When the fox fails to reach the grapes, he decides he does not want them after all, an example of adaptive preference formation, designed to reduce cognitive dissonance — The Fox and the Grapes by Aesop
Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term describing the uncomfortable tension that may result from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one's beliefs, or from experiencing apparently conflicting phenomena. In simple terms, it can be the filtering of information that conflicts with what you already believe, in an effort to ignore that information and reinforce your beliefs.
Experience can clash with expectations, as, for example, with buyer's remorse following the purchase of an expensive item. In a state of dissonance, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. People are biased to think of their choices as correct, despite any contrary evidence. This bias gives dissonance theory its predictive power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling irrational and destructive behavior.
A classic example of this idea (and the origin of the expression "sour grapes") is expressed in the fable The Fox and the Grapes by Aesop (ca. 620–564 BCE). In the story, a fox sees some high-hanging grapes and wishes to eat them. When the fox is unable to think of a way to reach them, he surmises that the grapes are probably not worth eating, as they must not be ripe or that they are sour. This example follows a pattern: one desires something, finds it unattainable, and reduces one's dissonance by criticizing it. Jon Elster calls this pattern "adaptive preference formation. [Source: Wikipedia and Science Daily]
The most prevalent example of cognitive dissonance is the attitudes and beliefs of the American Jew when it comes to Israel. I say American Jew because the Jews in Israel (Israelis) so not have this same physiological disease and there aren’t many Jews left in Europe.
For generations the American Jew has supported liberal, progressive, socialist and even communist ideologies. They have done this out a sense of justice and more so empathy. They are more in tune with the philosophies Marx, Lenin and the Fabian Socialists than of Locke, Burke, Smith or Frederic Bastiat. They have this ideology because of their generally higher levels of education, especially in the area of the arts where empathy rules and logic is looked upon as a conservative value.
A perfect example of this can be found in the great novel by Herman Wouk, The Winds of War and his sequel War And Remembrance. One of the main characters in the books is Aaron Jastrow, an intellectual Jew living in Italy. Jastrow has written several acclaimed and scholars books and sees himself as a person of some prominence. AS the war clouds gather over Europe Jastrow is warned several times by his niece’s fiancée, Leslie Slote, U.S. State Department official to get his affairs in order and return to the United States.
As the plot unfolds Jastrow keeps ignoring Slote’s warnings by claiming that Jew have always been able to weather the storms of history and that Hitler was really no different than other anti-Sematic tyrants of the past. This is Jastow’s cognitive dissonance (CD). When Hitler invades Poland and WWII breaks out in full Jastrow still claims to be safe in Italy. Finally after much persuasion by his niece, Natalie, and Slote Jastrow finally consents to return to the U.S. But, he has one problem — through neglect he has allowed his passport to expire and he must get a new one issued at the Embassy in Rome. Before this can happen Pearl Harbor is attacked, and Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. Now Jastrow is an enemy alien in a nation where a state of war with his country of citizenship.
Throughout the books as Jastrow is moved from an internment camp at Baden Baden to the “model” Jewish ghetto at Theresienstadt and finally to Auschwitz where he is murdered in he gas chamber and his body burned in the ovens.
All through the novels and the mini-series Wouk a Jewish naval officer who served in the Pacific) shows Jastrow in a constant state of denial as to what would happen to him if he did not take action to save himself and his niece. To me Aaron Jastrow, through the eyes of Herman Wouk, displayed the ultimate example of CD that affects so many American Jews today or as I like to call it the “Aaron Jastrow Syndrome” (AJS).
Last week in his speech before the State Department (an arm of our government with a long history of anti-Semitism) Obama dropped a bombshell by saying:
“So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”
What the president had said is essentially that rather than borders and boundaries being established as an end result of negotiations, the two states that will be created should be based on the 1967 lines, a conclusion that gives the Palestinian Authority its own desired boundaries — and takes away from Israel the necessary buffer zone it gained after the 1967 war, and from which it has been able to prevent attacks on its own people.
It is akin to the policy in which the Obama administration focused on their demand that Israel give up settlements, leading Fatah and Abbas to adopt a position that, until then, they were willing to negotiate. Ultimately, it put them in a corner from which they could not back down.
Moreover, the newly developed Hamas-Fatah “unity government” agreement has already made it clear that the Palestinian leadership will not honor the requirement that the existence of a Jewish state in the region must be accepted. As the president put it, “how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?” Not only have the PA leadership not provided “a credible answer to that question,” they have in effect done the exact opposite — made it clear that they will never do what is required.
In effect, the president is rewarding Abbas for his bad behavior, after the PA leader’s own recent op-ed in The New York Times in which he revealed his intransigence. Statehood, as he perceives it, is not an end in itself, but is put forth as the new means for waging a continuing war against Israel. That is why Jackson Diehl’s article in The Washington Post is so important. Diehl points out: “Desperate to jump-start an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Obama administration and its European allies are piling pressure on Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu, demanding that he offer a plan, concessions — something — that will provide the basis for starting negotiations with Palestinians.” As I said in a previous blog post there are two things you not do in public — make love and make peace. You can read more on this issue by clicking here.
Today I watched Obama address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) where he clarified and somewhat modified his previous remarks on Israel, but did not deviate from his comments on the 1967 borders. He received a standing ovation for the AIPAC crowd of Jewish donors. To me this was like Hitler telling the same audience he was ordering some great new ovens from Krupp and would be used to bake matzah.
Obama said to the AIPAC Crowd:
"There was nothing particularly original in my proposal; this basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. administrations,"
"What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately," he added, saying his remarks were no different than a "well-known formula" that has been worked on for a generation.
"It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years, including the new demographic realities on the ground and the needs of both sides. The ultimate goal is two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.”
There has been talk of peace between Israel and its Muslim neighbors for 63 years and the same old, tired sayings and proposals are brought out. What Obama did do that was different was to tell the Muslim states he was on their side of this issue and wanted to pressure Israel into a corner.
Obama is an anti-Semite. He was mentored in Chicago by Rev. Wright and Louis Farrakhan — both virulent anti-Semites. His sympathies lie with the Islamic states and those at AIPAC just could not see it or choose to ignore it due to AJS. This is tantamount to people saying Hitler was not going to be influenced by the likes of Himmler, Heydrich, Julius Streicher and the rest of his NAZI cohorts. People who thought that were like Aaron Jastrow.
The American Jew just can’t let go of his devotion to the Democrat Party — no matter the consequences. I know because I had a Jewish partner who was born in Israel, fought in the 1973 war on the Golan Heights as a tank commander and still suffered from AJS.
The President of the United States has willingly and with forethought placed our long term ally, Israel, whose existence America has guaranteed since 1948, in an untenable situation by his attempt to impose a course of action that, if not followed by Israel, will further inflame the Muslim world and cause international sentiment to turn against Israel.
President Obama is attempting to force a settlement on terms dictated by the Arabs in the Middle East. By setting as a pre-condition the surrender of territory commensurate with the pre-1967 boundaries in any negotiations with the Palestinians, he has instead guaranteed further conflict.
Mr. Obama, the “smartest and ablest person to ever occupy the Oval Office” (as confirmed by his demeanor and sycophants in the media), either is naive and overweening (synonymous with the Left) or unaware of the failures throughout history caused by intimidating one's ally into giving up land in exchange for peace with someone bent on their destruction. I believe it’s the later. After all a community organizer doesn’t have to study any history beyond the 1965 and the civil rights movement.
However, in case the President wasn't aware, about this time 73 years ago there was an eerily similar situation taking place in Europe. Czechoslovakia was a country formed out of the re-drawing of boundaries after the horrific slaughter of World War I and the surrender of Germany and Austria. Much of the Czech border was adjacent to what was left of Germany. But it was defensible border against a nation which for decades exhibited a particularly aggressive stance against its neighbors.
The new nation quickly developed its own economy, government and military while avoiding much of the financial and political chaos taking place in Germany during the 1920's and 30's. However, along its border with Germany was a region called Sudetenland which contained many ethnic Germans, who for the most part were quite content to live within the boundaries of Czechoslovakia.
Adolf Hitler upon assuming power in Germany almost immediately began to cast his eye on recapturing and re-instituting the old German-speaking Empire in Europe. Once he realized that the other strong Western European powers would not stand in the way of his immediate ambitions, such as the re-occupation of the Rhineland (controlled by France), he cast his eye toward Czechoslovakia.
In April of 1938, Hitler, together with his allies in the Sudeten Nazi party, issued a demand that Sudetenland by made autonomous and allied with Nazi Germany. A request if granted would leave Czechoslovakia nearly unprotected, as almost all its border defenses were located in this region, as well a large portion of its industry. The Czech government refused to acquiesce to these absurd demands.
Hitler then, knowing that the governments of France and the United Kingdom were set on avoiding war at any cost, ratcheted up his demands and threatened to begin a war by invading Czechoslovakia. Both France and Britain advised the Czech government to accede to Hitler's demands or they would not support them in the event of a war.
Hitler and his henchmen then began to foment unrest in the Sudetenland, which prompted military action by the Czech army in an attempt to restore order. Hitler then claimed that the Czechs were indiscriminately slaughtering Sudeten Germans (a wholly false accusation). He demanded that the French and British acquiesce to the German takeover of the region. They agreed and issued an ultimatum to the Czechs, making their commitment to Czechoslovakia's existence contingent on accepting Hitler's demands.
The Czechs reluctantly accepted; however Hitler then increased his demands once more insisting that the claims of ethnic Germans in Poland and Hungary also be satisfied which would have the effect of further decreasing not only the border with Germany but also that of Poland to the north and Hungary to the South. The remaining Czechoslovakia could not survive in such a diminished state.
The Czech government refused these new demands and began to mobilize its military. On September 28, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlin, appealed for a conference with Hitler on this matter along with France and Italy. Czechoslovakia was not invited.
A deal was reached the next day. The German army was to occupy the Sudetenland by October 10, 1938, and an international commission would decide the fate of the other disputed areas; Hitler agreed that he had no further designs on the country and would leave the balance of the Czechoslovakia in peace. The allies would therefore guarantee the survival of the remainder of the country.
Czechoslovakia was informed by Britain and France that it could resist Nazi Germany alone, as they would not honor their defense agreements with Czechoslovakia or submit to the annexations and the terms of the Agreement. Given that option the Czechs capitulated.
Neville Chamberlin flew back to London and proclaimed this Agreement, now known as the "Munich Pact", together with a new peace treaty with Germany as "Peace in our time."
- Within six months Czechoslovakia ceased to exist as:
- October 1938: Germany occupies the Sudetenland
- October 1938: Poland occupies parts of northern Czechoslovakia
- November 1938: Hungary occupies parts of southern Czechoslovakia
- March 1939: The remaining Czech territories were annexed and became part of Germany
Hitler having so successfully intimidated and bullied the European allies over Czechoslovakia and other territory then set his sights on Poland which was invaded in September of 1939 thus triggering the most devastating war in the history of mankind.
It is not a casual observation to notice how many parallels there are with the saga of Czechoslovakia and today's Israel.
Many of the immigrants to the new state of Israel in 1946-1948 originated in the cauldron that was Europe in the 1930's and 40's. They and their progeny remember what happened to Czechoslovakia and other countries that relied on the guarantees of so-called allies for their survival. Israel is surrounded by those whose primary ambition is to destroy and annihilate the people of that country. Barack Obama, by his recent actions, has forced a major question to be asked: will the United States reprise the role of France and Britain in 1938? Will Israel be intimidated and bullied into accepting terms that will have as their end-game the dissolution of the country?
Despite numerous efforts over the past forty years by Israel to negotiate and surrender some land, among other concessions, nothing has or will accomplish peace with the Palestinians and Muslim radicals unless and until all parties have an equal commitment to peace and most importantly respect for each other. How can this happen when Hamas and Hezbollah, both deemed terrorist organizations, are the main parties of any negotiations with Israel.
It would do well for the President to understand not only history but human nature before he attempts to satisfy his misguided ambition for an exalted place as the savior of the Middle East. His ham-handed attempt to force a settlement by appeasing the radical Arab street at the expense of Israel will only lead to a potential world-wide conflagration as Iran and it's jihadist allies will only be emboldened to seek more concessions and ultimately war.
So far the only potential Republican candidate for the Presidency to give a clear evaluation of Obama’s misguided Middle East policy has been Sarah Palin. You can see her remarks on FNC by clicking here.
For reactions from Israel click here