I’m not as quick to assume as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is. At a briefing yesterday, he rushed to refer to the Quebec mosque shooting where 6 Muslim worshipers were killed, as “a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the President is taking steps to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety and security.”
The Washington Post had to wonder in its headline: “Why did Sean Spicer suggest that the Quebec shooting validated Trump’s policy initiatives?”
Indeed, as Glenn Greenwald points out, “Spicer exploited the attack to justify President Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries”– seven countries from which, incidentally, “foreigners… have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and the end of 2015”, as the CATO Institute noted last week.
Greenwald pointed out that “almost immediately, various news outlets and political figures depicted the shooter as Muslim. Right-wing nationalist tabloids in the UK instantly linked it to Islamic violence. Fox News claimed that ‘witnesses said at least one gunman shouted “Allahu akbar!”,’ and then added this about the shooter’s national origin: [Fox News tweet] ‘Suspect in Quebec mosque terror attack was of Moroccan origin, reports show’.” The claim was not retracted long after it became clear that it was false.
I would add references from across the Atlantic. The Israel National News still has up an article at the point of this writing, containing the headline “Report claims shooters yelled ‘Allahu akbar!’ in deadly Mosque shooting”. Israeli Walla News unquestioningly runs the “Allahu Akbar” narrative (Hebrew), Israeli Ynet includes it in headline (Hebrew) . That’s mainstream Israeli news. Haaretz, more careful, citing Reuters and Guardian, refrains from the claim (Hebrew).
But there was only one shooter. The other man mentioned as a Moroccan was a bystander, a witness to the attack, and his involvement was quickly dispelled. The mention of ‘Allahu akbar” appears to be a dog-whistle. It’s supposed to mean ‘Jihadist radical Islam’ or something like that. But do people realise, that shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ in a scene of an attack, especially by Arab-speaking Muslim, can be equivalent to an English-speaking Christian shouting ‘Oh my God!’?
Now that the ‘Islamist terrorism’ claim is dispelled (alas not all medias are as fast to follow through – what’s the hurry?), can we look at what other possible motives could be at play?
As Ali Abunimah notes, the shooter Alexandre Bissonnette, appears to be not only a fan of US President Donald Trump, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, holding anti-immigrant and anti-feminist views. He also appears to be a fan of the Israeli army and other ardent Zionist groups such as ‘United with Israel’.
No, we should not rush to conclusions, but isn’t there already something to be discussed here?
It is not very hard to understand the obvious connection to the anti-immigrant right, and that is of obvious relevance in light of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s welcoming of refugees in the wake of Trump’s draconian orders. But what about the Zionist aspect? It is hardly mentioned anywhere. NBC will even go down to details of Bissonnette’s Facebook account, noting that “he had liked pages for heavy metal bands, video games and public figures ranging from far-right French politician Marine Le Pen and U.S. President Donald Trump to chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov and Pope John Paul II.” Yet no mention of Israel.
Interestingly, the Forward does mention the Israel connection clearly , but one is hard pressed to find such mentioning otherwise.
Such affinities towards white-nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment and particularly anti-Islamist tendencies (as this attack embodies in its very nature), dovetail rather well with Zionism.
In fact, one of the most horrid examples of Christian, White-supremacist terror, that of Anders Breivik in Norway 2011, also included a very clear ideological affinity with Zionism.
Former head of the Anti-Defamation League Abe Foxman opined that this affiliation was ‘bizarre’: “One bizarre twist to Breivik’s warped worldview was his pro-Zionism – his strongly expressed support for the state of Israel”, Foxman wrote in the Washington Post.
“Who does Foxman think he is kidding?”, wrote Ali Abunimah, “There is nothing “bizarre” about this at all. Indeed Foxman himself has done much to bestow credibility on extremists who have helped popularise the Islamophobic views he now condemns. And he did it all to shore up support for Israel.”
Yet such discussions appear to be extremely contentious. Can we really take seriously loose affiliations to Israel and Zionism, just because some terrorist mentions it? Is it not merely the raving of a deranged individual?
Such caution appears to be completely absent when Israel seeks to incite against Palestinians. When Israel wants to frame ‘terrorism’ upon Palestinians, it seems enough to say ‘ISIS’ without a shred of evidence, and this will be echoed far and wide. This is what happened on the 8th of January with the alleged ramming and ‘terror attack’ in East Jerusalem that killed four Israeli soldiers. It was enough for Netanyahu to say “ISIS,” without a shred of evidence. And enough for Chief of Police Ronnie Alsheikh to say, “It is certainly possible to be influenced by watching TV”. Why be pedantic? When it comes to Palestinians, it’s no problem to shout “terror” and make loose, baseless allegations.
The same happened more recently, on January 18th, when Israel enacted its ethnic cleansing operation at the Israeli Bedouin village of Umm Al-Hiran. Schoolteacher Yaqoub Moussa Abu Al-Qia’an was shot by Israeli police whilst driving his car slowly, after which he accelerated (apparently, his leg was shot first) and ended up killing an Israeli Policeman, Erez Levi. Abu Al-Qia’an was then shot again and left to bleed to death (as is often the case with assumed ‘terrorists’). Immediately Abu Al-Qia’an was publicly framed, not merely as a terrorist, but even one with ‘jihadist sympathies’.
As I wrote at the time, the police made the ‘Jihadist sympathy’ claim based upon a raid of his home in which they discovered copies of Israel Hayom (Shledon Adelson funded right-leaning paper) from 2015 whose banner headlines spoke of an ISIS bomb attack, as well as books in Arabic. Reading such a newspaper– the most read newspaper in Israel, with a headline that is typical– is surely very suspicious. So is the possession of Arab books. Shouldn’t Al-Qia’an only have been reading Yiddish?
There appears to be no end to the speed, range and ridiculousness of the assumptions when it comes to Israel and its incitement against Palestinians. When the word ‘terror’ is presented, this presses a button and the world media mostly responds accordingly and submissively. It’s enough to make the ‘Islamist’ allegation, and it will be re-quoted, no proof necessary. We are so prone to connect terror with ‘Islam’, that it is almost an automatic assumption.
But figures show that this assumption is unfounded in reason. Less than 2% of the terror attacks in Europe 2010-2015 were “religiously motivated”, thus, not ‘Islamic terrorism’. In USA, an FBI study looking at terrorism committed on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 found that 94 percent of the terror attacks were committed by non-Muslims. As New York Times also notes, “since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, including the recent mass killing in Charleston, S.C., compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center.”
Nonetheless, in defiance of all fact, figures and reason, Fox News host Brian Kilmead said a few years ago on live debate, that “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”
How much are we prone to believe these sorts of claims? Is it just one dumb pundit? No, there are many more. Some of them are even National Security Advisers, like Michael Flynn.
In August, Flynn spoke to a Jewish synagogue congregation about ‘Islamism’. In the past, Flynn has regarded the whole of Islam as a ‘cancer’. But now he was trying to make a more ‘sophisticated’ (the same kind of ‘sophistication’ applied by Kilmead), that the cancer is ‘Islam-ISM’:
“We are facing another ‘ism,’ just like we faced Nazism, and fascism, and imperialism and communism,” Flynn said. “This is Islamism, it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet and it has to be excised.”
Well, that is actually very funny. Something about that ‘ISM’, huh? Did the irony that Flynn was talking to a congregation defined by Juda-ISM, most all of them likely supporting Zion-ISM, completely pass everyone over the head? And what about his ‘imperialism’? That’s just hilarious. But it’s also very serious. He’s the National Security Adviser. He sees a major world religion as a cancer (where his attempts at sophistication of his primitive bigotry end up totally ridiculous).
Benjamin Netanyahu has also taken some of Flynn’s lines (or was it the other way around?) when he compared ‘radical Islam’ (Flynn’s ‘Islamism’) to Communism and Nazism, hailing the hardline ideologist Jabotinsky’s ‘Iron Wall’ policy (also back in August).
But is it possible that terrorists today can actually get their inspirations from the supposed ‘bastions of democracy and freedom’?
After all, Obama’s killer-drone campaign is regarded by Noam Chomsky (on CNN) as “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times.” Chomsky characterized Obama’s policy as a “global assassination campaign targeting people suspected of perhaps intending to harm us some day, and any unfortunates who happen to be nearby.”
And what about Israel’s seasonal massacres in Gaza? Is that not a state-terrorist campaign? What about the siege of Gaza? Last week, the Council of Europe has condemned it as “collective punishment”. Is this not also a form of state terrorism?
We should not be surprised when terrorists who aim their attacks at Muslims or perceived Muslim supporters get inspiration from western state terrorism, and Israel in particular. Zionism, the ideology informing the Jewish State, is for all practical purposes a violent, anti-assimilationist, nationalist-exclusivist ideology that has ethnic cleansing at its very heart. It is not strange, that white-supremacist terrorists would draw their inspiration and awe from its means and methods.