Glowing Guardian profile of Jacqueline Rose, bold analyst of Zionism’s psychosis

Stuart Jeffries’ profile of Jacqueline Rose, “Jacqueline Rose: a life in writing“, Guardian, Feb. 3, begins with a subtitle which manages to convey in less than 20 words much of what you need to know of Rose’s pseudo psychoanalysis of Zionism and the Jewish people.

‘Victimhood is something that happens but when you turn it into an identity you’re psychically and politically finished’

To understand why Rose is indeed talking about Zionist Jews being “psychically and politically finished” due to an “identity” of “victimhood”, you need to read a few of her choice musings on Israel and Jewry, but the answer is clear by the sixth passage of Jeffries’ essay.

After introducing Rose (recent author of, Proust Among the Nations: From Dreyfus to the Middle East) as a feminist, and “fearless” “psychoanalytic critic“…“ready to battle against those who hate her for daring to psychoanalyze Israel” [emphasis added], Jeffries quotes the author’s analysis of Israel:

[You] project on to the other the bits of yourself that you can’t stand, but the function is to utterly purify yourself of the feeling. So your innocence is a form of violence against others.”

Such a psychoanalysis of the Jewish state is nothing, however, compared to Rose’s previous diagnoses.

In her book, Question of Zion, Rose wrote, “We take Zionism to be a form of collective insanity” (p. 17), and suggests that those who embrace it are part of a group neurosis.

As Alvin Rosenfeld noted, in Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Antisemitism, Rose’s lexicon for Zionism and its errant ways in “Question of Zionism” include: “bloody,” “cataclysmic,” “cruel,” “deadly,” “apocalyptic,” “blind,” “crazy,” “delusional,” “defiled,” “demonic,” “fanatical,” “insane,” and “mad.”

Zionism appears, to Rose, to be nightmarish, ruthless and deranged, and specifically asks how “Israel [could] inscribe at its heart the very version of nationhood from which the Jewish people had to flee”?

To dispel any doubt that Rose is indeed evoking Nazism, she has written:

“The suffering of a woman on the edge of the pit with her child during the Nazi era…and a Palestinian woman refused access to a hospital through a checkpoint and whose unborn baby dies as a result, is the same”

Ukraine 1942: Holocaust photo of German soldier shooting a Jewish woman and her young child which Jacqueline Rose is referring to.

Continuing with Rose’s theme of the traumatized, crazed Zionist Jew, Jeffries writes:

Rose was born in London in 1949 into a Holocaust-traumatized family. Her grandmother’s family perished in Chelmno concentration camp. Hers was, as she puts, “one type of North London Jewish survivor family who, to survive, internally entrenched itself in Jewish ritual“. [emphasis added]

Jeffries then quotes Rose describing her family’s evidently distorted, obtuse and myopic post-Holocaust traditional Judaism:

“It was observant and desperate that we continue the faith. There was no mixing of meat and milk, there were two sinks in the kitchen and if anything got mixed up it had to buried in the mud outside. [emphasis added]

Adds Jeffries:

Non-Jewish boyfriends were intolerable. [emphasis added]

A kosher kitchen and the desire to marry within the faith!

Respect for religious tradition, and a passion for Jewish continuity (a few years after the horrors of the Shoah): Clearly evidence of an entrenched, defensive, and traumatized people.

Jeffries concludes:

After the interview Rose emails me, hoping I can stress that she isn’t done with the Middle East conflict. She’s written four books dealing with that conflict and…there will be more. “As Edward Said wrote about getting involved in the Palestine-Israel conflict – once you’re in you’re there for life…You don’t say goodbye to this.”

And, as a Jewish writer who can – in an academic’s literary erudition, and a psychoanalyst’s cool, dispassionate sophistication – deride Zionism as a mental disorder, while boldly likening elements of the Jewish state’s ethos to Nazism, the Guardian will not soon be saying goodbye to Jacqueline Rose.

45 replies »

  1. First off, psychoanalysis is a pseudo-science, a fraud just like astrology and homeopathy. Or, as Karl Kraus brilliant aphorism goes: “psychoanalysis is the disease whose cure it purports to be.” Which is exacly what this writer exemplifies: she´s the diseased one projecting her mental troubles through a pseudo-sophisticated mumbo-jumbo.

    Psychoanalysing a country is a million-fold amplification of an empty fantasy, as barren as psychoanalyzing a person (or a parrot).

    And, second, note the classical and chronic pathological inversion displayed by those Judeophobic pricks: the modern professional victims of the Universe are the “palestinians”. They do nothing else than whine, demand and blame others.

    In sum, Der Schwarze Guardian as usual.

    • SerJew

      I couldn’t agree more. On reading Adam’s article I spotted the psychosis all right. And it isn’t in Zionists or Zionism.

      She reminds me of that ghastly Irish BBC hack with the Palestinian boyfriend who portrayed the security fence as worse than suicide bombers.

      If Chickenbrain is paid for atrocity propaganda what is this one paid for?

      • Maybe there are some secondary psychological gains, according to Freudian, Junguian, born-again Lacanians, adventist Foucaultians or whatever sect is more convienient. 🙂

  2. To Serjew and others, although I myself did not undergo psychoanalysis I had the immense good fortune to be supervised in training by an excellent psychoanalyst, although not a Kleinian thank heavens, and I learned a great deal from her.

    All I can say about Rose is that for a lecturer in English she is a pretty lousy psychologist:

    I firmly believe, for example, as do quite a few other psychologists, that from objective observation and evidence, Arab behaviour, not only towards Jews and Christians but towards their own children, ranges from the severely dysfunctional to the psychotic (how else can one describe people who proudly declare that they would sacrifice their own children?). I however have decades of experience and can quote learned and respected sources which support this, whereas Rose uses her psychobabble as specious “evidence” to undermine Israel. As I said she herself is developmentally stuck at the paranoid-schizoid stage of emotional development, if she is going to resort to using Klein’s work as a stick by which to beat Israel and Jews. The following should be viewed as analogy only, and useful insofar as it illustrates the psychodynamics of the hatred of people like Rose:

    Anxiety is experienced by the early infant’s ego both through the internal, innate conflict between the opposing life and death drives (manifested as destructive envy) and by interactions in external reality.

    A child seeks to retain good feelings and introjects good objects, whilst expelling bad objects and projecting bad feelings onto an external object. The expulsion is motivated by a paranoid fear of annihilation by the bad object.

    Klein describes this as splitting, in the way that it seeks to prevent the bad object from contaminating the good object by separating them via the inside-outside barrier.

    “The schizoid response to the paranoia is then to excessively project or introject those parts, seeking to keep the good and bad controlled and separated. Aggression is common in splitting as fear of the bad object causes a destructive stance.

    The child’s ego does not yet have the ability to tolerate or integrate these two different aspects, and thus uses ‘magical’ omnipotent denial in order to remove the power and reality from the persecuting bad object.

    This splitting, projection and introjection has a frighteningly disintegrative effect, pulling apart the fragile ego. An adult stuck at this stage can come across as aggressive and woefully confused.

    Projective identification is commonly used to separate bad objects whilst also keeping them close, which can lead to confused aggression.


    Now Rose, being split in such a fashion, is projecting onto Israel’s being in the world the very same characteristics as Israel’s enemies.

    • Mitnaged

      Is it possible that she has chosen Israel and Israel supporters as the parents she was unable to stop from being what they were? Punishing Israel for them?

      • Perhaps, Ariadne. She herself talks of Klein as if she has in depth knowledge of her work, and among Klein’s theories is that the baby experiences rage at the mother who frustrates it by not feeding it immediately it cries with hunger.

        Rose is definitely enraged at Israel for making life difficult for her and other asaJews by frustrating them and may well hate Israel and Jews as substitutes for hating her parents.

  3. Well, anyone is entitled to his beliefs. My point is there´s no scientific basis at all for psychoanalysis. It´s not even clear how any of it´s many sects claims could be put to test. Nor is any proof that it can “cure” mental illnesses of any kind.

    • SerJew,

      “My point is there’s no scientific basis at all for psychoanalysis.”

      Your views are actually moderate. I think only the hard sciences are worthy of being considered sciences. All else I view as dishonest piggybacking upon the respected aura of science to justify views that are not amenable to scientific inquiry.

      It is within the domain of science to say I’m a monkey’s uncle (or distant cousin, more accurately), whether I like it or not. Love and kindness and greed and wickedness, however, are out of bounds. Not because I want them to be out of bounds, but simply because the scientific method is not the right tool to study them, any more than a screwdriver for putting a nail in a wall.

      • Well, scientific psychology had many advances, particularly in the cross-disciplinary areas around neuroscience. Another example is the many discoveries in the work of Israeli Nobel prize winner Daniel Khaneman (and his late co-worker Amos Tversky). Also, psychiatry had some successes joining pharmacology and cognitive-therapy. So, yes, emotions can be studied scientifically.

        • Neuroscience and psychiatry are hard sciences. They deal with the workings of the brain.

          I admire B. F. Skinner’s attempt to put the human psyche on a hard scientific basis, but he was foiled by the fact that you really can’t make a machine out of human behavior. Whatever laws can be found behind our emotions, they’re made useless for scientific study by virtue of having so many exceptions.

          • Skinner was wrong because he thought he could avoid dealing with the inner workings of the brain. On the other hand, he helped counter the crazy psychoanalytic fantasies, which was a real set back in the development of scientific psychology.

            Notwithstanding what some cognitive psychologists say, the brain is NOT a machine, much less a computer (though some of its workings have some metaphorical similarities with computers). It is much more complex than that. But it´s also not magical and can be investigated. We´re begining to learn about the amazing structures associated with emotions in the brain, but it´ll take a long time to figure how it all works in all the different levels.

            As for exceptions, well, biology is full of “exceptions” but stiil one can find some patterns/laws, like natural selection, genetics, developmental processs and so on. I don´t think emotions are like a “chaotic” realm which is not amenable to scientific investigation. People now know some of the biochemstry behind some types of emotion and the evolutionary roles of emotions in individual and social developments.

            BTW, there´s a new book coming soon reviewing recent research about that:


  4. Anyone who claims to be able to diagnose an entire nation or culture with a psychopathology is simply using the language of psychology to make their opinion sound more scientific.

    This goes for “Liberalism is a mental disorder”, it goes for ‘sluggish schizophrenia is what makes people oppose communism’, and it goes for “Zionism is a group neurosis’.

    Utter BS.

    • Makabit, as one who is trying to understand the Islamist mindset from within the psychology I have studied and practice I agree with you but only to a certain extent. I always try to make clear that I am hypothesising more widely from the particular and anything I may say or write at least tries to be tentative.

      But such study has to begin somewhere. We “learn” others from our experience of ourselves and provided I remain tentative whenever I am not sure (and psychological enquiry is not an exact undertaking) I hope that I contribute rather than stigmatise.

  5. People like this Jackqueline Rose have an inbuilt inferiority complex.When they try to measure up to Israelis,they just don’t measure up,so they attack us instead,it’s like being lashed with a feather duster.

    They are usually cowering brown noses trying to do everything to please their non Jewish friends,Britain is full of this disgusting nauseating kind of Jew.

  6. Jacqueline Rose……no self respect,no self worth,no pride in their origins.

    We can do very well without dead weights like this Jacqueline Rose.Let her wallow and sink in her own misery.

  7. I think that she is confusing Jews like herself ,the self flagellating Jews who fawn and bend over backwards to please their non Jewish friends.

    Sad and at the same time revolting………….

    • Ah another Anthony Posner sick sock muppet emerges from the depths of his diseased psyche. You are an Israeli as much as Hajj Amin al-Husseini was an Israeli.

  8. Jacqueline Rose is so

    Nb. For non-UK residents – the allusion is to the tv/radio ads for

    I’d guess our Jacqueline would be a bit bargain basement – Aldi or Lidl perhaps.

  9. If Rose can psychoanalyse an entire religion, culture and nation, then it is fair game to psychoanalyse her.

    For someone who has had, it must be assumed, many years of therapy, Rose lacks insight. When she talks of projection, she cannot see that her entire work – that which deals with her contempt and loathing of Judaism and its culture, of Zionism and of Israel – is built on projection:

    [You] project on to the other the bits of yourself that you can’t stand, but the function is to utterly purify yourself of the feeling. So your innocence is a form of violence against others.

    She had an unhappy childhood. The murder of her grandmother’s family in the Shoah cast a palpable shadow on her own family – she was born in 1949. Their defence against the trauma was insularity, fear of the outside world and fear of (sorry) the Other. This shadow was unbearable to the child Rose. The child rationalised in order to ‘purify herself of the feeling’: had the family not been Jewish, then the nazis would not have murdered them – ergo the problem was the family’s Jewish religion and culture. Much easier to confront and reject with contempt the family, the religion and culture than, for a sensitive child, to allow her mind to open to the inhumanity of what had taken place and, having taken place, could take place again- I think this is known in the trade as a defence mechanism.

    The sensitive, artistic child was, doubtless, underappreciated by her unsophisticated family and the narcissistic wound festered into adulthood. At the same time, her innocence had to be preserved and she had to resolve her murderous loathing of her family (who had failed to recognise her talents and had failed to fit in in the way that she wanted them to fit in) but that loathing had to be disguised to ‘purify herself of the feeling’. So off she goes to university and studies literature but still she is unhappy as, despite the therapy, she can’t dump her rage because Daddy and Mummy weren’t couth enough. And then she discovers that she can succeed professionally beyond her pay grade by dumping her rage onto Israel – Big Uncouth Daddy. And now she is important, now she can show them, now she is couth.

    The fifty minute hour is over – no charge but future sessions will be charged at £100 an hour.

    • Just brilliant. Methinks she´ll need a very long (and lucrative) therapy schedule. And if it fails, as usually happens with psychoanalysis, one can always blame some internal “resistance” or the working of devious homunculi, such as super-ego, id and his nice little friends.

    • Spot on John. She didn’t ask to be Jewish, didn’t want to be discernibly different in the shadow of such murderous barbarism that singled out her own grandparents. She pleads with the European masters of life and death to do it to others but not to her, and promises to do whatever they ask to spare her from the death pit. And now she fits right in, writing in the Guardian about the iniquities of Israel.

    • John, bravo!

      Narcissism comes from neglect or abuse – the person bigs herself up in order not to feel as if she is inconsequential. Narcissists are all talk and have little substance – look closely at anything Rose writes and you find that it is shallow, lacking in originality and in evidence of true scholarship (whereby the reader can trace the value-added aspect that a scholar might add by reflecting deeply on what she has read by others); rather it is derivative and it is plain that she is psychobabbling in order to try to undermine rather than to educate.

      You describe very well the splitting mechanism – whereby Rose projects everything she is horrified by or uncomfortable with onto Israel – as well as the narcissistic rage which comes from her narcissistic injury which she perceives to be caused by her own people.

      Pathetic is that, in the sentence you and I both quote about projection, she hasn’t the insight to realise that this is exactly what she herself is doing.

  10. Ha! And according to Wikipedia, “Rose was born into a non-practicing Jewish family.” So possibly a case of false memory to boot. Her therapists must rub their hands when they see her coming.

    • Now that’s interesting. I wonder if it’s an error, or if she’s actually trying out different versions of her family as she goes along.

  11. I have had some run ins with Madame Rose, once distressing her to the point of tears in Limmud Q&A for daring to call her analysis Eurocentric. But all you need to read are these 2 towering eviscerations of her work and theories by Shalom Lappin. He also picks up on the Eurocentricity, but that is just a detail in his superb take down. I don’t know how she could pick herself off the floor and continue in the same vein, unembarrassed and unabashed after these articles, but she did and continues to do so.

    • amie, you have described the narcissist’s reaction to being crossed or shamed, narcissistic injury. She will either collapse in a heap or become furious and rant or maybe both.

      Rose’s giant ego was not, however, so easily damaged. She could probably tell herself a story about why it was not her fault that she was singled out in order to resolve the extreme discomfort, big herself up again, and sally forth.

      The narcissistic injury has to keep on happening in her case.

    • I read the first one and in the whole demolition I think he found two lines of hers that were OK.

      I suppose she weighs what’s written.

      Lappin certainly is very good and it is additionally good to see him cover so many varieties of Zionism.

  12. See another profile, again from the Guardian, but this one from 2003:

    This time, her family is described in an entirely different manner – confabulation alert.

    Jacqueline Rose was born in London in 1949 into a middle-class Jewish liberal family. Her parents divorced when she was five. Both her father, whom she refers to as “my first father”, and her stepfather, whom she calls “my father” were doctors. From her mother and “father”, “incredibly loving and warm”, she derives her social conscience. “We lived in Hayes, Middlesex and I remember driving to school through Southall, which had the highest density of immigrants of anywhere in London at that time, and we would see all these people going to work in the factories, taking jobs that white people wouldn’t take. And at our grammar school all the racist comments. And my parents saying, ‘These are the nicest, cleanest people.’ They were adamant in that respect.”

    Not so insular, not so afraid of the wider society and so on an so forth. So it is Rose who is mixing things up and burying the mixed up things in the mud outside. And the fathers, the brilliant older sister who is always first….!

    Agreed that Lappin showed up her lack of scholarship (cf her sister, cf Lappin himself) and her lack of shame – and of course, she learned nothing from that and continues convinced of her own innocence, genius, sensitivity. Remember too her advocacy of 7 Jewish Children – also, naturally, in the Guardian.