Norway has in recent years gained a reputation as a country where antisemitism flourishes. Bad for business. Peace business, political business and reputation.
In order to counter such a perception, a conference is taking place in Oslo next Tuesday and Wednesday. A number of American Jews have been flown in and will meet a host of representatives – from the political elite, academics, journalists, NGO-leaders, who will try to convince the Americans that the rumour is false: Norway is not a country leading in antisemitism. It has its problems like any other country. But that is someting different, entirely.
The lineup is official. Those are the very people that have either stoked the fire of anti-israelism bordering on anti-jewish feelings, or function as official spindoctors.
The guests will be hard put to discern who is who. Noone will repeat their anti-israeli diatribes in such a forum.
Nor will the guests know that today’s Norway is a small corporative society, where every thread of society is enmeshed with the other. It is a country where political correctness reigns supreme behind a facade of consensus.
One observes an astounding feat: whilst anti-israelism has grown venomous, there are few voices who criticize it. A fortright defence of Israel and the Jews are not welcome. It simply is not done in the established media. Except the occasional critical article that serves to legitimize the anti-Israeli rant.
It is Norway’s official value system that is skewed. That have taken a new course. Official Norway no longer navigates along the same coordinates as USA or Israel. Antiamericanism and anti-israelism are therefore indistinguishable. Many people are worried. The New Norway, imbued with multiculturalism, is bad, not only for Jews, but also for Norwegians.
Noone symbolizes this development more than foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
It was not accidental that under his leadership Norway was the first Western country to recognize the national palestinian government, including Hamas, the spring 2007.
We now know that this was not an aberration.
Consider the press release from Gahr Støre’s department this very day, concerning Palestinians storming of the Israeli border Sunday.
Uakseptabelt med drap på ubevæpnede demonstranter
– Israels voldsbruk mot demonstranter som forsøkte å krysse våpenhvilelinjen mellom Syria og de okkuperte Golan-høydene er uakseptabel. Drap på ubevæpnede demonstranter kan ikke forsvares, sier utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Israelske styrker åpnet søndag ild mot demonstranter som forsøkte å ta seg over gjerdet mot de israelsk-okkuperte Golan-høydene. Flere demonstranter skal ha blitt drept og såret, men det er uklart hvor mange.
– Norge fordømmer bruk av vold og handlinger som fremprovoserer voldsbruk. Syria har også et ansvar for å motvirke uro i området. Dette er den mest alvorlige hendelsen på Golan-høydene siden 1973 og viser med all tydelighet behovet for en omfattende fredsløsning mellom Israel og nabolandene, sier utenriksministeren.
Unacceptable killing of unarmed civilians
Israel’s use of violence against demonstrators who tried to cross the ceasefire line between Syria and the occupied Golan Hights are unacceptable.
-The killing of unarmed demonstrators cannot be defended, says foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Israeli forces opened fire Sunday against demonstrators who tried to breach the fence on the Israeli-occupied Golan Hights. Several demonstrators were reputedly killed or wounded. How many are unclear.
-Norway condemns the use of violence and acts that provokes violence. Syria also has a responsibility for countering unrest in the area. This is the most serious event on the Golan Hights since 1973 and shows the need for a comprehensive peace settlement between Israel and the neighbouring countries, says the foreign minister.
The language cloaks Gahr Støre political intentions behind seemingly innocuous formulas. But for someone versed in the conflict and diplomatic code, Gahr Støre’s press realease is pretty obvious: it is an endorsement of the Syrian version of events. The mild rebuke of Syria cannot hide that it is Israel who is to blame for defending itself.
The Norwegian public broadcaster, NRK, used the official Syrian numbers – some 38 killed and 320 wounded as an introduction when citing the condemnation, making it even more explicit and politically tainted.
The political and media elite that rules Norway do not want Israel to gain from the uprising in Syria. This was a chance to level the battle field.
Neither NRK nor the foreign minister mentions the obvious fact: that the Palestinians were on the border only because the Syrian regime wanted them to. Probably they were set up to create havoc on the border, to detract from the slaughtering of civilians inside Syria.
To condemn Israel without mentioning this fact, is not only a sign of bias, it is a sign of evil intent. Because it also gives credence, indirectly, to a regime that slaughters its people.
It all happens behind a screen of bon homie and straight faces. But the American Jews should have no illusions. They probably know the story from other European countries. History comes alive, incredible as it seems.