Resentment Against Achievement

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


The Banality of Evil

is a phrase coined by the late Professor Hannah Arendt, who taught philosophy at Columbia University. Arendt is best known for her books The Origin of Totalitarianism and Eichmann in Jerusalem. A German / Jewish holocaust survivor, she concerned herself with that issue.

The word “banal” means common and refers in this context to the explanation Arendt gives the Holocaust, which most writers say cannot be explained. Her explanation is the same as that of Daniel Goldhagen in his book Hitler’s Willing Executioners, which shows in great detail that the ordinary European, whether German or French, Ukrainian or Polish, Lithuanian or Hungarian, was willing to slaughter his Jewish neighbors for money, for ambition, for religious fanaticism or for sadism. Those who committed these crimes were neither psychotic nor unusual. They were ordinary people given an extraordinary opportunity to do the worst.

Arendt had covered the Eichmann trial in 1961 and reported that Eichmann was in fact a very ordinary man who organized the mass transport of Jews into the gas chambers without showing any emotional disturbance whatever. Likewise, Goldhagen shows that ordinary German killers were capable of murdering their Jewish neighbors without any sense of guilt or remorse.

We ask therefore whether only Europeans and their Arab allies can kill without any feeling or any regard for their victims. Only last week the Arab murderers slaughtered 12 Jews walking to Shabbat services near the tomb of the patriarchs in Chevron.

We ask, as human beings, how it is possible for other humans to be so malicious and brutal and feel nothing but pride in their crimes?

Sociologists have studied this phenomenon for some time and have some answers. We note that brutal criminals will use techniques of neutralization to literally “neutralize” their conscience. See if the Arab – European Alliance do not use one of these arguments every time they murder a Jew.

  1. Denial of responsibility - the fault lies only with Ariel Sharon and other Jews. The killers are not responsible.

  2. Denial of injury - the Jews have “all the money”. Therefore they are not really injured even if some are murdered. Killing Jews is not murder.

  3. Denial of the victim - the Jews have it coming. They have no right to live in the first place.

  4. Condemning the condemner - those who object to the indiscriminate murder of Jews did worse when they bombed Hiroshima in World War II.

  5. Appeal to higher loyalties - Allah wants us to kill Jews. We owe loyalty to A.R. Fat. We are defending the Arab honor.

American criminals also use these techniques of neutralization and those of us who mistreat other Jews do so as well. I have seen the economic destruction of people who were deprived of their livelihood by vicious tactics and malicious innuendos and then heard the perpetrators use the five techniques just mentioned to excuse their conduct. There are those willing to deprive children of the support of their fathers and mothers and then use these excuses to justify their cruelty.

These techniques are universal and require no particular psychiatric condition to be applied. The victim is always at fault when in fact the real reason for so much cruelty is resentment against achievement.

How dare the Jews be successful and give the world an Einstein and a Jonas Salk? Now ask yourself this. Have you ever met an anti-Jewish hate monger who refused the vaccine against polio meningitis because Salk was a Jew? How about someone who won’t be treated with orio-myacine beccause Waksman was a Jew? Are there any hate mongers who won’t sing “God Bless America” because the composer Irving Berlin was a Jew?

Of course resentment against achievement exists in the Jewish community as well. We know of highly successful professionals who were ruined by the hate mongers in their profession aided and abetted by other Jews. Believe it. I can illustrate it easily.

While we think about this let us always remember that in the end the haters lose. Love wins and those who curse Israel are cursed while those who bless Israel are blessed. So says the Torah. So say we.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Grandparents:  A New Look at the Supporting Generation (with Dr. Ursula A., Falk, 2002), & Man's Ascent to Reason (2002).

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