Something Rotten in Norway
There's more than a casual link between the Utoya youth camp and Palestinian terrorism.
Anders Breivik’s attack on the youth camp of the Norwegian Labour Party has its most obvious precedent in the Maalot Massacre when Palestinian Muslim gunmen attacked an Israeli elementary school, taking over a hundred children hostage, and then using automatic weapons to kill as many of them as they could. But the link between Maalot and Utoya is more than casual. The Workers Youth League which ran the camp had a long history of supporting the same kind of terrorists who had perpetrated the Maalot Massacre.
Lars Gule, is the Secretary General of the Norwegian Humanist Association, and a defender of Muslims having the right to discriminate against women and gays. (The two are not a contradiction in Norway.) He was the leader of the Workers Youth League at the University of Bergen– and a DFLP terrorist.
The DFLP were the perpetrators of the Maalot Massacre. And two years after that attack, Lars Gule was trained by the DFLP and dispatched to Israel via Norway with explosives hidden in the covers of his books.
“The Suspect had made it known to his employers that he wanted to take human life… to strengthen Palestinian fighting spirit and morale,“ Norwegian police records noted.
None of this impeded Gule’s career in any way. He went on to the University of Bergen and served as the head of the Workers Youth League, the organization that was targeted in the Utoya attack. Today he is a prominent figure on the left.
How can we make sense of this? Glenn Beck compared the Workers Youth League camp to a Hitler Youth camp. He was close, but not entirely right. The roots of the Workers Youth League are actually Communist.
Norway’s Labour Party was a member of the Communist International. The Workers Youth League was formed by the merger of the Left Communist Youth League and the Socialist Youth League of Norway. We often use “Communist” as a pejorative– but in this case the Utoya camp, literally was a Communist youth camp.
The day before the massacre, Norwegian Foreign Minister Gahre-Store visited the camp and was greeted with banners calling for a boycott of Israel, and Gahre-Store responded with an Anti-Israel speech to cheers from the campers. There is something ominous about such indoctrination of hate. It is not quite on the level of the Hitler Youth, but neither is it a world apart.
In the 1930’s, Germans were encouraged to blame their problems on the Jews. In this decade, Norwegians are encouraged to blame their problems on the Jews. There are few children of workers at the Workers Youth League camp. They are for the most part the children of the party, the sons and daughters of bureaucrats and party leaders, training the next generation to perpetrate the Labour Party state.
Breivik came from that same background. The son of the left wing elite. And if his parents’ marriage had not collapsed, with the young boy allotting a share of the blame to the Labour Party, he would likely have a comfortable spot in the socialist state. Breivik may have turned against his roots, but the idea that terroristic violence is a legitimate solution is one that he could have easily picked up on the left.
Gahre-Store may have been greeted with a banner calling for the boycott of Israel, but he would never have been greeted with one calling for a boycott of terrorists. And indeed if there is an Islamist terrorist group that Gahre-Store doesn’t support, it’s hard to find. Gahre-Store had called for negotiating with Al-Shahaab in Somalia, an Al-Qaeda offshoot, he spoke with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and called for a reconciliation with the Taliban.
Nor is the Workers Youth League call for the destruction of Israel a recent one. In the 70’s, the movement was already pushing for a One State Solution. The man who led the organization then went on to become the country’s Foreign Minister playing a key role in the Oslo Accords that turned Israel into a free fire zone for the terrorist allies of the League and the Labour Party.
Media commentators have made a great deal of Breivik’s radicalization, but despite his death toll, his radicalization seems to be an isolated event in comparison to the magnitude of radicalization at Utoya. If Breivik’s violence and bigotry is to be condemned– shouldn’t the species of violence and bigotry at Utoya be condemned as well?
The left can hold up Utoya as an example, but there are a legion of counterexamples. Nor the least of which is Lars Gule, traveling with explosives in his backpack, on a journey that took him from DFLP terrorist to Workers Youth League leader.
And behind that is the larger string of DFLP and Fatah atrocities. And that of other terrorist groups around the world. The Utoya attack cannot be viewed as an isolated event. It must be seen within the context of support for terrorism as a valid tactic. An idea that goes back to the Marxist roots of the Labour Party and which is embodied in its political support for terrorism. And its manifest hostility to the victims of terrorism.
Breivik and Lars Gule had their common origins in a country dominated by a political left which sees violence as a legitimate tool of political change, while dehumanizing its victims. Norway’s ambassador to Israel carefully distinguished between the Utoya attack and the terrorist attacks on Israelis. The latter would go away if Israel just followed Gahre-Store’s example and negotiated with Hamas.
But what Norway’s political elite failed to grasp is that the genie of terrorism cannot be kept in a lamp, to emerge only at your command. Once you legitimize terrorism as a tool of political change, you lose the ability to determine who will make use of it. Breivik followed the example of Lars Gule, that of the Marxist terrorists, whose intellectual legacy is the black tar that seeps through the painted walls of Norwegian foreign policy.
The hatred and terrorist collaboration on display at Utoya was the symptom of a larger disease. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” Marcellus proclaims in Hamlet. It’s equally rotten in Norway.
Breivik was one expression of that rottenness. But there are many others. Like Lars Gule, and his vision of a secular atheism living side by side with bigoted Islamism. Or Gahre-Store following in the footsteps of countless left wing foreign ministers by opening Norway’s doors to every Islamist terrorist group out there. Or the children being groomed to become the future leaders of Norway taught to hate as fervently as their Fatah associates.