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What To Make of the Oslo Attacker’s Zionism?

Manifesto by alleged slayer of 92 articulated Islamophobia, ‘Israeli nationalism’

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A vigil in Oslo Saturday.(JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Friday’s horrific attack in and outside Oslo that killed at least 92 has highlighted how the rising European far-right’s virulent Islamophobia has led some of its elements to embrace the state of Israel. Given that the European far right has hosted history’s worst and most effective anti-Semites, this is a remarkable shift.

As far as we know, the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, 32, acted alone. Yet a 1500-page manifesto he published shows that his views situate him on the far fringe of a much larger movement that has gained great ground in Europe over the last five or 10 years. As the widely respected and tastefully named analyst Marc Sageman put it, Islamist ideology “is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged. [This milieu is] the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged. This rhetoric is not cost-free.” The manifesto advocated a “cultural conservative political agenda,” condemned multiculturalism, and conjured even the Crusades to make the case against Muslim immigration and Islam generally.

Like many of the far-right parties in various European countries, Breivik also professes “pro-Zionism/Israeli nationalism.” As Daniel Luban noted in Tablet Magazine a year ago, “One of the most striking stories of recent years has been the realignment of segments of the European far right behind a form of militant support for Israel.” Applying the enemy-of-my-enemy form of the transitive principle, these segments—along with Breivik—act primarily out of fear of Muslims, and, in Israel, see a prime manifestation of opposition to Islam. Some Jews have in turn viewed the far-right as an ally. Most prominently, an editorial yesterday in the conservative Jerusalem Post—which, admittedly, not only condemned Breivik specifically but further warned, “Europe’s fringe right-wing extremists present a real danger to society” —argued that, on the question of multiculturalism, Breivik basically got things right. And, as Adar Primor documented in what is now a must-read article from December, some right-wing Israeli politicians have courted the pro-Israel, anti-Islam leaders of right-wing parties from Holland, Belgium, and elsewhere. Primor termed this a “very unholy alliance.”

Spencer Ackerman caught the nuance, if you can call it that, in Breivik’s Zionism. “Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us,” Breivik argued. “So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists.” Breivik does not like Jews. He likes a particularly right-wing vision of Israel and (therefore) some Jews—the right-wing Jews who would, he believes, uphold and enforce that vision.

The most revealing of Breivik’s contradictions comes later in the same paragraph: “We must embrace the remaining loyal Jews as brothers rather than repeating the mistake of the NSDAP,” he argues, using the German abbreviation for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party—the Nazis. Elsewhere, an Internet poster believed to be him argued that his movement should “accept the moderate Nazis as long as they distance themselves” from the genocide of the Jews. Any graciousness one might feel toward Breivik for his careful caveat—the Nazis wanted to kill all the Jews, and that was wrong of them!—dissipates when one remembers that Nazism is the elimination of the Jews; that the thought of Nazis who disown killing all the Jews is like the thought of Christians who disown the belief that Jesus was the Messiah, or the thought of Red Sox fans who would go to Fenway and root for the Yankees.

Breivik here helpfully reveals for us the fallacy in thinking that these people on the European far right should be seen by supporters of Israel as kindred, or at least as useful. Their allegiance to Israel may be genuine, if contingent; they may even believe they possess first principles in addition to Islamophobia that would instruct them to support the Jewish state; and even if their Zionism is entirely contingent on their opposition to Muslims, it still could be utilized effectively. But at some point, I submit, it is going to bump up against the very DNA of European ultra-conservatism, which history ancient, modern, and recent indicates has an ineradicable anti-Semitic strain. The bottom line is that these people are not and will never be our friends.

A final point, because why should I let the conservative commenters have all the fun? I have been careful to describe the “European” far right because I actually believe—contra, say, Dan Luban—that America is different. The same lack of baggage that makes multiculturalism a far less potent hot-button issue on this side of the Atlantic and that makes American Muslims far more likely to be integrated, happy, productive members of society and far, far less likely to themselves act on jihadist principles, also makes the alliance between our version of the European Christian far-right (the evangelical Zionists) and our version of the Israeli right-wing (the neoconservatives) far, far less dangerous.

The alliance in the United States is, if anything, more powerful stateside than in Europe. And one can certainly find it troublesome, even unsavory. But whether it was William F. Buckley, Jr., effectively expelling anti-Semites from the nascent conservative movement or the City College boy Irving Kristol deliberately building this alliance, history shows that it could never slip nearly so far down the disastrous slope as that between the European far-right and Israel. I’d add only that the false analogy goes both ways: Those Americans who are content with Dutch nationalists cavorting with Yisrael Beiteinu because it cannot be any worse than Jewish leaders praising Christians United for Israel are mistaken, and are doing their Israeli brothers and sisters a grave disservice.

Police Say Oslo Suspect Admits ‘Facts’ in Massacre [NYT]
Norway Killer Espoused Right-Wing Philosophy Claiming To Be Zionist [JTA]
Norway’s Challenge [JPost]
Oslo Suspect Wrote of Fear of Islam and Plan for War [NYT]
Norway Attacks Put Spotlight on Rise of Right-Wing Sentiment in Europe [NYT]
Breivik and the Jews [Attackerman]
Related: The New Anti-Semitism [Tablet Magazine]
The Unholy Alliance Between Israel’s Right and Europe’s Anti-Semites [Haaretz]

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Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

“conservative Jerusalem Post”??

This shows how far left MT tilts. If there was ever a centrist paper (at least under the aegis of former editor-in-chief David Horovitz) it is the Jerusalem Post.

I guess if you view the NY Times & Haaretz as center, the Post becomes right wing.


Buckley and Kristol aren’t Breiviks of America. But there are people like him here. And insofar as those folks are anti-Islamic, and to the extent that that attracts them to a alliance with some theoretical Jews in the manner of Breivik, that should be distanced as well.

But I think you may have written that whole graf just to seem fair and balanced. Everyone is scared to look like they are criticizing the right in America, aren’t they? The Neo-McCarthyists have won.

Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

If you are going to moderate every post that has 2 URLs in them, could you at least get to it more quickly!?!?!?!?


Mark S. Devenow Esq. says:

Marc Tracy, not by any means to be mistaken for Dick Tracy where it comes to detecting dangerous political undercurrents between the State of Israel and various of its putative supporters abroad, comes to the altogether ridiculous conclusion that the Jerusalem Post’s editorial on the subject of Anders Breivik somehow approbates his thoughts where it comes to the subject matter of European multiculturalism.

The actual paragraph comprising the gravamen of the editorial reads as follows: “The challenge for Norway in particular and for Europe as a whole, where the Muslim population is expected to account for 8% of the population by 2030 according to a Pew Research Center, is to strike the right balance. Fostering an open society untainted by xenophobia or racism should go hand in hand with protection of unique European culture and values.”

To get from this to Tracy’s conclusion you really need to have cultivated an exquisite talent for tolerating liberal mindset casuistry of the most rank order. Of course, Tablet, erstwhile in its left-leaning orientation, might be expected to faithfully reflect the views of Jewish uber liberals. Still, casually slandering Israel’s flagship English language newspaper – which, contrary to Tracy’s protestation and in line with Hershel Ginsburg’s point is more appropriately characterized for being centrist and/or mainstream – marks a new low even for Tracy of whom very little is to be expected to begin (and end) with!

Kirillov says:

“First they came for the Muslims, and I didn’t speak out…”

Anyone who thinks the fundamentalist Christian right in the US or Europe is a friend to the Jews, I’d advise you to read history a bit closer.

Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

… and anyone who thinks the “progressive” left in the US or Europe is a friend to the Jews or Israel, I’d advise you to read current events a bit closer.


the “enemy of my enemy” principle never works for too long. Hate will change direction eventually. Supporting this type of ideology is like sitting on a bomb, waiting.

Jennifer says:

Very insightful article. As a Jew livingn where the Midwest ad Bible belt, I am appalled by any Jew thinking of the Christian Right-wing as useful allies because of their supposed pro-Israel stand. The Christian Right-wing do not support Jews and the practice of Judaism at all.

Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

Given that including 2 URLs in a post triggers an automatic hold on a comment post pending “moderation”, and given that the powers that be are rather reticent about moderating said comments in a quick and efficient manner, I am reposting an earlier post, while leaving out one of the URLs. To wit:

And as long as we are on the topic of Norway, buried in the JTA story ( reporting on the Norwegian massacre is this gem:

“German journalist Ulrich Sahm reported on the pro-Israel website that many of the youths who survived the massacre said they thought the killer, dressed as a police officer, was simulating Israeli crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territories. They believed that “the cruelty of the Israeli occupation” was being demonstrated to them, Sahm wrote.”

If this report is accurate, then if there was ever an example of the “progressive” Demonization of Israel, this is it. And as Natan Sharansky noted a long time ago, demonization of Israel is one indicator of when criticism of Israel is in reality anti-Semitism.

I strongly suspect that this is a product of the blood-libels that appear in the Scandinavian news media that substitute for reporting on Israel. I also think that this is a consequence of flippant tendency of various & sundry pooh-bahs of punditry to buy-off on accusations that Israel is on its way to becoming an authoritarian society that tramples on fundamental human rights.


Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

And the missing URL which links to an example of a pooh-bah of punditry who rather flippantly buys-off on accusations that Israel is on its way to becoming an authoritarian society that tramples on fundamental human rights, is:


jacob arnon says:

In what way was the Norwegian killer and Nazi Anders a “Zionist?”

Just because he didn’t hate Jews as Nazis do, doesn’t make him a “Zionist.”

Anders was also no homophobic, does that make him pro-homosexual?

I agree that the support Israel receives from right wing parties in Europe (at least some of them, many still hold traditional anti Jewish views) may be perceived as a problem, still we need to distinguish between the murderer Anders and these other right wing voice.

Not all right wingers are murderers just as not all left wingers are Stalinist executioners.

To understand the tragedy in Norway we need to begin by making some basic distinctions and above all let’ snot bring Jews and Israel into the discussion. We had nothing to do with it and most of us were revolted by the sight of a fanatic executing children the way Nazis murdered Jewish children.

There is a whiff of self blame in many articles that talk about the murders not hating Israel.

Ina fifteen hundred page manifesto he mentioned Israel a couple of times, does that make him pro Zionist?

Just because someone doesn’t hate Israel doesn’t mean that he is pro Israel.

If Israel were destroyed, I doubt Anders would shed any tears. Notice that he spoke of there not being a Jewish problem in Europe because there are so few Jews left there. I would be surprised if Anders would not have endorsed the Shoah.

The man is a nazi who wants a resurrected antisemitic Knights Templar to replace the Gestapo.

Read or reread Walter Scot’s Ivanhoe if you want a view of what these devils were like.

jacob arnon says:

I forgot to mention that extreme right wing websites in Europe are talking about the murders as another “Israel plot.” These will become their myth. Just as massacre on 9/11 was turned into an anti- Jewish myth by Islamists.

See a British left of center blog that has done a superb job covering this atrocity.

For example this:

“MEMO senior editor identifies Christian arsonist as ‘Jewish’”

Frank says:

Please don’t give credence to the ravings of a madman by including them in any kind of a discussion.


Susan Rosenberg Lubliner says:

With “friends” like Breivik …. who needs enemies?

shira says:

in an op-ed she wrote for an Israeli newspaper, Madonna claimed to be a Zionist too.

And still I see a huge difference between her and the killer.
and between Israelis and the killer.

Maybe if there was robust support to Israel from the Left, Christian Zionists wouldn’t be the most reliable friends around. Where do you see anyone on the Left waving Israeli flags and proudly defending Israel the way CUFI does? Instead, they offer a tepid support for Israel, but not for the Israel that lives in the West Bank, not for the Israel that votes for any parties to the right of center, not for the Israel that does what is necessary to prevent terrorists from murdering innocent civilians. The support that the Left offers always comes with more criticism than support. No wonder passionate supporters of Israel like evangelicals are a breath of fresh air to people who care about the country and its people.
And MT, how did you pivot from the racist gunman in Norway to American Christian friends of Israel? That borders on ignorant and offensive.

Pro-Israel pro-Zionist European right-wingers should be no surprise. Wealthy Zionists have been pouring money into the European right for about 2 decades as far as I can trace.

Today’s situation repeats interesting aspects of the Nazi period. Hitler may have thought highly of Otto Weininger, but he probably appreciated Artur von Trebitsch more because the latter contributed to the NSDAP.

In addition, like Zionism, German Nazism had different factions, and there certainly were German Nazis that considered Zionists to be voelkisch racists with whom the German Nazis could.

The German Nazis were not obviously wrong in this belief. As many scholars of Central European political history have pointed out (including George Mosse at lectures at Hebrew University), German Nazi ideology and Zionist ideology are practically interchangeable with the obvious substitutions.

In fact one should always be ethnically specific when discussing Nazism because there were movements and parties throughout Eastern Europe comparable to German Nazism, and one should consider Zionism to be one such to the point that Zionism should be categorized as Jewish Nazism — no ifs ans or buts.

Yitzhak K says:

What To Make of the Oslo Attacker’s Zionism?
What To Make of the Oslo Attacker’s maleness?
this proves that all men are evil and should be aborted so they will not be able to cause violence in the future

“In addition, like Zionism, German Nazism had different factions, and there certainly were German Nazis that considered Zionists to be voelkisch racists with whom the German Nazis could.”

should have been

“In addition, like Zionism, German Nazism had different factions, and there certainly were German Nazis that considered Zionists to be voelkisch racists with whom the German Nazis could collaborate.”

Gershom says:

Joachim Martillo is a dyed in the wool antisemite who has been posting comments about “Jews as Nazis” for years.

He has been vanished from a lot of websites and I am surprised he is being allowed to post here.

He has single message: “Jews are not a people, and Israel is a Nazi State.”

This is his whole view about Jewish history, politics, and culture.

Gershom says:

btw: I read that the Oslo attacker is gay. If true doesn’t mean that all homosexuals are also implicated in the shootings?

Gershon is just another racist Zionist in denial.

The fundamental ideological components shared by Zionism and German Nazism are: politicized ethnic fundamentalism (or ethnic monism), extremist organic nationalism, social Darwinism, biological determinism, essentialism, primordialism, perverted eugenic theory, opposition to race mixing for causing ethnic degeneration, and the corresponding belief in national revival through racial purity.

Jews (even many self-avowed Jewish anti-Zionists) often become indignant, claim Jews could not possibly be Nazis, and fling accusations of anti-Semitism when anyone points out that German Nazism and Zionism are for all intents and purposes practically identical when the obvious substitutions are made. To believe that Jews of all ethnic groups could not possibly be Nazis or develop their own form of Nazi ideology is simply an assertion of Jewish racial or ethnic supremacism associated with the idea of Jewish ethical or spiritual superiority.

Gershom says:

“Gershon is just another racist Zionist in denial.”

“Denial is such a dumb word as used by Joachim Martillo.

I am a proud Jew, and I am a proud Zionist. I am also of mixed race as many Jews are.

If people here want to know what Martillo is really like just google his name and you will the kind of racist antisemite we are dealing with.

To management:

I don’t care if you allow nazi holocaust deniers like Joachim Martillo to post here but you should know who you are dealing with. Martillo is an unhinged individual who has been posting his vile views about Jews for over a decade.

This Holocaust denier loves to stalk Jewish websites like this one.

Hershl says:

Why doesn’t The Tablet or Marc Tracy make a big deal or, for that matter, any deal over statements by the heads of Norway’s government that Israel is one of the most horrible criminal states in the world?

Where is MT and his buddies who weep tears for the plight of the poor Palestinians in their fight to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, when innocent Arabs are murdered in Syria or the many other places they are killed?

Where, pray tell, is Marc Tracy when Norway refuses to allow Israeli academics to speak in Norway, boycotts Israeli products in Norway, and goes out of its way to demonize the Jewish state while all the while supporting our enemies to the hilt?

I, for one, am not mourning the death of future labor party soldiers against the Jewish homeland.

The Norwegian Labor Party, which was brainwashing these willing recruits in its campaign of terror against Israel, is wholly to blame for this mess.

They promote hate and murder against Jews and Israel.

Why should they be surprised when it comes back to bite them in the butt?

Iceland, incidentally, is just as bad.

May both of these pathetic excuses for countries sink into the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic and take all of their hateful citizens along with them.

Quisling = traitor.

This proud Norwegian, a Nazi- supporter , was actually pardoned by the Norwegians after the war.

Incidentally, good call, Gershom on Joachim Martillo who is one of the last unrepentant Nazis around.

donewthejews says:

The jews are the worst thing to happen to a healthy society. The fact that the have been cast away from countries for 4000 years over and over again is a clear indication they should also be exiled from the USA. Hollywood, the media, the Federal Reserve, AIPAC, ect.. these are our symptoms as a country, and we need to rid ourselves of these symptoms. I would expect RON PAUL to do this in a very formal matter since he has so cleverly pointed these people out as NEO-CON’s, and they run rampit thru the government of the USA.

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Imperialism has managed to “turn history arround”. It´s a “learning system”. It has to a certain degree “successfully” stolen the terrible German Holocaust (and the US Power Elite did in parts a lot to bring the Nazis into power and cooperated even during WW II) from the left antiracist and antiimperialist camp and integrate it into their blueprint. How far the Fascist camp is under control of the US Power Elite is exactly shown by examples of Breivik and of the racist murders in Germany by the “NSU” during the recent years!

Andreas Schlüter
Berlin, Germany


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What To Make of the Oslo Attacker’s Zionism?

Manifesto by alleged slayer of 92 articulated Islamophobia, ‘Israeli nationalism’

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