Why Norway Terror Accused Breivik Says he Loves Israel

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Bomb and terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik (red top) leaves the courthouse in a police car in Oslo on July 25, 2011, after the hearing to decide his further detention. (Photo: Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen / AFP / Getty Images)

There was a time when a blond, blue-eyed nationalist looking to violently rid Europe of its “alien” immigrant population could be reliably assumed to hate Jews. It’s no longer quite that simple.

Anders Behring Breivik insists, in his rambling 1,500-page manifesto released on the day of his confessed rampage that killed 76 Norwegians,  that he’s no Nazi, despite expressing some sympathy for what Hitler had been trying to achieve. Instead he styles himself a latter-day warrior of the Knights Templar, vanguard force of the medieaval Christian Crusades that briefly claimed the Holy Land for Christendom and made Jerusalem’s streets run ankle deep with the blood of those they saw as usurpers. Even then, it’s worth remembering that the blood spilled by the Crusaders was both Muslim and Jewish.

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Despite the Crusader lineage to which he aspires, however, Breivik has no intention of driving Jews from Europe,  much less from the Holy Land. On the contrary, his manifesto hails Zionist Jews as a crucial ally in his battle between Christendom and Islam, proclaiming Israel as the frontline citadel in that war. Breivik’s Crusade would have Jews on board for an existential fight against Islam; the mirror image of the “Crusader-Jewish” alliance that Osama bin Laden vowed to drive out of what he defined as Muslim lands.

In his rambling history drawn from a range of Islamophobic sources, Breivik paints a picture of Christians and Jews (and also Hindus) as fellow sufferers under Muslim oppression through the ages. He soft-pedals around the uncomfortable fact of Crusaders killing Jews, insisting that in the limited instances where such events occurred, they were the work of renegade bad apples.

Nor does he evade Hitler’s Holocaust; he simply says the Fuhrer was wrong about the Jews:

“Were the majority of the German and European Jews disloyal? Yes, at least the so called liberal Jews, similar to the liberal Jews today that opposes nationalism/Zionism and supports multiculturalism. Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of athreat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all culturalMarxists/multiculturalists. Conservative Jews were loyal to Europe and should have been rewarded. Instead, [Hitler] just targeted them all…”

Instead of trying to exterminate Europe’s Jews, Breivik suggests Hitler ought to have enforced Zionism: “He could have easily worked out an agreement with the UK and France to liberate the ancient Jewish Christian lands with the purpose of giving the Jews back their ancestral lands,” Breivik writes. “The UK and France would perhaps even contribute to such a campaign in an effort to support European reconciliation. The deportation of the Jews from Germany wouldn’t be popular but eventually, the Jewish people would regard Hitler as a hero because he returned the Holy land to them.”

Clearly, though, Breivik confines his philo-Semitism to Zionists, who he sees as fellow conservative nationalists in the war against Islam. As for the rest, adherents of multiculturalism, their fate should be the same as any other “traitors” to his Judeo-Christian Crusade.

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“Never target a jew because he is a Jew,” Breivik writes, “but rather because he is a … traitor.”

So Breivik doesn’t hate all Jews. But he certainly hates most of us:

 “So, are the current Jews in Europe and US disloyal? The multiculturalist (nation-wrecking) Jews ARE while the conservative Jews ARE NOT. Aprox. 75% of European/US Jews support multiculturalism while aprox. 50% of Israeli Jews does the same. This shows very clearly that we must embrace the remainingloyal Jews as brothers rather than repeating the mistake of the [Nazis].”

Some of Israel’s more liberal supporters branded Breivik’s enthusiasm for Zionism a sham, and scoffed at his professed friendship. And they may have a point, at least in respect of the movement Breivik is trying to build. In a revealing passage, he warns that those still prone to anti-Semitic and Nazi ideologies should do their best to conceal their swastika tattoos:

“DO NOT make this war about race or ethnicity. You have to keep in mind that most people in Western Europe have been systematically indoctrinated for the last 4-5 decades… Many people would rather commit suicide or live under slavery/harsh dhimmitude [the status he says non-Muslims will hold under Islamic rule] than to become a Nazi or fight for the Nazi cause… Demonising Nazism has through 6 decades of indoctrination … developed into an unconscious established truth. As such, and due to the actual negative and evil aspects of this ideology, it is pointless to try to resurrect it in any way or form… In order to connect with the ordinary man you must understand that he is a modern man who has travelled a several decade long journey through multiculturalist institutions. He is completely brainwashed so tread carefully and take the required precautions… The fear of Islamisation is themost pressing concern for most Europeans and Islam is NOT a race. So avoid talking about race. It is a cultural war, not a race war! If you do believe it is a race war, then keep it to yourself as it is un-doubtfully counterproductive to flag those views.”

Of course, many right-wing Jews, while abhorring the terrorist violence used by the Breivik, nonetheless share his aversion to Islam and to multiculturalism. In his manifesto, Breivik expresses support for Pamela Geller, a leading voice of last year’s movement to stop the construction of a mosque near the World Trade Center site in Manhattan. Geller has made common cause against Islam with such far-right European groups as the English Defense League and Dutch anti-immigration champion Geert Wilders — groups also admired by Breivik.

And some Zionist conservatives, while unreservedly condemning Breivik’s action, were also concerned to prevent it from obscuring an underlying message they support. The Jerusalem Post, a mainstream pro-government Israeli daily, wrote in an editorial, “the fact that this terrible tragedy was perpetrated by a right-wing extremist [should not] detract attention from the underlying problems faced not only by Norway, but by many Western European nations… While there is absolutely no justification for the sort of heinous act perpetrated this weekend in Norway, discontent with multiculturalism’s failure must not be delegitimatized or mistakenly portrayed as an opinion held by only the most extremist elements of the Right.”

On the contrary, Islamophobic and xenophobic attitudes to immigration have moved from being the exclusive preserve of the extremist right to being increasingly common in the mainstream right, which is why Breivik’s actions pose a challenge.

Still, Breivik seems to acknowledge that his struggle against multiculturalism, whether among Jews or in the West more generally, is unlikely to be won through persuasion. His manifesto calls for violence precisely because he can’t see anti-immigrant nationalist parties prevailing through the ballot box — “the democratical (sic) struggle through dialogue has been lost.”

The very reason that the majority of American Jews embrace multiculturalism, of course, is because they are its beneficiaries. Only the victory of American multiculturalism over American anti-Semitism made the United States safe for Jews. And, as Breivik himself tacitly admits,  the reason there’s a taboo in the European mainstream on advocating open hostility to immigrants is precisely because the Holocaust taught the continent a brutal lesson in the horrific consequences that can flow from demonizing the “other”.

Similarly, the revulsion prompted by Breivik’s acts of terrorism is hardly likely to rally Western citizenry behind his Crusade — any more successfully than Bin Laden’s terrorism managed to rally the Muslim world to war against the West. Breivik and Bin Laden may seem like polar opposites, but in the end they’re reading off the same “clash of cultures” script. It’s a script in which, Breivik acknowledges, the majority of Jews — and of Europeans — want no part.