Never Again for Anyone!
The shocking and tragic events in Norway have provoked a divided reaction. Most commentators have expressed on all our behalf a universalist horror against the racism that fuelled Breivik’s killing spree. But a few have exposed their own racism.
Among the universalists, the Palestinian civil society’s Boycott National Committee, whose statement, while reminding us of Israel’s rampage at Gaza which left 20 times as many dead, emphasised that “This horrendous massacre serves as a grave reminder of the dangers posed by racism, hatred and intolerance. We trust
that the Norwegian people’s determination to fight xenophobia and its resultant disregard for equal human rights will be further strengthened.” The root ideology of Breivik, it said, was the “widespread anti-Arab/Muslim discourse that dwells on a perceived “clash of civilizations.” And they hope “that these despicable crimes in Norway will only strengthen the resolve of all people of conscience around the world to pursue freedom, justice and equality and to join hands in combating racism in all forms.” Well said!
But the pro-Israel press just could not bring itself to utter such sentiments, even as empty platitudes. Uppermost in its concerns was not the terrifying threat to Europe’s Muslim communities, but rather
* an attempt to sidestep complicity and some very direct connections with Breivik (e.g. via their mutual friend the English Defence League, who actually have a Jewish section and carry Israel’s flag on its demonstrations);
* and an anxiety that Jews in Norway may get the blame, as Breivik was so openly pro-Zionist.
The UK Jewish Chronicle had nothing whatever to say about Islamophobia but let its columnist Melanie Philips (whom Breivik had quoted in his manifesto) complain bitterly that she had been “smeared” for having shared Breivik’s ideas such as fighting for “western civilisation against those (Muslims?) who would destroy it”. And it reproduced (albeit as “controversial”) the rabid American Glenn Beck remarking of the dead of Utoya Island’s young socialist camp: “It sounds a little like the Hitler Youth; who sends their kids to a political camp?”
The American Jewish Daily Forward led with the headline: “Norway Massacre Shouldn’t Be Used To Score Political Points” and a sub-heading “Left Makes Unseemly Effort to Take Advantage of Killer’s Pro-Israel Stance”. The same people who justify the jailing of hundreds of Palestinian kids as “combatting terrorism” accuse “the left” of exploiting the events in Norway for “dubious political gain”, and, wait for it… ” seeking to demonize whole communities for the crimes of one murderous wing nut”.
And the Ugly
Most of this was point-scoring and worse. But the Jerusalem Post most dangerously published a serious editorial deploring the “abject failure of multiculturalism” in almost the same terms as the spokesman of the EDL.
” It would be wrongheaded” they write “to allow the fact that this terrible tragedy was perpetrated by a right-wing extremist to detract attention from the underlying problems faced not only by Norway, but by many Western European nations. Undoubtedly, there will be those – particularly on the Left – who will extrapolate out from Breivik’s horrific act that the real danger facing contemporary Europe is rightwing extremism and that criticism of multiculturalism is nothing more than so much Islamophobia.”
It goes on to say that this event is “an opportunity to seriously reevaluate policies for immigrant integration in Norway and elsewhere and that “discontent with multiculturalism’s failure must not be delegitimatized”. While claiming to deplore xenophobia or racism they think it should “go hand in hand with protection of unique European culture and values. … Oslo’s devastating tragedy should not be manipulated by those who would cover up the abject failure of multiculturalism”.
And down in the talkback sewers, the same thing but much cruder: as soon as the “Boikott” banner was publicised, the response was “Norway had it coming”, only a lot more abusive.
Never Again for Anyone
Within living memory, the Jews of Europe were wiped out by people spouting this sort of hate-speak, and no doubt propagandists for it such as Goebbels had handy euphemisms like “the abject failure of multiculturalism” and “re-evaluating policies for immigrant integration” in response to the “underlying problems” of millions of Jews who had recently arrived from the east with their foreign ways and slightly scary religion and were threatening “western civilisation”.
How far has international Jewish thinking lost its wits that it can join up with, and cover up for, such people today, who when not flying Israel’s flag can be found off-camera drinking to Hitler’s memory and just regretting that he went a bit too far in practice, but his ideas were basically sound.
Thank goodness then for Rabbi Shaul Wilhelm, who runs Chabad-Lubavitch center in Oslo, who said the way to prove Breivik and his ideology wrong is to embrace tolerance. “What we should try to learn from all this is that multiculturalism isn’t just a thesis and a concept. That would be the greatest revenge against this murderer and against people of his ilk: that we can actually practice tolerance in a very real way.” There’s a whole heap of rabbis in Israel and their supporters around the world who should take this good man’s words to heart, and those of Norway’s leaders: the Mayor of Oslo declared: “We shall punish the terrorist, and this will be his punishment: more democracy, more tolerance, more generosity.” And from Norway’s Crown Prince: “Tonight the streets are filled with love. We have chosen to meet hatred with unity. We have chosen to show what we stand for.”
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