Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Discourse divorced from reality: Norway and Israel

Insanity begets insanity. There is no justification whatsoever for murder, terrorism, or criminal violence. What tends to happen in the wake of attacks like those in Norway, however, is that maximum political advantage is made by those whose policies, along with other factors, motivated the madman, using the opportunity to discredit any all who may share some of the violent actor's concerns or views. While the vast majority of people are peaceful and not at all prone to try and get what they want by terroristic means, it does not mean that some of what radicalized a certain person to become a coldly calculating terrorist finds some resonance among more reasonable and civilized people, who seek recourse through civil and, at least in the West, democratic means.

I was reminded of this today when I read Rod Dreher's piece, Why Anders Breivik's Manifesto Mentions Me, in which he notes that "Europe really does have a significant problem assimilating Muslim immigrants, and with Islamic extremist networks that hate, even to the point of violence, the same liberal secular societies that have given them refuge. European cultural elites have dealt with this by blaming the messenger, typically by demonizing them as, yes, Islamophobic." I wrote about this myself earlier this year in two articles that appeared in the English edition of the on-line news source, Il Sussidiario: What does a liberated woman look like? and Notes from Eurabia, a piece of the latter I will revisit this coming Monday, which marks the beginning of Ramadan.

This brings me to a dust-up of sorts that happened in Israel in the wake of the Norway attacks. First, an editorial in the English-language Israeli daily the Jerusalem Post made the suggestion that Norway, in the words of Alana Goodman, writing Commentary's blog Contentions "that Norway use this attack to reevaluate the way it integrates immigrants." This was written undoubtedly in the awareness that Islamic immigration is causing some civil unrest and sparking movements, like that of the assassinated Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands, in many countries of Europe. The only people surprised that there are extremists groups in Scandinavian countries capable of terrorism are people who do not follow these things closely. Just consider the following of Norway's Varg Vikernes and others like him (If you go to the video, read the comment by Angels Thanatos93 that begins with "Religion is a crutch, who cares if he burned a church..."- this gives you a taste of Scandinavian extremism).

Hamas logo

Predictably, the JP's editorial prompted immediate outrage, even to the point of the newspaper issuing an apology. Whether I agree with the opinion or not, it is always sad when freedom of the press in violated, whether by governments or outraged activists. In the age of ideology there is no reasoned debate, only politically leveraged emotivism. What makes this episode even stranger is that there was no condemnation of the outrage committed by someone who fancies himself a diplomat: the Norwegian ambassador to Israel no less, one Svein Sevje. Sevje was quoted in another Israeli paper, Maariv, as saying that "Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel," and that Norwegians "will not change their mind because of the attack in Oslo."

Then, apparently feeling the need to add insult to injury, asked whether the Israelis and the Palestinians could resolve their issues without Hamas, which is currently busy oppressing the people of Gaza, he answered his own rhetorical question by saying, "I don't think so." So, here we have an ambassador of a country that is still grieving a horrifying and traumatic event brought about the violence committed by one terrorist defending an organization that is terrorist through-and-through and blaming the country that is repeatedly attacked by this group, which refuses to renounce violence and even to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist!

As Goodman notes, "Most people would be rightfully offended if anyone... pressured Norway to succumb to Breivik’s desired policy changes to stave off future acts of right-wing terror. Yielding to the demands of terrorists only encourages more terrorism."

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