Hamas and Its Allies are Winning Over Public Sympathy by Weaponizing 'Social Justice' Advocacy
Read my explainer on why this form of 'Social Justice' is a Trojan Horse for a radical, illiberal ideology
If you’re wondering why the political left has endorsed a terrorist organization, this explainer is for you!
This explainer is adapted from an infographic slideshow I created for Instagram and offers an intentionally oversimplified perspective to give a quick overview of the topics. It's not designed to be comprehensive, but the links interspersed within the article will be helpful for those seeking more information.
It covers how modern “Social Justice” is a Trojan Horse for a Marxist-inspired radical belief system, where this pernicious ideology has taken root: in university Humanities departments through the application of Postmodernism and Critical Theory, and why this type of scholarship is frivolous and unrigorous. Also, how Hamas’s allies use one of its offshoots, Palestine Studies, and online activism to promote a pseudohistorical narrative to hundreds of thousands of people, that ultimately benefits Hamas terrorists.
I was a Social Justice Warrior
Some background first: I voted for the Democratic party in every presidential election since turning 18, but my active involvement in politics began in 2020. During the pandemic, I fell for the moral panic pushed by “anti-racist educators” on Instagram that insisted the U.S. was simultaneously experiencing a “racism pandemic.”
For 8 months, I found myself swept up in the online Social Justice community, genuinely believing that I was helping move the country towards progress. This led to my involvement with a progressive Instagram account with 750,000+ followers, where I took on the role of creating and curating content for them. However, it didn’t take long for me to discover that modern “Social Justice” is not what it seems.
Like many other old-fashioned liberals, I had mistakenly perceived "Social Justice" as a continuation of the Civil Rights movement. But this is a deception crafted by far-left academics who leverage a postmodernist framework with the intent to ignite a cultural revolution against Western values.
What is Postmodernism?
The philosophical movement of Postmodernism originated in the 1960s in the Humanities as a way to challenge traditional power structures. It holds that empirical knowledge used to describe objective reality is a social construct used to oppress people.
Postmodernism’s brazen rejection of empirical science and liberalism as “tools of the oppressor,” (because of their origins with white men), has led to an academic culture ripe for ridicule and hoaxes due to its lack of intellectual rigor.
Peer-reviewed Humanities journals attempt to make postmodern scholarship appear legitimate, but this is another deception. It is not empirical or evidence-based like the hard sciences. It is leftist activism peer-reviewed by other leftist activists.
Hoaxes such as the Grievance studies affair and the Sokal affair have helped to expose their unrigorous practice. In the 2018 Grievance studies hoax, three academics (James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossion) submitted deliberately absurd and fake academic papers to respected peer-reviewed journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences, many of which were accepted and at least one won an award!
Their objective was to reveal that these journals were accepting papers not based on research quality but on their alignment with specific ideological beliefs, influenced by postmodernist thought. One of the faux papers accepted in a peer-reviewed Humanities journal was a chapter from Hitler's "Mein Kampf" with the phrases "our movement" or "party" replaced by "intersectional feminism."
What is Critical Theory?
Postmodernism is closely aligned with Critical Theory, a Marxist-derived social philosophy which hoped to explain why liberal orders were so effectively resistant to Marxist revolutions by analyzing power dynamics between social classes.
Adherents of Critical Theory posit an overly simplistic model of society that categorizes people by their identity traits and ranks them as either “oppressors" or “oppressed” in a zero-sum conflict for power. (This is where “identity politics” comes from.)
Within this “Critical” framework, they have attempted to redefine the Israel-Palestine conflict.
An entire frivolous body of postmodern scholarship dedicated to Palestine Studies (influenced by Postcolonial theory - another offshoot of Critical Theory), portrays Israel as an all-powerful aggressor and Palestinians as helpless victims without agency.
According to this ideology, instead of a conventional moral compass, they see the “oppressed” as inherently virtuous and the “oppressors” as deserving of any consequence. They advocate for “decolonization” - even by violent means.
Palestine Studies attempts to legitimize an alternative pseudohistory and rationalize every terrorist attack by Palestinians against Jews, all while insisting that Israel simply existing is “inherently the initiator of violence.”
When in fact, an accurate reading of history reveals that Palestinians have started (and lost) every war, rejected every offer for a two-state solution, and elected Jihadi terrorists into power - who have kept 80% of Gazans in poverty and whose foundational document (the 1988 Hamas Charter) makes explicit their genocidal intentions of killing all Jews. Hamas leaders have vowed to repeat the mass murders of October 7 until that goal is achieved.
What is Critical Social Justice?
Modern “Social Justice,” informed by postmodernism and Critical Theory, which some have called Critical Social Justice (CSJ), is the vehicle used to spread their ideology. It is a trojan horse for an illiberal and radical, Marxist-inspired belief system.
Online CSJ activists use social media to recruit others into adopting this worldview. Their propaganda campaigns employ slogans, art and highly conjectural slideshows that reduce complex issues into bullet points and narratives that give people a false sense of being informed.
They foster mistrust in conventional news outlets and specifically target American progressives on social media with anti-Israel propaganda, based on their “research” from the pseudohistorical, Critical Theory-derived Palestine Studies.
Hamas and its allies are winning over public sympathy by weaponizing this form of online activism. They have orchestrated the most significant propaganda offensive against the Jewish community since World War II.
While the liberal approach to Civil Rights has enjoyed many great successes, such as the Emancipation Proclamation, Women's Suffrage, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, to name only a few, Critical Social Justice has yet to achieve any real justice. In fact, it aims to overturn many of liberalism's great Civil Rights achievements.
We should emphatically reject this form of divisive, leftist activism and instead champion the liberal values of the Enlightenment and support our democratic allies like Israel in their fight against Islamic terrorism.
Read my new investigation for Quillette into the well-funded anti-Israel groups that target American progressives with “Social Justice” themed content on Instagram:
buttonslives is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.