January 4th, 2009 

Mary Sojourner

The unconscionable attacks of Israel upon Gaza can be seen as the action of a sociopathic state upon a helpless victim. While the diagnosis of sociopathy is commonly reserved for the individual, it may be used to describe an entire society in a way that illuminates the behavior of that society towards another group of people. Sociopathy is a social concept by definition, and for this reason can be expanded to describe the nature of an entire society.

The ruling quality of the sociopath is a complete lack of empathy towards the Other. The sociopath is incapable of feeling for other people. The Israelis have kept the Gaza strip blockaded, hermetically sealed for a year and a half, causing untold suffering for the people of Gaza. The lack of empathy for so many helpless human beings is sociopathic. Israel has long held its status as a sociopathic state.

At the core of the sociopath’s personality is a deep-seated rage which is repressed and cut off from the conscious mind but which directs the sociopath’s actions. It is this rage which makes the sociopath incapable of feeling empathy for the Other, and which fuels the mercilessness with which he treats others. This rage is the only valid emotion a sociopath has. It accounts for his short temper, his consistent overreaction to the smallest setbacks, and the ruthlessness with which he treats others when they do not bend to his will.

Focused solely on himself and his needs, the sociopath has no regard for, and indeed no recognition of, the needs or rights of other people. The “Other” exists as no more than an obstacle to the sociopath’s achieving what he desires. He is ruthless in exploiting or removing others from his path, and kills mercilessly if it serves his purpose.

The sociopath is unable to feel remorse. Emotionally shallow, he abuses others without hesitation. He cannot make friends, much less keep them. He is secretive, paranoid, and authoritarian. Is Israel paranoid? Does it suffer from the delusion that all its Arab neighbors are waiting to destroy it? Of course it does. It threatens attack for no reason – e.g. Iran – and has attacked without provocation in the past – e.g. Iraq and Lebanon. And even now, with the intolerable treatment it is giving Gaza, have there been any threats from other countries? Of course not. It sits in its sea of nuclear weapons and dares anyone to attack, while it destroys Gaza with impunity.

The sociopath lies pathologically and will make promises that he never keeps, yet he continually expects to be believed and will react with outrage if someone refuses to accept his promises as real. At the same time he demands that those around him make and keep promises even knowing that his will not be kept. How many times has Israel broken promises not to increase settlements in the West Bank? Building is going on there even as Gaza is being destroyed.

Israel’s current assault on Gaza, its most heinous in years, shows no mercy to the Palestinians. The blockade has already brought Gaza to its knees, and now they are bombing the pitiful land almost to oblivion. Children and women are being killed, along with so-called “legitimate targets.” I would maintain that every “target” is a human being, particularly when the battle is so unequal, so unfair.

The blockade prompted the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel as a last resort response. The Israeli reaction to the Hamas rockets was truly beyond the pale. In return for a few rockets, which are all Hamas has to offer, Israel pounded Gaza with a fierce Air Force assault, and the remainder of the elite Israeli military stands by to assist. The overwhelming force unleashed on the defenseless little strip says everything one needs to know about the Israeli sociopathic state. The rage is here, the lack of empathy was here for a year and a half when the blockade was in place, the lack of remorse was always there when sick people were allowed to die at border crossings while waiting to reach clinics – waiting for no reason but cruelty.

Is Israel a sociopathic narcissist, with a sense of entitlement to Palestinian land based on religious “chosen-ness” rather than on the simple truth of theft? Israel is building swiftly over the West Bank. Is it plausible that Israel is going to eventually denude Gaza and take it over again? Why else would they be starving it, and bombing it in their “War to the end”?

Israel shows all the signs of the sociopath, most especially now as it makes war upon Gaza. No empathy, utter ruthlessness, paranoia, pathological liar, lack of remorse, narcissistic, and operating out of a deep sense of rage: all the defining characteristics of a sociopath.

Mary Sojourner is the nom de plume of a sentient being who has struggled with her own demons and now endeavors to relieve the suffering of others as she searches for truth and justice.

To further your sociopolitical education, strengthen your connection with the radical community, and deepen your participation in forming an egalitarian, just, ecological, non-speciesist and democratic society, visit the Transformative Studies Institute at and the Institute for Critical Animal Studies at

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