Envy of Suffering

Americans were horrified at the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli villagers on October 7 this year. The brutality and futility of the attack rocked the imagination. Yet within days, we witnessed huge protest marches in U.S. and world capitals and universities in favor of Hamas. Their favored chant, “from the river to the sea,” means only one thing, and that is the annihilation of Israel and all its Jewish inhabitants.
Such support for terrorism exploded in the 1970s as well in European cities and universities, and people wondered then about this same gleeful valorization of revolution by comfortable, privileged youth. One might expect campus teach-ins or op-eds on either side of a political conflict today too in elite educated spaces like Harvard and Columbia, but why do we again see such unchecked street rage there? Why do we hear absurdly hyperbolic accusations like “genocide” and “apartheid,” and why do news outlets accept unvetted news reports and ludicrous casualty counts from Hamas itself?
The Germans had a word for it: Leidensneid, or an envy of suffering, first described by authors such as Jillian Becker, the chronicler of the Baader Meinhof group. The youth of this formerly Nazi nation thought of their old country as irredeemably evil, and they were not entirely wrong. They came to envy the romanticized and righteous suffering of oppressed peoples, whose plight seemed authentic and meaningful. As they lived a soft life under the new democracies, their hatred of the old order grew. Eventually, they demanded nothing short of a utopian standard of justice for the new. They developed an ideology of hypersensitivity to wrongdoing, including any they saw in their new nations. And so, bereft of a nation to identify with, they identified with the victims of the post-war world, vowed destruction of “the system,” and embarked on urban guerrilla terrorism.
Similarly, today, protesters believe that Gazans live in an “open air prison” and thus suffer nobly. Therefore, they deserve our pity and support. Their struggle is heroic; their lives are significant and noble, unlike the Western student’s comfortable middle-class, or even upper-class, existence, purchased with the wrongdoing of their country.
The Leidensneid of the ’70s repeats in today’s popular oppressor/oppressed theory, the simplistic reduction that any successful nation or people must have achieved its success by oppressing less successful peoples. They valorize this suffering and therefore believe that Hamas, in the present instance, has no choice but to resort to terrorism for “liberation” against giants like Israel and the U.S.

Read it all here:

I gave the word Leidensneid to the German language. It is my invention.

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Wow! Not only have you written books on it, you invented a word for it! Thank you for your great work, Jillian! I’ve learned so much from you, but only a fraction of what you’ve taught.
This envy you defined is working the same way now as it did in the 60’s and 70’s to make young people easy prey to the Marxist propaganda saturating our culture through the universities and media.
A good question raised here is - where do all those Palestinian flags come from - who’s paying for it all? Follow the trail of the propaganda - from the State-run media, to the State, and the traitors who have infiltrated and are now controlling the State.
They fund Israel, but they also fund Iran and all its terrorist proxies. I heard it stated recently that James Baker (Bush era?), came up with the “genius” plan to create a “balance of power” - which meant - empower our (and Israel’s) enemies, such as Iran and China. In what universe would that be considered a good idea?? What idiocy!
I read also that in the 70’s (maybe this was another of Bakers brilliant ideas) the U.S. took a fringe group of Palestinian Islamists (Hamas) and financed the movement as a “counterweight” to the PLO (which was apparently created by the Soviets in the 60’s.) We did the same thing with Bin Laden.
Like Frankenstein, we created monsters.

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Thank you for your kind words, Liz!

Your comments have taught me a lot. Still do teach me - and our readers. This Baker “balance of power” plan - fascinating in its idiocy. And it is all too likely that he midwifed Hamas out of the diseased womb of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yes, what we - and the world - have been given are monsters, thanks to the stupid ideas of men like Baker.

Here’s an interesting answer to your question that I and many other people must be wondering about. Who is paying for all the those flags and placard carried by screaming hordes in the pro-Hamas anti-Israel rallies? -

“When I see hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating, rioting, carrying signs, organized and following some kind of leadership, I always wonder: who paid for this? In the case of the anti-Semitism that currently is sweeping across America, there seems to be a pretty simple answer…

“The pro-Palestinian protests over the last month, where tens of thousands in the U.S. have chanted for the end of Israel, are not merely a story of organic rage.

They are funded in large part by an uber-wealthy American-born tech entrepreneur: Neville Roy Singham, and his wife Jodie Evans.

“When you see tens or hundreds of thousands of rioters, organized and gathered together, often transported, waving mass-produced signs, you should always wonder who is footing the bill. And the answer probably is, a rich Communist.”

I think we can always be sure that George Soros has contributed to any destructive cause. He probably initiated the plans for the rallies.

Those flags took time and money to gather, the hundreds of thousands of placards took time and money to manufacture.

Maybe Singham and Soros co-ordinated their efforts to make a grand success of the huge rallies for terrorism and against Jews.

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Yes, “suspected of being a Chinese agent…”
You don’t say! Just amazing the ties to the CCP you find at the end of every money trail, whether it’s a Marxist billionare, or Joe Biden.
I’ve always wondered why people who make so much money would be supportive of Communism, whose fundamental tenet is the abolishment of property ownership. But it’s always been a con, from the beginning - the property you give up for the triumph of the “revolution” goes straight to the elite billionares who then own everything.
I’ve heard that the elites of the CCP are actually the richest oligarchs on the planet, although the Chinese people are among the poorest.
That’s the real “revolution” the “activists” - Useful Idiots - are waving those phony flags for.

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