Archive for October, 2011


Strange bedfellows: new nexus between Israel and far Right

My fol­low­ing essay ap­pears in today’s Crikey:

Amid the acres of com­men­tary on the ex­change of IDF sol­dier Gilad Shalit and more than a thou­sand Pales­tin­ian pris­on­ers, one com­ment stands out: “Let the WORLD know about Is­rael’s hu­man­ity and the ter­ror­ists’ in­hu­man­ity — SHARE this one with EVERY­ONE you know, friends!” What makes it note­wor­thy is that it fea­tured on the “Geert Wilders In­ter­na­tional Free­dom Al­li­nace” Face­book page, where sup­port­ers of the far-Right Dutch politi­cian gather, one of many mes­sages of fa­nat­i­cal pro-Is­raeli com­men­tary.

The grow­ing ap­peal of Is­rael to the world’s right-wing com­mu­nity has been de­vel­op­ing for some years. Nev­er­the­less, some ex­am­ples are eye-pop­ping. In July 2011, a Russ­ian neo-Nazi del­e­ga­tion trav­elled to Is­rael, after an in­vi­ta­tion by far Right Is­raeli politi­cians and an ed­i­tor of a pro-set­tler news ser­vice. The Holo­caust de­niers vis­ited Is­rael’s Holo­caust cen­tre, Yad Vashem, de­spite being pho­tographed pre­vi­ously giv­ing Nazi salutes and pub­lish­ing songs cel­e­brat­ing Adolf Hitler on their web­site.

The pair was in­ter­viewed on Is­raeli TV. One said that the idea of the Jew­ish state “ex­cites me” be­cause it in­volves “an an­cient peo­ple who took upon it­self a pi­o­neer pro­ject to re­vive a mod­ern state and na­tion”. The TV jour­nal­ist then asked how a neo-Nazi could now em­brace Zion­ism. The other Russ­ian quickly re­sponded by ex­plain­ing the com­mon enemy they both faced: “We’re talk­ing about rad­i­cal Islam which is the enemy of hu­man­ity, enemy of democ­racy, enemy of progress and of any sane so­ci­ety.” In De­cem­ber 2010 a much larger del­e­ga­tion of Eu­ro­pean far Right politi­cians, in­clud­ing a Bel­gian politi­cian with clear ties to SS vet­er­ans and a Swedish politi­cian with con­nec­tions to the coun­try’s fas­cist past, also paid their re­spects at Yad Vashem. They were wel­comed by some mem­bers of the Is­raeli Knes­set and agreed to sign a “Jerusalem De­c­la­ra­tion”, guar­an­tee­ing Is­rael’s right to de­fend it­self against ter­ror. “We stand at the van­guard in the fight for the West­ern, de­mo­c­ra­tic com­mu­nity” against the “to­tal­i­tar­ian threat” of “fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam”, read the doc­u­ment.

The sig­na­to­ries were some of Eu­rope’s most suc­cess­ful anti-im­mi­gra­tion politi­cians who long ago re­alised that back­ing Is­rael was a clever way to guar­an­tee re­spectabil­ity for a cause that risked being framed as ex­trem­ist or racist. One Is­raeli politi­cian who met the del­e­ga­tion, Nis­sim Zeev, a mem­ber of ul­tra-Or­tho­dox, right-wing party Shas, em­braced the group: “At the end of the day, what’s im­por­tant is their at­ti­tude, the fact they re­ally love Is­rael.”

Yes­ter­day’s anti-Semi­tes have re­formed them­selves as today’s cru­sad­ing he­roes against an un­stop­pable Mus­lim birth-rate on a con­ti­nent that now sees Islam as an in­tol­er­ant and ghet­toised re­li­gion. These in­creas­ingly main­stream at­ti­tudes have mar­i­nated across Eu­rope for at least a decade — most starkly ex­pressed in the writ­ings of the Nor­way killer An­ders Breivik, who slaugh­tered nearly 70 young left-wingers on Utøya is­land in late July this year.

Breivik’s in­ter­est in Is­rael wasn’t an ac­ci­den­tal quirk of his Google search terms. It was re­flec­tive of years of in­doc­tri­na­tion from that fate­ful Sep­tem­ber day in 2001 on­wards. None of Breivik’s right-wing he­roes openly praised his killings — po­lit­i­cally speak­ing, half-hearted con­dem­na­tions were the order of the day — be­cause their vi­sion of open war with Islam was ar­guably even more clin­i­cal. They cheered as Amer­ica and Is­rael used the vast power of the state to at­tack, bomb, drone, kid­nap, tor­ture and mur­der lit­er­ally count­less Mus­lim vic­tims in the past decade in Pak­istan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pales­tine, So­ma­lia and be­yond.

Breivik’s ad­mired this Is­raeli “can-do” at­ti­tude but equally dis­missed left-wing Jews who sup­ported Pales­tin­ian rights. “Were the ma­jor­ity of the Ger­man and Eu­ro­pean Jews [in ’30s Eu­rope] dis­loyal?” he asked in his “2083” man­i­festo. He went on:

“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 a threat 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 cul­tural Marx­ists/mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ists. Con­ser­v­a­tive Jews were loyal to Eu­rope and should have been re­warded. In­stead, [Hitler] just tar­geted them all.” (p 1167)

Breivik mir­rored the fa­mil­iar sep­a­ra­tion of “good Jews” and “bad Jews” that ap­pear in West­ern di­a­logue over the Is­rael/Pales­tine con­flict. The na­tion­al­is­tic, Arab-hat­ing Jew who be­lieves in the never-end­ing oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tin­ian land is praise-wor­thy but the ques­tion­ing, anti-Zion­ist Jew is a threat that must be elim­i­nated. The com­men­ta­tors, jour­nal­ists and politi­cians who re­ceive main­stream ac­cep­tance and ap­pear reg­u­larly in our media such as Daniel Pipes, who calls for the bomb­ing of Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, are wel­comed into the club of pop­u­lar Is­lam­o­phobes be­cause they speak the lan­guage of dom­i­na­tion and vi­o­lence re­flected in our media and po­lit­i­cal dis­course on a daily basis.

My enemy’s enemy is my friend

Breivik’s con­vic­tion that he was a friend of Zion­ism cre­ated a moral chal­lenge for many of those he had quoted in his man­i­festo. It was not a chal­lenge many faced well. One of the more no­to­ri­ous, Amer­i­can blog­ger Pamela Geller, con­demned the killings as “hor­rific” but not so sub­tly in the same post re­minded read­ers that the young stu­dents who at­tended sum­mer camp at Utøya were ac­tu­ally wit­ness­ing an “anti-Se­mitic in­doc­tri­na­tion train­ing cen­tre”. How? Nor­way’s For­eign Min­is­ter Jonas Gahr Store had vis­ited the camp and called for an end to the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tin­ian land, ap­par­ently mak­ing him an anti-Semite by de­f­i­n­i­tion. Reg­u­lar Jerusalem Post colum­nist Barry Rubin sim­ply called the youth camp, “a pro-ter­ror­ist pro­gram”.

Geller was fur­ther in­censed that he even called “Pales­tini­ans” Pales­tin­ian, be­cause for her and her fel­low trav­ellers the Pales­tini­ans aren’t a real peo­ple de­serv­ing rights or a home­land. “Utøya camp was not Is­lamist,” Geller as­sures us, “but it was some­thing not much more whole­some.” Thus Is­lam­o­pho­bia seam­lessly mor­phed into blind and racist Zion­ism.

In Aus­tralia like­wise, the Is­rael lobby skirted around this un­com­fort­able re­al­ity, both pub­licly re­pulsed by the mur­ders but they re­main on the record as ar­gu­ing for bound­aries on Mid­dle East de­bate. Oth­ers sim­ply de­nied that Breivik’s sym­pa­thises for right-wing Zion­ism was ir­rel­e­vant to un­der­stand­ing his crimes.

Of course this was ab­surd. Ex­ag­ger­at­ing a clash of civil­i­sa­tions has be­come the bread and but­ter of count­less key­board war­riors in the past decade, with ever-more bru­tal Is­rael placed at the fore­front of this strug­gle. De­mon­is­ing Mus­lims and call­ing for their death on a reg­u­lar basis has con­se­quences. Mus­lims re­plac­ing Jews as the sup­posed enemy aim­ing for world dom­i­na­tion will come with a price.

Is­raelophilia in the ser­vice of Is­lam­o­pho­bia

The mes­sage em­a­nat­ing from the Zion­ist crowd was at times con­flicted yet clear; Breivik could be for­given for think­ing that Is­rael was striv­ing for racial per­fec­tion. The Jerusalem Post pro­vided clar­i­fi­ca­tion after the at­tack in a star­tling ed­i­to­r­ial. It claimed mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism had failed in Eu­rope, Mus­lims were a threat to so­ci­etal har­mony and clearly im­plied that an eth­noc­racy, such as Is­rael, was the ideal global model:

“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 dele­git­i­ma­tised or mis­tak­enly por­trayed as an opin­ion held by only the most ex­trem­ist el­e­ments of the Right.”

The Post seemed to de­fend the mind­set, if not the ac­tions, ex­pressed by Breivik, as a com­mon and un­der­stand­able at­ti­tude of sim­ply want­ing to “pro­tect unique Eu­ro­pean cul­ture and val­ues”. These val­ues did not in­clude Islam or being proud of a racially di­verse land. (A week later, the paper is­sued an apol­ogy ed­i­to­r­ial after a mas­sive back­lash against its po­si­tion. Be­lat­edly, the ed­i­to­r­ial noted that “Jews, Mus­lims and Chris­tians in Is­rael and around the world should be stand­ing to­gether against such hate crimes”.)

An­ders Breivik’s real mo­ti­va­tions may never be fully un­der­stood but his love for Is­rael didn’t ap­pear out of the blue. It was be­cause Zion­ism and its clos­est fol­low­ers have cul­ti­vated an image of a coun­try that can only sur­vive with­out in­te­gra­tion, peace with its Arab neigh­bours or an end to the oc­cu­pa­tion. Racial dom­i­na­tion is the dream. Breivik took this call to a dev­as­tat­ing con­clu­sion and his man­i­festo makes clear that his sup­port for Is­rael is couched in the lan­guage of sur­vival against an un­for­giv­ing, in­tol­er­ant and high Mus­lim birth-rate world.

You can hear these views on any day of the week on Face­book, on Twit­ter — and in the Is­raeli Knes­set.

*This is an ex­tract from an essay in On Utøya: An­ders Breivik, right ter­ror, racism and Eu­rope, edited by Eliz­a­beth Humphrys, Guy Run­dle and Tad Ti­etze, an ebook to be pub­lished on Oc­to­ber 26. The book will be launched by Sen­a­tor Lee Rhi­an­non and Antony Loewen­stein , 6.30pm Wednes­day, Oc­to­ber 26 at the Nor­folk Hotel, Cleve­land Street in Surry Hills, Syd­ney.

via Strange bedfellows: new nexus between Israel and far Right — Antony Loewenstein.


Threat of  fascist attacks revealed

Dylan Welch

October 12, 2011

 

Anders Behring Breivik.Anders Behring Breivik. Photo: Reuters

FASCIST and  nationalist extremist groups are active in and pose a threat to  Australia, with the country’s security agency saying there are legitimate  concerns they may spawn a terrorist in the style of Norway’s Anders Breivik.

The assessment, in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation‘s annual  report to Parliament, also reveals Australia’s right-wing extremists, much like  the Islamic fundamentalists they loathe, draw inspiration from overseas via the  internet.

”There has been a persistent but small subculture of racist and nationalist  extremists in Australia, forming groups, fragmenting, re-forming and often  fighting amongst themselves,” the report states.

The appraisal also states there has been a recent rise in anarchist or  ”anti-fascist” groups, with the ideologically-opposed groups coming into  conflict.

”Where such confrontations have occurred, the ‘anti-fascists’ have  outnumbered the nationalist and racist extremists and police intervention has  been required,” the report states in its ”Australia’s Security Environment”  section.

The report reveals ASIO –  whose budget  has grown by almost 500 per cent  since 2001 and will next year move into a half-billion-dollar Canberra  headquarters –  has never been busier, with the number of terrorist  investigations rising from about 100 in 2005 to almost 300 this year.

But it is the far-right threat that may surprise the public.

As the recent case of Anders Breivik shows, the dangers posed by right-wing  extremists have not abated, despite most intelligence agencies focusing on the  threats posed by Islamic terrorism.

A Christian who described himself as a ”modern-day crusader”, Breivik  killed 77 people during a bombing in Oslo and a shooting rampage at a teen camp  at an island outside the Norwegian capital in July.

While the assessment does not suggest ASIO has uncovered right-extremists in  Australia that mirror Breivik’s murderous intentions, it reveals they rely on  overseas connections and events to inform and motivate them.

”[They] maintain links and draw inspiration from like-minded overseas  extremists, and much of their rhetoric and activity is derivative, heavily  influenced by developments overseas,” it states. Websites such as  stormfront.org –  the web’s most famous and ubiquitous white supremacist and  neo-Nazi website –  have numerous Australian members.

However, the threat posed by Australian right-wing extremists seems to be  limited, with such groups appearing to be interested only in ”propaganda and  engendering support”.

”However, there is always the possibility of a lone actor or autonomous  group inspired by a nationalist or racist extremist ideology engaging in  violence as a means of provoking a wider response,” the report says.

It states the continued existence of such groups has directly led to the  resurgence of an ”anti-fascist” movement.

”[The anti-fascist movement] aims to confront those it identifies as  fascists, including some of the nationalist and racist extremist groups also of  interest to ASIO,” it states.

The security assessment also discusses its monitoring of ”issue-motivated  groups” –  organisations ranging from community-based forestry groups to  neo-Nazi parties.

”There is …  a small minority who seek to use protests around a range of  emotive issues to further their own (often unrelated) political agenda by  provoking, inciting or engaging in violence. It is this fringe that is of  concern to ASIO.”

The head of ASIO, Director-General of Security David Irvine, also suggests  cuts to ASIO’s budget since 2009 –  after the huge rise since 2001, the agency  lost about $30 million over the past two years  –  may affect  its work. ”ASIO  will not be able to rely on current levels of funding to sustain its ongoing  activities,” Mr Irvine writes.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/threat-of-fascist-attacks-revealed-20111011-1lj7z.html#ixzz1bwlN3ML0


Ricky Gervais being cheeky, fun but also completely logical as he sinks the leaky fable of Noah’s big boat.

Incomprehensibly, sections of the major religious anachronisms Roman Catholicism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism continue to take this nightmarishly genocidal horror tale of Noah’s Ark, as literal truth.

Clearly, such adherents are impervious to reason and have coprolite for brains.

That religious cult guide book aka the bible, is nothing but fairy tales and bogeyman stories concocted by once dominant male patriarchs, to keep uneducated masses titillated, amused, obedient and servile in order to further the authors socio-economic and political agendas.

Sane people know that “god” is nothing more than a human idea and fabricated, nonsense word, made up by men to explain away all the things unscienced humans for a time did not yet comprehend.

Religion is a disease of the mind, born of superstition, ignorance and fear, which has done nothing but retard human progress and bring infinite misery upon the human species.

It’s long overdue that such misery was ended.


The Religious Right habitually camouflages it’s nefarious Christian Nationalist Worldview behind a phoney “pro-Israel” facade.

Religious fanatic John Hagee believes god sent Hitler to exterminate Jews and thus, as act and prophetic directive of his god, obviously a righteous and just genocide.

Like Catholic Hitler, John Hagee believes that unless Jews are converted to his Christ, they will be eradicated in the fires of hell that is, their final annihilation.

One has to wonder how even certain Right Wing Jews can be so utterly blind and continue support a religious buffoon who considers the destruction of Jews an inexorable, righteous and prophetic dictate — of his
psychopathic god?!


Religious Experiences Shrink Part of the Brain

            By ANDREW NEWBERG – SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
A study links life-changing religious experiences, like being born again, with atrophy in the hippocampus

The article, “Religious factors and hippocampal atrophy in late life,” by Amy Owen and colleagues at Duke University represents an important advance in our growing understanding of the relationship between the brain and religion. The study, published March 30 in PLoS One, showed greater atrophy in the hippocampus in individuals who identify with specific religious groups as well as those with no religious affiliation. It is a surprising result, given that many prior studies have shown religion to have potentially beneficial effects on brain function, anxiety, and depression.

A number of studies have evaluated the acute effects of religious practices, such as meditation and prayer, on the human brain. A smaller number of studies have evaluated the longer term effects of religion on the brain. Such studies, like the present one, have focused on differences in brain volume or brain function in those people heavily engaged in meditation or spiritual practices compared to those who are not. And an even fewer number of studies have explored the longitudinal effects of doing meditation or spiritual practices by evaluating subjects at two different time points.

Read more

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/633202-religious-experiences-shrink-part-of-the-brain

Wikipedia:
Andrew Newberg, M.D. is an American Neuroscientist who is the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College, an Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies and an Associate Professor of Radiolog…Read more


[As previously blogged, conspiracism or conspiracy thinking and religious fundamentalism go hand in hand. Both are irrational world views. Conspiracism, like religion, provides a false sense of enlightenment and “… a thread of insistence exists that only certain, truly enlightened people can see the truth behind the secret plots. Most conspiracies are, so the thinking goes, invisible to the vast majority of sheeplike citizens who go grazing through the pasture of life, never suspecting the evil wolves lurking behind the rocks of everyday occurrences.

In a way, conspiracism can be comforting to true believers because it removes the scary notion of randomness from the universe. For some, conspiracies can seem like an extension of religious faith, with God and Satan locked in a struggle for supremacy on Earth. In fact, many conspiracists are strongly connected to a belief in the coming of the end of the world. After a specific series of world events happens, these “millenialists” believe, those events will usher in Armageddon, the final battle between the forces of good and evil on Earth.”]

Ref:- Pat Robertson Lapin Up 9/11 Bible Prophecy Nonsense
Posted on October 6, 2011 by Richard Bartholomew

A double-whammy of stupidity from Rabbi Daniel Lapin, in conversation with Pat Robertson:

The Torah, in ancient Jewish wisdom the Bible, actually explains something which we have lived through which is one of the great mysteries: the plot of 9/11… Not only do we find references in Zachariah to four mysterious crafts that come through between two mountains made of metal, in biblical terminology mountains can be natural mountains or also anything tall that grows up like two buildings, also the idea that the plot was hatched not in Mecca or Medina or Riyadh or anywhere else in Saudi Arabia, that plot was hatched in Hamburg, Germany…

Lapin is making a garbled and absurd reference to Zechariah 6: 1-8:

I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black,  the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?” The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.” When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth. Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.”

There are no “mysterious crafts”: instead, the author is obviously describing symbolic chariots for the four “spirits of heaven”. The “mountains of bronze” are not buildings: the image has been taken from Babylonian mythology to represent the gateway into heaven. It should be further noted that the chariots are “coming out from between” the two mountains, rather than crashing into them, and that their drivers are spirits sent to do God’s work around the world, rather than terrorists sent to the USA to massacre people. Lapin is either a fool or a fraud: but either way, it’s clear from this that he doesn’t give a damn about interpreting the Bible with any kind of integrity. And the same goes for Robertson, for endorsing such a farrago of nonsense.

But while we’re still trying to swallow that, Lapin serves up a dessert. 9/11, he explains,

… was based on a dream that Adolf Hitler had in 1943 which was to fly suicide Luftwaffe German air force bombers into the towers of Manhattan… That was a Hitler dream described in a book called ‘Spandau Diary’ written by one of the Nazis who was captured after the war and who witnessed, and actually I’ve seen drawings, and I don’t doubt for a moment that the Muslim plotters, in the mosque in Hamburg who laid out the plans for 9/11, I don’t doubt for a moment that they encountered those same plans. I don’t think they thought of this themselves. This was the fulfillment of a dream that was really put in place early on in World War II.

Lapin is referring to Spandau: The Secret Diaries, by Albert Speer. In his entry for 18 November 1947, Speer recalls that

I never saw [Hitler] so worked up as toward the end of the war, when in a kind of delirium he pictured for himself and for us the destruction of New York in a hurricane of fire. He described the skyscrapers being turned into gigantic burning torches, collapsing upon one another, the glow of the exploding city illuminating the dark sky. Then, as if finding his way back to reality from a frenzy, he declared that Saur must immediately carry our Messerschmitt’s scheme for a four-engine long-range jet bomber. With such range we could repay America a thousand-fold for the destruction of our cities.

The plan for a “jet bomber” is mentioned again in passing in the entry for 2 November 1953. There is no mention of Manhattan, and no concept of a suicide mission: the “jet bomber” was obviously envisioned as dropping bombs on New York, rather than as being a bomb itself.

Last year, Lapin took part in Glenn Beck’s “Divine Destiny”, as one of Beck’s “Black Robe Regiment” of conservative pastors. A subsequent Media Matters post, drawing on earlier Washington Post reports, notes Lapin’s links to Jack Abramoff, whom I previously discussed here.

(H/T Right Wing Watch)


American Freedom Defense Initiative Co-Founder Calls for Killings, Mosque Burnings

One of the groups founded by anti-Muslim demagogues Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer is called the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an “umbrella” group that provides cover for their other activities and funding for their anti-Muslim advertisements.

John Jay, one of the founding members of the board of AFDI and a very frequent commenter at Pamela Geller’s website, has posted a manifesto very reminiscent of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik’s — a deranged, violent fantasy of mass murder.

Jay’s post calls for the killing of “talking head media”, of “every self avowed socialist and communist in congress”, and of “the faculty senates at harvard, yale, columbia, nyu and university of california at santa barbara”. Also, Muslims immigrants should be deported, in “boxes or tourist, their choice”, and all mosques should be burned down.

Jay has now added a response:

apparently things are really very slow at little green footballs. charles johnson, head pukka there, has responded to the little post herein-below breathlessly announcing that i am advocating mass murder. the lizards of course, denounce me as deranged.

[…] this is, of course, fairly ridiculous. and, utterly transparent.

charles johnson doesn’t give a whit or a fig for me, doesn’t care the weight of the proverbial mustard seed about me one way or the other. no, the real purpose of his screed is to try and tar pamela geller by her association with me. pamela geller is the target of the blog post at little green footballs, not i. and, such is the measure of his worry over her prestige and influence, that he engages in this, … , i don’t know, … , empty polemic, … , nonsense, … , to try and harm her. you come up with a phrase, i am chuckling too hard to think of a good one.

Yes, Jay has astutely worked out that the story here is his association with Geller and Spencer, rather than “random crank fantasies on the internet about killing people”.

Jay’s post includes some obviously fantastical elements: “draw and quarter the media, and shoot their remains from canons… boil bill ayers, bernie dorhn and angela davis in canola oil”. The strategy here is obvious – including a few jokes gives Jay a bit of distance from what he’s writing, and he probably thinks this means he doesn’t have to take proper responsibility for his sanguinary rhetoric. It should be recalled that when Jay’s fetish for violent fantasy was first noted last year, his defence (also used by Spencer) was simply to deny the plain and obvious meaning of his posts.