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Caitlin Johnstone

Feb 13, 2024

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley)

There’s a certain particularly toxic personality type which thrives on being hated. They behave in wildly odious and destructive ways, and then when people react to this with hostility they plunge into poor-me victimhood, which they then use to justify more odious and destructive behavior. 

You may have been unfortunate enough to have encountered such personalities in your own life. They behave atrociously, and then when people react to it they say “See?? I really AM being persecuted!”

Hillary Clinton is a perfect example of this personality type taken to the extreme. People hate her because she’s a phony, egomaniacal sadist who has spent her entire political career pushing for mass military bloodshed at every opportunity, but she then frames this hatred as evidence of widespread misogyny and far-right extremism, which is why the world desperately needs Hillary Clinton to help fight those things.

Any remotely normal person who was both as wealthy and as despised as Hillary Clinton would have simply retired from public life to enjoy their hundreds of millions of dollars, blissfully sheltered from the vitriol and condemnation of the common riff raff. But Clinton keeps showing up, adamantly refusing to go away, because the hatred she receives is actually what fuels her entire personal dynamic. 

We see a large-scale version of this same dynamic with the state of Israel. A Jewish anti-Zionist Israeli named Alon Mizrahi posted an interesting piece on Twitter a few days ago that’s been rattling around in my head ever since, wherein he argues that Israel is actually intentionally generating hatred towards itself in order to shore up political power.

Claiming that “Israel and American Jewish organizations took it upon themselves to keep Jews afraid and isolated” in a “strategy of intentional paranoia,” Mizrahi opines that when October 7 hit, “the right wing, nationalistic, paranoid section of the Jewish political spectrum, realized it could be translated into political gold.”

“It doesn’t seem like Israel is trying to be hated globally. It is actually what it’s doing,” Mizrahi writes. “It is intentionally airing its cruelty and barbarity so that it will remain closed up to the world, thus guaranteeing the continued rule of the paranoia camp.”

“Palestinians are just crash test dummies in this scenario,” he adds. “Their deaths are used to get people angry and Israel hated, so it becomes even more paranoid.”

Whether you accept or reject Mizrahi’s perspective, you can’t deny that Israel’s apologists have been seizing on the outrage its actions in Gaza have caused as evidence of anti-semitic persecution. The Anti-Defamation League has started categorizing pro-Palestine rallies as anti-semitic incidents, including rallies organized and attended by Jewish groups, leading to the Israel-friendly mass media reporting a massive spike in “anti-semitism” in the wake of October 7. Common pro-Palestine chants like “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free” have been deceitfully labeled calls for the genocide of Jews, and any criticism of Israel’s actions is met with a deluge of accusations of anti-semitism.

Once Israel and its western supporters succeeded in framing any opposition to to the Israeli government as evidence of anti-semitism, it was guaranteed that any time Israel does something evil it will cause a new wave of “anti-semitism” per those standards. This perceived hatred and persecution could then be cited as evidence for why Israel needs to be even more violent, militaristic and tyrannical than it already was, and why its brutal treatment of Palestinians is justified and correct. This in turn could be used by western governments to justify pouring more weapons into Israel and providing military support against its neighbors.

In this dynamic, anything Israel does causes more people to hate Israel both in the middle east and around the world, to which Israel responds by tearfully proclaiming “See?? They hate us! We must defend ourselves against their hostilities!”

This is not the sort of behavior you would accept from someone in your life, and it shouldn’t be the sort of behavior we accept from nuclear-armed ethnostates. As with any other widespread dysfunction, the key to dismantling this one is to spread awareness of what it is that Israel is doing. 

And what Israel is doing, ultimately, is weaponizing sympathy and victimhood. When somebody is using a weapon to hurt others, you take their weapon away. The world needs to stop giving Israel sympathy and stop buying into its victimhood narratives, because those narratives are only ever used to justify more and more western-backed atrocities. 

This won’t happen until enough awareness has spread of what’s really going on here. For there to be a movement toward health, a lot of eyes need to open to the unwholesomeness of this manipulative dynamic — both inside and outside of Israel. 

Luckily that does appear to be the case. More and more people are recognizing the unwholesomeness of the pro-Israel victimhood narrative, just as you’d eventually recognize the unwholesomeness of someone in our own life who keeps behaving terribly and then playing the victim. It’s going to be a messy, two-steps-forward-one-step-back slog, but I think we’ll find our way out of this mess eventually.

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