Israel has banned Mads Gilbert from entering Gaza for an indefinite periode of time citing security reasons.
Norwegian media are up in arms. They have made Gilbert a national icon.
This fact speaks volumes about a gradual shift in the political landscape in Norway that have elevated a hardcore activist to the position of national symbol.
Even the conservative government feel obliged to protest his exclusion, acting under moral duress from the opposition.
Why did the foreign minister Børge Brende not signal that Israel might have a case and pursue a more cautious approach?
The answer is that even the conservative side has adopted a view of the Middle East and Israel/Palestinians in particular that follows a leftist script.
Foreigners are puzzled that one of the richest countries in the world, generelly perceived as benevolent and humanitarian, are so critical of Israel.
Gilbert’s story symbolizes this development. He is a hardcore maoist from the Seventies who kept going when others became docile and preferred a comfortable life. He found the perfect combination being a doctor and activist. He could transfer his authority as surgeon onto politics. The public thought they heard a doctor speaking from Gaza and the media backed him up. They tended to ignore that he also carried another hat: hardcore political activist.
Gilbert’s condemnation of Israel’s was as harsh and loud as his silence on Hamas was deafening.
The rise of IS has demonstrated beyond doubt what jihadism is all about. Hamas’s threats of extermination against Israel suddenly acquired a much more sinister meaning. Gilbert’s unwillingness to address Hamas’ oppressive rule and destructive behaviour became a liability.
It was a Danish journalist, Martin Krasnik, who in July ripped into Gilbert and exposed his double standards: portraying Israel in the most negative terms possible, and feigning ingnorance of Hamas or neutrality, while at the same time insisting on the right to armed resistance. Gilbert committed the error of becoming enraged and exposed his onesided righteousness.
People have started to realize that this special form of righteousness is inseparable from aggression and revenge. IS has been a harsh educator.
Norwegian media refuses to even contemplate that Israel might have a case. Editor of Aftenposten, Norway’s most prestigeous paper, Harald Stanghelle, writes a remarkable comment Monday 17. of November devoid of even the possibility that Gilbert might have committed security breaches while at the same time ridiculing Israel for playing an all to transparent game of ridding themselves of a nuisance.
Gilbert is really not the issue here, he is a relict of the 70’s with PLO and the politics of armed liberation. What is fare more interesting is the fact that he is embraced as a national symbol by the chattering classes.
Gilbert symbolizes the alliance between islamists and the left, that are occuring not just in Norway but many Western countries. It is an alliance that professes to advance justice, but it is a special form of justice. It sanctifies the victim, as offended. The islamists and socialists/liberale share a belief in the righteousness of the offended that is almost religious in character. It is incumbent upon them to correct this injustice, and it can only be done by attacking the oppressor, Israel.
It is a recipe for disaster. For every defensive/offensive move Israel feels obliged to undertake, their wrath grows. Israel’s actions are proof that their analysis is correct.
A growing body politic in the West are starting to realize that this fight is not just about Israel. It is also about them. The alliance is threatening not just Israel, but all free societies.