The Price of Denial is Death

In a recent article in Foreign Policy, Washington Post journalist David Ignatius bewailed his inability to function effectively as a "moderator" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Islamic officials once again took the opportunity to blame Israel and America for the Arab's failure to create peaceful and prosperous societies.

Ignatius describes himself as  "... someone who has spent much of his career trying to operate in the middle of the Middle East conflict and working hard to avoid any appearance of bias..."  [Emphasis added.]  Without overtly acknowledging it, Ignatius makes it clear that he sympathizes with what he describes as the "rage that is felt across the Muslim world."

Six decades of horrendous violence and murder, a multi-generational effort to destroy the State of Israel, and forty years of worldwide terrorism are insufficient to persuade Ignatius that he has a personal stake in opposing the sociopathic behavior of the Arab Middle East:

"I know a little about talking with our enemies because I have been doing it for many years. Not my enemies, mind you (journalists aren't supposed to have any), but my country's. I talked with the PLO ...Muammar al-Qaddafi. ...  Hassan Nasrallah ...(and) Bashar al-Assad ..." [Emphasis added.]

It does no good to dismiss people like Ignatius as "liberals full of blather," as some are wont to do. People like Ignatius must be brought to understand that they are in denial about the truth of what is going on in the world. It is one thing to cherish idealistic beliefs, possess a kindly disposition, and maintain an attitude of humanistic tolerance; it is quite another to project those thoughts and feelings onto people who glorify religious murder and suicide, and then delude yourself into believing that by doing so the impulse to commit such evil acts will disappear.

At the heart of the denial that afflicts people like Ignatius is fear. They are afraid to believe that there are people in the world who embrace evil over good and death over life. Like many people in denial, Ignatius finds it far more comforting to believe that everyone is just like him -- basically well intentioned and occasionally misguided. However, Ignatius is wrong -- just as wrong as wrong can be -- and the whole of human history stands as witness to his error.

But Ignatius doesn't need to become an historian to realize his error. Any delinquency counselor can tell him that you cannot stop a bully from bullying by acting as a "moderator" between the bully and his victim. That only feeds the impulse to bully. To stop a bully from bullying, you must first restrain the bully. That means that you must embrace him with as much force as necessary to actually stop him from bullying. Then, if the bully is willing to cultivate a kindly disposition, you can embrace him with kindness. That is the only sequence that works in the real world. No other approach has ever worked, because every other approach involves denying the truth about what it means to be a bully.

Bullies are people who do not feel that they have a moral obligation to act in a way that is regardful of other people. They feel that other people are in their lives in order to be used, abused, and discarded. When other people refuse to cooperate, bullies feel deeply affronted, because that violates the natural order of things for them. That is the real explanation for what Ignatius calls the "rage that is felt across the Muslim world."

Confronted with Israel's continuing refusal to accept destruction and America's  commitment (until recently) to support Israel's right to exist, the Arabs have for years been in an uproar of indignation. At the conference in Davos, Ignatius discovered what everyone discovers who mistakenly believes that you can "moderate" between bullies and their victims:

"My efforts to do what moderators do -- let everyone talk for a while and then find a few inches of common ground -- blew up in my face."

David Ignatius' effort to moderate between bullies and their intended victim blew up in his face in Davos, and now he is intellectually disenchanted with the prospects for moderation in the Middle East. But unfortunately for the Israelis, if things blow up in their faces, it means bloody war, not intellectual disenchantment. The reality is that Israel cannot afford to "moderate" between its right to exist as a Jewish state and the "rage that is felt across the Muslim world." The Israelis won't just lose their illusions; they'll lose their lives, because in the Middle East the price of denial is death.

Jed Gladstein has contributed a number of articles to the American Thinker. He is an author, educator and attorney.
In a recent article in Foreign Policy, Washington Post journalist David Ignatius bewailed his inability to function effectively as a "moderator" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Islamic officials once again took the opportunity to blame Israel and America for the Arab's failure to create peaceful and prosperous societies.

Ignatius describes himself as  "... someone who has spent much of his career trying to operate in the middle of the Middle East conflict and working hard to avoid any appearance of bias..."  [Emphasis added.]  Without overtly acknowledging it, Ignatius makes it clear that he sympathizes with what he describes as the "rage that is felt across the Muslim world."

Six decades of horrendous violence and murder, a multi-generational effort to destroy the State of Israel, and forty years of worldwide terrorism are insufficient to persuade Ignatius that he has a personal stake in opposing the sociopathic behavior of the Arab Middle East:

"I know a little about talking with our enemies because I have been doing it for many years. Not my enemies, mind you (journalists aren't supposed to have any), but my country's. I talked with the PLO ...Muammar al-Qaddafi. ...  Hassan Nasrallah ...(and) Bashar al-Assad ..." [Emphasis added.]

It does no good to dismiss people like Ignatius as "liberals full of blather," as some are wont to do. People like Ignatius must be brought to understand that they are in denial about the truth of what is going on in the world. It is one thing to cherish idealistic beliefs, possess a kindly disposition, and maintain an attitude of humanistic tolerance; it is quite another to project those thoughts and feelings onto people who glorify religious murder and suicide, and then delude yourself into believing that by doing so the impulse to commit such evil acts will disappear.

At the heart of the denial that afflicts people like Ignatius is fear. They are afraid to believe that there are people in the world who embrace evil over good and death over life. Like many people in denial, Ignatius finds it far more comforting to believe that everyone is just like him -- basically well intentioned and occasionally misguided. However, Ignatius is wrong -- just as wrong as wrong can be -- and the whole of human history stands as witness to his error.

But Ignatius doesn't need to become an historian to realize his error. Any delinquency counselor can tell him that you cannot stop a bully from bullying by acting as a "moderator" between the bully and his victim. That only feeds the impulse to bully. To stop a bully from bullying, you must first restrain the bully. That means that you must embrace him with as much force as necessary to actually stop him from bullying. Then, if the bully is willing to cultivate a kindly disposition, you can embrace him with kindness. That is the only sequence that works in the real world. No other approach has ever worked, because every other approach involves denying the truth about what it means to be a bully.

Bullies are people who do not feel that they have a moral obligation to act in a way that is regardful of other people. They feel that other people are in their lives in order to be used, abused, and discarded. When other people refuse to cooperate, bullies feel deeply affronted, because that violates the natural order of things for them. That is the real explanation for what Ignatius calls the "rage that is felt across the Muslim world."

Confronted with Israel's continuing refusal to accept destruction and America's  commitment (until recently) to support Israel's right to exist, the Arabs have for years been in an uproar of indignation. At the conference in Davos, Ignatius discovered what everyone discovers who mistakenly believes that you can "moderate" between bullies and their victims:

"My efforts to do what moderators do -- let everyone talk for a while and then find a few inches of common ground -- blew up in my face."

David Ignatius' effort to moderate between bullies and their intended victim blew up in his face in Davos, and now he is intellectually disenchanted with the prospects for moderation in the Middle East. But unfortunately for the Israelis, if things blow up in their faces, it means bloody war, not intellectual disenchantment. The reality is that Israel cannot afford to "moderate" between its right to exist as a Jewish state and the "rage that is felt across the Muslim world." The Israelis won't just lose their illusions; they'll lose their lives, because in the Middle East the price of denial is death.

Jed Gladstein has contributed a number of articles to the American Thinker. He is an author, educator and attorney.