New Nexus Between Israel and the Far Right

Posted: October 27, 2011 in Israeli Right Wing Nuts, Israels Fascists
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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.

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