Rattling the Cage: The Breivik effect in Israel and abroad

Anti-liberal, anti-Muslim nationalists are going to be watching what they say.

Norwegian terror suspect Breivik leaves court 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Aftenposten via Scan)
Norwegian terror suspect Breivik leaves court 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Aftenposten via Scan)
‘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/multi-culturalists.
“So, are the current Jews in Europe and US disloyal? The multi-culturalist (nation-wrecking Jews) ARE, while the conservative Jews ARE NOT. Approx. 75% of European/US Jews support multi-culturalism while approx. 50% of Israeli Jews does [sic] the same. This shows very clearly that we must embrace the remaining loyal Jews as brothers rather than repeating the mistake of the NSDAP [Nazi party].” – Anders Behring Breivik, Norwegian mass murderer, from his 1,518-page manifesto.
What does this mean for Israel – that this neo-Nazi monster repeatedly expressed his affinity for “Israeli nationalism” together with his loathing for “the so-called Jewish liberals,” whom he called “multi-culturalists”?
Let me start by saying what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that the Israeli right-wing majority – Likud, Israel Beiteinu, Shas, United Torah Judaism, National Union and Habayit Hayehudi – share Breivik’s ideology, which is genocidal, anti-Muslim, anti-liberal, national supremacism.
It does not mean the Israeli Right bears any responsibility, even indirectly, for inciting Breivik to kill.
It does not mean that the Israeli Right sympathizes with the atrocity. While there was a flow of talkbacks in the Hebrew media showing varying degrees of support for it – as well as a trickle of talkbacks to The Jerusalem Post – the overwhelming majority of Israeli right-wingers were repelled by those murders.
So despite Breivik’s expressions of solidarity with the Israeli Right, the two are much, much more different than they are alike. Without a doubt, the nationalist/haredi alliance “did not shed this blood.” But there is a connection between the two – and I think the right wing and all of Israel know this at some level.
I say this because, for instance, I do not believe Avigdor Lieberman will be calling human rights activists “terrorists” again, like he did a few days before the Norway atrocity, for a good long while.
Likewise, I figure Likud MK Danny Danon and his friends are nervous now about hosting Glenn Beck’s scheduled August 24 rally in Jerusalem, especially after Beck said the Norwegian Labor Party summer camp where some 70 teenage victims were killed reminded him of the “Hitler Youth.” But even if Beck hadn’t said that, he’s known (correctly) as a liberal-bashing, Muslim-bashing demagogue, and I assume Danon and his Knesset colleagues who showered him with admiration and gratitude for his pro-Israel/anti-Muslim message are now regretting this partnership. After Norway, guys like Beck aren’t the sort of people with whom politicians want to be seen in public.
I doubt we’ll be hearing the popular cliché “clash of civilizations” from podiums and broadcast studios for a while. The term “multiculturalism” may still be used occasionally, even disapprovingly, but the sneer will go out of it. I’d even say that for a decent interval, the sneer will go out of the political term smol (Left) and smolanim (left-wingers), though that’s going to take a lot of self-control from the yemanim (right-wingers).
In general, attacks on leftists, liberals, human rights activists and the rest of what’s known as the peace camp will be toned down by what’s known as the national camp and its allies, the haredim.
I don’t believe the anti-boycott law would pass today, or even be presented in Knesset, and I don’t think the Right wants to see it enforced now.
For a while, the tone in public toward Muslims is going to change, too, and become less reckless and harsh. There will still be all-out verbal and political (and military) attacks on Muslim terrorists and their organizations, but we’re not going to hear public figures ranting about “the Muslim mentality” or “Muslim culture,” and especially not the so-called “Muslim culture of death,” because the echoes from Breivik will be too loud in everyone’s ears.
Public attacks on Islam and the Koran will subside as well.
I don’t think the Nakba Law or the various loyalty oaths being demanded of Israeli Arabs will be brought before the Knesset now, and I doubt they’ll be enforced very soon, either. I expect a unilateral verbal cease-fire to be called regarding Arab MK Haneen Zoabi. Right-wing MKs will still grumble out loud at her, but without the hollering, insults and threats.
I don’t know how long this time-out is going to last. If there is a build-up of Muslim terror attacks here and in the West, and if there are no more Islamophobic fascist terror attacks, Breivik’s rampage will be remembered as the exception to the rule, and the hounding here of leftists and Arabs will resume full-force.
But for a while, at least, the right-wing is going to cool it, at least in public, and the reason is that they and everybody else know, if only subconsciously, that while Breivik and the local Right aren’t twins, aren’t brothers, aren’t even close cousins, they are distant relations. Politically they are part of the same extended family – that of anti-liberal, anti-Muslim nationalists.
This country’s national camp wasn’t the only non-European political force with which Breivik expressed solidarity; he also wrote in favor of Hindu anti-Muslim nationalists in India and Buddhist anti-Muslim nationalists in China (where the Muslim population is estimated at 20 million to 100 million).
In his manifesto, he also took aid and comfort from the Dutch anti-Muslim nationalist Geert Wilders, along with American right-wing, anti-Muslim writers Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes. All three have denounced Breivik’s acts and ideas, but all three, like their allies on the Israeli Right, are his distant political relations, embarrassed members of the same extended political family he belongs to.
I’d say Geller is his least distant relation, then Wilders, then Pipes. On the Israeli Right, in relation to Breivik, I’d put Likud with Pipes, Israel Beiteinu with Wilders and National Union with Geller. But National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari and other Kahanists, I’d put with Breivik – none since Baruch Goldstein in deed, but all of them in word.
We’ve got what to worry about in this country. We’ve got what to be aware of, what to be careful about. And we know it.
But Israel is not alone; the Norway massacre is going to have a sobering effect, for however long, on all countries where antagonism toward Muslims is a big issue. The world just got a good look at belligerent, bigoted nationalism at its most extreme, and people are recoiling from public displays of it in any form.
If anyone wants to print up bumper stickers to reinforce the lesson of Norway and the memory of Anders Behring Breivik’s victims, here’s a suggestion: Don’t let the terrorist win.
The writer blogs at Israel Reconsidered (www.israelleft.com).