“We are the victims… therefore nobody should blame us for the things we do.”
Who do you think said this? Some blue-haired campus activist who’s convinced they’re suffering from structural oppression? A trans campaigner, perhaps, who thinks being misgendered is an act of violence? Maybe some other social justice type who feels victimised by everything from statues of old colonialists to un-PC jokes?
Actually it was Ghazi Hamad, a leading figure in Hamas. Yes, Hamas is now the armed wing of the culture of victimhood. The genocidal army of the cloying politics of self-pity. One headline paraphrased his comments as follows: “We are victims — everything we do is justified.” If anyone can find a better summary than that of the violent narcissism of our times, I’d be happy to see it.
Hamad, who has held various positions in the Hamas regime, made his remarks in an interview on Lebanese TV. He said many chilling things. Should Israel be annihilated, he was asked? “Yes, of course,” came his fascistic reply. The October 7 massacre was just the beginning of Hamas’s war on Israel, he said: “We will do this again and again… there will be a second, a third, a fourth.” And still people think Israel should lay down its arms in the face of this genocidal group that vows to slaughter more of its citizens.
He was also alarmingly cavalier about the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza. We knew we would have to “pay a price” for October 7, he said, and “we are ready to pay it.” “We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs,” he said.
The Hamas leadership is the lowest of the low. Their top dogs live it up in Qatar while approving the “sacrifice” of ordinary Gazans to their vain, demented dream of annihilating Israel. The idea that these people can be negotiated with is a willful delusion.
Then came his victim comments. They were extraordinary. He said: “We are the victims of the occupation. Period. Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7, October 10, October 1,000,000 — everything we do is justified.”
The most startling thing here is the self-infantilization. The absolute refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions. The infantile avoidance of accountability. Even as he warns that Hamas will carry out more barbaric assaults like the one of October 7 – right up to “October 1,000,000” — he says none of it will be Hamas’s fault. Yes, its terrorists will wield the knives and pull the triggers and throw the grenades, but it won’t be their doing — it will be Israel’s. Hamas are “victims,” you see, merely responding to the true monster: Israel.
There’s a twisted irony. In depicting Palestinians as a people who should never be blamed for anything, not even what they do, Hamad is rehashing old racist tropes about child-like brown people who must be judged by a different moral standard to Western, “white” nations like Israel. (Israel is not actually a “white” nation, of course.)
Where Israel is mature enough to enjoy criminal responsibility, Palestine, apparently, is not. Who needs colonialism when the supposed anti-colonialists do such a fine job of depicting their own people as dangerously immature, as lacking the capacity for judgment and restraint enjoyed by others?
Mr. Hamad’s claims of supreme victimhood mirror political developments in the West. Here, too, in a less violent fashion, self-pity rules. Communities big up their victim status to secure state resources and the sympathy of the elites. Radical activists exist in a permanent state of psychic fragility. They see everything as a microaggression against their self-esteem. Advertising one’s weakness provides a shortcut to the moral highground.
Hamas is playing a similar sordid game, with far deadlier consequences. It clearly sees its terrorism as essentially a tantrum, a tantrum of the oppressed, where the aim is less to advance any tangible political or territorial cause than to garner the pity of influencers across the globe. And in this grim mission, it is succeeding. Many of the victimhood merchants of what passes for the left have indulged Hamas in its self-infantilization. As those privileged activists at Harvard University said, Israel is “entirely responsible” for all violence in the Middle East.
It seems to me that there’s a lethal interplay between Westerners’ excuse-making for Hamas and Hamas’s own justifications for its genocidal violence. Indeed, Hamas is now openly embracing the victim narrative put forward by supposedly “pro-Palestine” movers and shakers in the West. “We are the victims… everything we do is justified.” The politics of victimhood nurtured on our campuses and in our institutions is now providing cover for antisemitic brutality.
We tend to think of the cult of victimhood as “snowflakey,” as the creator of irredeemable wimps. In truth it is the handmaiden of a ruthless new narcissism in which the pursuit of one’s own interests takes precedence over all else, even morality and decency sometimes.
Hamad’s comments confirm that victimhood can be ultra violent too. His claim to blamelessness is a blank check for the most unimaginable forms of terror. After all, if you’re never held to account, you can do anything you like. This victim-terror complex, this violent self-pity, poses an incalculable threat to Israeli life and liberty. It must be brought to an end.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.