Over past decades Norway has build a reputation of Israel hatred and Antisemitism that is unparalleled even when compared to other Scandinavian countries (themselves no fans of Israel)
Author Yoram Kaniuk, who has been hosted in Oslo several times in recent years, said that when talk turns to politics, “you discover bottomless hatred. The impression is that suddenly it is permissible to say anything – against Israel and against Jews … Have you ever heard them talk like that about what the Russians are doing in Chechnya, or about the oppression of 40 million Kurds?”
Unlike in many other European countries, attitudes in homogeneous Norway are not the product of a large Muslim population. (Ha’ aretz 4/02)
- 2003 State Secretary Raymond Johansen of the Foreign Ministry expressed his understanding for the Arab war against the Jews and declared that Norway recognises an Arab right to attack Jews (Dagsavisen 23rd June 2003)
- In early 2004 a municipally employed teacher in Kristiansand was been prevented from wearing a Star of David around his neck. (Norwegian Broadcasting)
- January 2006 Minister of Finance, Kristin Halvorsen, urges a boycott of trade with the”Jews of Israel.”
- On July of 2006 the congregation of Oslo’s shul issued an advisory warning Jews not to wear Kippahs or other identifying items in public for fear of harassment or assault
- In Sept 2006 Oslo’s synagogue, attacked with machine gun fire.
Things got so bad this past January, that parents of Jewish Kindergartners were fearful that their children could be attacked:
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Children of a Jewish kindergarten in Oslo are not allowed to play outdoors because adults fear terrorism. For four weeks the 28 children have had to stay indoors in the kindergarten that is adjacent to a synagogue in Oslo. The decision was made in meeting between the security personnel of the synagogue, Police Security Service (PST) and parents.
Kindergarten manager, Anne Stine Mazrachi, is afraid that something unpleasant may happen. During the war in Gaza, Hamas announced that Jewish institutions and Jews all over the world are targets of their revenge. The kindergarten is part of the congregation and synagogue. We have drawn the conclusion that it is not safe to let the kids out, said Mazrachi to Dagen Magazine. Other security measures are put into practice. The parents leave and pick up children at different times, and no one is left at home. All windows are bulletproof and close circuit TV shields access. We wonder what this does to children’s identity- that they are not permitted to go out and you must keep them hidden in a free country like Norway. During trips we cannot wear clothes that say “The Jewish Kindergarten,” she says. Source Atlas Shrugs
You would think as we moved further from the action in Gaza things would calm down a bit, in fact it has gotten worse now the Norwegian Media and “intellectual elite” has joined in:
Increased Anti-semitism In Norway Has Local Jews Anxious
Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment has exploded in Norway – driven by the Norwegian media and intellectual elite – due to Operation Cast Lead, according to Norwegian Jewish leaders.
During the war, Olso was fraught with violent anti-Israel demonstrations. Numerous government officials decried Israel’s actions in Gaza – including Minister of Finance Kristin Halvorsen, who led a march shouting, “Death to the Jews!” Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, who worked in Gaza and disseminated stories about Israel’s brutality, became a national hero in the Norwegian media.
Even before the war began, local Jews were tense because of anti-Semitic cartoons, recent boycotts of Israeli merchandise, and the highly publicized affair of Norwegian comic Otto Jespersen, who made anti-Semitic remarks on national television.
This wave continued with renowned Norwegian painter Håkon Gullvåg’s opening a new exhibition entitled “Requiem for the Children of Gaza” in Trondheim over the weekend. The city’s mayor, Rita Ottervik, applauded Gullvåg for accurately depicting the Gaza conflict. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg also commended Gullvåg for “painting pictures that place this on the agenda.”
Kygell Nyhuus, secretary of the Norwegian Press Professional Association, told The Jerusalem Post recently that the Jespersen incident – in which the comedian’s anti-Semitic remarks on the TV2 network were deemed “in bad conduct” earlier this year, and the network forced to publish an adjudication – was the first time satire had ever been censored in Norway.
“I don’t see lots of anti-Semitism in Norway, though,” Nyhuus said. “This is not at all indicative of anti-Semitism in Norway, and the decision itself had nothing to do with the anti-Semitic content of his comments – only the degree of their vulgarity.”
However, according to Manfred Gerstenfeld, chairman of the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs, “the elite, the academics, politicians and media consider themselves to be great moralists, with very little self-introspection. Their self-righteousness, arrogance, and inherited Lutheran prejudices against Jews has led to a huge amount of anti-Israel sentiment. Gaza caused these latent feelings in society to come to the fore.”
Rabbi Yoav Melchior, considered the leading rabbi of Norway, said he had been “very scared during the war.”
“Hatred spread in a fast, dangerous way. This was blind emotionalism against Israel and against Jews. It gets deep at the heart of Norway’s emotional anti-Semitism. The current wave of anti-Semitism shows what people have been holding inside them,” he said.
Gerstenfeld, who authored and recently published Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel, and the Jews, noted that “considering that there are only 700 Jews in a population of 4.6 million, there is a lot of hatred against Israel and the Jews.”
Norway’s government has been vocal in its criticism of Israel in recent months. At the outbreak of the Gaza hostilities, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre declared that “Norway strongly condemns any form of warfare that causes severe civilian suffering, and calls on Israel to withdraw its forces immediately.”
In addition, “the Norwegians are pioneers in boycotting Israel,” Gerstenfeld said, citing many Norwegian trade unions’ affinity for supporting Palestinian interests at Israel’s expense.
In an NGO Monitor report released March 12, Norway was found to have supported Palestinian humanitarian aid organizations for the past decade, including many that have pursued radical anti-Israel agendas. The report called this support for “boycotts and apartheid rhetoric instead of peace and coexistence.”
According to Gerstenfeld, “because Norway is a very tiny country with a language most don’t understand, nobody gives them much attention. Their anti-Semitism flew completely under the radar for a long time.”
Now that the world is becoming aware of the situation in Norway, “the Norwegian elite won’t get away with this incredible arrogance any longer,” he asserted.