Tag: denial

US Supports Terrorist Organizations and Criticizes Israel


The Biden Administration is furious with the Israeli government for announcing that six NGOs are supporting the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The EU is also wringing its hands. It just so happens that the US supports those same NGOs, and claims that Israel didn’t tell them in advance that they were going to publicize this investigation. (Israel says it did tell the US.) I guess the Biden Administration assumes that it could somehow have kept Israel quiet or pre-empted the country’s announcement with denials. The fact remains, though, that the US has known this information for a few years and doesn’t like to be called out for its questionable behavior.

So when we get past the finger-pointing, what makes this story so ugly?

First, the PFLP is one of the oldest terrorist organizations, and has acted many times over the years against Israel. The organization receives millions of dollars in support from all over the world. The NGOs that were identified are described below.

Blaming and Denial as Art Forms


When we think about the attitudes that get us into the worst trouble with others, they are usually tied to our ego. I recently wrote a post on the dangers of hubris and the lack of humility and how they form our attitudes and influence our behaviors.

But one of the most damaging dilemmas we can face is when we are humiliated. And when we are embarrassed or angry in a way that our own self-perception is at risk, we will fight tooth and nail to maintain our self-image and to build our credibility with others. That struggle manifests in our obsession with being right and looking good.

Denial Can Be Dangerous


Then on September 11, in the wake of rumors about a massacre in nearby Aran, a trustworthy Christian who had been sent there came back with firsthand confirmation; the entire community had been destroyed, and the streets were filled with the bodies of Jews. Rabbi Rozowski called a meeting to suggest buying ammunition in order to put up a fight and die with honor: Let us not go as sheep to the slaughter!” he proclaimed. “Let us die with the Philistines.” But still there were people who refused to believe the end was near, who were sure that the Germans were only after Jewish property and money, not Jewish lives, and the meeting ended in dissension. — Yaffa Eliach, There Once Was a World: a 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok*

This post is not written to elicit sympathy for the Jews of the shtetl of Eishyshok, which was part of various Eastern European countries at one time or another. Instead, I want to point out that it is dangerous to live in denial, to ignore the facts, to hide from the truth when your way of life is at stake.

Over and over again, the Jews of Eishyshok learned what was happening to Jews all around them; they knew of the history of anti-Semitism and had learned the value of living peacefully, when they could, with their neighbors. But acknowledging the barbarism that was taking place, and to which they were to fall victim, was simply too much to contemplate. The Germans had been kind to them during World War I; the Eishyshkians believed they would treat them as kindly this time. Until they didn’t.

Welcome to another special European edition – this is getting to be habit-forming, isn’t it? – of the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast. It’s the “Plot to Scapegoat Trump” edition of the show with our European Co-host (complete with Irish accent) William Campbell.

On William’s forthcoming “Challenging Opinions” podcast he interviews writer Daniel Kovalik whose recent book “The Plot to Scapegoat Putin” is gathering notice (and whose title we ignominiously purloined for this podcast). Kovalik’s thesis is that American’s are fixating on Putin as an all-powerful demon when in fact he is just an oligarchic dictator of a broken country with the GDP of Spain.  Mike (that’s me) argues that the American left’s obsession with Russia has, in fact, little or nothing to do with Russia. That obsession has of course uncovered actual facts about Putin and Russia and cybercrime, etc. But the whole motive to start that investigation is based in an effort to salve the wounds of electoral defeat to Donald Trump.

Cascadia Subduction and Denial


PowerPoint PresentationI know. “Cascadia Subduction and Denial” sounds like the latest twist on PC college campus sexual consent forms, but this is actually about the way we think about risk … and don’t.

I remember watching an online video of the 2011 tsunami coming ashore in Japan. How easily, almost casually, the ocean reached in and swept everything away. And not the rice paper houses that insular or merely wilfully unknowing Americans might have wanted to imagine, but objects of recognizable solidity; big buildings, parking structures, shopping centers,  highways, 18 wheelers. Picked up, tumbled, tossed away, gone.

The planet has its own clock that ticks away its own time. Occasionally, inevitably, a geologic hour is struck, and the inevitable happens: the earth’s surface shudders, buckles and cracks apart. Solid rock drops abruptly out from under whatever it was bearing up: trees, hills, cities, the ocean. The ocean reacts by forming itself into gigantic waves that move outward from the center, lifting boats, birds, our plastic debris and carrying all along until it flops itself down upon the land.