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Wednesday, November 8, 2023


It was only at school in Grade 5 when I first heard common, centuries-old, four-letter obscenities (says a lot about the refined speech patterns of my parents). When I first became familiar with those words, I thought they were terms that were only invented that year, part of the slang of the day like “Far Out” and “Boogie”.  Well, once again I find that I am late to the party when it comes to lingo.

Fans of the animated sitcom South Park will be familiar with the term DARVO, as it was explained by President Garrison to Randy in the 2019 season finale.  Also familiar with DARVO are psychologists, as the term is, apparently, used frequently when discussing abusive relationships. For me, DARVO is part of my new vocabulary from the Hamas-Israel war.  I was so happy to learn that this word exists, as it perfectly describes what the Palestinian supporters are doing, and I no longer have to waste time with long explanations.

“DARVO” is an acronym for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim & Offender”.  It is a common manipulation strategy, a reaction that perpetrators of wrongdoing may display in response to being held accountable for their behaviour. With my apologies to psychologists, South Park fans, and anyone else who already knows this, here’s how DARVO works:

  • The abuser Denies the abuse ever took place
  • When confronted with evidence, the abuser then Attacks the person that was abused for attempting to hold the abuser accountable for his/her actions, and finally
  • The abuser claims that he/she is actually the victim in the situation, thus Reversing the positions of Victim and OffenderIt often involves not just playing the victim but also victim-blaming. 

Sound familiar? This is EXACTLY what is being done by HAMAS, by the pro-Palestinians, and by the innocent, well-meaning people who share online posts after being sucked into this narrative. I am exhausted from trying to set the record straight with them. But I sure am glad that there’s a one-word way for me to point out the error of their ways. Let’s call it what it is, let’s correct the narrative, and let’s get the hostages home.

Am Yisrael Chai!