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Arabs Found to Be Psychologically Incapable of Making Peace with Israel

A symposium on the Middle East conflict from the psychological point of view found the Arabs as a people to be hopelessly schizophrenic and paranoid and incapable of spontaneously making peace with Israel or even coming to terms with its existence. The symposium, organized by Dr. Victor D. Sanua, of City University, New York, president-elect of the International Council of Psychologists, Inc., conceded that its studies yielded “a very pessimistic outlook on the solution of the problem.” It observed that since “it has often been said that some of the riots in the U.S.A. are induced by exposure to TV and news media…perhaps a moratorium on news coming from the Middle East will have some effect on the political situation.” The symposium was conducted last month at the national convention of the American Psychological Association in Miami, Florida. Its findings were just published here under the title. “The National Character of the Arabs and its Effect on the Middle East Conflict.”

In an introduction, Dr. Sanua disclaimed the intention “to discuss the rights of Israel or the rights of the Arabs.” Nevertheless, his general discussion of the historical background of the Middle East conflict made it clear that he considered the Israeli case to be by far the more meritorious. The assessment of the Arab mass character was based on the results of psychological testings and studies of Arab groups in the Middle East and North Africa by both Western and Arab practitioners. It also sought to co-relate the findings of those practitioners with the psychological responses of Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestine-born Arab convicted of the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The psychologists attributed Arab deficiencies on the military front to their inherent inability to cooperate and work together and a pathological rejection of unpleasant truths for fantasies.

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