This is cross posted at Daphne Anson
Oslo, 2006. Miriam Shomrat, Israel’s Ambassador to Norway, was incensed. And with good reason.
In September that year, a month after Oslo’s Jewish cemetery was vandalised, and just before Rosh Hashanah, three individuals in a passing car (later identified as two Islamists and an accomplice called Kristiansen), fired a volley of 13 shots at the synagogue. The building’s facade was damaged, although luckily no one was hurt.
The attack came shortly after the government of Jens Stoltenberg (who of course has been very much in the public eye this past week, and has visited a mosque to show his solidarity with his country’s Muslims) ruled that security cameras monitoring the approaches to the synagogue in Oslo must be removed.
Likening the attack on the synagogue to terrorism (a court verdict disagreed, by the way, finding merely that “serious vandalism” had occurred), Miriam Shomrat observed, before the perpetrators (who had, it would transpire, planned to bomb the Israeli and American embassies and to kidnap and decapitate her) were discovered:
“We don’t know who’s doing this, whether it’s Norwegians or foreigners. But the fact that there’s been an increase [in attacks] and that it’s happening in Oslo must be taken very seriously by the political community.”
Diplomatic or not, in a television interview she made some pointed remarks about the fact that not a single message of sympathy had been forthcoming from the country’s Royal Family, and blamed a former prime minister, Kåre Willoch (wrongly identified in the following video as “Kurk Witnak”) for contributing to the climate of antisemitism in Norway, and also criticised bestselling author Jostein Gaarder.
Willoch, a Conservative, and a fierce critic of Israeli policy towads the Palestinian Arabs, had in May 2006 invited Hamas official Atef Adwan to a private lucheon; Willoch would subsequently be accused of antisemitism by the Wall Street Journal for observing of President Obama’s appointment of Rahm Emanuel: “It does not look too promising, he has chosen a chief of staff who is Jewish,” a remark also condemned by Alan Dershowitz.
Gaarder, during Israel’s operations against Hizbollah in southern Lebanon, had in an op-ed in the newspaper Aftenposten entitled “God’s Chosen People” described Judaism as “an archaic national and warlike religion” and noted that Christianity promotes “compassion and forgiveness”. He claimed that many Israelis rejoiced at the deaths of Lebanese children, just as the biblical Israelites celebrated the plagues a wrathful Deity inflicted upon Egypt.
“We laugh at this people’s whims, and cry over its misdeeds. To act as God’s chosen people is not only foolish and arrogant, it is a crime against humanity. We call it racism…. We laugh with embarrassment at those who still believe that the god of the flora, fauna and galaxies has chosen one particular people as his favorite, and given them amusing stone tablets, burning bushes and a license to kill….
We no longer recognize the State of Israel. We could not recognize the apartheid regime of South Africa, nor did we recognize the Afghani Taliban regime. Then there were many who did not recognize Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or the Serbs’ ethnic cleansing. We need to get used to the idea: The State of Israel, in its current form, is history.
The State of Israel has raped the recognition of the world and shall have no peace until it lays down its arms.”
Ambassador Shomrat’s remarks were denounced the following day by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, of whom we’ve also been seeing a lot in recent days.
Sniffed Støre, who has shown time and again that he is no friend to Israel:
“In the first place an ambassador from another country ought to know that the Royal Family can never respond to such remarks. And anyway she should also know that it is the government that expresses the view of the Norwegian authorities.
What she is doing is to make criticisms of something that must be interpreted as a lack of sympathy with what happened last week. I think this is an unsuitable remark for an ambassador from another country in Norway.”
Fast forward a few years. In a BBC News bulletin on Wednesday, an attractive and personable young woman who is a member of the Norwegian parliament was interviewed, obviously in order to drive home the message that Norway is the multicultural paradise that all good leftists say it is. Describing Norway as a “land of opportunity” she pointed out that she, the daughter of Muslim immigrants, had been elected to the legislature at the age of 28.
Quite so. But for its small and dwindling Jewish community Norway is less the land of opportunity than the land of betrayal.
During the Second World War, Norway was the only one of the four Scandinavian countries which failed to protect its Jews from deportation. Of Norway’s 1700 Jews, 736 were deported to their deaths (the others were hidden or managed to escape).
In contrast, the Jews of Denmark were famously rescued by being secretly conveyed by fishing boats to Sweden (which was neutral and unoccupied by the Nazis), while Finland, although an ally of Nazi Germany, pointedly refused to allow its Jews to be deported.
From 1942-45 wartime Norway was ruled by the Nazi stooge Vidkun Quisling, whose name is a synonym for treason, while below him were the usual gang of German and local antisemitic psychopaths. (If you have ten minutes to spare, have a look at this video, in the second half of which an expert is interviewed.)
After the war, although Quisling was hanged, Police Inspector Knut Rod, who had been responsible for rounding up the Jews, was acquitted in what one source has described as a “scandalous” trial, while Jewish survivors who managed to return to Norway found that their apartments and businesses had been taken over by “Aryan” Norwegians. Those Jews fortunate enough to get their property returned to them had to pay a steep “administration fee” for the privilege.
Although 66 years have passed since the end of the war, it appears that little has changed. Norway today is, in fact, one of the most antisemitic countries in Europe, and much of the impetus for this hostility to Jews and to Israel has come not only from Muslim sources but from the ruling Labor Party and its supporters.
An astute pro-Israel Norwegian blogger noted, two-and-a-half years ago:
‘Mainstream media in Norway frequently uses cartoons depicting the state of Israel as the quintessential, vicious Jew. More often than not this caricature of a villainous Jew is depicted as violently oppressing a seemingly powerless neighbour. To the right you can see “the seven synonyms of death”, from the Norwegian dailyDagsavisen, on January 7th, 2004. Dagsavisen is still tied to the labor movement, but not as much as it used to. In this caricature we see a bearded, bignosed man writing down synonyms for death on a scroll. He is wearing a cap which looks sort of Jewish….
I think it’s ten years now that I’ve heard people talk about similarities between Israel and Nazi-Germany. The comparison has been pretty much drilled into us in a classic Pavlovian conditioning.’
Last year, a prominent University of Oslo social anthropologist and popular chat show regular, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, wrote, in his book Søppel – avfall i en verden av bivirkninger (“Trash – Garbage in a world of side effects”), while paraphrasing another author:
“The Jews (were considered) unclean because they were both insiders and outsiders: They had contributed disproportionately to Europe’s fine arts and were culturally competent, but at the same time they were not quite insiders due to their religion, their networks and their propensity for endogamy (they mostly married other Jews). They excluded themselves, and were in turn excluded, or vice versa.”
He then dropped the clanger: “These days the same formula is applied to Arabs…. by Jews.”
Apparently, the perception of Muslims as “the new Jews”and the Israelis as “the new Nazis” is found rather a lot in Norway.
Who can easily forget the far-left hatchet-faced Gaza-based Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, doing a far-left hatchet job on Israel during Operation Cast Lead in 2009?
The previous year, controversial performer Otto Jespersen offended Jews when he joked with impunity on national television:
“I would like to take the opportunity to remember all the billions of fleas and lice that lost their lives in German gas chambers, without having done anything wrong other than settling on persons of Jewish background.”
And he ended a satirical monologue on antisemitism thus:
“Finally, I would like to wish all Norwegian Jews a Merry Christmas – no, what am I saying! You don’t celebrate Christmas, do you!? It was you who crucified Jesus.”
In 2010 Labor parliamentarian Anders Mathisen apparently queried the Holocaust, telling the newspaper Finnmarken that Jews “exaggerated their stories” and “there is no evidence the gas chambers and or mass graves existed”. He reportedly accused movies such as Schindler’s List for bamboozling the public, and is said to have refused calls to resign.
Jens Stoltenberg’s immediate predecessor as party leader, Thorbjørn Jagland, currently serving as Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, was utterly condemnatory of Israel and its defensive actions on board the Mavi Marmara last year, taking Turkey’s part.
Socialist leader Kristin Halvorsen has spearheaded Norway’s pervasive “Boikott Israel” campaign. Not long ago, she supported a call for military action against Israel if it attacked Hamas in Gaza. She’s pictured here, when serving as minister of finance,at an anti-Israel rally where (in translation) a placard pronounced: “The greatest axis of evil: USA and Israel” and (it’s not hard to guess by whom) “Death to the Jews!” was repeatedly shouted.
Halvorsen’s twisted logic is that unless punitive action is taken against Israel for air strikes at Hamas positions, the credibility of international attempts to dislodge Gaddafi by force are morally undermined. Similarly, Vibeke Løkkeberg, director of the anti-Israel movie Tears Over Gaza, aired on state-owned television station NRK, compared Operation Cast Lead to “the massacres Gaddafi is conducting against Libyan insurgents”.
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who visited the ill-fated Utøya island youth camp the day before the massacre by Breivik, was cheered for his pro-Palestinian rhetoric, despite rejecting youth camp leader Eskil Pedersen’s call for a unilateral boycott of Israel by Norway. (Both men are pictured here, side by side.)
(Update: be sure also to read this and this.)
Last year, the Norwegian government, which has banned Israel from tendering for Norwegian defence contracts, divested from two Israeli concerns operating in the West Bank, and its sovereign wealth fund divested from an Israeli company that worked on the security fence. The government recently upgraded Palestinian representation in Norway to full ambassadorial status despite the Fatah’s accord with Hamas.
Sitting alongside Mahmoud Abbas, Støre told a press conference that ” it is perfectly legitimate” for Abbas to seek recognition of an independent Palestinian state at the UN. Støre chairs a group of countries who financially support the Palestinian cause, and stressed that “all donors should make an extra effort to support the Palestinians this summer and autumn”. Ingrid Fiskaa, a Socialist who serves as official in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, declared in 2008 that she occasioanlly wished that the UN would send “precision-guided missiles against selected Israeli targets”. For more on Støre, who’s likely to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as Prime Minister in due course, and his woeful attitude towards Israel.
In November 2010, 100 or so members and supporters of a political party called Rødt (“Red”) held what police termed “an illegal demonstration” inside a shopping centre in Oslo. The BDSers involved displayed banners proclaiming “Occupation is not nice – Boycott Israel!” and “Shame on you!”, and yelled “Boycott Israel” and “Free Palestine” as they surrounded a booth selling mineral products from the Dead Sea, interfered with the goods on display, and harassed the Israeli salesperson. The affixed stickers to the booth and handed out leaflets. The mall was closed for fifteen to twenty minutes while police struggled to restore order.
Last Sunday, BBC television news, always keen to deride legitimate concerns over mass Third World immigration into Europe and to deplore “Islamophobia” whatever the trigger or occasion, trotted out Thorbjorn Jagland to sing the praises of the Norwegian/European commitment to mass immigration and that supposed Utopia wrought by multiculturalism.
Alas, modern Norway is a society in which all minorities may flourish unimpeded (even those whose cultures are inherently misogynistic and treat women as chattels).
All minorities except one, it seems. (Incidentally, Shechita is banned in Norway, but Muslim ritual slaughter is allowed!)
American writer and literary critic Bruce Bawer has described antisemitism in Norway, where he lives, as being de rigeuer amongst much of “the cultural elite – the academics, intellectuals, writers, journalists, politicians, and technocrats”.
“Part of the motivation for this anti-Semitism is the influx into Norway in recent decades of masses of Muslims from Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere. Multiculturalism has taught Norway’s cultural elite to take an uncritical, even obsequious, posture toward every aspect of Muslim culture and belief. When Muslim leaders rant against Israel and the Jews, the reflexive response of the multiculturalist elite is to join them in their rantings. This is called solidarity.”
Read more in Joseph Klein’s invaluable article “Norway is repeating its Quisling treachery of the Nazi era, this time.”
See also Alan Dershowitz on recent events and his own experience of Norway’s antipathy to Jews and Israel:
Also read this, this, and this.