Neo-Nazis have assembled in Germany to express their support for the Palestinians in Gaza by likening Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler and Jews to Nazis. This clearly represents an unidentified psychological defense mechanism that is some kind of hyper-mutation of projection but it’s so bizarre that psychologists who study it may need to be institutionalized themselves when they’re done.
German media reported that after the protests, groups sought to locate Jewish institutions. The Frankfurt police said Jewish institutions would be protected. It is unclear if the goal was to attack said institutions.
According to the Rundschau, student organization Left-SDS, Islamists and some members of the Neo-Nazi group National Socialists Rhein-Main attended the anti-Israel protest. Flags from Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Hamas were on display at the protest. Banners compared Prime Minister Netanyahu with Adolf Hitler.
Is this not a sign of the descent to an even lower form of evil?
Think about if for a second. As a neo-Nazi, the inspiration for your movement – Adolf Hitler – is also the face of your enemy. At that point, you must hate yourself as much as your enemy, which gives an entirely new meaning to the classic Pogo phrase, “We have met the enemy and he is us”.
Perhaps equally bizarre behavior was exhibited by German police who thought that by encouraging the neo-Nazis to spew their hatred by affording them access to a police vehicle and a PA system, that it would somehow help the protesters get it all out of their system:
Frankfurt’s police allowed the demonstrators to use a police vehicle and loudspeaker to blast anti-Israeli slogans. According to a police statement, the authorities allowed the use of their equipment in order to deescalate the situation.
Deescalate? Following that logic, the police must also think that pouring gasoline on a fire actually helps to put it out. As for the psychological defense mechanism being used by these officers, it’s a kind of reaction formation, which is:
Reaction Formation is the converting of unwanted or dangerous thoughts, feelings or impulses into their opposites. For instance, a woman who is very angry with her boss and would like to quit her job may instead be overly kind and generous toward her boss and express a desire to keep working there forever. She is incapable of expressing the negative emotions of anger and unhappiness with her job, and instead becomes overly kind to publicly demonstrate her lack of anger and unhappiness.
A shining example of this is when authorities harass harmless Tea Party groups while allowing Occupy Wall Street anarchists to engage in lawlessness. At that, OWS arrests still far exceeded Tea Party arrests, which still stand at or near zero.
Other qualifying psychological explanations for the back-assward logic of these German police officers include Intellectualization, Rationalization, and Compensation.
Perhaps that photo of Netanyahu inadvertently putting a Hitler mustache on Angela Merkel has just taken on some additional irony.