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Hamas aren’t Hollywood villains The Gaza war has been turned into a Marvel film

(Abid Katib/Getty Images)


December 7, 2023   6 mins

On Christmas Eve, a kidnapped girl lies asleep in a bed that’s not her own. Her captors, two men, stand over her and discuss their plans to detonate a bomb at a holiday parade. The older, balder man glances at their hostage and grimaces: there she is, the living, breathing embodiment of his moral corruption. Then, from a brown paper bag, he produces a hideous baby doll — the cheap, bald, plastic kind that you sometimes see covered with dust at Walmart — and nestles it against the sleeping child. “I’m not a complete ogre,” he says. “The young one gets a doll to play with at Christmas.”

This scene is from The Long Kiss Goodnight, a Nineties action movie about a mercenary-turned-suburban mum whose past comes back to haunt her. It’s not a particularly central moment, but it does act as an excellent meta-study in the way that Hollywood tropes serve as shorthand, reducing complex characters to simple, and sometimes self-delusional, stereotypes. By having the man offer a doll to the child, the scriptwriters spin a narrative about how we should see him: there are villains and there are villains, and this one, despite having masterminded a plan to explode thousands of people to death, has a soft side. Maybe he’s not so bad?

It’s been two weeks since Hamas began to release some of the Israeli hostages kidnapped on October 7 — women and children mostly, many of whom had been held in the tunnels beneath Gaza for 50 straight days. Since then, I’ve noticed a version of the scene above playing out again and again, especially in the US, and especially online, as people hunt for familiar tropes that might shape their understanding of the story, and of the people in it. These commentators, always Western and often very young, have learned to watch the news in search of a story instead of the truth — and they’re certain that they recognise the typical characters.

The young woman photographed gazing at her captors with seemingly dizzy adoration, for instance, looks an awful lot like the kidnapped princess who falls in love with her roguish captor before joining his revolution. The 9-year-old who returned to Israel with a fixation — not uncommon among victims of group starvation scenarios — on making sure that the people around her are getting enough to eat is the archetypal foundling, raised by so-called savages who taught her hospitality, manners and consideration of others. There’s even a classic save-the-cat moment, that plot device in which a character’s kindness to an animal establishes him as a good guy worth rooting for. If a shih-tzu survived nearly two months under the care of Hamas, how bad could they really be? Perhaps a heart of gold lurks under that villainous exterior. Or: perhaps these so-called terrorists aren’t the villains at all.

“As the Israel regime — with full Western support — is committing genocide in Gaza and massacring women and children, the Israeli female prisoners held by the Resistance are treated with kindness and respect,” reads one representative post on X. On TikTok, commentators are claiming outright that the Israeli hostages clearly love their kidnappers and would have preferred to stay in Gaza: “These people are friends. Don’t even tell me that was acting.”

In the past two months, much has been written about the oppressor/oppressed framework that the progressive Left applies to the question of Israel and Gaza. Seeing Israeli citizens as white-privileged settler-colonisers is a way of justifying a bizarrely sympathetic, even celebratory reaction to the militants who killed hundreds of civilians. But while the phenomenon I’m observing slightly overlaps, it’s ultimately something different: a particularly American tendency to treat whatever is happening in the world like a months-long entertainment event, equal parts melodrama and spectator sport. Having identified the players on the stage — the heroic underdog, the corrupt superpower, the villain with a soft side — progressives are watching the war in Gaza like it’s a Marvel superhero film.

There are shades, here, of the early days of the war in Ukraine, when arts institutions were hurriedly scrubbing Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky from their programmes, bars purged vodka-based drinks from their menus, and it was difficult to tell where pro-Ukraine sentiment ended and anti-Russian animus began. That binary thinking is a hallmark of fan culture, increasingly the dominant if not only mode of engagement, no matter how serious a subject. Once a person has decided that Hamas are the good-guy underdogs who can do no wrong, any allegations of wrong-doing will naturally be received with incredulity. “Zionists are asking that we believe the uncorroborated eyewitness account of *men* who describe alleged rape victims in odd, fetishistic terms,” writes commentator Briahna Joy Gray. “Shame on Israel for not seriously investigating claims of rape and collecting rape kits.”

It’s interesting to juxtapose this sceptical response to stories of widespread sexual violence by Hamas on October 7 with an event much closer to home: that moment, just five years ago, when Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh was accused of attempted rape by Christine Blasey Ford. What’s striking now is not just the sudden irrelevance of every hard-won #MeToo-era more — a woman’s word was to be believed, until, suddenly, it isn’t — but the way it manifested online. Images of Ford testifying about her experience were instantly remixed into a meme, while the internet set about dreamcasting what seemed like an inevitable biopic.

Here, too, everyone understood exactly what kind of story was being told — who the hero was, and conversely, who was the villain. The fact that it was playing out in real life, in real time, did not inject gravitas to the situation; if anything, it only more thoroughly crystallised into pure team sports tribalism. Hence, we all agreed that fan-favourite Laura Dern would play Ford; hence, also, nobody saw anything strange about the absolute farce of a congressional hearing in which someone blew up a page from Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook to poster size and analysed its contents like it was a message from the Zodiac killer. Remember the cynicism when Kavanaugh had to explain that “boofing” was a fart joke? He’s lying!, people screamed, in exactly the same spittle-flecked tone that my husband sometimes screams, That’s a foul!, when someone knocks down a player on Duke’s college basketball team.

It doesn’t actually matter if it was a foul. The existence of objective truth is irrelevant in this moment: facts don’t matter, feelings do. Faith does.

This is why Brett Kavanaugh was a liar, whether he was lying or not. It’s why Taylor Swift fans scrutinise footage of her and Travis Kelce like it’s the footage of JFK’s assassination, then confidently declare that they’re really in love (or not). And it’s why a self-described anti-Zionist content creator will look at a picture of a young woman surrounded by the terrorists who shot and kidnapped her — and then post it on the internet with the caption: “Find yourself a woman who looks at you like this.”

Of course, the same type of person who tweets the above will also dismiss stories of sexual violence on October 7 as “IDF propaganda”. Forget the testimonies of the forensic scientists who examined the victims’ bodies, of the soldiers who discovered them, even of the rapists themselves; forget the videos of kidnapped women being forced into cars, their trousers soaked with blood at the crotch; forget the corpses lying naked from the waist down with their legs still unmistakably spread open despite a censor’s blur. None of this will ever be enough to shake the devoted fan’s faith in his home team’s righteousness. The best you’ll get is a shrugging equivocation: if these rapes occurred, they were nothing in comparison to Palestinian suffering.

Maybe this facile, emotionally-driven logic is an inevitable feature of the digital age, where fact and fiction alike are flattened into the same familiar mould, distributed across the same platforms, consumed on the same screens. In this world, it’s increasingly hard to know the difference between news and narrative, an advertiser and an influencer, the prescriptive and the descriptive; even the lines between these things begin to blur as they all tumble around in the same giant bucket labelled with just one word: “content”.

And in this world, of course people cease to discern, and instead search for an anchor: an archetype that offers a shortcut to understanding. No wonder every conversation about Israel these days turns into a shouting match about who is the bigger villain. Why have a debate when you can impose a narrative?

Make these observations aloud, and someone will inevitably show up to claim that it’s all the fault of progressive ideology, or critical theory, or postmodernism. But I suspect this gives the narrative-clingers — not to mention the rape denialists — too much credit. Postmodernism is much more sophisticated and ideological than what actually fuels this phenomenon, which is nothing more or less than the urge to reduce a complex geopolitical conflict down to something easily understood, with familiar characters and a classic plot arc and about as much moral ambiguity as an episode of Scooby Doo.

It’s about knowing not just what is happening, but what will happen: the good guys will solve the crime, the villain will be unmasked and taken away in a paddy wagon, and a happy ending will follow shortly thereafter. And that blazing certainty feels good, no doubt, when the truth is so unsatisfying: not just that wars rarely end happily, but that this one will surely still be raging long after the radical chic have moved on.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

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Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
7 months ago

Humanity, it seems, has a deep psychological need to see itself as part of some grand Manichaean struggle between good and evil. In times past, that need was safely cosmicized by religion–yes, the quotidian world might be mired in compromise and shades of gray, and I might be stuck just getting by, but several levels higher up on the great cosmic stage, I am a player in an eschatological conflict that truly matters, and therefore I matter. But with the death of God as a social force, that narrative impetus has to go somewhere; hence the ever-increasing dramatization of all aspects of human existence. You see it everywhere: from beer commercials that extol you going to the daily grind as some spectacular act of heroism in need of reward, to the eco-warrior impulse of movements like Extinction Rebellion, to the flattening of scientific debates into grudge matches, not over who has the best evidence, but over who is voted most likely to save the planet. The thing, of course, about immanentizing the eschaton is that when you see cataclysmic Manichaean conflicts everywhere, then, like spirits summoned by speaking aloud their names, pretty soon you have cataclysmic Manichaean conflicts everywhere.
Then there’s the boredom factor. Robert Bork said that boredom was a greatly underappreciated factor in the course of human events, and he was right. We’re adapted to dodging leopards and avoiding prairie fires on the high savannah. Our deep brain structure has been conditioned by millions of years of evolution to accept and indeed expect a certain level of stress in our lives. We need stress, we need stimulation, to be healthy. For centuries that was provided by the basic struggle to stay alive, to feed oneself and one’s loved ones. But the modern welfare state has excised that struggle. It is now effectively impossible to starve to death in any Western state unless you really, really work at it. We’re like zoo animals, suffering from captivity depression. We’re fat, lazy, depressed, and most of all, bored. Humans are highly intelligent organisms, and highly intelligent organisms learn and grow, constantly. Without meaningful stimulation provided by the struggle of living, highly intelligent organisms get bored. And when they get bored, highly intelligent organisms make mischief. We’ll do anything, invent any drama, to alleviate the boredom caused by decades of uninterrupted consumerist prosperity.
Old-school leftists believed that the roots of all man’s social pathologies lay in his deprivation. Cure that, and utopia would result. But the roots go deeper than that. Man carries with him at all times the old Adam; we are never free of it, no matter how wealthy and comfortable and complacent we become. Idle hands, as the proverb goes, are the devil’s playthings. What, then, are idle minds…or idle souls?

Last edited 7 months ago by Right-Wing Hippie
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago

Excellent post. About 20 times longer than your usual stuff. Totally agree. Not only are we bored, but we no longer face true adversity.

Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
7 months ago

Brilliant comment.

0 0
0 0
7 months ago

You have read my mind. Deep down all humans are nothing more than animals, we are brutes by nature. No matter how hard we try we can never truly be completely free of our instincts and impulses, but what’s separates us from other animals and makes us more then them is that we have the capacity to choose not to be animals. Unfortunately, humans often refuse to use that ability and choose to give in to the animal that lives within us, and those people who do often tend to be in positions of power and influence, thus the awful state of the world right now.

David B
David B
7 months ago
Reply to  0 0

Sadly, it’s always an animal doing the choosing.

Max Price
Max Price
7 months ago

Excellent comment. You could have added Dostoyevsky on ingratitude and mischief but you’re mostly spot on.

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
7 months ago

Good post and it kept my dictionary busy.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago

“Without meaningful stimulation provided by the struggle of living, highly intelligent organisms get bored”
and so say SA:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/depressingly-easy/

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

People who have to work hard to ensure their survival do not have time to be depressed! My paternal grandparents had a farm just outside of Shaftesbury in Dorset, and I used to spend many school holidays with my grandmother. I learnt to milk cows, cleaned out stables, brushed, and exercised the two horses, collected eggs, helped with cooking and baking, and did many other chores that are needed to keep a house and farm running. The horses weren’t used for farming anymore; my grandmother was very fond of horses, and I think she kept them as companions and for her grandchildren. This was in the late 1980s and 1990s; not the 1940s or 1950s—although the house looked very much the same back then according to my father who grew up there in the 50s and 60s. It wasn’t all work of course as my grandmother had help, but she was a firm believer in staying busy. She lived a long and fulfilled life, and never once saw a therapist despite having experienced personal hardships and losses.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago

An interesting post. But my perception is that post-modern leftists, especially the young, are basically driven by the need to outdo each other in their ideological iconoclasm. This is why they collectively drift further and further into the realm of fantasy and infantile extremism:
‘Now I’m going to say something that no centrist Dad could possibly agree with. Oh, you do agree? Well then, how about this: “it’s ok to rape and murder Jews”? Gotcha now, haven’t I?’
The terrifying thing is the number of centrist Dads who are so fearful of being left behind that they’re starting to go along even with that.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

This! For god sakes This!

I am a centrist (classically liberal ) Dad and these kids are motivated by their collective hatred of me (not just me as an individual but me as a concept) The thing is I will never join them. I will never surrender to their childish idiocy. They will have to wait till I’m dead but with any luck by that time they will become me


Neal Attermann
Neal Attermann
7 months ago

Amen to all of that. But woe is us as there is little way to fix this mess

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
7 months ago
Reply to  Neal Attermann

I have feared for some time now that Western Europe is heading towards a civil war of sorts. Uncontrolled migration has created a parallel society in many countries. Combine that with economic problems such as rising costs of living and a shortage of affordable housing, and you have a recipe for social unrest. I was in Dublin during last month’s riots, and the tension was palpable. In many places, the outward appearance of calm belies the fact that it’s boiling right underneath the surface.
My point is that I believe there will come a time, perhaps sooner rather than later, where we will have to fight for our continued existence; existential crises always seem to separate the wheat from the chaff. Naturally, this is not a pleasant or desirable situation, but I fear it’s almost inevitable.

Ralph Hanke
Ralph Hanke
7 months ago

The current denizens of most of our university environments?

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
7 months ago

”Then there’s the boredom factor. Robert Bork said that boredom was a greatly underappreciated factor in the course of human events, and he was right. ”

I’ve been thinking the same: there’s no frontier left to reach for anymore. Mars is still just a fantasy and the Moon a gigant dead sandbox. We’re made to explore and all we have is the same fuel propelled rockets that won’t let us leave the solar system.

”For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of something.”

J. Hale
J. Hale
7 months ago

Radical Islamists still believe in good and evil. Infidels are evil and they need to be killed, especially the Jews. You can’t reason with these people. You just have to kill them first.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
7 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

So, “fidels are evil and they need to be killed” too?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

Do kill them first and then reason with them? Rarely do I get the chance to read something so inane.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Do you struggle with reading comprehension? I find it amusing that you accuse others of inanity yet fail to comprehend four simple sentences. Allow me to break it down for you: You cannot reason with irrational people who want to kill you. Your only chance to survive is to kill them before they have a go at you.

sue vogel
sue vogel
7 months ago
Reply to  Katja Sipple

Well put.
How can one reason with an entity which indoctrinates its young from kindergarten age to want to grow up to die while murdering Jews?
The events of Oct 7th, which the Hamas has vowed to perpetrate again and again until all Jews are wiped out, speak for themselves and the full extent of their barbarism is only beginning to emerge.

David Ryan
David Ryan
7 months ago

Jeez I’m not bored. Then again I do have three kids under 6… No time to be bored

Nancy Kmaxim
Nancy Kmaxim
7 months ago

They’re lazy, and lack humility. There’s always something near at hand that one can contribute. Get up and do it, and the next useful step will present itself. Advice from my mother, who had no patience with pretension.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
7 months ago

“Without meaningful stimulation provided by the struggle of living, highly intelligent organisms get bored. And when they get bored, highly intelligent organisms make mischief.” A perfect summary indeed! I am reminded of the perhaps simplistic, but nonetheless true (it’s another fallacy of so-called progressives that the truth must always be complex), meme that has been making the rounds online for a few years now. It goes something like this: Hard times make strong men; strong men create good times; good times make weak men; and weak men create hard times. You may of course add women to this meme as well, because the forces at work have the same effects on women.

We in the Western world have experienced a period of unprecedented wealth and stability, in other words good times, and the lack of existential threats and struggles for survival has allowed many minds to engage in lots of mischief and tomfoolery.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
7 months ago

Excellent post. have it printed out and mailed to every teacher training college and education-affiliated bureaucrat everywhere. It starts young, quit coddling the kids.
Competitive sports, outdoor recess, spot tests, reading the whole book, being given an F grade; these things set you on the path to resilience and success in many areas of life.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
7 months ago

Interesting that the Military calls their helicopter, that launches HellFire Missiles, after the Apache indigenous tribe that was accused of riding hundreds of miles just to rape colonial women and kill their babies.

Last edited 7 months ago by Mark M Breza
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago

Very enjoyable, thought-provoking essay. If someone can delude themselves into thinking hostage takers are heroes, they lost the plot long before the victims were released.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
7 months ago

The brutality perpetrated by such groups (Hamas and Islamic State) has brought back to the West levels of savagery that haven’t witnessed for centuries and centuries.
They constitute the greatest threat to our civilisation for many, many a year. Greater than the genocides of Bosnia and Rwanda because they express the ideological desire of a certain religion to reduce our common humanity to nothing within an arena where such action is celebrated by too many as a defensible political cause.
For decades, Islam has produced social deprivation in the West and the conditions for dehumanisation where there should be ever increasing rights and freedoms. It is no longer a religion but an ideology for generating the worst sort of nihilistic violence expressed in destructive politics. We should face up to this long before we fret about the capacity of developing countries to pollute the planet. We can at least do something about the first.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

“The brutality perpetrated by such groups (Hamas and Islamic State) has brought back to the West levels of savagery that haven’t witnessed for centuries and centuries.”
My foot – My Lai

Terry M
Terry M
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Not much torture at My Lai.

Some Hamas tortured kids in front of their parents and gouged out their eyes.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

“Between 347 and 504 civilians were killed by U.S. soldiers Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated, and some soldiers mutilated and raped children who were as young as 12.”

sue vogel
sue vogel
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

See my post above.
And try comparing like with like.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

And you are leaping to conclusions about my intentions. Look at my original statement – it is merely a riposte to this ridiculous claim, “The brutality perpetrated by such groups (Hamas and Islamic State) has brought back to the West levels of savagery that haven’t witnessed for centuries and centuries”. Has My Lai, the Holocaust, The Rape of Berlin etc passed you by? We will not win this culture war with hyperbole, arrogance, re-writing history – in my book those are the very propellents of the problems wrought by zealous overreach; and it is not only BLM, SJWs, and The Left that do it.

sue vogel
sue vogel
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I’ve never met you so I can’t intuit your intentions. I lost a third of my family to Hitler’s savages, so the Holocaust hardly passed me by and I was brought up in its shadow. Which means of course that I’m probably much more sensitive than you to any signs at all that such evil may be re-emerging.
Hamas’ barbarism and its promise to continue it would have endeared it to Hitler. “Never again!” is not an empty promise.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Shhh, don’t tell Terry M this and don’t upset Sue with mere facts.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Rape is a common weapon of war – which had the unlikely duo of Angelina Jolie and William Hague teaming up to try to get sexual assault, especially when deliberately targeted, reframed as a war crime.

sue vogel
sue vogel
7 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

We’re only just beginning to learn the extent of Hamas’ atrocities as those who’ve been released are testifying. And lately that men as well as women have been sexually abused in order to “dirty” them, as Hamas prisoners in IDF custody are confessing.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

No, My Ali was a picnic. Americans don’t do torture. Only psychotic delusion.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

The My Lai massacre was exposed and the perpetrators punished, not celebrated.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

That’s right Hugh. The world and this issue is not black and white; this is why TD’s comment is wildly innaccurate, with more than a dab of selective attention. We all know there is a problem with Islamism – psychological splitting doesn’t help anything beyond making the splitter feel a bit better, maybe.

I could give many other examples, but the day is cold and grey enough already.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Rape, torture and murder by Hamas is act of policy instituted by the leaders and is celebrated. My Lai was bad leadership and sending inadequate men into combat. The Chindits and The British Empire fought in the jungles and at Kohima without undertaking acts of rape.
During Vietnam the USA realised that one could not train a soldier who had an IQ below 85. Those who had sub IQ of 85 were called McNamara’s Morons which was made worse by not training them in jungle warfare.There is a high correlation between with an IQ of 70 to 90 and violence.
If one looks at the violence by those at the lowest level of command in Nazi death camps, many were criminal and mentally retarded types. I expect the same goes for those committing barbaric acts in the Russian Army in Ukraine.
From the French Revolution onwards, educated middle class leaders have used criminals to undertake acts of murder, torture and rape. The leaders have used criminals lust for depravity by telling them their acts of murder and rape have a higher moral purpose and furthers the cause. If one tells a murderer and rapist that indulging in murder and rape is virtuous, that it furthers the cause, one will create barbarity.
Hamas justifies the murder and rape in religious terms, in this case Islam. Lenin also justified any act of violence if it furthered Communism.
What I think is the difference is where a creed, religion or ideology justifies any act of violence if it furthers the cause or where it is a bye product of war. Rape and torture can be avoided in a conflict. Place military targets next or under civilian locations can be avoided. What is different is Hamas is deliberately places people in Gaza in harms way and makes no effort to reduce casualties.
Hamas could have built bomb shelters, moved people away from military targets, not raped women and murdered civilians, not taken civilians as hostages and still undertaken a military operation against IDF.

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I know and accept all that Charles – unfortunately it is all irrelevant to my point. You and several others have strawmanned me into a Hamas supporter, or an ‘equivilancer’. Try holding two thoughts at the same time – (I believe) Hamas is a particularly wicked and inhumane organisation, intellectually, morally corrupt, politica and civil poison AND the following statement is perfectly wrong, and therefore unhelpful – “Hamas and Islamic State has brought back to the West levels of savagery that haven’t witnessed for centuries and centuries”. I happen to believe that truth, accuracy and fairnness matter – they are vital to winning a righteous cause.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

In that case research Khomeini and the brutal actions of Ayatollah Khalkhali who provided the theological underpinning of Hamas.
Rape is an act of policy justified by the theological writings and actions of Khomeini which underpins Hamss policy. Hamas therefore share with the Khymer Rouge a policy of murder and rape. The rape is intentional.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Punished my arse, as we say here in ireland. They were glorified back home.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

No. They weren’t. You really do seem to believe that if you lie about something often enough it will magically become true. It’s a common leftist trait. women can have penises, George Floyd was murdered, obesity is not a health hazard, the Jews are occupiers of Palestine, black people built Stonehenge, Cleopatra was black … and on and on and on.
Reality is what it is. You can’t change it.

sue vogel
sue vogel
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Weren’t the perpetrators of My Lai prosecuted/censured rather than financially rewarded and lionised? Hamas is actually serious when it promises to perpetrate more Oct 7th massacres against Israel, which is why it should be eradicated. Why aren’t you comparing like with like?

Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

I don’t know who you are arguing with Sue, but it ain’t me. You’re projecting some sort of pro Hamas/Islamist thing on me – please read what I wrote, as my old maths teacher used to shout, “three times with intelligence!”

Nate Seven
Nate Seven
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Had My Lai been heralded by the West as a triumph, and celebrated across college campuses with banners and chants, you might be successful in drawing some kind of equivalence there.
The fact that you have to reach back over 50 years, serves to invert your message.

Last edited 7 months ago by Nate Seven
Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Nate Seven

Stop with this strawmanning! My point was never to make some sort of culture war, us vs them comparison – let alone one positive about Hamas (read my original post, and look up my past posts on the subject if you can be bothered) – I was merely calling out the ridiculous claim that “The brutality perpetrated by such groups (Hamas and Islamic State) has brought back to the West levels of savagery that haven’t witnessed for centuries and centuries”. It is patently inaccurate, hyperbolic and unhelpful – such brazen inaccuracies do no good.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
7 months ago

I happen to LIKE Scooby Doo. That said, these ‘woke jokes’ have cracked their top. Aging is mandatory, but maturing is optional. Unless we are exposed to good influences and teachers, simply waving around a doctorate does not indicate maturity, wisdom, and goodness.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
7 months ago

Never underestimate the appeal of stupidly simple narratives. They are easy to latch onto, provide meager emotional sustenance, and most importantly provide answers to difficult questions. However, the real world is a messy place filled with intricate complexity, competing interests, and many shades of grey (sometimes pitch black). A good example of this is treating Israel as having agency and Hamas as just a victim. Now as someone who lives in the real world I know Israelis are not a bunch of goody two shoes. In fact, I find them to be outright ruthless and shady. Here is the problem. The Palestinians have made terrible political and military choices over and over again throughout their history. Plus, they have never been convincing when it comes to abiding by any proposed peace plans. How the hell am I supposed to denounce one while ignoring everything the other side has done including reveling in barbarism and making self-destructive choices?

Last edited 7 months ago by Matt Hindman
jane baker
jane baker
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Put simply and at worst how I see it and I am aware of the huge complexity and history. The Palestinians are stupid and the Jews are too bloody clever for their own good. I know thats racist and cruel but I’m a flawed human being not an angel in heaven. And also thanks to media we equate Palestinian with Muslim when historically a lot were Christians from way back ,a thousand years

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Historically, there were thriving Christian communities across the region. Nowadays, not so much.
Hopefully, the Archbishop of Canterbury will get onto the oppression of Christians around the world as soon as he’s finished his self-appointed task of upbraiding wicked Tories for being mean to trans activists.

sue vogel
sue vogel
7 months ago

By contrast the Christian population of Israel is growing.

sue vogel
sue vogel
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

No you aren’t. Palestinians are at best victims of Stockholm Syndrome, at worst cowardly/wilfully stupid by turns – how else can they consign their children to be sacrificed to the Hamas Moloch, unless they’re glad for them to be willing martyrs or are willing to accept the martyr pensions paid out to families, while Hamas leaders luxuriate in their chosen exile The islam of thousands of years ago is hardly a good standard to measure Palestinian behaviour by either.

J. Hale
J. Hale
7 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

I find it interesting that the Arab Spring never reached (or even got near) Gaza or the West Bank.

sue vogel
sue vogel
7 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

But not at all surprising ….

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Perhaps a lot of the Palestinians’ are in fact renegade Jews who converted to Islam when the place was overrun by the Caliph Umar and his chums in the seventh century?

simon lamb
simon lamb
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Good point – Palestinians in their earlier iteration were Jews and Arabs and Christians. The name comes from the Philistines, who occupied a stretch of the coast of the land of Canaan stretching several times longer than Gaza. Today’s Muslim “Palestinians” have co-opted that name in order to manufacture a national identity. Yet nobody wants them – not just Israel, but Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, who have all at various times evicted their leaders, and refuse to integrate their refugees. When Jordan controlled the West Bank did anyone demand it be handed over to these troublesome “Palestinians”? Like hell they did!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Never underestimate the appeal of stupidly simple narratives.

Especially when the archetype on which they are based is Davis vs. Goliath. Ironically in this case.

David Ryan
David Ryan
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Agreed. It’s a bloody, complicated mess

0 0
0 0
7 months ago

The war in Gaza has been nothing more than an excuse for the Western left to play out their narcissistic psychodrama in order to validate they’re false self image of being heroic. Deep down they don’t really care about the Palestinians, they only care about what they do for the mentally. They’re just props and extras on their mental theater stage. In previous decades this kind of behavior would have been collectively denounced and the perpetrators shunned, but these days it’s passively accepted if not catered to by society’s institutions, either because they believe the nonsense or see some kind of benefit with going along with it, or are just too cowardly or apathetic to confront the nonsense. Just goes to show how rotten Western society has become, prolonged periods of peace prosperity and security in the long run bring out the worst in people, as it does in times of chaos instability and unpredictability. Intelligence and rationality are overrated, we have the capacity for both what we often choose not to use them.

Last edited 7 months ago by 0 0
Rob McMillin
Rob McMillin
7 months ago
Reply to  0 0

Yes, this.
Anyone publicly supporting Hamas, pretending that the Israeli reaction amounts to anything close to “genocide”, is a willing dupe, exhibiting a broken moral compass. Employers are right to treat such in the same way as a felony conviction.

Terry M
Terry M
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob McMillin

Hamas’ useful idiots.

0 0
0 0
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob McMillin

Moral degenerates are attracted to leftists causes because it gives them an excuse to take out their personal anger and hatred at the world by burning society to the ground do to it be supposedly oppressive, it justifies that because leftist “thought” states that societies values are means of which subject the downtrodden, thus allowing them a philosophical ground reject societies boundaries and do what ever they want in the name of social justice.

sue vogel
sue vogel
7 months ago
Reply to  0 0

You may be correct that the West doesn’t care about Palestinians but what do you suggest as alternatives to the “prolonged periods of peace, prosperity and security?”

0 0
0 0
7 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

Human civilization is going through one of its decadence phases, with the effects of modern technology exacerbating the situation. The peace dividend we’ve been going through since the last world war has led to a society that’s been overly prosperous and secure, with many generations having no memory of the world before it. The result people have become disconnected for the realities of the the world and human nature because prosperity, peace and security have left people numb to them. In this environment let this thought has arisen giving people a very distorted and false sense of reality. What I think has to happen is that society needs to drive itself into a wall as it’s presently doing in order to shake it out of its super and discredit the delusions and falsehood that are prevalent right now, the cracks are beginning to appear. When that happens things will get very ugly and be very awful, but it will be a learning experience and help society readjust to the timeless realities of the world.

Last edited 7 months ago by 0 0
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago

I totally agree that mankind has an innate or inherited tendency to simplify conflicts as described. Moreover, in western culture this enthusiasm for false binary choices has been exacerbated ever since St Augustine imported a load of Zoroastrian dualism into Christian theology and the Devil got his grip on imaginations. Even today the West has yet to escape from a compulsion to use good vs evil as the primary prism through which to analyse the world. It is more complex.

But the system can reinforce or discourage this inherited and cultural defect. In recent years we have reinforced these Manichaean tendencies with news-as-entertainment which reduces all foreign news to a few standard moralistic narratives – including the futile “who are the goodies? the baddies?” trope – as well as the twitterfication of debate and the arrival of post structural progressives – both of which tend to reduce discourse to terse insults between rival orthodoxies.

The good news is that evolution – or God or whoever arranges these things – has also provided us with instincts and intellects capable of astute and subtle political analysis. Even the most primitive tribesman is capable of instinctively assessing quarrels with insight and realism. What we should hope for is an educational system, media and public square debate which reinforce this alternative aspect of our inheritance – as they used to. UH is a good start. Forward to the Enlightenment 2.0!

Last edited 7 months ago by Alex Carnegie
R Wright
R Wright
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

“Moreover, in western culture this enthusiasm for false binary choices has been exacerbated ever since St Augustine imported a load of Zoroastrian dualism into Christian theology and the Devil got his grip on imaginations.”

Thank you. The negative impact of the western church’s lauding of St Augustine over the wiser St Origen cannot be overstated.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

You have inadvertently ‘hit the nail on the head’.
Thanks to those cretins such as Augustine and Theodosius imposing a brutal monotheistic Oriental necro-cult onto the Classical World, all was lost. In short it was to be ‘the rise of FAITH and the fall of REASON, and the near destruction of a thousand years of classical civilisation. A new world were a belief in unbelievable triumphed over logos or reason. ‘Sic gloria transit Mundi’.

As to Right-Wing Hippie’s point about boredom, who could possibly be bored when you had the Amphitheater, Circus, Stadium, Theatre, Odeon and great Thermae to keep one amused. Even today crowds would thrill at the sound of “Ave Alex morituri te salutamus!”* would they not?

(* Hail Alex we who are about to die salute you!)

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago

Thank you for both the “inadvertently” and the Latin translation!

I am too tired to follow you and Gibbon down the Fall of Rome rabbit hole today but on dualism / binary thinking, my impression is that it is much more a problem in the West and that both the Chinese and Japanese see the world through a different prism which is far more about the balance of forces and the inter connectedness of everything. The closest western education gets to this is the study of ecosystems in biology which inculcates a usefully non-binary style of thinking one can apply to other topics. As an erstwhile classicist did you ever get into it? or are you a victim of a traditional education?

Last edited 7 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Touché.

Thank you in turn for “victim” and yes, like your good self I had a very traditional education.

Whilst I also deplore the West’s rather simplistic way of binary thinking, I always recall what the late Bertrand Russell had to say on the subject:-“Most people would rather die than think and MOST do”.
I not sure I would look to China or even Japan for inspiration.The former seem to have spent most their time trying to replicate the previous ‘Dynasty’, without an iota of thought for what we might call ‘human rights’. The later remained stuck in a medieval, head chopping time warp until Commodore Perry USN blundered in and forced them (somewhat reluctantly) to rejoin the human race.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

To that, i’d add quantum theory, which posits that a particle can be simultaneously present in two different places and that quanta can interact with each other even light years apart. (At least that’s my understanding of it!)
I read an article the other day about the most recent attempts to unify the General Theory of Relativity with quantum theory, which are (at the moment) thought to be incompatible. The latest theory posits that gravity can be “quantized” i.e. can be subject to adjustments based on the actions of particles.
My point here is this: seeing the world in terms of a battle between good and evil (or even worse, between Good and Evil) is just reductive narrative. Human consciousness seeks to provide stories to help us through our lives, and of course, we have to find the language to do so which also encompasses trying to describe biological and physical systems. Mathematics can be employed to describe physical systems in a different way (such as quantum theory) but probably <1% of the world’s population would understand it.
We can only try to see things in as great a degree of complexity as our intellects will allow us, and therefore the stories told tend towards the simplified end of the scale so as to allow the participation of as many as possible in the narrative. None of it has any validity except that which we seek to impart; which we must, to survive.

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve Murray
William Amos
William Amos
7 months ago

That is a rather polemical reading of the role and influence of Christianity and of Augustine in particular. It strikes me that he had very little time to impose anything on anyone in his own lifetime except, perhaps, within the narrow Bishopric of Hippo.
Gibbon paints a very sorry picture of the state of Pagan philosophy at the time, in particular the follies of Neo-Platonic mysticism and the absurdities of the New Academy. The general exhaustion of Pagan culture during the period is an underlying theme throughout his explanation of the rise and consolidation of Christian belief in the Empire.
Even by your own measure, looking at the historical evidence, it strikes me that the Classical World had already turned from the school of Reason to a confused cacophany of cultic mystery religions by the time of Augustine.
As far as Theodosius is concerned he was less a Scourge of God in the Christian cause than a syncretic who replaced one exhausted superstition with another, more vital one. The spurious cult of saints, martyrs and relics overlaid on what Gibbon respectfully and decently calls “the pure and perfect simplicity of the Christian model”

Last edited 7 months ago by William Amos
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  William Amos

Do you perhaps see a parallel between the “general exhaustion of Pagan culture” say in the late fourth century, with the impending collapse of our own so called modern (Christian) culture?
Agreed over Augustine whose influence was predominantly post-.mortem.

William Amos
William Amos
7 months ago

There are suggestive similarities, certainly. I would also include the Reformation and the period referred to as The Crisis of the Middle Ages within that scheme of comparison.
All three periods share a sense that the dominant ethical and conceptual ways of seeing the world have evolved beyond their interpretive function and away from their salvific potential. Ever more rarified and supererogated layers of ceremonial are combined with automatic thinking and transactional morality. On the one hand Pharisaism, Materialism and Sophistry and on the other, Pyrrhonian Scepticism, Immaterialism and Mysticism.
Our own time, for example, has seen both the revived gnosticism of the Trans movement and the legalistic moral schema of Intersectionality seemingly sprung fully armed from the head of Zeus at once.
Complexity leading inexorably to brittleness. Obscura Vera Involvens.
“we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together.”
My own reading of Gibbon was that this was the thrust of his criticism of both the Catholic Church and the New Academy. It is quite a conventional Protestant view of the period but one that many Catholic and Heathen thinkers perceive as being fundamentally anti-christian.

Last edited 7 months ago by William Amos
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  William Amos

One aspect Gibbon seems to have ignored was the cost of the whole thing. Vast numbers of men and some women heading off for the parasitical life of monasticism, and this in an agrarian society.
Arnold Jones addressed the subject briefly in his magisterial ‘The Later Roman Empire’. However since then little or no work has been done on the subject.
Another aspect Gibbon ignored was the splendid idea of a legally celibate, elected Papacy. Had the Imperial succession been organised on something like these lines much of the chaos of the Third and Fourth centuries might have been avoided.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago

C Northcote Parkinson puts the decline down to massive growth in bureaucracy, the unwillingness of the sons of the Equites and Patricians to die on the frontier, sons entering the clergy and possible cooling reducing agricultural yield post 250 AD. Cooling reducing growth of grass on the steppes could have caused the Huns to move westwards which creates the domino effect. However, Byzantium remains strong, why ?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

By Byzantium I take it you mean the Eastern Roman Empire?
If so, it was FAR richer and more populous from the start. As you well know the pivotal strategic position of Constantinople was also of crucial importance.
Thus even “shackled to the corpse of Christianity” it was able to survive for another thousand years.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago

It built very good walls and had Greek Fire. The Eastern Roman Empire kept all the Greek and Roman technology. Also it developed the cavalry where the Western Roman Army appeard to to rely on the infantry.
What Christianity achieved was to integrate vast number of peoples with different languages and religions.

Miguel Reina
Miguel Reina
7 months ago

I’m guessing Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae kept a few plebs entertained too when they bored of Romes distractions??

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Miguel Reina

What a ridiculous remark if I may say so.

Disputatio Ineptias
Disputatio Ineptias
7 months ago

I would suggest you read John Paul II’s letter called Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason). Your comment couldn’t be farther from the reality of Catholic belief.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago

Thank you, I have in fact read it and found it to be quite preposterous. Perhaps this is because of my aversion to the very idea of Papal infallibility.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
7 months ago

Roger Bacon in about 1260 separated Faith and Reason.
After 410 AD Western Europe became barbarian. Latin was only saved by the Church.The conquests of the Muslim Turks meant Greek Priests brought Latin and Greek scholarship into Italy from the late 14 th century.
Without Christianity, classical scholarship would have been lost.
Reason cannot explain inspiration which enables the great forwards in human capacity. .

starkbreath
starkbreath
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I’m all for it but first the rotten, corrupt, lying, insidious institutions in charge (the universities, media, endless government organizations who feel entitled to make our decisions for us) need to go. If enough of us just ignore or ridicule them, they will wither away and die. Mass disobedience on an international level, no violence needed, unless the bastards decide to come for us. Otherwise we’re headed into a world where we will have less and less, see our rights eradicated and the unwilling forced into struggle sessions and ‘re-education’ camps.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
7 months ago

Much wordy theorizing here. Missing the point.
The fact that the creepy/progressive types landed so quickly and firmly on this narrative is evidence of the barely suppressed anti-semitism of our world; a mindless,seemingly limit-less hatred. Nothing has changed in more than two thousand years.
I grew up as a goy among the Jews of NYC. I’m completely shocked, speechless, to see my friends and neighbors still threatened by such an ancient Beast. They told me but I didn’t believe them. Now I see.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago

“Much wordy theorizing… missing the point”
Or rather, you can’t see the wood for the trees.

Neal Attermann
Neal Attermann
7 months ago

Life is complicated and phrases like “from the river to the sea” arr so simple and fun to chant in a group setting.
The frame of reference created by DEI educators and a media that falls into lockstep with it make the Madison Avenue chants of the left so easy to market.
The battle of DEI and its related orthodoxies will be long and hard fought. But it needs to be waged.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
7 months ago

This is more an observation/question rather than a comment on the article:
Why is so much publicity given to the extremists (of whatever hue)? Some idiot on X posts an abnoxious video which we all abhor, yet it is recycled to prove an argument or point of view; the shocking is deliberately selected to get our attention. Wouldn’t we be better off ignoring rather than amplyfing this stuff?

Terry M
Terry M
7 months ago

Have you met the internet? The greatest amplifier in history. And human nature favors repeating the bad over the banal good. Bleeds leads.

Marcella Bixler
Marcella Bixler
7 months ago

Another insightful essay, Kat! I especially liked this passage: “a particularly American tendency to treat whatever is happening in the world like a months-long entertainment event, equal parts melodrama and spectator sport. Having identified the players on the stage — the heroic underdog, the corrupt superpower, the villain with a soft side — progressives are watching the war in Gaza like it’s a Marvel superhero film.” There is so much simplifying of complex situations happening right now about world events, with people frothing at the mouth with their caricatures of the ‘other side’. We are at a place where we arent’ focusing on our common humanity, but seeing individuals only by their group identity, which obscures each of us’ individual responsibility to be ethical and clear-seeing human beings.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
7 months ago

Yes, Novara Media even released a video on YouTube for its tweeny audience entitled ‘Why the Israel-Palestine war really is as simple as we say it is’

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
7 months ago

It’s true, as Rosenfield points out, that people tend to interpret news stories by classifying them according to familiar patterns. I’m not convinced that this, in itself, is problematic. Like it or not, that’s how the human brain actually functions, has always functioned and will always function (although, guided by culture, it can also discern discrepancies in those patterns and look for empirical evidence to account for these or even to create new patterns).
I suggest that there are at least two kinds of pattern: (a) those that are familiar from the simple stories of popular entertainment but also (b) those that are familiar from the sophisticated “narratives” of fashionable ideologies.
The stories of popular entertainment do indeed feature some characters who act villainously and others who act heroically or even self-sacrificially. We all know from experience, of course, that no conforms perfectly to these “archetypes.” To understand the world, therefore, we need to account for contexts, motives and other variables. But sometimes–and my impression is that Rosenfield ignores this possibilitythe familiar patterns really do bring us face to face, as it were, with a stark reality that more sophisticated ones hide under complexity. Do we really need to be psychologists or historians, for example, to know that the shocking brutality of Hamas was evil? I don’t think so.
What, then, explains so many convoluted attempts to deny the abundant evidence of Hamas’s depravity? Is it only because of neurotic personal fantasies that are communicated by new technologies and fed by the goulash of movies, songs, “reality shows,” commercials and so on. I don’t think so and therefore suggest that Rosenfield misses an important part of the answer.
“Make these observations aloud,” she writes, “and someone will inevitably show up to claim that it’s all the fault of progressive ideology, or critical theory, or postmodernism. But I suspect this gives the narrative-clingers — not to mention the rape denialists — too much credit. Postmodernism is much more sophisticated and ideological than what actually fuels this phenomenon, which is nothing more or less than the urge to reduce a complex geopolitical conflict down to something easily understood, with familiar characters and a classic plot arc and about as much moral ambiguity as an episode of Scooby Doo.”
Not so fast. That sounds to me like a dismissal of postmodernist and related ideologies. We can easily track the history of specific ideologies–deliberately fostered and collectively generated worldviews, not private fantasiesthat have led to the “deconstruction” of society, all of its institutions and especially its understanding of good and evil. I can’t think of any other way to explain the grotesque glorification in this part of the world of Hamas’s terrorism. (Its glorification in Islamic countries is another matter entirely.) What brought us to this point is the internalization of anti-Westernism, a congeries of allied ideologies, including anti-Zionism (a.k.a. anti-Semitism), all of which have at least one sine qua non in common: hatred toward Western civilization and fragmentation of Western societies into “us” (those who see the light and actively oppose “racism,” “patriarchy,” “transphobia,” “Islamophobia,” “settler colonialism” or whatever) and “them” (those who benefit from those things and are therefore “privileged” because of their innate, unchangeable, characteristics).

RM Parker
RM Parker
7 months ago

Excellent essay, thank you. I’ve long considered that the current SNAFU is based less on postmodernism than on collective emotional and intellectual immaturity. It’s been building for decades


Lorraine Devanthey
Lorraine Devanthey
7 months ago

Interesting article, particularly the point of the attempt to identify the participants in this disaster as archetypes. The author makes the point that this is not necessarily Critical Theory aka Wokism. I believe that the effort to cast these events in the form of a story or “narrative” as the Woke call it, is indeed a feature of Wokism. Stories are subjective, told from a particular point of view, as opposed to an objective 3rd party account. CBC, prime exponents of Wokism, openly states that it brings the stories (ie not the facts), on its flagship news program The National.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago

Best thing she has ever written. Absolutely bang on. A culture in which a domestic violence trial (Heard Depp) is farmed out to competing fandoms. Clickbait minds that can’t grapple with complexity.
Having said that, this form of storytelling is very American. Look at Oppenheimer. Poor tortured genius scientist colludes with dropping nuclear weapon on populated cities, feels so terrible about it – and is played by actor with beautiful eyes and sad cheekbones so you are meant to feel really really sorry for him.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
7 months ago

Damn Rosenfield makes you think every time


Martin Stillman
Martin Stillman
6 months ago

Well said, Kat

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ÎœÎ±ÏÎłÎ±ÏÎŻÏ„Î± ΜηλÎčώρη
7 months ago

It is not sentiment that rules here. It is numbers. Hamas brutality is drowned by Israeli senseless mass slaughter of civilians and children. The horror makes it impossible to look the other side.comment image?w=770&quality=80

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
7 months ago

And how much of this is Hamas’ propaganda. When asked for true numbers of people living in Gaza, Hamas couldnt give accurate figures. Now , they know every person who lives in Gaza and exactly how many they have used as human shields. If what they are doing is just, why are their leaders hiding in luxury in Qatar and Iran while their people are killed? The essayist is right in that there is so much “double think” going on that until it is over, nobody really knows how msny are being killed as the IDF try to protect their citizens.

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
7 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

I wonder why you are so quick to believe that Muslims are capable of propaganda and that Jews (or anyone else) are not? But the main issue here is the blindness of all those jumping to take a side and demonise the other, excusing murder on a catastrophic scale, to the fact that you are being played. You are supposed to take a side. People are supposed to get upset and judge and blame and dehumanise the side they are led to believe is somehow evil, making the side they have chosen somehow good. It’s called divide and rule. You must have heard of it? I really wonder how people can go on and on and on about how important it is to unequivocally denounce the attack of 7th October (which looks pretty much like it was intended by Netanyahu – ever heard of false flag operations? – you’d better learn to watch out for them because they are going to come thick and fast and result in ever more liberties being removed from ALL of us) whilst seemingly thinking that the destruction of the people in Gaza is justified and should continue until the lawn has been so thoroughly mown that there is nothing left, no denunciation necessary. And because they belong to the side you think are the baddies (because this is that narrative you’ve been fed and the one you picked because it was most resonant with you for various reasons) you make awful excuses for what is happening – “it must be okay and I can put ethics aside, because Islamic terrorists are the most evil thing on the planet”. No – if there is evil on the planet, it is in how we are manipulated to judge and condemn one another and how this leads us to turn a blind eye to horrendous suffering and pretend it’s not really happening – “it’s just propaganda”. Why not talk to someone who actually lives in Gaza?
Why not read Jonathan Cook? He knows what he is talking about. https://jonathancook.substack.com/
Or try listening to Gabor Maté?

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

Fantastic, thanks. I have my issues with Gabor but you might say his mindset – based as it is strongly on empathy, tolerance, compassion and rejection of bigotry – is anathema to many of the intellectually sophisticated but emotionally underdeveloped posters on Unherd.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
7 months ago
Reply to  Helen Hughes

Hamas dehumanized themselves
 How manny Israeli soldiers are taking pictures of their cold blooded murder of unarmed civilians and then sending it home to mom
 It makes a difference, all the difference in the world.