The Left's Civil War Over Israel

Portfolio Armor's Photo
by Portfolio Armor
Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024 - 19:33
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Back To Blood

Yesterday, Shai Davidai, an Israeli professor at Columbia Business School, posted a thread on X with video of anti-Israel protests in New York that disturbed him. 

Of course, many of these anti-Israel protestors were Muslim immigrants. Ironically, Professor Davidai published a study a couple of years ago, arguing that immigration wasn't zero-sum, and so Americans need not worry about demographic change. It appears that he was wrong. 

As our friend Kevin Dolan points out below, demographic change including Muslim immigration has broken the left's coalition, and with the explosion of social media, the instruments of narrative control that might have papered over their differences in the past no longer work. Before we get to that, a brief trading note. 

Trading Through The Mideast Conflict

If you're concerned about the potential impact of an Israeli strike on Iran on your portfolio, as a reminder, you can scan use the Portfolio Armor web app to hedge your downside risk. We're also going to be on the lookout for buying opportunities created by the current uncertainty, which we will share on our trading Substack. You can subscribe to that using the link below (we're using that for our occasional emails now).

Now on to Kevin's excellent post. 

Authored by Kevin Dolan at EXIT

An End To Psyops

We are witnessing the collapse of atrocity propaganda as a meaningful lever in Western politics.

There’s an air of boring inevitability about what is happening in the Middle East. As much as secular RW guys complain about the Christian admonition to turn the other cheek, the conflict in Israel is basically what it looks like when the cultural and technological capacity to call up grievances is unbounded: not only an endless grind of reprisals, but one in which both parties have to keep up a continual show of injured righteousness.

The most powerful tool in the mass media arsenal is the privilege to define when history begins — who “fired the first shot”, and therefore who is the aggressor and the villain.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict was already one of the most litigated conflicts in human history because of the fault lines it revealed in the American media establishment, and ordinary Americans have long regarded it with exhaustion.

But they could still get exercised about terrorist massacres, because these were unprovoked, and targeted innocent people. Only academic leftists endorsed terror tactics against civilian “colonizers”, and even some of these made an unprincipled exception for Israel.

Now, for both ideological and demographic reasons (there are a lot more Muslims in the European and American Left than there used to be), the coalition has broken down, and many leftists’ definitions of "unprovoked” and “innocent” have changed.

But it’s not just the Left’s civil war over Jewish victimhood vs. “black and brown bodies’” victimhood — instruments of narrative control are failing across the board.

Despite Putin invading Ukraine for essentially the same reasons Hitler invaded Poland, the national security establishment has struggled to get Americans interested. Accusations of Bashar al-Assad “gassing his own people” don’t land like they did on Saddam Hussein in the 1990s.

Waving the bloody shirt just doesn’t work the way it used to.

In Ukraine, the most successful propaganda portrays the “good guys” as the perpetrators of the violence, with viewers invited to relish a Russian infantryman’s helplessness and horror as a grenade is dropped on him.

There are, of course, stories of displaced orphaned Ukrainian children with tuberculosis, and maimed Ukrainian boys in the prime of life, but that isn’t what plays anymore. What the NAFO boys really want to see is (good) faceless machines vivisecting (bad) huddling kids, and puff pieces about how Ukrainians are winning the war against Slavic gender norms.

Social media is fundamentally different from the one-way mass communication technologies of the 20th century.

Unlimited access to data and contrary perspectives means that no one gets to decide where history begins. Every grievance is placed within a novel framework by opposing partisans, complicated or contextualized or “problematized” into oblivion.

Most of what is categorized as "Russian disinformation” is just this kind of thing, but the state is right to fear it — not because it’s true or false, but precisely because it reveals the incoherence of “true” and “false” as labels for a narrative.

In a sense, the dream of the 90s internet was realized — we all got unfettered access to all the Facts we could stand — but we learned that the postmodernists were right. There really is no outside-text, nothing to tell you what is the proper configuration of the facts.

For example, nothing in Vladimir Putin’s monologue on medieval Russian history was a lie — the question is which facts, if any, are morally relevant to the present, which is a question whose answer cannot be divined from the facts themselves.

The superabundance of information, and the accompanying vast marketplace of narratives, doesn’t mean that people are any more sophisticated or curious than they used to be. In fact, it means almost the opposite.

If you’re a rank-and-file political partisan on any issue, and you’ve just seen some enemy propaganda that is making you nervous, you have instant access to the smartest apologists in the world, who have thought about your issue longer than you have, who can place that disturbing story into a familiar context, and put your mind at ease.

Memetic warfare, like the artillery battle in Ukraine, has reverted to an agonizing slog for inches.

And now we have the prospect of AI-generated charred infant remains. Not only are we unable to form a shared interpretation of the facts, we are increasingly unable to trust the facts themselves.



I think Ben Shapiro was genuinely shocked by the resistance he faced as he presented photographic evidence of the carnage on October 7th, but it was inevitable.

Guys like Jackson Hinkle aren’t really “skeptics” in any general, principled way, of course — but there is no longer any way to represent facts that is not vulnerable to this kind of gainsaying. Every form of evidence that defines our episteme is now falsifiable.

We are returning, psychologically, to the medieval village, in which you “know” only what you’ve experienced, and you believe a few trusted reports, and anything else you might hear about the outside world is held very loosely.

This will make it increasingly difficult to rally large groups of people around universalizing moral causes that don’t concern them directly. It will also break the false notion that the whole world is known, mapped, disenchanted territory — which is the basis for the Death of God.

All of this will be very healthy, for most people, eventually — but in the meantime, we are facing a massive selection event.

As the colossal public organs of fact-accumulation, sense-making, and consensus-building become clogged with ever-more convincing and unfilterable simulacra, your grip on reality will be a matter of your connection with God, and with other sane, honest, competent people. Your survival will depend on your capacity, and your tribe’s capacity, to resist these simulacra, and insist on what is human and real.

It will be impossible to do this if you remain dependent on captured infrastructure to provide you with information, income, security, and status. We are building something new on the outside. Join us at


  • On Tuesday night’s group call we discussed “building while the world ends”. Several of the guys discussed how they are investing capital, shoring up their spiritual and family life, and building skills that will be useful across the broadest range of possible futures.

  • On tonight’s full-group call we will be having a hot seat for a young man considering marriage — a discussion of how family culture is developed and maintained, and the domains in which alignment is most critical.

  • This week we had our first investment call, in which the day traders in the group shared their heavily-disclaimed thoughts on the oil industry and other commodities for entertainment purposes only.

  • One of our guys has been producing a film with an investor pool in the group for the last two and a half years. They just finished shooting this week in Kentucky. Very excited to see where it goes next.

  • Cocktail hour meetup links for Austin (4/26)Boston (5/24), and New York City (6/21) below the fold for paid subscribers; as always, members-only meetup invites will be sent via email.


If You Want To Stay In Touch

You can follow Kevin Dolan on X here, and subscribe to his EXIT newsletter below. 

Contributor posts published on Zero Hedge do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Zero Hedge, and are not selected, edited or screened by Zero Hedge editors.