Narcissism in Israel's Crimes against Palestinians
These past couple of weeks have been emotionally exhausting with the current atrocities occurring to Palestinians, not that it is the first time it's happening but that this may just be the worst we've seen of the occupation and ethnic cleansing in the region in years. I've cried my eyes dry seeing and sharing the scenes of families torn out of their homes, beaten, abused, and killed.
It's taken me back to some of the horrific scenes we saw back in 2000 when Muhammad al-Durrah - a 12-year old Palestinian boy was killed by Israel while his father desperately tries to protect him, both crouching on the ground.
I was about his age at the time myself, so I couldn't understand how anyone would harm another human being that way.
It has been 20 years since that day and Palestinians are still fighting for their freedom. My written words may not be able to shatter the oppressors but if my silence would fuel them, I will write till I bleed. Besides, in 2021, the power of spreading words globally may just be a weapon in and of itself.
I'm a British Arab living in London yet I've realised in the last few days, on seeing the heart-breaking scenes in Palestine, that my blood has been boiling at the same temperature it has many times before. Like it's... familiar.
And I know many people paying attention right now feel the same hurt, they feel the same level of injustice as though it's happening directly to them. Some of that is called empathy, and as painful as it is, we should be grateful for this capability, one you may appreciate further as you read on.
But there's more to it, that familiar feeling may in fact be because you've encountered a parallel injustice firsthand at some point in your life - narcissism.
Narcissism and Zionism work hand in glove
The correlations I've noticed in the actions of Zionists and that of narcissists are compelling and of course, it hit me - why wouldn't they be? They both demand unreasonably from others. They both abuse. They both take what's not theirs. They both manipulate. They're both hypersensitive to criticism or any slight taint to their image. They both play the victim. And from my viewpoint, they both exhibit elements of psychopathy and sociopathy.
The heinous crimes committed by the IDF against Palestinians come from a root cause - a firm belief that they are superior and that this requires recognition. A narcissist also believes in superiority and displays this by demanding admiration and attention from others, perhaps most commonly in the social context. Israelis do this by taking land.
Israelis and Zionists are what I'd call collective narcissists, a group that believes they are exceptional. And it is this very belief that breeds their discrimination, prejudice, and intergroup aggression to take what they want and to rejoice in other people's suffering. These are exactly the scenes we have been witnessing lately and every day since 1948 in Palestine.
Who is the Narcissist?
If you look at a narcissistic individual, it isn't just someone who loves to talk about themselves and shares selfies all day. You could even regard that as harmless.
A true narcissist is someone who has an inflated sense of importance (almost always unwarranted and disproportionate along with their level of entitlement), who lacks empathy and consideration for others in any context. He manipulates and abuses others to get what he wants and usually stops at nothing to make it happen. And certainly, without remorse.
What you find in the Israeli forces and in Zionists is narcissism in magnitude, when narcissistic individuals have become a people. A group that then enforces their evil onto others. Collective narcissism mediates their association with intergroup hostility and simultaneously suppresses their tolerance of other groups. Collective narcissism is what induces the ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and killing of children that we are seeing today.
I've drawn these comparisons as it highlights the reality of the situation in Palestine right now and helps to distinguish the fact from the fiction in the circulating media reports.
If you understand narcissism on the individual level, you'll understand the collective narcissism unfolding in current events. Here are some specific narcissistic traits and behaviours to help you navigate.
These initiating factors if unaddressed become catalysts for the mediator beliefs and behaviours, leading to outcomes such as violence, murder and ethnic cleansing.
Lack of Empathy
It is prudent to note that at the very crux of any inhumane and unjust act, there is a lack of empathy. It's the same ingrained inability to feel other people's emotions or to have any consideration for others that allows psychopaths to commit crimes. This trait is found in narcissists which is why they can lie, manipulate, lack remorse, be callous and so much more.
The lack of empathy amplified in a group is how Israelis are displacing people from their homes, beating and killing children, mothers, and fathers. It is also how they're able to laugh at other people's suffering when their finger presses the trigger shooting a child in cold blood (a sickening scene from footage sent around on social media). It's the lack of empathy that allows the destruction of people's families and land from their hands.
This is a technique used to change a person's perception of reality to make them question their sanity. It's an underlying method seen in all types of abuse. It may start off as solely psychological but it also fuels physical abuse as well. It initially makes the subject feel shocked as the information they're fed seems completely irrational but on hearing the subtle use of deliberate words and actions from the narcissist, they start to question themselves and believe it.
To use an outrageous example, if I put a knife in your back, the reality is clear - I struck you with a knife.
However, a narcissist would very intelligently make you believe that you were the one who backed up into the knife that he was just 'innocently holding'. He would even go as far as making you believe you had placed it there and conjured up the whole scene and that it was entirely your fault. He will use manipulations, real events, and your weakest points to paint this image. Of course, at the same time, if given the opportunity he'll also present this depiction to others, solidifying it so that they can continue to take advantage of you.
How israel gaslights
They claim Palestinian land to be theirs, that they've been granted it and they have a solid right to it. They very literally enter other people's homes, beat the inhabitants and throw them out, if not worse, and then act like it's the Palestinians who have done them wrong. Crocodile tears soon start to appear.
They hide images and footage of themselves committing war crimes and breaking international law, instigating the violence itself and then have media outlets report that Palestinians are attacking them.
Days of excessive bombing, tear gas and attacks on worshippers from Israeli forces occur in Al-Aqsa and there are no reports of it anywhere in mass media. Then Hamas (a liberation organisation which only exists because of the occupation) fires a rocket in retaliation and that's when the media chooses to wake up from dormancy with headlines emphasising 'Hamas attack on Israel'.
"Children have been killed in fighting with Israel" - wording to make you perceive Israel as the victim. And are we going to ignore the implication that children were fighting in combat?
"Palestinians have died, while Israelis have been killed" - language is powerful and is used in perfectly calculated positioning that would make the public believe the victims are the oppressors.
The icing on the cake is they also censor anyone trying to report the truth as we have been seeing on social media as of late.
Gaslighting at scale
An idea cleverly indoctrinated over the years is that when anybody shows their support for Palestine, they're immediately labelled as anti-semitic. When a conversation is about condemning the killing of children, they make it about prejudice against Jews. An apple is being faulted for not being a good orange.
Not only are we talking about different subjects, but we're also talking in different languages. And it certainly ends any possibility of a constructive conversation.
Anti-semitism has absolutely no relevance when we are discussing brutality and genocide yet pulling this card incites doubt and confusion around this topic. This allows the narrative to be reframed and new, orchestrated associations are made in favour of the desired outcome - silence.
- "I want Palestinians to be free" is interpreted as - "I am anti-semitic"
- "The land doesn't belong to Israel" becomes " I hate Jews"
When these jabs happen so often, anyone fighting for the Palestinian cause is seen as hostile toward Jews. Saying anything at all about the crimes committed by Israel becomes 'triggering'.
Creating this high level of confusion stops the masses from speaking up against oppressors in fear of the anti-semitic connotations it may have. People learn to become bystanders. People learn not to fight for the truth, people learn not to fight for the fundamental human rights of others.
This is classic narcissistic behaviour to deflect from the truth of the issue at hand and to couple it with extreme hypersensitivity to criticism. This brings me onto one more common narcissistic behaviour.
Playing the victim
As we've already seen in the gaslighting examples, a narcissist loves to play the victim.
'Woe is me' a big theme of their existence. Due to a belief in their superiority and their desperation for attention, they use any opportunity to make themselves look like they're being mistreated, for sympathy and support in any possible way, as this is how they thrive while 'justifying' their abuse.
The scary thing about playing the victim when you're Israel, a powerful group with a strong military, persistent financial backing, support from superpowers such as the US, the control of mass media at their disposal, and businesses of all industries across the world is that most people will believe it.
We are only just starting to see a minuscule window into the reality of the situation through social media from individuals willing to show the truth and images and posts from the ignorant themselves.
Israelis chanting "Death to Arabs" in the streets, celebrating people being tortured and killed in front of their eyes.
An Israeli settler posted proudly when starting his day - "we're going to massacre you".
A group of Israeli civilians gang up and beat a Palestinian man to death while waving the Israeli flag and laughing.
An Israeli solider shoots a 16-year old girl while she stands outside her home and then throws grenades into the home while her family tries to help her.
But of course, the only way you would see this is if you managed to escape media outlets strung by Israeli puppeteers.
Fortunately, there are true journalists on the ground seeking the truth. Mark Stone from Sky News recently reported Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians.
And what's Israel's response to their exposed transgressions?
"Israel's supreme court rejects human rights group's request to declare it unlawful for soldiers to shoot at unarmed civilians."
In this case, there really is no other way to interpret this. What this announcement reads is - "It is not illegal to kill civilians and we will keep doing it. We must silence the law as well as the people."
These inner motivations are fuelled by systemic individual and collective narcissism and the outcomes are what we are witnessing before us today - nationalism and prejudice against the out-group, in this case, Palestinians. It leads to support for terrorism and violence.
What is gained here is real-life endorsement from people, politicians, governments, businesses, celebrities, and even laws and prescriptions to amplify colonialism, murder, and ethnic cleansing.
In fact in some studies, it has been clearly defined that collective narcissists are interested in privilege, not justice or equality (Golec de Zalava, 2020). They also exaggerate the perception of intergroup threat and believe that their in-group alone faces the hostility of other people (Golec de Zavala & Cichocka, 2012; Golec de Zavala et al., 2009). They then retaliate with excessive hostility in situations that require a stretch of imagination to be perceived as a threat or deliberate provocation.
This exactly describes the collective narcissism of Israelis. It is by an extreme stretch of the imagination that a people who have no army, no navy, no air force, no military budget at all, whose children make up 43% of its population are the 'threat to Israel', a superpower with military personnel in the hundreds of thousands, battleships, aircrafts and weapons of mass destruction. The Palestinians' disproportionate disadvantage here proves the blatant propaganda.
Israel's collective narcissism is at the core of the injustices occurring on Palestinian land, to innocent people who had opened their arms and homes to their now oppressors. The narcissism itself of course stems from deep-set insecurity and low self-esteem and these always come to light in one way or another, even with the best of efforts to conceal them.
This is their condition.
The only way to conquer this disease is if the people themselves address their insecurities and develop a positive social identity, firstly on an individual level which would then extend to the group. But it seems clear that the perpetrators have chosen the side of self-betrayal and consequently the intentional destruction of others since 1948.
What I see escaping from the fired smoke above our beloved holy land is the divine wisdom -
"Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people, until they change what is in themselves." Quran 13:11.
So if they choose not to change, then there are three comforts I am currently able to draw out.
The first is that people who don't learn to address these weaknesses healthily, (and additionally inflict harm on others) always lose in the long run.
The second is that a force that thinks it's indestructible has lost sight of the Most Powerful, who can and will crush them when their time is up.
The third is that the prayer of the oppressed can never be veiled.
Never lose hope, Palestine. You will be free.