Language is truly an amazing phenomenon. It is as if words have a transcendent quality that mean more to us than even we think we know. Take for example the word, “thug.” In the past I have used this word in conjunction with the phrase, “Zionist thugs.” This is not a new term to anyone who has ever felt the humiliation of a checkpoint, the terror of an F-16 or Apache helicopter dispensing its payload.
But the word “thug” has an interesting etymology. The word comes from the old Hindu cult called Thugee. The cult was devoted to Kali, the goddess of death and destruction. For hundreds of years the Thugee cult practiced an organized campaign of assassinations. Strangulation was the preferred method of choice. Thugees claimed tens of thousands of victims.
The British Raj hanged nearly 4000 Thugees in the 19th century and the cult has only survived as a word to be applied with discretion. I began to think of the term, “Zionist thugs” in a different light. What makes a former human rights activist with dignity like Nathan Sharansky begin to advocate oppressive racial policies? What makes seemingly intelligent, articulate Israelis turn so completely away from reason and accept myth instead of historical truth? What makes Israel as a nation elect known war criminals? Not once, not twice, but consistently elect leaders with so much blood on their hands?
The answer might lie in the notion that the spiritual heirs of the Thugees are Zionists. This is not just a rhetorical phrase. Is Zionism a cult? And if it is, what can you do with them? Dr. Michael Langone, editor of Cultic Studies Journal has developed a brief checklist to determine if a movement is a cult:
The group is focused on a living leader or idea to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
The group is preoccupied with making money.
Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel.
The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader (s), and members.
The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.
The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities.
The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group.
The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.
Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.
I am not sure if Zionism has ever been considered as a cult before. So the question for concerned Jews who are not part of this cult and Palestinians is: “How should this cult be dealt with?” Since reason alone is ineffective in transforming cult members, and mass de-programming is not viable, we have a real problem on our hands. We are beyond 19th century mass executions (the method the British used in India), so how can we break through and “cure” such a large cult? We need to understand that after “converts” commit themselves to Zionism, the cult’s way of thinking, feeling, and acting becomes second nature, while important aspects of their pre-cult personalities are suppressed or, in a sense, decay through disuse.
A normal level of psychological development and personality integration is very difficult for them to achieve. Nathan Sharansky is a prime example of exhibiting a decayed sense of human rights…probably through disuse. He needs to be cured…not killed. I am not being facetious here. Zionism is an anachronistic cult based upon an ultra-nationalistic ethic. We need the best minds in the world to work on this problem if there will ever be a solution to the problem between Israelis and Palestinians.