1) The Times on Norway
There are no words strong enough to condemn the massacres in Norway committed by Anders Behring Breivik. He is an evil man.
Still there’s something troubling about the coverage of this evil by the New York Times.
The title of the news report says a lot, Killings in Norway Spotlight Anti-Muslim Thought in U.S.
This is a key argument of the article:
Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and a consultant on terrorism, said it would be unfair to attribute Mr. Breivik’s violence to the writers who helped shape his world view. But at the same time, he said the counterjihad writers do argue that the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam “is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged. Well, they and their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.”
“This rhetoric,” he added, “is not cost-free.”
The reporter, Soctt Shane got an expert to say (in sequence) 1) you can’t tie the actions Breivik to the ideas in the anti-Islamist blogs but 2) if you use their own standards, then their writings did indeed encourage Breivik. In other words, in a rather roundabout way, Shane got his expert to confirm the thesis of the article.
Contrast that with how Isabel Kershner dealt with the subject of Palestinian incitement following the Fogel murders:
Yossi Kuperwasser, a retired Israeli general given responsibility by the Israeli government for monitoring Palestinian incitements to violence and to hatred of Israel, said in a telephone interview that while Mr. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority prime minister, Salam Fayyad, had been careful in their words, “they too encourage an atmosphere of terrorism.”
He noted, for example, that a senior Abbas aide had paid a call to the families of three Fatah militants killed by the Israeli military, conveying condolences from Mr. Abbas. Israel held the three responsible for the fatal shooting of a rabbi in the West Bank in December 2009. In addition, Israeli officials note, streets, summer camps and youth tournaments in the Palestinian Authority have been named for people who committed terrorist attacks.
The new focus on incitement against Israel, together with Israeli dissatisfaction over the Palestinian response to the brutal attack, seemed to pose a question about the Israeli government’s readiness to deal with Mr. Abbas as a serious peace partner — even though Mr. Abbas and Mr. Fayyad are widely considered moderates who have repeatedly said they would never resort to violence.
Instead of making the case that Palestinian incitement leads to terror, Kershner allows the Israelis to make the case. Then she inserts herself into the debate arguing that 1) incitement is a means Israel uses to avoid making a deal with the Palestinians and 2) even if it’s it true Abbas has nothing to do with it. Of course, given that much of the Palestinian incitement takes place in the official media or official mosques of the PA, it really doesn’t matter what Abbas utters when microphones are on, his government is promoting the incitement. Of course, unlike Shane this week, Kershner portrays the effects of Palestinian incitement as non-existent.
The other thing that’s missing from Shane’s report is any reason the anti-Jihadist bloggers might feel as they do.
A quick search of the New York Times website, shows that since January 1, 2009, there has been precisely one article that contained both the words “Malmo” and the word “Jews” in it. And it was a letter to the editor written by Abraham Foxman of the ADL, Antisemitism in Sweden.
The Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism has also lamented that “prejudice against Jews is spreading under a very thin veneer” of anti-Israel activity. Riots greeted an Israeli tennis team at a Davis Cup match in Malmo, whose mayor said (on another occasion), “We accept neither Zionism nor anti-Semitism,” equating Jewish national self-determination with the oldest form of bigotry in the world.
Yet Malmo has been in the news, because the increased antisemitism has been pushing Jews to leave. And one of the driving forces of the antisemitismhave been the Muslim immigrants. As Haaretz reports:
But Per Gudmundson, chief editorial writer for Svenska Dagbladet, a leading Swedish newspaper, is critical of politicians who blame anti-Semitic actions on Muslim living conditions. He said that these politicians offer “weak excuses” for Muslim teenagers accused of anti-Semitic crimes. “Politicians say these kids are poor and oppressed, and we have made them hate. They are, in effect, saying the behavior of these kids is in some way our fault,” he said.
According to Gudmundson, some immigrants from Muslim countries come to Sweden as hardened anti-Semites.
The article in Ha’aretz also points to the lack of assimilation of the immigrants.
The anti-Islamist sentiment, while often harsh, does not exist in a vacuum. Instead of providing the full context, the Times makes it seem that it is only white people who are capable of being prejudiced.
If the Times news reporting is one sided; columnist Roger Cohen has completely gone off the deep end. Cohen who is infamous for defending the official antisemitism of Iran, now sees the Islamaphobia of Europe and declares it just as loathsome as antisemitism. In Breivik and his Enablers, Cohen concludes:
Nothing, however, can excuse the widespread condoning of an anti-Muslim racism once reserved for the Jews of Europe. Not on the weekend when Amy Winehouse, a Jewish girl from East London whose artistry would once have been dismissed by a racist and murderous European right as degenerate “cosmopolitan” trash, died. A good way to remember her is finally to confront the latest iteration of a European bigotry that kills.
This is sick and tasteless. Cohen conjures up phantoms of antisemitism so he can use the recently deceased singer to “show” the dangers of bigotry.
2) The demographic time bomb
A familiar trope of Thomas Friedman and other critics of Israel is that Israel will soon be outnumber in the area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Yet according to David Goldman, population trends are changing. (via Daily Alert)
- Most of the phantom population, the report argues, comes from births that never occurred: The Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics “projected that the number of births in the Territories would total almost 908,000 for the seven-year period from 1997 to 2003. Yet, the actual number of births documented by the PA Ministry of Health for the same period was significantly lower at 699,000, or 238,000 fewer births than had been forecast by the PCBS.”
- Jewish births rose from 96,000 in the year 2000 to 125,000 in 2010, while Arab births fell slightly over the same period – from about 40,781 to 40,750, according to a study by Yaakov Faitelson at the Institute for Zionist Strategies. The percentage of students in the Arab educational system out of all Israel’s total first grade student body will decrease from 29.1% in 2007 to only 24.3% in 2016 and 22.5% in 2020.