Soon after the people of Jordan absorbed the dreadful news of the recent suicide bombings of three Amman hotels, the word quickly spread that the Israelis were responsible. There is a knee-jerk reaction in the Arab world that whenever a major terrorist act occurs, the perpetrators are Israeli, even when it is clearly evident that Arabs or other Muslims are the killers.
After the World Trade Center was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, rumors floated throughout Arab countries that thousands of Jews in New York City had been alerted not to show up for work that day at the center. Thus it was obvious that Israel was behind the attack.
The American-educated Prince Turki al-Faisal, then Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Great Britain and now his nation's ambassador to the U.S., solemnly declared that the Mossad, Israel's secret service, was responsible not only for 9/11 but also for subsequent terrorist actions in his own country.
In Egypt, Israel was widely blamed for recent terrorist bombings at Taba and Sharm el-Sheik and even for recent sectarian violence between Muslims and Coptic Christians in Alexandria. In Syria, some high-level government officials claimed that Israel had assassinated Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister.
These nonsensical charges of Israeli involvement in such events demonstrate that there is a pathetic inferiority complex in play in much of the Arab world. For example, commenting on last year's attack on the Hilton Hotel in Taba, in which the victims were mostly Israeli tourists, Gen. Fouad Allam, Egypt's former director of state security, argued that the Mossad must have been responsible. In a quote cited by the New York Times, Allam said: "It was very well planned, studied, professional, and with a very high capacity. We never had this kind of capacity over the past 50 years."
After 9/11, allegedly sophisticated Arab spokesmen made similar arguments, claiming that their ethnic/religious brethren lacked the professional skills to successfully plan and conduct such a highly complicated attack.
In effect, much of the Arab world seems to be suffering from a cultural psychosis, at least when it comes to a relationship with Israel.