Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Norway's bigotry

by Alan M. Dershowitz

In a recent interview, Norway's Ambassador to Israel has suggested that Hamas terrorism against Israel is more justified than the recent terrorist attack against Norway. His reasoning is that, "We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel." In other words terrorism against Israeli citizens is the fault of Israel. The terrorism against Norway, on the other hand, was based on "an ideology that said that Norway, particularly the Labor Party, is foregoing Norwegian culture." It is hard to imagine that he would make such a provocative statement without express approval from the Norwegian government.

I can't remember many other examples of so much nonsense compressed in such short an interview. First of all, terrorism against Israel began well before there was any "occupation". The first major terrorist attack against Jews who had long lived in Jerusalem and Hebron began in 1929, when the leader of the Palestinian people, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, ordered a religiously-motivated terrorist attack that killed hundreds of religious Jews-many old, some quite young. Terrorism against Jews continued through the 1930s.

Once Israel was established as a state, but well before it captured the West Bank, terrorism became the primary means of attacking Israel across the Jordanian, Egyptian and Lebanese borders. If the occupation is the cause of the terror against Israel, what was the cause of all the terror that preceded any occupation?

I was not surprised to hear such ahistorical bigotry from a Norwegian Ambassador. Norway is the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israel country in Europe today. I know, because I experienced both personally during a recent visit and tour of universities. No university would invite me to lecture, unless I promised not to discuss Israel.

Norway forbids Jewish ritual slaughter, but not Islamic ritual slaughter. Its political and academic leaders openly make statements that cross the line from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, such as when Norway's former Prime Minister condemned Barak Obama for appointing a Jew as his Chief of Staff. No other European leader would make such a statement and get away with it. In Norway, this bigoted statement was praised, as were similar statements made by a leading academic.

The very camp that was attacked by the lone terrorist was engaged in an orgy of anti-Israel hatred the day before the shooting. Yet I would not ever claim that it was Norway's anti-Semitism that "caused" the horrible act of terrorism against young Norwegians.

The causes of terrorism are multifaceted but at bottom they have a common cause: namely a belief that violence is the proper response to policies that the terrorists disagree with. The other common cause is that terrorism has often been rewarded.

Norway, for example, has repeatedly rewarded Palestinian terrorism against Israel, while punishing Israel for its efforts to protect its civilians. While purporting to condemn all terrorist acts, the Norwegian government has sought to justify Palestinian terrorism as having a legitimate cause. This clearly is an invitation to continued terrorism.

It is important for the world never to reward terrorism by supporting the policies of those who employ it as an alternative to reason discourse, diplomatic resolution or political compromise.

I know of no reasonable person who has tried to justify the terrorist attacks against Norway. Yet there are many Norwegians who not only justify terrorist attacks against Israel, but praise them, support them, help finance them, and legitimate them.

The world must unite in condemning and punishing all terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, regardless of the motive or purported cause of the terrorism.

The world must unite in condemning and punishing all terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, regardless of the motive or purported cause of the terrorism. Norway, as a nation, has failed to do this. It wants us all to condemn the terrorist attack on its civilians, and we should all do that, but it refuses to live by a single standard.

Nothing good ever comes from terrorism, so don't expect the Norwegians to learn any lessons from its own victimization. As the Ambassador made clear in his benighted interview, "those of us who believe [the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel] will not change their minds because of the attack in Oslo."

In other words, they will persist in their bigoted view that Israel is the cause of the terrorism directed at it, and that if only Israel were to end the occupation (as it offered to do in 2000-2001 and again in 2007), the terrorism will end. Even Hamas, which Norway supports in many ways, has made clear that it will not end its terrorism as long as Israel continues to exist.

Hamas believes that Israel's very existence is the cause of the terrorism against it. That sounds a lot like the ranting of the man who engaged in the act of terrorism against Norway.

The time is long overdue for Norwegians to do some deep soul searching about their sordid history of complicity with all forms of bigotry ranging from the anti-Semitic Nazis to the anti-Semitic Hamas. There seems to be a common thread.



Norway itself helped give Breivik the idea that terrorism works and is justified


One of the most sensitive aspects of the very sensitive subject of the murderous terrorist attack in Norway by a right-wing gunman is this irony: The youth political camp he attacked was at the time engaged in what was essentially (though the campers didn’t see it that way, no doubt) a pro-terrorist program.

The camp, run by Norway’s left-wing party, was lobbying for breaking the blockade of the terrorist Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip and for immediate recognition of a Palestinian state without that entity needing do anything that would prevent it from being a terrorist base against Israel. They were backing and justifying forces that had committed terrorism against Israelis and killing thousands of people like themselves.

Even to mention this irony is dangerous since it might be taken to imply that the victims “had it coming.” The victims never deserve to be murdered by terrorists, even any victims who think that other victims of terrorists “had it coming.” This is in no way a justification of that horrendous terrorist act. It’s the exact opposite: a vital but forgotten lesson arising from it that can and should save lives in future.

If terrorist murders by Hamas and Islamists did not stop well-intentioned future leaders of Norway from enthusiastically considering them heroic underdogs, a local evil man could think his act of terrorism would gain sympathy and change Europe’s politics. After all, it has already changed the Middle East and even been sanctified by Western media, intellectuals, and governments.

When Norway’s ambassador to Israel distinguishes between “bad” terrorism in Norway and “understandable” terrorism against Israelis that opens the door to a man in Norway who thinks his country is “occupied” by leftists and Muslims?

In this sense, the most important thing about the terrorist in Norway is not that he is right-wing or anti-Islam, The most important thing is that he believed terrorism would work on behalf of his cause. After all, if he had held all of the same beliefs but didn’t think deliberate murder was a good strategy, nobody would be dead from his actions.

Nevertheless, many people gave him the idea that terrorism would change minds, gain support, and bring victory. They weren’t those whose blogs he quoted a few times in a 1500-page manifesto and who explicitly rejected violence. They merely gave him programmatic ideas. It was the successful terrorists and their Western enablers who gave him the strategy he thought would work and implemented.

Oh, and one more thing: A young survivor of the terrorist attack at the camp in Norway explained:

“Some of my friends tried to stop [the gunman] by talking to him. Many people thought that it was a test … comparing it to how it is to live in Gaza. So many people went to him and tried to talk to him, but they were shot immediately.”

He’s right but in a very different manner from what he thought. It is more comparable to how it is to live in Israel being targeted by Palestinian or Lebanese terrorists who won’t be talked into sparing your life. But it is people like the victims in Norway who want Israelis ”to stop” the gunmen “by talking” to them.



Misleading Words

Thomas Sowell

Many years ago, the Saturday Evening Post was one of the best-known magazines in America. But somehow I learned that the Saturday Evening Post was actually published on Wednesday morning. That was a little disconcerting at first. But it was one of the most valuable lessons, that words do not necessarily reflect reality.

Recent statistics on the average wealth or net worth of blacks are a painful reminder that rhetoric favoring blacks does not mean that politicians using such rhetoric are actually helping blacks. The media seized upon the statistics published by the Pew Research Center to show that whites averaged far more net worth than blacks, and that this disparity was now greater than it was in years past. But what is even more revealing is that the net worth of blacks in 2009 was less than half of what it was in 2005.

What happened to cause such a sharp loss in such a few years? After all, the Republicans controlled both the Congress and the White House in 2005, and the Democrats had control by 2009. There was now a black President of the United States, with much of the media celebrating the beginning of a new era in race relations.

What happened was that the political words had no relationship to the economic reality. But few people judge any administration's effect on blacks by what actually happens to blacks under that administration.

A finer breakdown of the data on the net worth of blacks shows that the most drastic loss of net worth was in the value of the homes owned by blacks. This occurred after years of both Democratic and Republican administrations pushing policies designed to enable more blacks to buy homes.

Much of the media rallied behind the idea that there should be more home ownership by blacks. Editorials rang out across the land, denouncing statistical disparities between rates of home ownership by blacks and whites as showing racial discrimination in the private sector that needed to be corrected by the government.

Even when it was shown that blacks, on average, did not meet the same financial standards as whites, both politicians and the media denounced those standards as too stringent.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, for example, called for "fairer mortgage-lending standards" and declared that "lending institutions are being far more conservative than they have to be in determining the creditworthiness of minorities." The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston likewise declared that "unreasonable measures of creditworthiness" were not "appropriate to the economic culture of urban, lower-income, and nontraditional consumers."

The New York Times reported that "even within the same income group whites are nearly twice as likely as blacks to get loans." Many in the media treated that as proof positive that racial discrimination explained differences in mortgage loan approval rates. They were not talking about racial differences in net worth in those days -- much less taking note of the fact that blacks in the same income brackets as whites had far less net worth.

Racial discrimination was where it was at, as far as liberal politicians and most of the media were concerned. And the familiar "solution" was massive government intervention in the market. Government agencies, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Federal Reserve leaned on lenders to lower lending standards, and the Department of Justice threatened prosecutions for discrimination if the racial makeup of people approved for mortgage loans did not match their preconceptions.

It worked. In fact, it worked so well that many blacks got loans that they could not have gotten otherwise. Now the statistics tell us, belatedly, that blacks lost out, big time, from this "favor" done for them by politicians.

These lowered lending standards applied to many others besides blacks. Everybody lost out when the resulting risky mortgages led to a collapse of the housing market, followed by a collapse of the economy. Lofty words led to bitter realities.

The same mindset that led to these disasters is still prevalent in Washington. Indeed, the very people who spearheaded those political crusades -- Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd -- crafted new legislation offering the same kind of "solution" to our current problems, namely more massive government intervention in the economy. Words triumphed again.




WWII Veteran Vows to Keep Flying American Flag After Vandal Torches It: "An 85-year-old veteran in New York City who says he still has traumatic dreams about World War II is extremely upset over the torching of his American flag. Harold Bernstein says his neighbors on Staten Island first noticed the recent vandalism, which apparently occurred in the middle of the night. Bernstein tells the Staten Island Advance that other flags on his block were untouched. He wonders: "Why did they pick on me?" He said if he'd encountered the culprit, he would have "strung them up there along with the flag." He vows to keep displaying it, even though it's scorched. Says the former Marine: "I fought for that flag."

Obama jacks up the cost of private health insurance again: "Private health insurers must now give birth control and other women's health tests for free, the Obama administration said Monday. ... The administration argues that the requirement, affecting most insurance plans, is aimed at encouraging women who might otherwise not be able to afford them to get critical services which can pre-empt the onset of disease. ... Coverage with no copays for the morning-after pill was likely to become the most controversial part of the change."

Congress out to spy on your ‘puter: "If Congress had to name laws honestly, it would be called the 'Forcing Your Internet Provider to Spy On You Just In Case You're a Criminal Act of 2011' -- a costly, invasive mandate that even the co-author of the Patriot Act, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), says 'runs roughshod over the rights of people who use the Internet.' But because it's disguised as the 'Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act,' the House Judiciary Committee approved it last week by a wide margin -- even though it's got little to do with child porn and won't do much to protect kids."

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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