The Tribal War over Israel
There's a networked tribal war underway that will decide Israel's future. It's a war that Israel is losing. Let's dig in.
Israel might think that it is in a war with Hamas. It isn’t. It’s in an online war with a global, networked tribe for its very existence. A war it is losing.
You can see it in this recent poll (one of many that say the same thing) just after the terrorist attack.
Question: Israel’s response to the Hamas attack is fully justified (US citizens by age)?
This result tells us that Israel is on track to lose US support in a generation or less. However, given the networked tribalism underway, this result tells us that the US won’t just be unsupportive of Israel; it will be antagonistic to it.
Tribalized Moral Warfare
The reason for this sudden shift is the rise of tribalized and networked moral warfare.
Until recently, Israel was largely unopposed in its ability to wage moral warfare, both on and offline.
It was able, with the support of its diaspora, to control the flow of information and the moral framing of its wars, and any attempt to wage moral warfare in opposition to Israel was shut down by labeling it anti-semitism.
This control provided them with support from Western governments and their institutional media. Support (from $ to weapons to military intervention to diplomatic cover) they need to survive.
Networked tribalism, similar to what we have seen with anti-racism/fascism/etc., has rapidly emerged to wage moral warfare in opposition to Israel.
This tribal moral warfare routes around the traditional media, and in some cases, it coerces media companies into alignment.
Moreover, networked tribalism connects people to this conflict through empathy triggers that forge fictive kinship, turning billions of people unrelated to the participants in real life into partisans.
Tribal moral warfare isn’t a political contest. Solutions and compromise aren’t possible. Peaceful outcomes are an anathema.
In networked tribal warfare, the sides are framed as absolute good vs. absolute evil. Opressor/oppressed. Peaceful citizens/terrorists. As a result, tribal moral warfare dehumanizes the opposition.
Debate immediately devolves. Since networked tribes only come together to oppose an enemy and not about position goals, they won’t acknowledge or even ‘see’ the evil acts of their side. They fall outside of the oppositional pattern they are using to make sense of the conflict. For example: The charges “You are defending terrorists who behead babies” or “You are defending a country that blows up and starves babies” aren’t even heard by the people they are used against.
Networked tribes don’t deal in nuance. They are maximalists. They can only imagine the destruction of the opposition.
The problem for Israel, and those who support it, is that this isn’t a fair fight.
(more synthesis below, including a podcast link and the summary of an earlier brief anticipating this outcome)