July 31st, 2011
02:00 PM ET

What is the Knights Templar?

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The group has come to everyone's attention because of Anders Behring Breivik's killing spree in Norway, now just over a week ago. He claimed in his rambling manifesto to represent a modern-day "Knights Templar".

But who are they?

The name might ring a bell, especially if you've seen The DaVinci Code or National Treasure or one of any number of recent films. But these are, of course, all fictional. What are the facts?

The Knights Templar were a Christian military order founded in the early 12th century. Its members were said to be elite warriors who wore distinctive white mantles with a red cross. They made their reputation by winning a series of battles in the Crusades.

Ironically, the Knights' first headquarters were in a mosque - the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem - because they believed it was built on top of the ruins of Solomon's Temple. Their name, templar, comes from that legendary temple.

The Knights' main job was said to be protecting Christian pilgrims from Muslims (amongst others). To this day, the site of the mosque and the temple mount remains one of the most heavily disputed place on earth.

The order of the Knights Templar was dissolved in 1312, but its legacy lives on. Rumors still swirl that the group exists in total secrecy and guards the Holy Grail.

From what sounds like fiction, back to fact: We know that Brevik saw himself as a Knight Templar.

But get this: Halfway across the world from Norway, a new drug gang has recently arisen in Mexico. They call themselves quite simply "The Knights Templar".

And they claim to live by a religious code, a copy of which the Associated Press recently obtained. It says the drug-dealing knights will "defend the values of society...against materialism, injustice and tyranny" and that its members will be "honorable", "noble", "courteous" and "honest".

So they are "honest" drug dealers, selling marijuana, cocaine and whatever else in the name of God?

Anders Breivik's fascination with the Knights is less bizarre - in fact, he's part of a larger movement. People like Breivik are trying to resurrect the idea of a modern-day Crusade, a real clash of civilizations against what they see as an Islamic invasion of Europe.

In fact, Muslims make up only about 3 % of Europe's population and are likely to rise to between 5% and 8% by 2025 and level out at that point. But that doesn't change the reality of the anger, hatred and violence.

Ironically, in Breivik's nostalgic view of the medieval world, the Knights Templar resembles nothing so much as al Qaeda, a terrorist organization that is fundamentally opposed to the modern world.

We still don't know if Breivik's boast that there are more lone knights like him waiting to act is true. But if his depiction of the knight as a self-sacrificing assassin on a larger holy mission sounds familiar, it's because it too is mirrored in Islamist terror. That's exactly what a suicide bomber is: A lone fighter, often acting in the so-called interests of a larger movement and willing to kill innocents to draw attention to the cause.

While we have all focused on the dangers of radical Islam and of Muslim terror, the attack in Norway should remind us that there is actually a pretty large problem of other sources of terrorism in the West.

The European Union's 2010 Terrorism Situation and Trend Report has some fascinating findings. It showed that of the 294 terror attacks committed in Europe in 2009, only one was conducted by Islamists. That's a third of one percent.

The most recent statistics show there were 249 terror attacks in Europe in 2010. Only three of those attacks were carried out by Islamist terrorists. Again, that's about one percent. Most of the attacks were by separatist groups or anarchists.

So perhaps that's the lesson we can learn from the events in Norway. Islamic radicalism is a real problem and Islamic terrorism a real threat. But if we ignore other kinds of threats we're likely to be blindsided by another Gabby Giffords shooting or another Virginia Tech massacre.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and bookmark the Global Public Square.


soundoff (322 Responses)
  1. nik green

    Islamic terrorism, according to Interpol, represents a *tiny* minority of acts of terrorism worldwide, some 5-6% overall... meaning that 94-95% of terrorism is committed by *non-Muslims". This fact is probably unacceptable to the huge majority of US readers who have been indoctrinated, via the corporate media, that "all terrorists are Muslim, and all Muslims are terrorists". The author of the article takes a position half way between the "Muslim terror conspiracy theory:" outlined above, and reality.. ie he's a cowardly fence-sitter, trying to please everyone.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  2. Heath

    Clearly somebody has an agenda against everything christian. The acts of one maniac are not a reflection of an organisation that was around hundreds of years ago. The templars were responsible for a lot of good things too and they defended Europe for a long time. So who cares if you have beef with a legendary group like the knights templar. Their place in history is sealed and you can't touch that. For many Europeans they are seen as an integral part of European history and this attempt to attack the templars is just pathetic. Have a nice day.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • Robrob

      Uh, no but nice try. No one is trying to "attack" the Templars. Your indignation is false.

      July 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  3. paul

    CNN is not posting if they do not agree with your post,

    July 31, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  4. Desmond

    Vittoria Agli Assassini!

    July 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  5. Another

    what a crap, meandering article. Typical shallow, ignorant American reporting/scare-mongering. You make a bold statement about the Norwegian mass mirderer being a member of TKT, using this as a basis your story goes on from there, well, that has never been proven, it's only what the demented turd has been spouting off.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  6. Wendi

    This guy just played Dragon Age II too much and took on the personality of Anders in the game. They both were zealots, both blew up churches and killed people. He even looks like Anders in the game. It's very creepy.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  7. Hypatia

    Guy: you say 'The Jesuits are almost notoriously (among a mostly conservative faith) known their liberalism.' beside being a almost unintelligible sentence, (I assume you mean to say that jesuits tend to be politically liberal), is completely wrong because technically a catholic can never be a political liberal. they may be a catholic liberal, which i guess would mean they accept the fact that mass can be said in english or other vernacular languages instead of latin, but no christian of any kind can be both christian AND liberal. they cancel each other out. the christian religion is nothing if not conservative. maintaining the status quo (see, that's latin) and 'notoriously' destroying anyone who disagrees with them.
    See you in hell.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Reply
    • The Usual Nonsense

      Being a Catholic, I must say I take umbrage at your rant. I happen to be a liberally-minded person, and care deeply for my fellow human-being. The term "Liberal", contrary to what seems to be popular opinion, doesn't mean someone who is a simpering, blubbering fool, hell-bent on giving everything away to those who don't deserve it. There are many people, groups, and organizations, that are "in it for the money", and have no other redeeming virtues, and I would not walk across the street and spit on them if they were on fire.

      Be that as it may, I vehemently oppose those who take the "Scrooge" position that no one who needs help is worthy of it from those who have more than the rest.

      And quite frankly, I am not planning on seeing ANYONE in hell, and certainly not you.

      July 31, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  8. The Usual Nonsense

    The majority of posts here seem to take the position that the research was scant, that flawed statistics were produced/cited, that the author is a Muslim, and therefore his work is automatically biased. T oall of those comments, I say "prove it". Do your own research, produce your own statistics, all of it backed up by recognized authentic sources, provide the dissertation-level report you all seem to feel is missing here, and oh by the way, please don't tell us you might be a Catholic or Baptist or Muslim or Zoroastrian, or any other religion, as that will automatically disqualify your input.

    Until then, PLEASE dispense with all of the defamation and negative rhetoric regarding the author and his efforts, and try, just for once, to provide some constructive input.

    For a change. A refreshing change.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  9. meemee

    Surfers and skateboarders use the Templar Cross. Sounds like we better being to scrutinize them too. It's not Muslims, but surfers!

    July 31, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  10. Claude

    Nice whitewash Fareed. What you failed to mention is the entire era was a European response to a militant Muslim invasion of the Mediterranean basin that is core to the recent struggle. Muslims love to act as if the countries they captured were always Muslim and should always be Muslim. Norway, a country of 4 million, took in 500k Muslims. The Norwegians should be careful before they become a Muslim state with the Norwegians living as slaves in their own country.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  11. heyhey

    The media really got it wrong when they described this guy as a 'fundamentalist Christian.' He is nothing like the hundreds of millions of Baptists and Pentecostals around the world. His kooky philosophy is no more Christian than white supremacism.

    And, on another note, it's not true that islamist suicide bombers usually act alone. They are almost always indoctrinated and armed by religious 'leaders' in their communities.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  12. John

    By the way, "What 'is' the Knights Templar"?

    "What 'are' the Knights Templar?"

    July 31, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Reply
    • I'm Telling

      they are a masonic group of secret society illuminatti, that back the anti christ ( pope) for real. Satan is setting up his kingdom using the pope as his front man, deceiving practicaly all of the christain world.

      The pope puts on a cloak of godlyness' When in ecsense if you test his teaching to the Bible it gets pretty ugly. Men are easily missled, cause they don't take the Bible at its Word

      July 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  13. Maryam

    This report is a disingenuous. Maybe if you count in countries with an extremely low Muslim population (I don't know, maybe N. Ireland, Wales etc) you can get the percentage down to 3% – but a quick google search comes up with about an 8% Muslim population in France, 6% in Holland, 4% in Germany, 4% in England. And why not look at the terrorism events and wars across the world, not just in Europe and not just in 2009. It doesn't take a genius – Thailand, India, Sudan, Australia, Spain, Bali, former Soviet states, you name it – most of the major violence if fomented by Muslims. Those are just the facts. So easy to skew. Article in the papers about a year ago had a headline about the increase in anti-Muslim crime – but when you read the paper, there were 10x as many hate crimes against Jews who are about the same percentage of the population. Poor Muslims, you gotta feel for them.

    July 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  14. I'm Telling

    While the jesuits garb themselves in saniticity and all kinds of good deeds, they , thru their secret societys masons, mormons, shriners, knights templars etc. are a group of asassins that have secretly controled the world.

    Proping up the pope there is no crime to heineous for them to commit. They are the vicars of the devil.

    The new world order is coming rather quickly. It will be headed by Satans surrogate, the pope.
    Stay tuned for more facts contact the 7th Day Adventist Church. We didn't make the news, we just report it !

    July 31, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  15. I'm Telling

    While the jesuits garb themselves in saniticity and all kinds of good deeds, they , thru their secret societys masons, mormons, shriners, knights templars etc. The jesuits act like religous figures but are really a group of asassins that have secretly controled the world thru their secret societys. Many of these clubs at the higher level practice whitchcraft,
    Satanism and so forth ( Mormons and Masons to name a few)

    Proping up the pope there is no crime to heineous for them to commit. They are the vicars of the devil.

    The new world order is coming rather quickly. It will be headed by Satans surrogate, the pope.
    Stay tuned for more facts contact the 7th Day Adventist Church. We didn't make the news, we just report it !

    July 31, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Reply

    July 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  16. kat

    I wonder who conducted that ridiculous report that claims only one muslim terrorist attack. How many were stopped?
    Looking at all people killed by terrorist attacks in Europe and North America during the last 10 years, 97% was committed by Muslim terrorist, or 4703 of 4873 killed. Most of this is September 11 alone. (RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents)
    http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2011/02/islamists-caus-overwhelming-majority-of.html
    Quit trying to whitewash the facts, Fareed. I know you are muslim but I didn't know you practiced taquiya.

    July 31, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  17. Dele.

    I'm telling, u really hit the nail right. What u didn't add is that these were the brain behind terrorism wherever u may find them. They actually phantomed muslim terrorism to discredit muslims.

    July 31, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  18. Dele.

    You should visit Africa and see how bigots and capitalist in the disguise of xtian religious leaders exploit and enslave their sheepish foollowers. Civilised terrorism, isn't it.

    July 31, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  19. midgick
    I read this today and actually thought to myself that this goes hand in hand with the Tea Party and it's total intolerance and hatred of anything that they don't espose. So, please read this and see if this sounds like History replaying itself. The New Anti-Semitism One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. The Oslo murderer proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with Islam, notes Uri Avnery. Middle East Online The Nazi Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, calls his boss, Adolf Hitler, by hell-phone. “Mein Führer,” he exclaims excitedly. “News from the world. It seems we were on the right track, after all. Anti-Semitism is conquering Europe!” “Good!” the Führer says, “That will be the end of the Jews!” “Hmmm…well…not exactly, mein Führer. It looks as though we chose the wrong Semites. Our heirs, the new Nazis, are going to annihilate the Arabs and all the other Muslims in Europe.” Then, with a chuckle, “After all, there are many more Muslims than Jews to exterminate.” “But what about the Jews?” Hitler insists. “You won’t believe this: the new Nazis love Israel, the Jewish State – and Israel loves them!” THE atrocity committed this week by the Norwegian neo-Nazi – is it an isolated incident? Right-wing extremists all over Europe and the US are already declaiming in unison: “He does not belong to us! He is just a lone individual with a deranged mind! There are crazy people everywhere! You cannot condemn a whole political camp for the deeds of one single person!” Sounds familiar. Where did we hear this before? Of course, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. There is no connection between the Oslo mass-murder and the assassination in Tel Aviv. Or is there? During the months leading up to Rabin’s murder, a growing hate campaign was orchestrated against him. Almost all the Israeli right-wing groups were competing among themselves to see who could demonize him most effectively. In one demonstration, a photo-montage of Rabin in the uniform of an SS officer was paraded around. On the balcony overlooking this demonstration, Binyamin Netanyahu could be seen applauding wildly, while a coffin marked “Rabin” was paraded below. Religious groups staged a medieval, kabbalistic ceremony, in which Rabin was condemned to death. Senior rabbis took part in the campaign. No right-wing or religious voices were raised in warning. The actual murder was indeed carried out by a single individual, Yigal Amir, a former settler, the student of a religious university. It is generally assumed that before the deed he consulted with at least one senior rabbi. Like Anders Behring Breivik, the Oslo murderer, he planned his deed carefully, over a long time, and executed it cold-bloodedly. He had no accomplices. OR HAD he? Were not all the inciters his accomplices? Does not the responsibility rest with all the shameless demagogues, like Netanyahu, who hoped to ride to power on the wave of hatred, fears and prejudice? As it turned out, their calculations were confirmed. Less than a year after the assassination, Netanyahu indeed came to power. Now the right-wing is ruling Israel, becoming more radical from year to year, and, lately, it seems, from week to week. Outright Fascists now play leading roles in the Knesset. All this – the result of three shots by a single fanatic, for whom the words of the cynical demagogues were deadly serious. The latest proposal of our fascists, straight from the mouth of Avigdor Lieberman, is to abrogate Rabin’s crowning achievement: the Oslo agreements. So we come back to Oslo. WHEN I first heard the news about the Oslo outrage, I was afraid that the perpetrators might be some crazy Muslims. The repercussions would have been terrible. Indeed, within minutes, one stupid Muslim group already boasted that they had carried out this glorious feat. Fortunately, the actual mass-murderer surrendered at the scene of the crime. He is the prototype of a Nazi anti-Semite of the new wave. His creed consists of white supremacy, Christian fundamentalism, hatred of democracy and European chauvinism, mixed with a virulent hatred of Muslims. This creed is now sprouting offshoots all over Europe. Small radical groups of the ultra-Right are turning into dynamic political parties, take their seats in Parliaments and even become kingmakers here and there. Countries which always seemed to be models of political sanity suddenly produce fascist rabble-rousers of the most disgusting kind, even worse than the US Tea Party, another offspring of this new Zeitgeist. Avigdor Lieberman is our contribution to this illustrious world-wide league. One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. In his 1500 page political manifesto, on which he had been working for a long time, the Oslo murderer devoted an entire section to this. He proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with barbaric Islam. (Somewhat reminiscent of Theodor Herzl’s promise that the future Jewish State would be an “outpost of Western culture against Asiatic barbarism”?) Part of the professed philo-Zionism of these Islamophobic groups is, of course, pure make-believe, designed to disguise their neo-Nazi character. If you love Jews, or the Jewish State, you can’t be a Fascist, right? You bet you can! However, I believe that the major part of this adoration of Israel is entirely sincere. Right-wing Israelis, who are courted by these groups, argue that it is not their fault that all these hate-mongers are attracted to them. On the face of it, that is of course true. Yet one cannot but ask oneself: why are they so attracted? Wherein lies this attraction? Does this not warrant some serious soul-searching? I FIRST BECAME aware of the gravity of the situation when a friend drew my attention to some German anti-Islamic blogs. I was shocked to the core. These outpourings are almost verbatim copies of the diatribes of Joseph Goebbels. The same rabble-rousing slogans. The same base allegations. The same demonization. With one little difference: instead of Jews, this time it is Arabs who are undermining Western Civilization, seducing Christian maids, plotting to dominate the world. The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. A day after the Oslo events I happened to be watching Aljazeera’s English TV network, one of the best in the world, and saw an interesting program. For a whole hour, the reporter interviewed Italian people in the street about Muslims. The answers were shocking. Mosques should be forbidden. They are places where Muslims plot to commit crimes. Actually, they don’t need mosques at all – they need only a rug to pray. Muslims come to Italy to destroy Italian culture. They are parasites, spreading drugs, crime and disease. They must be kicked out, to the last man, woman and child. I always considered Italians easygoing, loveable people. Even during the Holocaust, they behaved better than most other European peoples. Benito Mussolini became a rabid anti-Semite only during the last stages, when he had become totally dependent on Hitler. Yet here we are, barely 66 years after Italian partisans hanged Mussolini’s body by his feet in a public place in Milan – and a much worse form of anti-Semitism is rampant in the streets of Italy, as in most [or “many”?] other European countries. OF COURSE, there is a real problem. Muslims are not free of blame for the situation. Their own behavior makes them easy targets. Like the Jews in their time. Europe is in a quandary. They need the “foreigners” – Muslims and all – to work for them, keep their economy going, pay for the pensions of the old people. If all Muslims were to leave Europe tomorrow morning, the fabric of society in Germany, France, Italy and many other countries would break down. Yet many Europeans are dismayed when they see these “foreigners”, with their strange languages, mannerisms and clothes crowding their streets, changing the character of many neighborhoods, opening shops, marrying their daughters, competing with them in many ways. It hurts. As a German minister once said: “We brought here workers, and found out that we had brought human beings!” One can understand these Europeans, up to a point. Immigration causes real problems. The migration from the poor South to the rich North is a phenomenon of the 21st century, a result of the crying inequality among nations. It needs an all-European immigration policy, a dialogue with the minorities about integration or multiculturalism. It won’t be easy. But this tidal wave of Islamophobia goes far beyond that. Like a Tsunami, it can result in devastation. MANY OF the Islamophobic parties and groups remind one of the atmosphere of Germany in the early 1920s, when “völkisch” groups and militias were spreading their hateful poison, and an army spy called Adolf Hitler was earning his first laurels as an anti-Semitic orator. They looked unimportant, marginal, even crazy. Many laughed at this man Hitler, the Chaplinesque mustachioed clown. But the abortive Nazi putsch of 1923 was followed by 1933, when the Nazis took power, and 1939, when Hitler started World War II, and 1942, when the gas chambers were brought into operation. It is the beginnings which are critical, when political opportunists realize that arousing fear and hatred is the easiest way to fortune and power, when social misfits become nationalist and religious fanatics, when attacking helpless minorities becomes acceptable as legitimate politics, when funny little men turn into monsters. Is that Dr. Goebbels I hear laughing in hell? Uri Avnery, an Israeli writer and peace activist, founded the Gush Shalom movement. He had served three terms as an MP at the Knesset. This article was published by Gush Shalom. The New Anti-Semitism One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. The Oslo murderer proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with Islam, notes Uri Avnery. Middle East Online The Nazi Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, calls his boss, Adolf Hitler, by hell-phone. “Mein Führer,” he exclaims excitedly. “News from the world. It seems we were on the right track, after all. Anti-Semitism is conquering Europe!” “Good!” the Führer says, “That will be the end of the Jews!” “Hmmm…well…not exactly, mein Führer. It looks as though we chose the wrong Semites. Our heirs, the new Nazis, are going to annihilate the Arabs and all the other Muslims in Europe.” Then, with a chuckle, “After all, there are many more Muslims than Jews to exterminate.” “But what about the Jews?” Hitler insists. “You won’t believe this: the new Nazis love Israel, the Jewish State – and Israel loves them!” THE atrocity committed this week by the Norwegian neo-Nazi – is it an isolated incident? Right-wing extremists all over Europe and the US are already declaiming in unison: “He does not belong to us! He is just a lone individual with a deranged mind! There are crazy people everywhere! You cannot condemn a whole political camp for the deeds of one single person!” Sounds familiar. Where did we hear this before? Of course, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. There is no connection between the Oslo mass-murder and the assassination in Tel Aviv. Or is there? During the months leading up to Rabin’s murder, a growing hate campaign was orchestrated against him. Almost all the Israeli right-wing groups were competing among themselves to see who could demonize him most effectively. In one demonstration, a photo-montage of Rabin in the uniform of an SS officer was paraded around. On the balcony overlooking this demonstration, Binyamin Netanyahu could be seen applauding wildly, while a coffin marked “Rabin” was paraded below. Religious groups staged a medieval, kabbalistic ceremony, in which Rabin was condemned to death. Senior rabbis took part in the campaign. No right-wing or religious voices were raised in warning. The actual murder was indeed carried out by a single individual, Yigal Amir, a former settler, the student of a religious university. It is generally assumed that before the deed he consulted with at least one senior rabbi. Like Anders Behring Breivik, the Oslo murderer, he planned his deed carefully, over a long time, and executed it cold-bloodedly. He had no accomplices. OR HAD he? Were not all the inciters his accomplices? Does not the responsibility rest with all the shameless demagogues, like Netanyahu, who hoped to ride to power on the wave of hatred, fears and prejudice? As it turned out, their calculations were confirmed. Less than a year after the assassination, Netanyahu indeed came to power. Now the right-wing is ruling Israel, becoming more radical from year to year, and, lately, it seems, from week to week. Outright Fascists now play leading roles in the Knesset. All this – the result of three shots by a single fanatic, for whom the words of the cynical demagogues were deadly serious. The latest proposal of our fascists, straight from the mouth of Avigdor Lieberman, is to abrogate Rabin’s crowning achievement: the Oslo agreements. So we come back to Oslo. WHEN I first heard the news about the Oslo outrage, I was afraid that the perpetrators might be some crazy Muslims. The repercussions would have been terrible. Indeed, within minutes, one stupid Muslim group already boasted that they had carried out this glorious feat. Fortunately, the actual mass-murderer surrendered at the scene of the crime. He is the prototype of a Nazi anti-Semite of the new wave. His creed consists of white supremacy, Christian fundamentalism, hatred of democracy and European chauvinism, mixed with a virulent hatred of Muslims. This creed is now sprouting offshoots all over Europe. Small radical groups of the ultra-Right are turning into dynamic political parties, take their seats in Parliaments and even become kingmakers here and there. Countries which always seemed to be models of political sanity suddenly produce fascist rabble-rousers of the most disgusting kind, even worse than the US Tea Party, another offspring of this new Zeitgeist. Avigdor Lieberman is our contribution to this illustrious world-wide league. One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. In his 1500 page political manifesto, on which he had been working for a long time, the Oslo murderer devoted an entire section to this. He proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with barbaric Islam. (Somewhat reminiscent of Theodor Herzl’s promise that the future Jewish State would be an “outpost of Western culture against Asiatic barbarism”?) Part of the professed philo-Zionism of these Islamophobic groups is, of course, pure make-believe, designed to disguise their neo-Nazi character. If you love Jews, or the Jewish State, you can’t be a Fascist, right? You bet you can! However, I believe that the major part of this adoration of Israel is entirely sincere. Right-wing Israelis, who are courted by these groups, argue that it is not their fault that all these hate-mongers are attracted to them. On the face of it, that is of course true. Yet one cannot but ask oneself: why are they so attracted? Wherein lies this attraction? Does this not warrant some serious soul-searching? I FIRST BECAME aware of the gravity of the situation when a friend drew my attention to some German anti-Islamic blogs. I was shocked to the core. These outpourings are almost verbatim copies of the diatribes of Joseph Goebbels. The same rabble-rousing slogans. The same base allegations. The same demonization. With one little difference: instead of Jews, this time it is Arabs who are undermining Western Civilization, seducing Christian maids, plotting to dominate the world. The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. A day after the Oslo events I happened to be watching Aljazeera’s English TV network, one of the best in the world, and saw an interesting program. For a whole hour, the reporter interviewed Italian people in the street about Muslims. The answers were shocking. Mosques should be forbidden. They are places where Muslims plot to commit crimes. Actually, they don’t need mosques at all – they need only a rug to pray. Muslims come to Italy to destroy Italian culture. They are parasites, spreading drugs, crime and disease. They must be kicked out, to the last man, woman and child. I always considered Italians easygoing, loveable people. Even during the Holocaust, they behaved better than most other European peoples. Benito Mussolini became a rabid anti-Semite only during the last stages, when he had become totally dependent on Hitler. Yet here we are, barely 66 years after Italian partisans hanged Mussolini’s body by his feet in a public place in Milan – and a much worse form of anti-Semitism is rampant in the streets of Italy, as in most [or “many”?] other European countries. OF COURSE, there is a real problem. Muslims are not free of blame for the situation. Their own behavior makes them easy targets. Like the Jews in their time. Europe is in a quandary. They need the “foreigners” – Muslims and all – to work for them, keep their economy going, pay for the pensions of the old people. If all Muslims were to leave Europe tomorrow morning, the fabric of society in Germany, France, Italy and many other countries would break down. Yet many Europeans are dismayed when they see these “foreigners”, with their strange languages, mannerisms and clothes crowding their streets, changing the character of many neighborhoods, opening shops, marrying their daughters, competing with them in many ways. It hurts. As a German minister once said: “We brought here workers, and found out that we had brought human beings!” One can understand these Europeans, up to a point. Immigration causes real problems. The migration from the poor South to the rich North is a phenomenon of the 21st century, a result of the crying inequality among nations. It needs an all-European immigration policy, a dialogue with the minorities about integration or multiculturalism. It won’t be easy. But this tidal wave of Islamophobia goes far beyond that. Like a Tsunami, it can result in devastation. MANY OF the Islamophobic parties and groups remind one of the atmosphere of Germany in the early 1920s, when “völkisch” groups and militias were spreading their hateful poison, and an army spy called Adolf Hitler was earning his first laurels as an anti-Semitic orator. They looked unimportant, marginal, even crazy. Many laughed at this man Hitler, the Chaplinesque mustachioed clown. But the abortive Nazi putsch of 1923 was followed by 1933, when the Nazis took power, and 1939, when Hitler started W The New Anti-Semitism One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. The Oslo murderer proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with Islam, notes Uri Avnery. Middle East Online The Nazi Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, calls his boss, Adolf Hitler, by hell-phone. “Mein Führer,” he exclaims excitedly. “News from the world. It seems we were on the right track, after all. Anti-Semitism is conquering Europe!” “Good!” the Führer says, “That will be the end of the Jews!” “Hmmm…well…not exactly, mein Führer. It looks as though we chose the wrong Semites. Our heirs, the new Nazis, are going to annihilate the Arabs and all the other Muslims in Europe.” Then, with a chuckle, “After all, there are many more Muslims than Jews to exterminate.” “But what about the Jews?” Hitler insists. “You won’t believe this: the new Nazis love Israel, the Jewish State – and Israel loves them!” THE atrocity committed this week by the Norwegian neo-Nazi – is it an isolated incident? Right-wing extremists all over Europe and the US are already declaiming in unison: “He does not belong to us! He is just a lone individual with a deranged mind! There are crazy people everywhere! You cannot condemn a whole political camp for the deeds of one single person!” Sounds familiar. Where did we hear this before? Of course, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. There is no connection between the Oslo mass-murder and the assassination in Tel Aviv. Or is there? During the months leading up to Rabin’s murder, a growing hate campaign was orchestrated against him. Almost all the Israeli right-wing groups were competing among themselves to see who could demonize him most effectively. In one demonstration, a photo-montage of Rabin in the uniform of an SS officer was paraded around. On the balcony overlooking this demonstration, Binyamin Netanyahu could be seen applauding wildly, while a coffin marked “Rabin” was paraded below. Religious groups staged a medieval, kabbalistic ceremony, in which Rabin was condemned to death. Senior rabbis took part in the campaign. No right-wing or religious voices were raised in warning. The actual murder was indeed carried out by a single individual, Yigal Amir, a former settler, the student of a religious university. It is generally assumed that before the deed he consulted with at least one senior rabbi. Like Anders Behring Breivik, the Oslo murderer, he planned his deed carefully, over a long time, and executed it cold-bloodedly. He had no accomplices. OR HAD he? Were not all the inciters his accomplices? Does not the responsibility rest with all the shameless demagogues, like Netanyahu, who hoped to ride to power on the wave of hatred, fears and prejudice? As it turned out, their calculations were confirmed. Less than a year after the assassination, Netanyahu indeed came to power. Now the right-wing is ruling Israel, becoming more radical from year to year, and, lately, it seems, from week to week. Outright Fascists now play leading roles in the Knesset. All this – the result of three shots by a single fanatic, for whom the words of the cynical demagogues were deadly serious. The latest proposal of our fascists, straight from the mouth of Avigdor Lieberman, is to abrogate Rabin’s crowning achievement: the Oslo agreements. So we come back to Oslo. WHEN I first heard the news about the Oslo outrage, I was afraid that the perpetrators might be some crazy Muslims. The repercussions would have been terrible. Indeed, within minutes, one stupid Muslim group already boasted that they had carried out this glorious feat. Fortunately, the actual mass-murderer surrendered at the scene of the crime. He is the prototype of a Nazi anti-Semite of the new wave. His creed consists of white supremacy, Christian fundamentalism, hatred of democracy and European chauvinism, mixed with a virulent hatred of Muslims. This creed is now sprouting offshoots all over Europe. Small radical groups of the ultra-Right are turning into dynamic political parties, take their seats in Parliaments and even become kingmakers here and there. Countries which always seemed to be models of political sanity suddenly produce fascist rabble-rousers of the most disgusting kind, even worse than the US Tea Party, another offspring of this new Zeitgeist. Avigdor Lieberman is our contribution to this illustrious world-wide league. One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. In his 1500 page political manifesto, on which he had been working for a long time, the Oslo murderer devoted an entire section to this. He proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with barbaric Islam. (Somewhat reminiscent of Theodor Herzl’s promise that the future Jewish State would be an “outpost of Western culture against Asiatic barbarism”?) Part of the professed philo-Zionism of these Islamophobic groups is, of course, pure make-believe, designed to disguise their neo-Nazi character. If you love Jews, or the Jewish State, you can’t be a Fascist, right? You bet you can! However, I believe that the major part of this adoration of Israel is entirely sincere. Right-wing Israelis, who are courted by these groups, argue that it is not their fault that all these hate-mongers are attracted to them. On the face of it, that is of course true. Yet one cannot but ask oneself: why are they so attracted? Wherein lies this attraction? Does this not warrant some serious soul-searching? I FIRST BECAME aware of the gravity of the situation when a friend drew my attention to some German anti-Islamic blogs. I was shocked to the core. These outpourings are almost verbatim copies of the diatribes of Joseph Goebbels. The same rabble-rousing slogans. The same base allegations. The same demonization. With one little difference: instead of Jews, this time it is Arabs who are undermining Western Civilization, seducing Christian maids, plotting to dominate the world. The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. A day after the Oslo events I happened to be watching Aljazeera’s English TV network, one of the best in the world, and saw an interesting program. For a whole hour, the reporter interviewed Italian people in the street about Muslims. The answers were shocking. Mosques should be forbidden. They are places where Muslims plot to commit crimes. Actually, they don’t need mosques at all – they need only a rug to pray. Muslims come to Italy to destroy Italian culture. They are parasites, spreading drugs, crime and disease. They must be kicked out, to the last man, woman and child. I always considered Italians easygoing, loveable people. Even during the Holocaust, they behaved better than most other European peoples. Benito Mussolini became a rabid anti-Semite only during the last stages, when he had become totally dependent on Hitler. Yet here we are, barely 66 years after Italian partisans hanged Mussolini’s body by his feet in a public place in Milan – and a much worse form of anti-Semitism is rampant in the streets of Italy, as in most [or “many”?] other European countries. OF COURSE, there is a real problem. Muslims are not free of blame for the situation. Their own behavior makes them easy targets. Like the Jews in their time. Europe is in a quandary. They need the “foreigners” – Muslims and all – to work for them, keep their economy going, pay for the pensions of the old people. If all Muslims were to leave Europe tomorrow morning, the fabric of society in Germany, France, Italy and many other countries would break down. Yet many Europeans are dismayed when they see these “foreigners”, with their strange languages, mannerisms and clothes crowding their streets, changing the character of many neighborhoods, opening shops, marrying their daughters, competing with them in many ways. It hurts. As a German minister once said: “We brought here workers, and found out that we had brought human beings!” One can understand these Europeans, up to a point. Immigration causes real problems. The migration from the poor South to the rich North is a phenomenon of the 21st century, a result of the crying inequality among nations. It needs an all-European immigration policy, a dialogue with the minorities about integration or multiculturalism. It won’t be easy. But this tidal wave of Islamophobia goes far beyond that. Like a Tsunami, it can result in devastation. MANY OF the Islamophobic parties and groups remind one of the atmosphere of Germany in the early 1920s, when “völkisch” groups and militias were spreading their hateful poison, and an army spy called Adolf Hitler was earning his first laurels as an anti-Semitic orator. They looked unimportant, marginal, even crazy. Many laughed at this man Hitler, the Chaplinesque mustachioed clown. But the abortive Nazi putsch of 1923 was followed by 1933, when the Nazis took power, and 1939, when Hitler started World War II, and 1942, when the gas chambers were brought into operation. It is the beginnings which are critical, when political opportunists realize that arousing fear and hatred is the easiest way to fortune and power, when social misfits become nationalist and religious fanatics, when attacking helpless minorities becomes acceptable as legitimate politics, when funny little men turn into monsters. Is that Dr. Goebbels I hear laughing in hell? Uri Avnery, an Israeli writer and peace activist, founded the Gush Shalom movement. He had served three terms as an MP at the Knesset. This article was published by Gush Shalom. Syrian army kills at least 95 in Hama Libya regime says it is in contact with rebels Anti-Islam hatred poses serious terror threat to Europe 100,000 protest cost of living in Israel Ramadan from Monday in Saudi, other Muslim nations Syrian opposition against foreign intervention Mass resignations may mark end of era for Turkey military Norway 'Crusader' planned more attacks Iraq slims unity cabinet Alleged Israeli mafia boss murdered amid crime hike Iraq less safe than a year ago Yemeni tribes form coalition against Saleh US-Iraq raid causes 'massacre' of civilians Moroccan king calls for better Algeria ties, quick election Syrian forces face demos with bullets Jordan protesters insist on 'genuine' reforms WFP: Mogadishu fighting not hampering food distribution Hariri UN tribunal judge confirms Hezbollah suspects' names Iraq PM due before MPs on downsizing cabinet Norway to fly last Libya mission Saturday Egypt Islamists lead Cairo 'unity' rally Israel, South Sudan announce diplomatic ties Bahrain king 'supports' proposed political reforms Ben Ali sentenced to 16 years for corruption Top Libyan rebel commander killed Palestinian forces storm Dahlan’s home Mubaraks to be tried in Cairo Tribesmen attack army camp near Sanaa Black Mauritanians fear census will deprive them of citizenship Hezbollah denies aiding Syrian regime South Sudan joins African Union Twin bomb attacks rock Tikrit Zawahiri calls Syria pro-democracy activists ‘mujahideen’ US mulls Libya rebel embassy Baghdad hopeful some US troops can stay post 2011 Abbas: We'll ask Security Council for UN membership Egypt’s Tantawi: foreign groups interfering Iraq: Iran shelling of Kurdish rebels damages ties Britain invites Libyan rebels to take over embassy $12 mln ransom ‘sought’ for French kidnapped in Yemen Syrian forces kill 11 in 'vengeance' raid on dissent NATO warns Gathafi over use of civilian facilities Women US senators press Saudi king on driving ban Tunisia prolongs state of emergency indefinitely US military chief nominee sends stern warning to Iran The New Anti-Semitism One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. The Oslo murderer proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with Islam, notes Uri Avnery. Middle East Online The Nazi Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, calls his boss, Adolf Hitler, by hell-phone. “Mein Führer,” he exclaims excitedly. “News from the world. It seems we were on the right track, after all. Anti-Semitism is conquering Europe!” “Good!” the Führer says, “That will be the end of the Jews!” “Hmmm…well…not exactly, mein Führer. It looks as though we chose the wrong Semites. Our heirs, the new Nazis, are going to annihilate the Arabs and all the other Muslims in Europe.” Then, with a chuckle, “After all, there are many more Muslims than Jews to exterminate.” “But what about the Jews?” Hitler insists. “You won’t believe this: the new Nazis love Israel, the Jewish State – and Israel loves them!” THE atrocity committed this week by the Norwegian neo-Nazi – is it an isolated incident? Right-wing extremists all over Europe and the US are already declaiming in unison: “He does not belong to us! He is just a lone individual with a deranged mind! There are crazy people everywhere! You cannot condemn a whole political camp for the deeds of one single person!” Sounds familiar. Where did we hear this before? Of course, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. There is no connection between the Oslo mass-murder and the assassination in Tel Aviv. Or is there? During the months leading up to Rabin’s murder, a growing hate campaign was orchestrated against him. Almost all the Israeli right-wing groups were competing among themselves to see who could demonize him most effectively. In one demonstration, a photo-montage of Rabin in the uniform of an SS officer was paraded around. On the balcony overlooking this demonstration, Binyamin Netanyahu could be seen applauding wildly, while a coffin marked “Rabin” was paraded below. Religious groups staged a medieval, kabbalistic ceremony, in which Rabin was condemned to death. Senior rabbis took part in the campaign. No right-wing or religious voices were raised in warning. The actual murder was indeed carried out by a single individual, Yigal Amir, a former settler, the student of a religious university. It is generally assumed that before the deed he consulted with at least one senior rabbi. Like Anders Behring Breivik, the Oslo murderer, he planned his deed carefully, over a long time, and executed it cold-bloodedly. He had no accomplices. OR HAD he? Were not all the inciters his accomplices? Does not the responsibility rest with all the shameless demagogues, like Netanyahu, who hoped to ride to power on the wave of hatred, fears and prejudice? As it turned out, their calculations were confirmed. Less than a year after the assassination, Netanyahu indeed came to power. Now the right-wing is ruling Israel, becoming more radical from year to year, and, lately, it seems, from week to week. Outright Fascists now play leading roles in the Knesset. All this – the result of three shots by a single fanatic, for whom the words of the cynical demagogues were deadly serious. The latest proposal of our fascists, straight from the mouth of Avigdor Lieberman, is to abrogate Rabin’s crowning achievement: the Oslo agreements. So we come back to Oslo. WHEN I first heard the news about the Oslo outrage, I was afraid that the perpetrators might be some crazy Muslims. The repercussions would have been terrible. Indeed, within minutes, one stupid Muslim group already boasted that they had carried out this glorious feat. Fortunately, the actual mass-murderer surrendered at the scene of the crime. He is the prototype of a Nazi anti-Semite of the new wave. His creed consists of white supremacy, Christian fundamentalism, hatred of democracy and European chauvinism, mixed with a virulent hatred of Muslims. This creed is now sprouting offshoots all over Europe. Small radical groups of the ultra-Right are turning into dynamic political parties, take their seats in Parliaments and even become kingmakers here and there. Countries which always seemed to be models of political sanity suddenly produce fascist rabble-rousers of the most disgusting kind, even worse than the US Tea Party, another offspring of this new Zeitgeist. Avigdor Lieberman is our contribution to this illustrious world-wide league. One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. In his 1500 page political manifesto, on which he had been working for a long time, the Oslo murderer devoted an entire section to this. He proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with barbaric Islam. (Somewhat reminiscent of Theodor Herzl’s promise that the future Jewish State would be an “outpost of Western culture against Asiatic barbarism”?) Part of the professed philo-Zionism of these Islamophobic groups is, of course, pure make-believe, designed to disguise their neo-Nazi character. If you love Jews, or the Jewish State, you can’t be a Fascist, right? You bet you can! However, I believe that the major part of this adoration of Israel is entirely sincere. Right-wing Israelis, who are courted by these groups, argue that it is not their fault that all these hate-mongers are attracted to them. On the face of it, that is of course true. Yet one cannot but ask oneself: why are they so attracted? Wherein lies this attraction? Does this not warrant some serious soul-searching? I FIRST BECAME aware of the gravity of the situation when a friend drew my attention to some German anti-Islamic blogs. I was shocked to the core. These outpourings are almost verbatim copies of the diatribes of Joseph Goebbels. The same rabble-rousing slogans. The same base allegations. The same demonization. With one little difference: instead of Jews, this time it is Arabs who are undermining Western Civilization, seducing Christian maids, plotting to dominate the world. The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. A day after the Oslo events I happened to be watching Aljazeera’s English TV network, one of the best in the world, and saw an interesting program. For a whole hour, the reporter interviewed Italian people in the street about Muslims. The answers were shocking. Mosques should be forbidden. They are places where Muslims plot to commit crimes. Actually, they don’t need mosques at all – they need only a rug to pray. Muslims come to Italy to destroy Italian culture. They are parasites, spreading drugs, crime and disease. They must be kicked out, to the last man, woman and child. I always considered Italians easygoing, loveable people. Even during the Holocaust, they behaved better than most other European peoples. Benito Mussolini became a rabid anti-Semite only during the last stages, when he had become totally dependent on Hitler. Yet here we are, barely 66 years after Italian partisans hanged Mussolini’s body by his feet in a public place in Milan – and a much worse form of anti-Semitism is rampant in the streets of Italy, as in most [or “many”?] other European countries. OF COURSE, there is a real problem. Muslims are not free of blame for the situation. Their own behavior makes them easy targets. Like the Jews in their time. Europe is in a quandary. They need the “foreigners” – Muslims and all – to work for them, keep their economy going, pay for the pensions of the old people. If all Muslims were to leave Europe tomorrow morning, the fabric of society in Germany, France, Italy and many other countries would break down. Yet many Europeans are dismayed when they see these “foreigners”, with their strange languages, mannerisms and clothes crowding their streets, changing the character of many neighborhoods, opening shops, marrying their daughters, competing with them in many ways. It hurts. As a German minister once said: “We brought here workers, and found out that we had brought human beings!” One can understand these Europeans, up to a point. Immigration causes real problems. The migration from the poor South to the rich North is a phenomenon of the 21st century, a result of the crying inequality among nations. It needs an all-European immigration policy, a dialogue with the minorities about integration or multiculturalism. It won’t be easy. But this tidal wave of Islamophobia goes far beyond that. Like a Tsunami, it can result in devastation. MANY OF the Islamophobic parties and groups remind one of the atmosphere of Germany in the early 1920s, when “völkisch” groups and militias were spreading their hateful poison, and an army spy called Adolf Hitler was earning his first laurels as an anti-Semitic orator. They looked unimportant, marginal, even crazy. Many laughed at this man Hitler, the Chaplinesque mustachioed clown. But the abortive Nazi putsch of 1923 was followed by 1933, when the Nazis took power, and 1939, when Hitler started World War II, and 1942, when the gas chambers were brought into operation. It is the beginnings which are critical, when political opportunists realize that arousing fear and hatred is the easiest way to fortune and power, when social misfits become nationalist and religious fanatics, when attacking helpless minorities becomes acceptable as legitimate politics, when funny little men turn into monsters. Is that Dr. Goebbels I hear laughing in hell? Uri Avnery, an Israeli writer and peace activist, founded the Gush Shalom movement. He had served three terms as an MP at the Knesset. This article was published by Gush Shalom. Syrian army kills at least 95 in Hama Libya regime says it is in contact with rebels Anti-Islam hatred poses serious terror threat to Europe 100,000 protest cost of living in Israel Ramadan from Monday in Saudi, other Muslim nations Syrian opposition against foreign intervention Mass resignations may mark end of era for Turkey military Norway 'Crusader' planned more attacks Iraq slims unity cabinet Alleged Israeli mafia boss murdered amid crime hike Iraq less safe than a year ago Yemeni tribes form coalition against Saleh US-Iraq raid causes 'massacre' of civilians Moroccan king calls for better Algeria ties, quick election Syrian forces face demos with bullets Jordan protesters insist on 'genuine' reforms WFP: Mogadishu fighting not hampering food distribution Hariri UN tribunal judge confirms Hezbollah suspects' names Iraq PM due before MPs on downsizing cabinet Norway to fly last Libya mission Saturday Egypt Islamists lead Cairo 'unity' rally Israel, South Sudan announce diplomatic ties Bahrain king 'supports' proposed political reforms Ben Ali sentenced to 16 years for corruption Top Libyan rebel commander killed Palestinian forces storm Dahlan’s home Mubaraks to be tried in Cairo Tribesmen attack army camp near Sanaa Black Mauritanians fear census will deprive them of citizenship Hezbollah denies aiding Syrian regime South Sudan joins African Union Twin bomb attacks rock Tikrit Zawahiri calls Syria pro-democracy activists ‘mujahideen’ US mulls Libya rebel embassy Baghdad hopeful some US troops can stay post 2011 Abbas: We'll ask Security Council for UN membership Egypt’s Tantawi: foreign groups interfering Iraq: Iran shelling of Kurdish rebels damages ties Britain invites Libyan rebels to take over embassy $12 mln ransom ‘sought’ for French kidnapped in Yemen Syrian forces kill 11 in 'vengeance' raid on dissent NATO warns Gathafi over use of civilian facilities Women US senators press Saudi king on driving ban Tunisia prolongs state of emergency indefinitely US military chief nominee sends stern warning to Iran The New Anti-Semitism One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. The Oslo murderer proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with Islam, notes Uri Avnery. Middle East Online The Nazi Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, calls his boss, Adolf Hitler, by hell-phone. “Mein Führer,” he exclaims excitedly. “News from the world. It seems we were on the right track, after all. Anti-Semitism is conquering Europe!” “Good!” the Führer says, “That will be the end of the Jews!” “Hmmm…well…not exactly, mein Führer. It looks as though we chose the wrong Semites. Our heirs, the new Nazis, are going to annihilate the Arabs and all the other Muslims in Europe.” Then, with a chuckle, “After all, there are many more Muslims than Jews to exterminate.” “But what about the Jews?” Hitler insists. “You won’t believe this: the new Nazis love Israel, the Jewish State – and Israel loves them!” THE atrocity committed this week by the Norwegian neo-Nazi – is it an isolated incident? Right-wing extremists all over Europe and the US are already declaiming in unison: “He does not belong to us! He is just a lone individual with a deranged mind! There are crazy people everywhere! You cannot condemn a whole political camp for the deeds of one single person!” Sounds familiar. Where did we hear this before? Of course, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. There is no connection between the Oslo mass-murder and the assassination in Tel Aviv. Or is there? During the months leading up to Rabin’s murder, a growing hate campaign was orchestrated against him. Almost all the Israeli right-wing groups were competing among themselves to see who could demonize him most effectively. In one demonstration, a photo-montage of Rabin in the uniform of an SS officer was paraded around. On the balcony overlooking this demonstration, Binyamin Netanyahu could be seen applauding wildly, while a coffin marked “Rabin” was paraded below. Religious groups staged a medieval, kabbalistic ceremony, in which Rabin was condemned to death. Senior rabbis took part in the campaign. No right-wing or religious voices were raised in warning. The actual murder was indeed carried out by a single individual, Yigal Amir, a former settler, the student of a religious university. It is generally assumed that before the deed he consulted with at least one senior rabbi. Like Anders Behring Breivik, the Oslo murderer, he planned his deed carefully, over a long time, and executed it cold-bloodedly. He had no accomplices. OR HAD he? Were not all the inciters his accomplices? Does not the responsibility rest with all the shameless demagogues, like Netanyahu, who hoped to ride to power on the wave of hatred, fears and prejudice? As it turned out, their calculations were confirmed. Less than a year after the assassination, Netanyahu indeed came to power. Now the right-wing is ruling Israel, becoming more radical from year to year, and, lately, it seems, from week to week. Outright Fascists now play leading roles in the Knesset. All this – the result of three shots by a single fanatic, for whom the words of the cynical demagogues were deadly serious. The latest proposal of our fascists, straight from the mouth of Avigdor Lieberman, is to abrogate Rabin’s crowning achievement: the Oslo agreements. So we come back to Oslo. WHEN I first heard the news about the Oslo outrage, I was afraid that the perpetrators might be some crazy Muslims. The repercussions would have been terrible. Indeed, within minutes, one stupid Muslim group already boasted that they had carried out this glorious feat. Fortunately, the actual mass-murderer surrendered at the scene of the crime. He is the prototype of a Nazi anti-Semite of the new wave. His creed consists of white supremacy, Christian fundamentalism, hatred of democracy and European chauvinism, mixed with a virulent hatred of Muslims. This creed is now sprouting offshoots all over Europe. Small radical groups of the ultra-Right are turning into dynamic political parties, take their seats in Parliaments and even become kingmakers here and there. Countries which always seemed to be models of political sanity suddenly produce fascist rabble-rousers of the most disgusting kind, even worse than the US Tea Party, another offspring of this new Zeitgeist. Avigdor Lieberman is our contribution to this illustrious world-wide league. One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. In his 1500 page political manifesto, on which he had been working for a long time, the Oslo murderer devoted an entire section to this. He proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with barbaric Islam. (Somewhat reminiscent of Theodor Herzl’s promise that the future Jewish State would be an “outpost of Western culture against Asiatic barbarism”?) Part of the professed philo-Zionism of these Islamophobic groups is, of course, pure make-believe, designed to disguise their neo-Nazi character. If you love Jews, or the Jewish State, you can’t be a Fascist, right? You bet you can! However, I believe that the major part of this adoration of Israel is entirely sincere. Right-wing Israelis, who are courted by these groups, argue that it is not their fault that all these hate-mongers are attracted to them. On the face of it, that is of course true. Yet one cannot but ask oneself: why are they so attracted? Wherein lies this attraction? Does this not warrant some serious soul-searching? I FIRST BECAME aware of the gravity of the situation when a friend drew my attention to some German anti-Islamic blogs. I was shocked to the core. These outpourings are almost verbatim copies of the diatribes of Joseph Goebbels. The same rabble-rousing slogans. The same base allegations. The same demonization. With one little difference: instead of Jews, this time it is Arabs who are undermining Western Civilization, seducing Christian maids, plotting to dominate the world. The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. A day after the Oslo events I happened to be watching Aljazeera’s English TV network, one of the best in the world, and saw an interesting program. For a whole hour, the reporter interviewed Italian people in the street about Muslims. The answers were shocking. Mosques should be forbidden. They are places where Muslims plot to commit crimes. Actually, they don’t need mosques at all – they need only a rug to pray. Muslims come to Italy to destroy Italian culture. They are parasites, spreading drugs, crime and disease. They must be kicked out, to the last man, woman and child. I always considered Italians easygoing, loveable people. Even during the Holocaust, they behaved better than most other European peoples. Benito Mussolini became a rabid anti-Semite only during the last stages, when he had become totally dependent on Hitler. Yet here we are, barely 66 years after Italian partisans hanged Mussolini’s body by his feet in a public place in Milan – and a much worse form of anti-Semitism is rampant in the streets of Italy, as in most [or “many”?] other European countries. OF COURSE, there is a real problem. Muslims are not free of blame for the situation. Their own behavior makes them easy targets. Like the Jews in their time. Europe is in a quandary. They need the “foreigners” – Muslims and all – to work for them, keep their economy going, pay for the pensions of the old people. If all Muslims were to leave Europe tomorrow morning, the fabric of society in Germany, France, Italy and many other countries would break down. Yet many Europeans are dismayed when they see these “foreigners”, with their strange languages, mannerisms and clothes crowding their streets, changing the character of many neighborhoods, opening shops, marrying their daughters, competing with them in many ways. It hurts. As a German minister once said: “We brought here workers, and found out that we had brought human beings!” One can understand these Europeans, up to a point. Immigration causes real problems. The migration from the poor South to the rich North is a phenomenon of the 21st century, a result of the crying inequality among nations. It needs an all-European immigration policy, a dialogue with the minorities about integration or multiculturalism. It won’t be easy. But this tidal wave of Islamophobia goes far beyond that. Like a Tsunami, it can result in devastation. MANY OF the Islamophobic parties and groups remind one of the atmosphere of Germany in the early 1920s, when “völkisch” groups and militias were spreading their hateful poison, and an army spy called Adolf Hitler was earning his first laurels as an anti-Semitic orator. They looked unimportant, marginal, even crazy. Many laughed at this man Hitler, the Chaplinesque mustachioed clown. But the abortive Nazi putsch of 1923 was followed by 1933, when the Nazis took power, and 1939, when Hitler started World War II, and 1942, when the gas chambers were brought into operation. It is the beginnings which are critical, when political opportunists realize that arousing fear and hatred is the easiest way to fortune and power, when social misfits become nationalist and religious fanatics, when attacking helpless minorities becomes acceptable as legitimate politics, when funny little men turn into monsters. Is that Dr. Goebbels I hear laughing in hell? Uri Avnery, an Israeli writer and peace activist, founded the Gush Shalom movement. He had served three terms as an MP at the Knesset. This article was published by Gush Shalom. Syrian army kills at least 95 in Hama Libya regime says it is in contact with rebels Anti-Islam hatred poses serious terror threat to Europe 100,000 protest cost of living in Israel Ramadan from Monday in Saudi, other Muslim nations Syrian opposition against foreign intervention Mass resignations may mark end of era for Turkey military Norway 'Crusader' planned more attacks Iraq slims unity cabinet Alleged Israeli mafia boss murdered amid crime hike Iraq less safe than a year ago Yemeni tribes form coalition against Saleh US-Iraq raid causes 'massacre' of civilians Moroccan king calls for better Algeria ties, quick election Syrian forces face demos with bullets Jordan protesters insist on 'genuine' reforms WFP: Mogadishu fighting not hampering food distribution Hariri UN tribunal judge confirms Hezbollah suspects' names Iraq PM due before MPs on downsizing cabinet Norway to fly last Libya mission Saturday Egypt Islamists lead Cairo 'unity' rally Israel, South Sudan announce diplomatic ties Bahrain king 'supports' proposed political reforms Ben Ali sentenced to 16 years for corruption Top Libyan rebel commander killed Palestinian forces storm Dahlan’s home Mubaraks to be tried in Cairo Tribesmen attack army camp near Sanaa Black Mauritanians fear census will deprive them of citizenship Hezbollah denies aiding Syrian regime South Sudan joins African Union Twin bomb attacks rock Tikrit Zawahiri calls Syria pro-democracy activists ‘mujahideen’ US mulls Libya rebel embassy Baghdad hopeful some US troops can stay post 2011 Abbas: We'll ask Security Council for UN membership Egypt’s Tantawi: foreign groups interfering Iraq: Iran shelling of Kurdish rebels damages ties Britain invites Libyan rebels to take over embassy $12 mln ransom ‘sought’ for French kidnapped in Yemen Syrian forces kill 11 in 'vengeance' raid on dissent NATO warns Gathafi over use of civilian facilities Women US senators press Saudi king on driving ban Tunisia prolongs state of emergency indefinitely US military chief nominee sends stern warning to Iran The New Anti-Semitism One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. The Oslo murderer proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with Islam, notes Uri Avnery. Middle East Online The Nazi Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, calls his boss, Adolf Hitler, by hell-phone. “Mein Führer,” he exclaims excitedly. “News from the world. It seems we were on the right track, after all. Anti-Semitism is conquering Europe!” “Good!” the Führer says, “That will be the end of the Jews!” “Hmmm…well…not exactly, mein Führer. It looks as though we chose the wrong Semites. Our heirs, the new Nazis, are going to annihilate the Arabs and all the other Muslims in Europe.” Then, with a chuckle, “After all, there are many more Muslims than Jews to exterminate.” “But what about the Jews?” Hitler insists. “You won’t believe this: the new Nazis love Israel, the Jewish State – and Israel loves them!” THE atrocity committed this week by the Norwegian neo-Nazi – is it an isolated incident? Right-wing extremists all over Europe and the US are already declaiming in unison: “He does not belong to us! He is just a lone individual with a deranged mind! There are crazy people everywhere! You cannot condemn a whole political camp for the deeds of one single person!” Sounds familiar. Where did we hear this before? Of course, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. There is no connection between the Oslo mass-murder and the assassination in Tel Aviv. Or is there? During the months leading up to Rabin’s murder, a growing hate campaign was orchestrated against him. Almost all the Israeli right-wing groups were competing among themselves to see who could demonize him most effectively. In one demonstration, a photo-montage of Rabin in the uniform of an SS officer was paraded around. On the balcony overlooking this demonstration, Binyamin Netanyahu could be seen applauding wildly, while a coffin marked “Rabin” was paraded below. Religious groups staged a medieval, kabbalistic ceremony, in which Rabin was condemned to death. Senior rabbis took part in the campaign. No right-wing or religious voices were raised in warning. The actual murder was indeed carried out by a single individual, Yigal Amir, a former settler, the student of a religious university. It is generally assumed that before the deed he consulted with at least one senior rabbi. Like Anders Behring Breivik, the Oslo murderer, he planned his deed carefully, over a long time, and executed it cold-bloodedly. He had no accomplices. OR HAD he? Were not all the inciters his accomplices? Does not the responsibility rest with all the shameless demagogues, like Netanyahu, who hoped to ride to power on the wave of hatred, fears and prejudice? As it turned out, their calculations were confirmed. Less than a year after the assassination, Netanyahu indeed came to power. Now the right-wing is ruling Israel, becoming more radical from year to year, and, lately, it seems, from week to week. Outright Fascists now play leading roles in the Knesset. All this – the result of three shots by a single fanatic, for whom the words of the cynical demagogues were deadly serious. The latest proposal of our fascists, straight from the mouth of Avigdor Lieberman, is to abrogate Rabin’s crowning achievement: the Oslo agreements. So we come back to Oslo. WHEN I first heard the news about the Oslo outrage, I was afraid that the perpetrators might be some crazy Muslims. The repercussions would have been terrible. Indeed, within minutes, one stupid Muslim group already boasted that they had carried out this glorious feat. Fortunately, the actual mass-murderer surrendered at the scene of the crime. He is the prototype of a Nazi anti-Semite of the new wave. His creed consists of white supremacy, Christian fundamentalism, hatred of democracy and European chauvinism, mixed with a virulent hatred of Muslims. This creed is now sprouting offshoots all over Europe. Small radical groups of the ultra-Right are turning into dynamic political parties, take their seats in Parliaments and even become kingmakers here and there. Countries which always seemed to be models of political sanity suddenly produce fascist rabble-rousers of the most disgusting kind, even worse than the US Tea Party, another offspring of this new Zeitgeist. Avigdor Lieberman is our contribution to this illustrious world-wide league. One thing almost all these European and American ultra-Rightist groups have in common is their admiration for Israel. In his 1500 page political manifesto, on which he had been working for a long time, the Oslo murderer devoted an entire section to this. He proposed an alliance of the European extreme Right and Israel. For him, Israel is an outpost of Western Civilization in the mortal struggle with barbaric Islam. (Somewhat reminiscent of Theodor Herzl’s promise that the future Jewish State would be an “outpost of Western culture against Asiatic barbarism”?) Part of the professed philo-Zionism of these Islamophobic groups is, of course, pure make-believe, designed to disguise their neo-Nazi character. If you love Jews, or the Jewish State, you can’t be a Fascist, right? You bet you can! However, I believe that the major part of this adoration of Israel is entirely sincere. Right-wing Israelis, who are courted by these groups, argue that it is not their fault that all these hate-mongers are attracted to them. On the face of it, that is of course true. Yet one cannot but ask oneself: why are they so attracted? Wherein lies this attraction? Does this not warrant some serious soul-searching? I FIRST BECAME aware of the gravity of the situation when a friend drew my attention to some German anti-Islamic blogs. I was shocked to the core. These outpourings are almost verbatim copies of the diatribes of Joseph Goebbels. The same rabble-rousing slogans. The same base allegations. The same demonization. With one little difference: instead of Jews, this time it is Arabs who are undermining Western Civilization, seducing Christian maids, plotting to dominate the world. The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. A day after the Oslo events I happened to be watching Aljazeera’s English TV network, one of the best in the world, and saw an interesting program. For a whole hour, the reporter interviewed Italian people in the street about Muslims. The answers were shocking. Mosques should be forbidden. They are places where Muslims plot to commit crimes. Actually, they don’t need mosques at all – they need only a rug to pray. Muslims come to Italy to destroy Italian culture. They are parasites, spreading drugs, crime and disease. They must be kicked out, to the last man, woman and child. I always considered Italians easygoing, loveable people. Even during the Holocaust, they behaved better than most other European peoples. Benito Mussolini became a rabid anti-Semite only during the last stages, when he had become totally dependent on Hitler. Yet here we are, barely 66 years after Italian partisans hanged Mussolini’s body by his feet in a public place in Milan – and a much worse form of anti-Semitism is rampant in the streets of Italy, as in most [or “many”?] other European countries. OF COURSE, there is a real problem. Muslims are not free of blame for the situation. Their own behavior makes them easy targets. Like the Jews in their time. Europe is in a quandary. They need the “foreigners” – Muslims and all – to work for them, keep their economy going, pay for the pensions of the old people. If all Muslims were to leave Europe tomorrow morning, the fabric of society in Germany, France, Italy and many other countries would break down. Yet many Europeans are dismayed when they see these “foreigners”, with their strange languages, mannerisms and clothes crowding their streets, changing the character of many neighborhoods, opening shops, marrying their daughters, competing with them in many ways. It hurts. As a German minister once said: “We brought here workers, and found out that we had brought human beings!” One can understand these Europeans, up to a point. Immigration causes real problems. The migration from the poor South to the rich North is a phenomenon of the 21st century, a result of the crying inequality among nations. It needs an all-European immigration policy, a dialogue with the minorities about integration or multiculturalism. It won’t be easy. But this tidal wave of Islamophobia goes far beyond that. Like a Tsunami, it can result in devastation. MANY OF the Islamophobic parties and groups remind one of the atmosphere of Germany in the early 1920s, when “völkisch” groups and militias were spreading their hateful poison, and an army spy called Adolf Hitler was earning his first laurels as an anti-Semitic orator. They looked unimportant, marginal, even crazy. Many laughed at this man Hitler
    July 31, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Reply
    • Klingon

      My oh my your post is full of hatred and propaganda!

      August 3, 2011 at 4:40 am | Reply
  20. midgick

    I apologize for not editing my comments better. I did not realize that the entire article that I red would be reproduced several times with extraneous material.
    However, the article smacks of what's happened and what's happening now. My people went through this throughout history especially in the 20's 30's and 40's. I have no love for Muslims but I do for Humanity. I can't believe that I am actually defending the millions of people who want to destroy Israel. I think I'm defending Humanity.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  21. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    GOP is Knights Templar.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  22. Peter

    You would like to think more people on CNN would have reading comprehension skills. It's a pretty basic message that many people have seemed to misinterpret by complaining about the article. He didn't call the original Templars drug dealers, he didn't attack pot smokers. He was just giving some basic background on the Knights Templars so people could realize what this terrorist was talking about when he said he was one of them.

    July 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  23. McBeth

    Fareed, I am a huge fan of you and think you are one of the brightest guys in the Media industry. However I disagree with your philosophy that only 1% of the attacks are conducted by the islamic terrorists. This percentage maybe true but what is a fact that these people are known to hate the west and they should be monitored regularly and tightly, even though I happen to be a muslim. The low percentage is because they have not succeeded on to be more than 1% otherwise it would have been 50%. The fact that the one crazy guy killed innocent people is something that no one can foresee and it can happen anywhere. that is mental and I don't think it has anything to do with ideas.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  24. Dele.

    Midgick, u don't really need to be a muslim b4 u can side withthe the truth. It's irresistible. Tell the whole world the truthand shame allwho live in delusion of western imperialists .
    I need not emphasize the fact that Islam does not advocate terrorism but terrorism is a brainwork of western conspiracy. Ask them, who cloned osama and his likeincluding faceless terrorist groups?

    August 1, 2011 at 5:09 am | Reply
  25. deployedmarine

    This author keeps stating was said they did this did that. So is he unsure. Because there are numerous Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars accounts of what the Templars did, some actions vile some noble.

    August 1, 2011 at 7:18 am | Reply
  26. Kristina Dudley

    I was skeptical at first when I heard about men of God selling drugs. They do so because its a job and it is a war against people who are innocently using drugs or who were raised in poverty and can find no other work. Yes there are many preditors in the drug world and some of them work for the police and the government themselves. To have men of God enter the drug world and be down and dirty for God and sell the drugs until the violence dies down and until a cleaner safer drug that could be sold legally that would end the curiosity of our youth could be produced.

    The prohabition of alchol was also very violent and the alchol was very dangerous, sometime poison.

    The drug wars open the doors to preditors that only want to undermine the miniority population or to know that they caused the violence.

    Perhaps no one needs God more than someone who has become an addict or someone who has chosen to sell drugs.
    So our government has probably already taken on God during the war on drugs and the war on poverty. I don't think any of us thought that they intended to arrest the poor and arrest the addicts. drug treatment and homeless shelters and jobs were what I would have thought they meant.

    Hopefully God continues to take over not only our government but the Mexican government and the drug cartels with men of God until peace once again raigns within Mexico and Americas Ghettos.

    Now if you could just end racial profiling, discrimination and police abuse of power and entrapment methods.

    Thank you God for giving me a chance to explain an American Jihad.

    Peace be to all of you, may you overcome the hell that an has created on Earth.

    August 1, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
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