Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article on the former Norwegian PM, Jens Stoltenberg’s appointment as secretary general of NATO, was published yesterday in the Jerusalem Post. The Tundra Tabloids has been given permission to publish a slightly extended version of the original article.
NATO’S NEW SECRETARY-GENERAL:
PROBLEMATIC NOT ONLY FOR ISRAEL
By Manfred Gerstenfeld
Before President Putin’s military actions inside the Ukraine, it was unclear for many Westerners what the current justification for NATO’s existence was. The cold war was history, so why continue to maintain a transatlantic military alliance? However, the recent tensions in Eastern Europe have led to major worries about an increasingly unsettled future.
In this context, the expected appointment of Norway’s previous Labor Party Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as the new NATO Secretary General seems bizarre. This is not only due to Norway’s political and military reality under his leadership which ended with the election defeat last September. The arguments against choosing him are strengthened by the attitudes of his government vis-à-vis Israel.
The Stoltenberg government was the only European one to include the extreme left. Several ministers came from the SV party, which had as one of its founders Norway’s communists. Ingrid Fiskaa of SV was Deputy Minister of the Environment for some time. She had stated before: “When for example the Palestinians are exposed to a slow genocide and the U.N. does not get much done, this discussion does not come up. Why not? Because it is not in the U.S. interest. In some dark moments, I might wish that the U.N. fire some precision-guided rockets at selected Israeli targets.”1
Though Norway sent soldiers to Afghanistan, its military reality is deficient. In 2013, former Chief of the Norwegian army General Sverre Diesen said that the country’s military defense does not have the quality nor capacity to face even limited attacks on Norway.2 This military defense situation was summed up in 2008 by General Robert Mood, Inspector-General of Norway’s army in a slightly different way. He described the army’s capability then as, “only being able to defend perhaps one neighborhood in Oslo, much less the entire country.”3 Like the military the police performs poorly. Its poor performance after the Breivik attacks has been examined in a report by an independent commission. It is a description of a lengthy series of logistical failures. 4
The Stoltenberg government frequently applied double standards against Israel, a behavior which fits the European definition of anti-Semitic acts. The government de facto legitimized the genocidal Palestinian terrorist movement Hamas on several occasions. If its calls to remove Israel’s security barrier had been successful, this would have facilitated Palestinian terrorist acts. It also organized major festivities on the occasion of the one hundred and fiftieth birthday of the late writer Knut Hamsun, a fanatic Hitler admirer.5 This was yet another example of the poor judgment of a democratic Prime Minister.
Stoltenberg’s personal support for hate-mongering against Israel is mainly indirect. As Prime Minister and party leader, he is responsible for all the anti-Israel and hate bias coming out of his government and Labor. In a letter to the Norwegian ambassador in Washington in 2010, then-U.S. Senator Sam Brownback listed a number of anti-Semitic acts by the Norwegian government. The letter mentioned for instance how the Norwegian government funded the trip of two extreme leftwing Norwegian doctors to Gaza during Israel’s “Cast Lead” campaign. They became a mouthpiece for Hamas. Stoltenberg phoned these propagandists of Palestinian murderers and told them that “all of Norway is behind you.”6
During his tenure, the Norwegian embassy in Damascus funded an exhibition of hate-Israel paintings by artist Håkon Gullvag. The ambassador said at the opening that, “this exhibition is perceived as one of the most important political expressions that has been made by a Norwegian artist in a long time.”7
The party’s youth movement the AUF, is packed with anti-Israel inciters. After criminal Anders Breivik murdered tens of youngsters at the AUF camp on the island of Utoya in 2011, it became known that a substantial part of the camp was devoted to promoting hatred against Israel among its participants, the youngest ones of whom were 14 years old.8
Stoltenberg spoke at several meetings over the years in which there were brutal verbal attacks on Israel, while he remained silent. A prime minister indicates his support by condoning and not confronting these attacks.
The most recent case was at the 1st of May celebration of the umbrella Trade Union LO in Oslo in 2013. Salma Abudahi from Gaza’s Union of Agriculture Work Committees (UAWC) spoke in 2013. Earlier she had given an interview in which Abudahi called rockets a “symbol of resistance” and said that occupied people have a right to defend themselves.“It is important,” said Abudahi, “to understand the proportions. The Israelis are killing our loved ones all the time.” This was yet another example of Palestinian hatemongering. Stoltenberg spoke after Abudahi at the meeting and ignored her incitement in his speech.9
In 2012 a three member OSCE delegation visited Norway. After their visit, the delegation published a report in which it criticized Norway for intolerant attitudes towards both Jews and Muslims. The authors stated that the police did not map the level of hate crimes, nor did they fight it in a measurable way. The report also recommended increased security for the Jewish community there. The OSCE delegation further commented on the Norwegian government’s attitude concerning the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It warned that the “strong anti-Israeli attitude can develop into anti-Semitism.” The delegation urged the foreign minister to conduct a debate which promotes a less biased view of the conflict and does not lead to a demonization of the Israeli state.10
If NATO states believe that out of all potential candidates this person is the most qualified to coordinate the workings of the alliance and head its staff, this is an indication of their poor judgment. Regarding Israel’s contacts with this powerful organization, Stoltenberg’s anticipated appointment is at best moving several steps backward.
1 Olav Østrem, “Hauken og duen,” Klassekampen, 19 April 2008.
Translated from original article by Julie Ryland in Aftenposten.
3 Sveinung Berg Bentzrød, “Army Forced to Sharpen Knife as Cost Cuts Loom,” Aftenposten, 30 May 2008.
4 Alexandra Bech Gjørv et al., ”Rapport fra 22. juli-kommisjonen,” Regjeringen.no, 13 August 2012.
5 Walter Gibbs, “Norwegian Nobel Laureate, Once Shunned, is Now Celebrated,” New York Times, 27 February 2009.
6 “Breaking: Letter from US Senator Brownback on anti-Semitism in Norway”, Norway, Israel and the Jews, 10 August 2010.
7 Espen Sandmo and Jan Rye Ravnestad, “Gullvåg sensurert i Damaskus,” NRK Trøndelag, 17 Ocober. 2010.
8 Manfred Gerstenfeld, interviews Ivar Fjeld, “Preaching Israel-Hatred at Norway’s Terror Island,” Israel National News, 27 January. 2013.
9Conrad Myrland, “Palestinsk taler på Youngstorget tegner fiendebilder og maner til kamp,” Med Israel For Fred, 30 Apr. 2013.
10 Andrew Baker, Adil Akhmetov and Catherine McGuinness, “Report of the Personal Representatives of the OSCE Chair-in-Office on tolerance and non-discrimination issues [on the country visit to] Norway,” 11-15 June, 2012, Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System, Published: Vienna : OSCE, 14 December 2012