Was Anders Behring Breivik Anti-Semitic?

Anders Behring Breivik is not an anti-Semite.  That’s what makes my head spin.  If the translations of his writings that I’ve read are accurate, he might even be a pro-Israel, philo-Semitic racist Nazi. 

Go figure.

With his atrocious massacre of over 90 innocent Norwegian children and adults, Breivik has redefined the stereotype of the European right-wing Christian fundamentalist. Norway once had plenty of them: it’s World War II era prime minister, Quisling, even gave his name to the English language as a word meaning one who toadies to power.

Back then, thousands of blue eyed blond Norwegians joined the SS, helped round up and deport the country’s Jews.  Of the country’s 2100 Jews then, 758 were murdered in death camps.  The country’s leading author at the time, Knut Hamsun, became a Nazi sympathizer who wrote a glowing obituary for Hitler.

Today there is still a problematic approach to Jews and Israel among some Norwegians.  In a July 2009 report entitled, “Another Year of Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism in Norway,”

Manfred Gerstenfeld wrote, “Again over this past year there were significant anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli incidents in Norway. Among these were anti-Semitic television satire programs, an act of the Nazification of Israel by a Norwegian diplomat, physical attacks on a pro-Israeli demonstration, death threats against Jews and a desecration of a Jewish cemetery.”

Gerstenfeld pointd out that some of the anti-semitism is generated in the country’s growing Muslim community.

But Breivik was not party to that.  In his twisted ideology, the struggle was not between Christians and Jews, but Christians and Jews versus Muslims.  Jews, and especially Israel,  formed the bulwark against Muslim domination of Europe. 

There are many web sites where adherents of this particular brand of racism connect, stew and brew with one another. Islamversuseurope.com (“Where Islam Spreads, Freedom Dies”) even now posts an apologia for the child-killer, essentially blaming Muslims for Breivik’s massacre of Christian children.

“These are Google translations of comments Anders Behring Breivik made on the website document.no.” the author writes. “There is very little that he said that I would disagree with. It is clear that he is a Counterjihadist and visits the same sites that most of us do, Gates of Vienna, Jihadwatch, Atlas Shrugs, etc. He cites Fjordman’s “Defeating Eurabia” many times.”

Here is a taste of Breivik: “When did multiculturalism cease to be an ideology designed to deconstruct European culture, traditions, identity and nation-states?” said one entry, “According to two studies, 13 percent of young British Muslims aged between 15 and 25 support al-Qaida ideology.”

It is just bizarre, right, that the new Nazism embraces the Jews and Israel.  In an {encode=”http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2011/07/23/158947.html” title=”essay on AlArabiya”}, Ravi Shankar, executive editor of the New India Express, makes a compelling case that Christian Europe’s compulsion to hate has found a new roost.

“… Europe’s Muslim population of 15 million will become 30 million by 2015, while Europeans will shrink by 4 per cent,” he writes. “Princeton academic and Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis famously said, ‘Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century.’ 
If Friday’s bombings in Oslo is a dark harbinger of troubled times, soon, Muslims will be the new Jews of Europe. For all the old Jews are dead: murdered by fellow Europeans in Auschwitz, Riga, Buchenwald and so many other “anus mundis.”

“Anti-semitism has strong roots in Europe going back centuries; in the Dark Ages, Venetians preferred to trust Arabs as trade partners and equals while Jewish merchants were exiled to ghettos or deported at will.

“Europeans today hate America for its Jewish gestalt, distrusts US Israel policy which they argue is driven by a powerful Jewish financial lobby in America; much like how the Rothschilds financed wars in 18th century Europe. 

An interesting 1980s study about why Europe has been more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause until the late 1990s and hostile to Israel puts it down to simple neighborhood deprivation: the postwar generation of Europeans grew up without Jewish neighbors, Jewish classmates, Jewish friends. Hence, they had no natural empathy with Jews.

“Now the reverse is happening in Europe. It is the presence of Muslims in Europe that is the source of social panic and anger. The fear of being overwhelmed and alienated in their own country by outsiders who they think will breed terrorists. All this makes a fertile breeding ground for anti-Islamic neo-Nazism…What happened in Oslo Friday may be the early beginning of a new civil war ‑ Europeans fighting each other, both Muslim and Christian.

In this scenario, the horrifying irony could be that Islamist terrorism may become redundant. “

The Jewish reaction to all this should be strong and clear:  take your hate elsewhere.  To paraphrase our prophet Groucho Marx, we don’t want to be part of any club that would have us as a member.

These racists see Judaism as a tribe with which they can make a strategic anti-Islam alliance. That is a misconception. Judaism has a tribal aspect, but it is more than just a tribe.  It is a set of laws and values that Jews believe God set before that tribe, and which they must adhere to (with room for argumentation and interpretation, thank God). 

Those values pretty much preclude the murder of innocents, baseless hatred, and the death penalty for people whom you fear.  And that is why a person like Breivik’s head would spin to know that Muslims in Israel have greater rights to free speech than they do in most Muslim countries, as well as the freedom to practice their religion.  Israel’s record on Arab minority rights isn’t perfect (standard disclaimer), but it reflects the values of Judaism that supersede those of pure tribalism.

In other words, against the Muslims and the Brieviks, I side with the Muslims.