Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How a Newspaper in Norway Has Transformed Me into a 'Pro-Terrorist' Criminal

Barry Rubin

You might be interested in a little controversy that’s developed for me that is one more example of the typical treatment given to critics of the version of truth approved by much of the mass media and dominant worldview in many Western circles today.

Briefly, I wrote my Jerusalem Post column this week as an article titled “The Oslo Syndrome.” The theme of the article was simple:

People who, even out of ignorance or good intentions, express political support for a group like Hamas (or others that could be named), saying these radicals are merely acting because of just grievances, or are really moderate, or are not terrorists at all, are dangerously mistaken because they help make terrorism seem a successful strategy, thus inspiring others to commit terrorism. (To get the argument fully, please read my original article)

I provided a number of historic examples of past waves of terrorism that failed in order to demonstrate that if the strategy didn’t seem to work, revolutionary and radical groups dropped it. In the Middle East, however, terrorism has been a “success” and even has won — for the causes and groups if not for the terrorists’ methods — a lot of Western sympathy. I’m sure you can provide examples to prove that point. One of the milder letters asserted that I was completely wrong because Hamas is not a terrorist organization and that an attack on an Israeli or American summer camp could be justified because those countries use violence. Well, isn’t that what’s been happening for years? You know, like what happened on September 11, 2001?

And as I explained in my article, violence is not necessarily terrorism, something I defined as the deliberate murder of civilians for a political cause, specifically to intimidate the victims into surrendering and to muster support among one’s own potential supporters.

If the target group, say Norwegians or Arabs or Muslims, etc., were horrified and denounced the terrorism, the revolutionaries would stop doing it and change strategies.

Here are the first three paragraphs of my article:

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

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

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

I think that’s clearly not support for the murders or blaming those who were murdered as deserving their fate.

After receiving a lot of positive mail from readers around the world, suddenly I started getting a few outraged letters from Norway angrily denouncing me for “spitting in the face” of those killed and calling them terrorists.

Astonished, I assumed it was simply because these people in Norway were understandably sensitive on the issue and their English isn’t as good as they thought since they misread my article.

Then I discovered that a newspaper in Norway translated — without my knowledge or permission — alleged parts of my article into Norwegian. It claims that I wrote:

“Ungdomsleiren han (Anders Behring Breivik) angrep var i bunn og grunn en terrortreningsleir.”

This means in English: “The youth camp (Breivik) attacked was basically a terrorist training camp.”

I should add though that the newspaper did link to the English-language original so anyone could check it, if they were good enough in both languages. But the newspaper also told its readers what to think. Every time I referred to Hamas or other groups as terrorists the newspaper put that in quotation marks, as if that is how it was in the original.

And it helpfully “explained”: “Rubin er avslørt som langvarig Israel-lobbyist, som får betalt for å fremme Israels sak.” And that means: “Rubin is exposed as a longstanding lobbyist for Israel, who is paid for promoting Israel’s cause.” There are a number of untruths in that sentence, but I think you catch the drift.

This kind of distortion is an attempt to spread hate, perhaps inspiring some future terrorist. But of course I now merely (once again) join the ranks of those who are being slandered and their words distorted as “respectable” newspapers make propaganda with no regard to truth.

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