When Anders Behring Breivik shot and killed dozens of Norwegians in 2011, the media was quick to assign responsibility to authors Brevik had read, as reflected in Breivik’s diaries.

The New York Times, for example, broadly laid blame at the doorstep of what it called “anti-Muslim thought in the U.S.“:

The man accused of the killing spree in Norway was deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam, lacing his 1,500-page manifesto with quotations from them, as well as copying multiple passages from the tract of the Unabomber.

That “influence,” of course, was disputed by the named authors, who also pointed out that Breivik praised Jihadists. Nonetheless, there were demands from the left that the authors whose names appeared in the diary be banned by the media.

While it was improper, in my view, to ascribe blame for the shootings to the authors linked, the general issue of whether Breivik was motivated by any particular ideology or religion was fair game — so long as the examination of motivation itself was fair.

One of the people to jump on the Norwegian shooting blame game was Max Blumenthal, the virulently anti-Israel author and activist, who frequently speaks on campuses against Israel and in favor of divestment, and is the author of an anti-Israel book that has even harsh liberal critics of Israel cringing

In the aftermath of the Norway shootings, Blumenthal tried to tie the shooting not only to writings of the people mentioned in Breivik’s diaries, but also to the broader international Zionist movement, Anders Behring Breivik, a perfect product of the Axis of Islamophobia:

When I wrote my analysis last December on the “Axis of Islamophobia,” laying out a new international political network of right-wing ultra-Zionists, Christian evangelicals, Tea Party activists and racist British soccer hooligans, I did not foresee a terrorist like Anders Behring Breivik emerging from the movement’s ranks. At the same time, I am not surprised that he did. The rhetoric of the characters who inspired Breivik, from Pam Geller to Robert Spencer to Daniel Pipes, was so eliminationist in its nature that it was perhaps only a matter of time before someone put words into action.

As horrific as Breivik’s actions were, he can not be dismissed as a “madman.” His writings contain the same themes and language as more prominent right-wing Islamophobes (or those who style themselves as “counter-Jihadists”) and many conservatives in general. What’s more, Breivik was articulate and coherent enough to offer a clear snapshot of his ideological motives. Ali Abunimah and Alex Kane have posted excellent summaries of Breivik’s writings here and here and a full English translation is here. It is also worth sitting through at least a portion of Breivik’s tedious video manifesto to get a sense of his thinking….

While in many ways Breivik shares core similarities with other right-wing anti-government terrorists, he is the product of a movement that is relatively new, increasingly dangerous, and poorly understood. I described the movement in detail in my “Axis of Islamophobia” piece, noting its simultaneous projection of anti-Semitic themes on Muslim immigrants and the appeal of Israel as a Fort Apache on the front lines of the war on terror, holding the line against the Eastern barbarian hordes….

There is no clear evidence that Breivik’s support for the Israeli right played any part in his killing spree. Nor does he appear to have any connection with the Israeli government. However, it is worth noting that in November 2010, the Israeli government joined the right-wing pile on, accusing the Norwegian government of “anti-Israel incitement” for funding a trip for students to New York to see the “Gaza Monologues” play….

Breivik’s writings offer much more than a window into the motives that led him to commit terror. They can also be read as an embodiment of the mentality of a new and internationalized far-right movement that not only mobilizes hatred against Muslims, but is also able to produce figures who will kill innocent non-Muslims to save the Western way of life.

The ideological blame game in the Norway shooting was completely unfounded as it related to blaming authors for the shooting.  Authors have no control over who reads or links to them, taking words and views out of context and as part of an often delusional violent fantasy.  The shooter was to blame in the Norway shooting, and no one else.

But it was fair to examine the ideologies to which the Norway shooter ascribed.  Just as it is fair to examine the ideological or religious motivations of other shooters.  Where you go with that examination, however, in terms of generalizing to a broader group, is quite a different matter.

Fast forward to yesterday’s Overland Park, Kansas murder of three people at Jewish institutions (two of the dead were not even Jewish) by Fraiser Glenn Cross Jr., (aka F. Glenn Miller) a KKK and neo-Nazi leader who shouted “Heil Hitler” as he was led away.

Blumenthal, again, was quick to look for ideological blame for Cross’ actions:

Twitter - Max Blumenthal -- Overland Park Shooter Dixie

Was such a rush to judgment fair?

Cross also was an anti-Zionist conspiracy theorist, in addition to all his other pathologies.

Who is to blame for the Overland Park shooting? Fraiser Glenn Cross Jr.

Who did Fraiser Glenn Cross Jr. read, among others? None other than Max Blumenthal.

As first uncovered by Nurit Baytch, someone who appears to be Cross posted (using the name Glenn Miller) in a neo-Nazi forum a link to an article referencing Blumenthal’s theories about Jewish influence in the 2012 election, specifically the claim that Bibi Netanyahu was trying to influence the election.

VNN Forum Glenn Miller Max Blumenthal

Here’s a Blumenthal interview posted by someone else just below that entry on the forum page:

The Blumenthal interview and the Cross posting appear to reference an article written by Blumenthal about Netanyahu being behind Jewish money in the 2012 election:

In the past, America’s Israel lobby sold the US-Israel alliance as a marriage of two vibrant democracies united by shared liberal values. In the current environment of heightened polarization, the special relationship is increasingly marketed to Americans as a united front of besieged bastions of Western civilization against an incipient Islamic onslaught. Rapture ready evangelicals, right-wing ultra-nationalists, and Republican Jews are far more likely to be attracted to this sort of alliance than cosmopolitan liberals. And this may be exactly the way Netanyahu wants it.

Assuming Cross linked to Blumenthal’s conspiracy theories about the 2012 election, would that mean Blumenthal is responsible for the Overland Park shooting? Absolutely not.

Is the intersection between neo-Nazi and anti-Zionist conspiracy theories worthy of examination? Absolutely.

We have seen in Europe in particular how anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism go hand-in-hand, often based on conspiracy theories about Jewish and Israeli influence. 

Paris Prostest signe Europe under foot of criminal zionist satanists

Those types of consipiracy theories regarding the alleged manipulations of Jewish money and interests are as old as hate itself.

That is a fair subject of discussion.  I wonder if the mainstream media will go there, as it did in the Norway shooting.

[Note – there were some wording changes shortly after publication.]


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