Hamas Killed the Progressive Movement Too

Gabe Zichermann
6 min readOct 12, 2023
cc share alike Ted Eytan

Hamas’ unprecedented and disgusting attack on Israeli civilians is a catastrophe. The loss of life is still being understood, but it’s clear that innocent humans were tortured, raped, maimed, murdered and made to suffer in fear and anxiety for bloodlust and hatred. As someone who lived through 9/11 and its expansive grief, it’s enough to make my head spin and my heart weep. This is just the beginning.

Almost immediately, progressives the world over responded to these heinous acts of terror with some version of “they had it coming”.

Honestly, it’s gobsmacking to see it on social media. Users posted videos showing Hamas committing an atrocity, like murdering parents in front of their children, and thousands responded with “Free Palestine”. Same for posts by family members seeking their missing loved ones. At least here, they have no sympathy for the loss or torture. A substantial portion of those unfeeling respondents are in the West.

Over the next few days, heartless, ill-conceived rallies took place in major Western capitals celebrating the cause of Hamas. When questioned about whether this was a good idea, many of the organizers of these rallies doubled down, explaining that the Israeli occupation was to blame. The organizers were not western branches of Islamic Jihad, or ISIS offices in the US, Canada and England — they were progressive and socialist groups. From campus organizations to the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), leaders of these movements seemed entirely unbothered by the loss of Israeli life. In fact, they celebrated it.

Progressives seem pathologically focused on root cause theory and intersectional analyses, even when they are clearly in opposition to ideas of morality and personal responsibility. Mass thefts at retail stores are dismissed by left wingers with whataboutism: “wage theft is a much larger problem.” Bail is immoral because “the system makes people criminals.” And the great California canard of the 2020s: homeless people should have the right to live on the streets, because… “cops are inherently bad and they overpolice the poor/mentally ill.”

At their core, the movements to empower labor, reform bail, improve equity in policing (and supporting peace in the middle east) are good and righteous. They’re just going too…

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Gabe Zichermann

Author and Public Speaker on Gamification, The 4th Industrial Revolution, the Future of Work and Failure. More about me: https://gabezichermann.com