – more often it is the usual universal human weaknesses that are to blame.

  12. Barry Meislin says:

    …thus it would be a mistake to frame the anti-Zionist attitudes of today in the same antisemitic terms.

    Perhaps, but Hitler knew what he was doing when he declared that his war was against the Jews (and not against Europe, per se).

    Aside from those numerous who agreed with him, there were even those more, apathetic, numerous who in essence asked why they should get involved in protecting Jews from the Germans?

    The relentless deligitimization of Jews, first as internal policy and then as foreign policy, degraded European resistance to German designs in the 30s, even in Britain, to a large extent. The Nazis did indeed know how to weaken, confuse, divide and ultimately conquer (at least for a time).

    Churchill saw through it all, and he was villified. Absolutely, roundly, consistently.

    What? Go to war because of the Czechs?
    What? Go to war because of the Jews?
    The buck stopped, albeit reluctantly, at Poland.

    As for today, I would submit that the Iranians and those who support them (and those whom they support) have studied the precedents well, and have learned well from the masters of the technique.

    What have we chin-strokers learned?
    What are our precedents?
    Who are our masters?

  13. Cynic says:


    I reject your interpretation of the West’s inability and lack of interest in stopping the final solution. I do not see here anything nefarious.

    If you study the behaviour of the British from the end of the First World War onwards in the Middle East you will find their actions against the Jews in Palestine described appropriately with the applied adjective “nefarious”.

    After the Evian conference when Britain and America basically shut out the Jews from any avenue of escape it was apparent they agreed with a final solution.

    The British could have permitted the flight of Jews to Palestine, or even Southern Africa at the time, when they saw what was happening in Germany. Instead they clamped down.
    You have a fair bit of reading to do.

  14. Cynic says:


    Thanks for the opportunity to go off topic.
    Remember that discussion some weeks ago with sshender about the behaviour of Jews of Middle Eastern extraction; well here we witnessed, this week, an Ashkenazi extract display the behaviour of a ‘beheime’ in a contratemps with the postman.

  15. Eliyahu says:

    cynic, you know, since Oslo in 1993, not only haver there been Arab terrorist attacks and military attacks [hizbullah and hamas rockets] but there has been a big increase, it seems to me, in violence among the Jews themselves, with more senseless killings among the youth, more wife murders, etc. I think that Oslo and what it entailed drove people nuts here in Israel. I remember back in the 1980s you heard much less about violent crime among Jews. No doubt there are other influences too, TV barbarity and stupidity [see writings of Dr Frederick Wertham], and the usual “leftist” efforts to undermine society and morality, etc. So Oslo caused problems, in my opinion, that very few people foresaw.

    I don’t know your story of a man attacking a mailman but I think that this case fits in with what I said about the increase in violence in general.

  16. Cynic says:

    The beheime was one of the tenants in our block verbally attacking the postman and then the “Rosh Ha’Vaad” (head of the tenants committee) who went to his defense.

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