The Norway Massacre and the nexus of Islamophobia and Right-wing Zionism
Although initial media reports, spurred on by the tweets of former State Department adviser on violent extremism Will McCants, linked the attacks to Islamist extremists, it was in fact an anti-Muslim zealot who committed the murders. An examination of Breivik's views, and his support for far-right European political movements, makes it clear that only by interrogating the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism can one understand the political beliefs behind the terrorist attack.
Breivik is apparently an avid fan of U.S.-based anti-Muslim activists such as Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes, and has repeatedly professed his ardent support for Israel. Breivik's political ideology is illuminated by looking at comments he posted to the right-wing site document.no, which author and journalist Doug Sanders put up.
Breivik's right-wing pro-Israel line, combined with his antipathy to Muslims, is just one example of the European far-right's ideology, exemplified by groups such as the English Defense League (EDL). The EDL, a group Breivik praises, along with the anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders, share with Breivik an admiration for Israel.
Anti-Muslim activists and right-wing Zionists share a political narrative that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a "clash of civilizations," one in which Judeo-Christian culture is under attack by Islam. Israel, in this narrative, is the West's bulwark against the threat that Islam is posing to Europe and the United States. The nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism was clearly on display during last summer's"Ground Zero mosque" hysteria, which culminated in a rally where Geller and Wilders addressed a crowd that included members of the EDL waving Israeli flags.
This comment by Breivik is one example of the twisted way in which Islamophobia and a militant pro-Israel ideology fit together:
Breivik's admiration for the likes of Daniel Pipes is also telling, and should serve as a warning that, while it would be extremely unfair and wrong to link Pipes in any way to the massacre in Norway, Breivik's views are not so far off from some establishment neoconservative voices in the U.S. For instance, both Pipes and Breivik share a concern with Muslim demographics in Europe. In 1990, Pipes wrotein the National Review that "Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene...All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most."
Pipes' and Breivik's concern about Muslim and Arab demographics also recall the remarks of Harvard Fellow Martin Kramer, who infamously told the Herzliya Conference in Israel last year that the West should "stop providing pro-natal subsidies for Palestinians with refugee status...Israel's present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim, undermine the Hamas regime, but they also break Gaza's runaway population growth and there is some evidence that they have."
Adding to the Israel/Palestine angle here is the fact that the day before the attack on the island of Utoya, a Palestine solidarity event was held there.
Why Breivik, and his accomplices if he had any, would attack young Norwegians remains unclear. But it probably had something to do with Breivik's belief that European governments, and the Norwegian government, were run by "Marxists" allied with Islamist extremists who were bent on destroying Europe through "multiculturalism."
Of course, support for Israel and its current right-wing policies do not automatically translate into support for extremist right-wing violence. But Palestinians, and the larger Arab and Muslim world, know far too well the consequences of Islamophobia and far right-wing Zionism. Now, it seems that Norwegians do too. While much remains to be learned about the attacks in Norway, it has exposed the dangerous nexus of Islamophobia, neoconservatism and right-wing Zionism, and what could happen when the wrong person subscribes to those toxic beliefs.
Alex Kane, a freelance journalist currently based in Amman, Jordan, blogs on Israel/Palestine at http://alexbkane.wordpress.com/.