jordan peterson
© Chris Williamson/Getty Images"Palestinians play the role of victim," says Peterson to Piers Morgan in an interview published on October 31st, 2023.
Dr. Jordan Peterson (JP), a Canadian psychologist, rose to fame circa 2016 with his stance against Canada's Bill C-16, his motivational speeches and self-help books. However, since his Tweet tagging Netanyahu to "Give 'em hell" ('em' being the Palestinians) on October 7th, he's rapidly losing popularity. On October 31st, Peterson joined Piers Morgan Uncensored to "give his thoughts about the Israel-Hamas war and to discuss whether he regrets the tweet he sent". As he shares his thoughts, it becomes increasingly clear that Peterson knows very little of any substance about the conflict. But that doesn't stop him holding forth as if he does.

Peterson said to Morgan:
"I mean a war is the consequence of an unsolvable moral quandary. And so it's not surprising that the conversation surrounding the war is full of moral quandaries because if it was straightforward and simple and if there was an easy path forward, then there wouldn't be a war."
The Israeli govt. has been committing war crimes, killing and mutilating innocent men, women and children, and torturing them since 1947. They even harvested the organs of Palestinians. On October 7th, Hamas (possibly consisting mostly of orphans whose parents were killed by the IDF) carried out the Al-Aqsa Storm, during which the majority of Israeli citizens that died, were killed by the IDF in crossfire.

As part of that operation, Hamas took hostages to Gaza in the hopes that the Israeli govt. would refrain from carpet bombing Gaza (thereby killing their own people, although that is something the Israeli govt. has no problem with) and releasing detained Palestinians in exchange for the hostages.

A freed hostage, Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, said that the Palestinian militants "treated us very nicely". So what exactly is the unsolvable moral quandry here? It's clear to anyone that someone has to put a stop to Israel's murderous actions.

That isn't to say that it wasn't traumatic for the hostages, to be taken not knowing what will happen, but that doesn't give Israel the green light to kill almost 10,000 innocent men, women and children in Gaza who had nothing to do with it.

Back to Peterson's interview with Morgan:
JP: "I think Iran is desperate, because of the tenuous hold on power that the Mullahs now have in Iran given their own citizens' rebellion. I think they see the Abraham Accords, which were the most significant step forward towards peace in the Middle East for like 75 years, they see the Abraham Accords as an existential threat. This is a last ditch attempt by the Iranian Mullahs to use the Islam against Jews story to prop up their own dismal reign".
In 2021, a survey showed that 72% of Iranians approve of the job the Iranian President is doing and that 6 in 10 Iranians have confidence in their government. When it comes to the few violent protests that have taken place in Iran, it's likely that foreign elements were involved. Usually, it's anti-government protests that are widely broadcast in western mainstream media while pro-government demonstrations are ignored or twisted (calling them "rallies" or staged).

This gives the impression to the unaware that the majority of Iranians are against their government when the opposite is true. Despite western sanctions, IMF figures showed "that Iran's gross domestic product (GDP) is on track to expand by 2.5% this year". So, why exactly would Iran be "desperate"?

Perhaps there IS some desperation over the fact that Western sanctions on Iran have caused a shortage of crucial medicines. Maybe a more productive use of the energies of people like Peterson, who profess to care about Iran's citizens, would be to pressure Western governments to lift such sanctions and thereby *actually* help the Iranian people rather than sabre-rattling for a war that would undoubtedly kill many innocent Iranians?

Peterson's faith in the Abraham Accords leading to some kind of just peace in the Middle East is misplaced. For a start, the text of the agreements barely mentions Palestinians, outside of a few vague assurances to keep working toward a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that Morocco maintained a "coherent, constant and unchanged position" on the matter." In addition, a survey showed that a majority of Palestinians agreed with the statement that "Arab governments are neglecting the Palestinians and starting to make friends with Israel, because they think the Palestinians should be more willing to compromise."

Without the inclusion of clear requirements to lift the occupation of Palestine, remove the checkpoints, cease any emotional, physical and sexual abuse of Palestinians and so forth, the Abraham Accords are far from being the "most significant step forward towards peace in the Middle East". The play-makers in this sordid drama have no intention of creating peace. They accept peace only on their terms, and 'their terms' always means that the other side loses. Ultimately, such an agreement would survive only for as long as Israel refrained from bombing Palestinians, which is never a very long time.

While the plan behind the Abraham Accords may have been to isolate Iran, there was significant push-back to that plan from some major global players, including Russia and China, primarily due to the fact that the Accords were in large part designed to undermine the Russian/Chinese vision for Eurasian integration via China's 'One Belt One Road' initiative.

Peterson's claim, then, that 'Al-Aqsa Storm' was a last ditch attempt by the Iranian government to "use the Islam against Jews story to prop up their own dismal reign" is profoundly naive and displays a shocking level of ignorance of not only the history of the conflict, but the last 100 years of global geopolitics. In any case, the issue here is not "Islam versus Jews". There are plenty of Jews who are against the murderous actions of the Israeli govt., and funnily enough, Jews in Iran feel safer than they would in the US or Europe. Where is this "Islam versus Jews" that Peterson speaks of, other than in the Machiavellian minds of people like Bibi Netanyahu and Tony Blinken? (I decline to include Biden here for obvious reasons).
JP: "And so they rattled the chain of their Hamas puppets and said provoke and they did. And their hope is that the Israeli response will be so overwhelming that the Arab world turns against them. And maybe even the people who might be inclined to be swayed by a victim narrative in the West and that the Abraham Accords will fall apart and that'll be the end of that and that could happen".
If this was Iran's secret plan, then surely Israel would have copped on to it, not taken the bait, and softened its response to prevent the Arab world from turning against them. But they didn't. Instead, they went all in on the biggest episode of mass murder in the short history of the state of Israel. That's because the actual planning behind this latest conflict began in Israel, and included an "apocalypic" attack on Israel, tantamount to "Israel's 9/11" that would provide the political capital and "moral justification" for Israel to finally put into motion its long-desired plan for the complete destruction of Palestine. The "Al-Aqsa Storm" was, therefore, a god-send for Israel and just what they needed to ramp up the ethnic cleansing.
JP: ... And I think well the Muslim world has to make a choice too, because it doesn't look to me like their proper champions is the government in Iran? You know?
This is tired and boring unipolar world thinking. Iran and its allies aren't interested in being the leader or champion in their region, they're striving for a multipolar world which is something that spells disaster for Western hegemony, and the USA knows it only too well.
JP: And it's not like the Saudis don't have their flaws and perhaps the rest of the Arab governmental structures, but, the Islam world should move in the direction of the Abraham Accords. That would be great for everyone. We could have a real peace, we could have something approximating a union of the Abrahamic people. And I think the Accord was named extraordinarily well.
As long as Palestine is an open air prison, there is no possibility for "real peace" in that region.
JP: Or we could have what we've had for the last 75 years with the Palestinians as perpetual cannon fodder, you know, at the beck and call of those for whom having them be canon fodder is useful. And so yeah, well, there's just moral quandries everywhere there. It's a minefield, but that's what I think is the fundamental reality of the current situation. It's a propaganda war and there's a lot at stake.
The people who have derived the most use out of dead Palestinians are those captains of industry in the US military-industrial complex and the Washington elite whose modus operandi is to sow chaos, murder, divide and conquer and thereby "rule the world". Peterson said "it's a propaganda war", yet he seems oblivious to the fact that by far the best propagandists are the US and Israeli govts. and media, depsite the numerous examples of them being proven liars.
JP: ... I've always regarded Jews as the canary in the coal mine. And I think the reason that the Jews are the canary in the coal mine is because they're a successful minority. If a culture can tolerate a successful minority, it's pretty damn robust and it's not very resentful. And as soon as a culture starts to get resentful, the Jews make an easy target because they're a minority and so that's an easy target to begin with. But then they're the minority that has the temerity to be successful and that really brings the resentful out of the rat holes.
What an preposterously obtuse take on this situation. It literally has NOTHING to do with the Jews being "successful" and people "resenting them" for that. Newsflash Jordan! It's about the 75 year-long slow ethnic cleansing of Palestinians! It's about psychopaths who have continuously been torturing Palestinians for decades. Another newsflash for Jordan, the natural response of people with a conscience is to feel sadness and anger when they see innocent people die, no matter who it is who's doing the killing. This very basic moral and conscience-based response to state brutality against innocent people is the basic principle on which any normal human society must be based. And yet here we have Peterson denigrating it as precisely the opposite, and instead holding up the brutal state as the example to follow. How DELUDED can one person be??
JP: ... We're playing it out the hard way, you know, because the Iranians could win the propaganda war and they've got God only knows how many agents they have in the West, you know, promoting the kind of social upheaval that we've seen on the streets in the last few weeks.
Hang on a minute, wasn't it the Soviets/Russians/Putin who were behind the seeding of radical lefty Marxist beliefs in Western society in order to destroy it? Maybe Putin sent a memo to Iran? We really tire of this idiotic refrain that anything bad happening in Western society MUST be the work of those "evil-doers" abroad. But hey, what do we know! Maybe Iran really does have a veritable army of agents worldwide to move people of all backgrounds and religions to take to the streets and show their support for the Palestinians.
JP: ... Well I don't think Israel will have a license to do whatever it wants ...
Sadly, what Peterson thinks on this matter is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Here's a leading American senator saying there is no upper limit to the number of Palestinian civilian casualties from Israeli strikes that would make him (or the American govt. in general) consider trying to reign Israel in. In essence, Israel can do whatever it wants without restriction.

And so far it's doing whatever it wants, including:

Gazan children
© Ahmad Hasaballah | Getty Images News | Getty ImagesNearly half of Gaza's population is under the age of 18. Gaza’s children are suffering “record levels of psychological trauma and terror,” Euro-Med says. 3,760 children, have been killed so far.
JP: ... I think if I was an Iranian propagandist I would be counting on this. Let's imagine that Israel moves against Hamas with its usual effectiveness and they start winning in a serious way and the casualties mount. Well, it's a lot easier to take a victim appreciation stance against a power that's clearly winning.
Usual effectiveness? If by effectiveness Peterson means killing as many civilians as possible in a short amount of time, he's right. And "easier"? So empathizing with defenceless people being bombed from the air is the "easy way"? Peterson has some really messed up morals.
JP: So Israel can't win without accruing losses along the way because the more they manifest their military superiority, the easier it's going to be for those who cast the Palestinians as victims to gain the moral upper hand. And that doesn't mean I know what Israel should do because I wish I had that wisdom.
Those who cast the Palestinians as victims? Third Newsflash for Jordan: Palestinians are the victims, FFS.

In the following, Peterson answers the question on whether he regrets tweeting support for Netanyahu by telling him to "give em hell":
JP: ... You know Twitter is a very complicated social media platform and it's been difficult for me to learn how to use it wisely and I'm not alone in that because it's difficult to be wise on Twitter. Now what I'm trying to learn is when a tweet is appropriate and when a long-form commentary is appropriate. And the rule I think is something like, the higher the stakes, the more likely that the long form commentary is necessary.

And really it would have been better... because I did release a youtube video where I explained some of what we already talked about... that was received much better, let's put it that way, but it also gave me a chance to elaborate my argument and so what it highlighted for me... And I felt you know I was, look... I was very taken aback by what happened in Israel and I was also appalled because in my estimation it was unnecessary. As I said the Abraham Accords could have been extended earlier and maybe this wouldn't have been necessary.

And so I allowed myself to express some sentiment at that point without providing context and that wasn't as good as providing the context. And so... and I'm rethinking Twitter overall at the moment about how to use it. You know. Elon has taken off the character limit and he's also made it possible to distribute video, and so it no longer has to be a place where impulsive exchanges can occur rapidly.

And I'm trying to reconfigure how I use it. I'm much happier with the video now, you know. I was upset because I had developed somewhat of a Muslim following on youtube and I was very happy about that. A lot of people on the Islamic side of the world were watching my biblical lectures, for example, and you know, and I've had extensive conversations with Muslims on my youtube channel and you know I burnt some of that up and I'm not sure I did that well... I would say I'm certain I didn't do that in the most productive manner, and so.

Do I regret it? It would have been better to do the long form to have done the long form to begin with, you know, and Twitter invites and rewards a certain amount of impulsivity, and it wasn't... I don't know, Piers. I don't know if it's ever time for impulsive action, especially when the stakes are serious.
Peterson keeps putting the blame on Twitter/X being "complicated" and inviting "impulsivity" rather than taking full responsibility for what he wrote. Behind his "impulsive tweet" is a convoluted and fundamentally incorrect theory that puts him on the WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY. In addition, he shows no regret for encouraging and supporting Netanyahu and therefore the murderous actions of the Israeli regime, but only feels regret for having "lost Muslim followers". In his eyes, his Tweet was morally correct but from a business point of view it was unproductive. He also seems to not consider the likely fact that he didn't just lose Muslim followers, there are people of all religions who support the Palestinians' struggle for freedom and justice, and they are similarly appalled by Peterson's stance.
JP: ... You know, the people who portray them as innocent victims presume that the Palestinians have been held hostage by the Jews, let's say. But I would say the Palestinians have been held hostage even more effectively by their own leadership and by those who are perfectly willing to use them as the front man, the expendable frontman to irritate Israel in the West. Well, you can't get peace under those circumstances, you know. ...
How does one even begin to address the above? They haven't been held hostage "by the Jews", but by psychopaths in power in Israel and elsewhere. Peterson's word usage simply serves to further the divide and conquer agenda of the 'elite'. Muslims and Jews can live peacefully side by side, it's the psychopaths in positions of power that care nothing for either Jew or Muslim, or anyone who stands in the way of their agenda of global chaos and dominance.
JP: You said that your moral back is up because of the continual toll in civilians in Palestine, especially among people who let's say weren't even born when they first came to power, and so it's very difficult to look at that and see it as anything but unjust. But then it begs a whole other set of questions, too. Doesn't it? It's like, well, if your government is a totalitarian band of armed criminal thugs, what responsibility do you bear for that as these subjected people?

And it's not like I know the answer to that. But you know, I see in my own country in Canada that things are slipping and sliding in all sorts of pathological directions and people are letting it happen. And if you let that happen long enough, well, things get very, very bad and they have got very, very bad in Palestine.

And the answer to whatever tyranny Israel might be exerting over the Palestinians isn't for the Palestinians to exert even more tyranny over themselves, especially not in concert with a third party like Iran, who's perfectly willing to sacrifice them at any point. And so now and then that question emerges: Well, what responsibility do the Palestinians bear? Well, then I think we start to touch on more metaphysical issues.

It's like while the Palestinians, like all people, bear the responsibility to live in truth and to stand up to tyranny in their deeds, their attention and their deeds and their actions. Because if you don't, you pay for that, and so do your children, and then so do your grandchildren, and so do your great-grandchildren.

And you know, there seems to be something unjust in that, in that why did the children suffer and the Biblical answer to that has always been that the children suffer for the sins of their forefathers, and you might think it's pretty unfair that the world is set up that way. It's like: Hey, it might be unfair, but it is set up that way, and it does beg the question, what responsibility do the people who are living under the thumb of totalitarians have for the fact that they're living under the thumb of totalitarians? And the answer isn't none.
The brave, courageous and strong-willed Palestinians have lived and will live in truth and have stood and will stand up to tyranny. But that tyranny comes not from inside Gaza or the West Bank, but from Tel Aviv. Peterson here, again, shows his massive ignorance of the history of the conflict and the struggle that indigenous people all over the world have engaged in over the centuries against imperial tyranny imposed on them from without. What "sins of their forefathers", exactly does Peterson speak of here? Is being violently expelled from your land a sin? Is resisting that a sin? Palestinians are not paying for the sins of their forefathers, they're being made to pay for the sins of the psychopaths that have ruled Israel since its inception. Israelis too have a responsiblity to stand up to tyranny, and thankfully some of them do, but the Israeli govt. recently declared that any such person who voices any protest about what the IDF is doing in Gaza will themselves be sent to Gaza! So much for the vaunted "only democracy in the Middle East":

JP: This is why I'm a psychologist, not a politician ... There's a lot of chain and saber rattling about how tyrannical Israel is. And of course they're held to a very higher moral standard.

But the prison that is Palestine has walls on sides that aren't Israeli so, and that no one is certainly not the progressives will never talk about that, and that's partly because, you know, all the oppressed people are equally morally virtuous.

And so the fact that the Arabs won't take in the Palestinians, you can't even bring that up because, of course, the Arabs themselves are victims of Western colonialism, which is one of the most absurd propositions ever set forth by anyone about anything. But here we are.

And it is quite a miracle in some ways that the multidimensional fact of Palestinian enslavement isn't discussed in a much more forthright manner. There's many people are building the walls that make Palestine into whatever prison it is, and perhaps the Israelis are playing their role, but they're by no means the only actors.
While it is correct that Egypt has built a wall on the border with Gaza, there is only one 'actor' responsible for bringing a just peace to this conflict that does not involve expelling, by hook or by crook, the Palestinians from their land. The Israeli govt. bears sole responsibility for creating the conditions for the conflict by illegally seizing Palestinian land, imprisoning millions of Palestinians in an open-air prison, controlling everything that goes in or out of Gaza, restricting the movement of Palestinians to and from Gaza, maintaining dehumanizing checkpoints armed with automated machine guns, summarily killing Palestinian children, and using the walls to keep out humanitarian aid convoys.

In short

Throughout the interview Peterson repeats his arguments which basically amount to (1) Iran is evil, (2) Palestinians play the role of victim, (3) Abraham Accords is the solution for peace (4) an entire narrative on how extremely simple-minded it is to think in terms of oppressed and oppressor, and (5) that the oppressors are seen as the "evil Jewish overlords" which is dangerous because history will repeat.

All of which are inherently flawed or plain wrong, as described above, but to repeat it in short: (1) Iran is moving toward a multipolar world in league with Russia, China and other major world powers, (2) Palestinians are the victims, (3) The Abraham Accords would not provide a peaceful solution as long as Palestine is an open air prison and as long as Israel keeps torturing, maiming and killing Palestinians. More to the point, the Abraham Accords were designed specifically to derail the Chinese/Russian/Iranian etc. move towards a multi-polar world (4) it's not simple-minded in this situation to see that Israel is the oppressor and that the Palestinians are the oppressed and being controlled (Israel is literally in control of their food, water and electricity). (5) It's not about the Jews or "evil Jewish overlords", it's about psychopaths who see Palestinians as subhuman (as they do all other normal humans) and want nothing more than to wipe them off the map.

It should also be noted that, during the interview, Peterson exhibits zero empathy for the 2 million innocent Palestinians who are constantly living in fear of whether or not they'll be alive tomorrow, or in 10 minutes. Generations of Palestinians have experienced immense suffering, and the evidence is there for any normal human being to see.