anti-Semitism Humanitarian Mask JCPA Manfred Gerstenfeld Norway


Manfred Gerstenfeld:What is behind this obsession with Israel and the Jews by a Norwegian elite which falsely calls itself progressive? Why are so many pioneering anti-Israeli, and also anti-Semitic, acts coming out of this country?
That was focus of the speech delivered yesterday by, Dr.Manfred Gerstenfeld, (Chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) to an audience gathered at the JCPA in Israel, that included among others, one of the first secretaries of the Norwegian embassy in Tel Aviv, as well as a correspondent from the Aftenposten, Juergen Lohne.

The Tundra Tabloids received word (upon getting the entire speech delivered by Dr.Gerstenfeld yesterday) that the Aftenposten will be publishing a report on the seminar this Saturday.

Also of interest is that the Tundra Tabloids was accredited in the power point presentation played during the speech for a picture it found and published of the Norwegian Finance Minister, Kristin Halvorsen, particpating in an anti-Israel demonstration where “death to the Jews were being shouted.

The TT tips its hat to Dr.Gerstenfeld for the honorable mention. The Tundra Tabloids had been following the story of Norwegian Finance Minister’s involvement in the anti-Israel demo, which has become an extreme embarrassment to the Norwegian government. So it’s no wonder that the First Secretary of the Norwegian Embassy chose to be silent when asked to comment about the seminar. KGS

Norway, Israel and the Jews
JCPA seminar 19 November 2009
Manfred Gerstenfeld

I asked myself what would have happened if I had to give a lecture on Norway, Switzerland and the Swiss in Norway. I looked in Google and I did not see any way to fill half an hour.

When speaking about Norway, Israel and the Jews, however, there is so much material that one wonders where to start. Israel is far away from Norway. It has as many inhabitants as Switzerland, on which you find very little in the Norwegian papers. On the other hand part of the Norwegian elite, which falsely calls itself progressive, is obsessed with another small country, Israel. This includes the leftwing government, many media, NGOs and part of the academic world. There are at most 1 300 Jews in Norway, of which 700 are organized in two communities, Oslo and Trondheim. They also are subject to the obsessive attention of the Norwegian elite.

A Short Quiz

The subject if today is complex and difficult to handle in a short time span. So, let’s try to get into the mood quickly with a little quiz.

First question: What is the name of the only country in Europe where, during the restitution negotiations at the end of the previous century, government officials threatened a Jewish member of the Government commission of inquiry and tapped her phone. Who was the person threatened? (Norway, Berit Reisel)

Second question: What is the name of the king who granted the St. Olav Order to an artist who had drawn Israeli Prime Minister Olmert as a Nazi and who was the artist? (King Harald V of Norway to Finn Graf slide 1) This is not the only act of strange behavior by the royal family. Crown Prince Haakon was present at a discussion where the Muslim anti-Semite Mohammed Ali Chisthi explained why he dislikes Jews. (slide 2)

Third question: Who was the member of the Nobel Peace Prize committee who, in 2002, wanted to take back the Nobel Prize for Peace, if possible, from Shimon Peres, and what was her background? (Hanna Kvanmo of the Socialist Left Party – she was condemned to a jail sentence after the Second World War as a collaborator of Nazi Germany because she had served as a nurse with the German troops on the Eastern front.)

Fourth question: Who was the only minister of a European government who marched in an anti-Israeli demonstration in January this year? (Kristen Halvorsen, leader of the Socialist Left Party. At the time she was minister of finance. During that demonstration there were shouts of “Death to the Jews.”) (Slide 3 shows Halvorsen next to a sign which states “USA and Israel, the greatest axis of evil”)

Fifth and last question: What is the name of the first rector of a European state university to use university money to finance a series of anti-Israeli propaganda lectures and what is the name of that university? (Torbjorn Digernes of NTNU Trondheim)

Trade Union and Media

I could have spent the entire time on this presentation with similar questions. The Norwegian trade union LO was among the first trade unions to call for a boycott of Israel in 2002. The then leader Gerd-Liv Valla later had to resign because of her misbehavior on other matters. In 2009 the current leader of that trade union Roar Flathens attacked only one country in his 1 May speech this year – of course it was Israel.

Some data show that the Norwegian media give more attention to Israel than to the neighboring Russia, a country which may cause Norway somewhat more problems than Israel. Furthermore it also seems that the Norwegian media give more attention to the Israeli army than to their own troops in Afghanistan.

Former Israeli minister Michael Melchior who still is officially Norway’s chief rabbi is always very careful in not attacking Norway. In 2002 in an interview for my book Europe’s Crumbling Myths he however said to me “In most Norwegian media, there is no true reflection of the problems and dilemmas of the nations in the Middle East. They have lost every sense of proportion, of democracy and of basic moral values.”

A little background story: The publisher of my forthcoming book in NorwegianAnti-Semitism in Norway: Behind the Humanitarian Mask – came here for the recent Feast of Tabernacles. I had finished writing the book some time in June, as it was unlikely that anything would happen during the summer holidays, and it was ready to be published. At the beginning of October the publisher said to me: “I want to delay the book by a few weeks, because there were so many anti-Israeli issues in September that I want you to update the book.” I did what he wanted; it took over 2 500 words to cover anti-Israeli acts in Norway over a period of perhaps five weeks. With what has happened in the past few weeks the book is now again already not fully up to date.

What is behind this obsession with Israel and the Jews by a Norwegian elite which falsely calls itself progressive? Why are so many pioneering anti-Israeli, and also anti-Semitic, acts coming out of this country? I have tried to do a similar exercise for a country which I know much better than Norway – the Netherlands, where I grew up. With great difficulty I found two examples there of pioneering anti-Israeli acts in the last decade.

Before I answer this question I want to make it clear that all the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement comes from two small groups. One occupies strategic positions in Norwegian society. This left wing elite, obsessed with Israel, controls the government, is enormously over-represented in the media and has a strong representation in the trade union and in the NGOs as well as in academia. The other group consists of some Muslim immigrants.

Not all is black. There is even a small group of very devoted friends of Israel. Earlier this year 3,500 Christians from all over Norway marched in Stavanger in favor of freeing Gilad Schalit. Another example: Trondheim and Petach Tikva are twinned cities and the Petach Pikva football team was very cordially received in Trondheim earlier this year, with the trip being subsidized by the municipality of Trondheim.

Arab Crimes

Most ordinary Norwegians of course have problems other than those of the Middle East. But they are influenced by the anti-Israeli inciters in the media. However, it is only if the media remain largely silent about the enormous criminality in the Muslim world that you can present Israel in an evil way. Imagine that the Norwegian state television would say regularly, dear viewers just stop eating your meatballs for a few minutes, we are going to show you a beating of a woman, the cutting off of the hand of a thief in Saudi Arabia, or a nice beheading in Yemen.

On other evenings they would tell them to stop eating the meatballs while they are shown the victims of a suicide bombing or mass killing in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan committed by Muslims against other Muslims. And finally they should stop eating for a moment because a new chapter of genocide by Muslims of other Muslims in Sudan is being shown. If this truth were shown in Norway hell would break out.

Why is there no Challenge?

The anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli acts have now been going on for many years. Why have they gone largely unnoticed and unchallenged? One major reason is that very little is written by foreigners about Norway. It is a country which is of little interest to the world. It is mentioned mainly in tourist papers or in business news because of its major oil and gas production. It also gets some attention once a year when the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, in particular when the Nobel committee makes such an absurd decision as it did this year by awarding the prize to Barack Obama.

To put it in some perspective, I would say that there are today more foreign journalists in Israel than there have been in Norway during the thousand years which have elapsed since the Vikings terrorized Europe. The absence of foreign interest combined with a language which few people speak allows for a situation where the anti-Israel hate promotion of the elite is largely unchallenged. It also allows to leave the vague Norwegian myth of the country having a humanitarian policy intact.

Another reason for this situation is that Communism crumbled by itself. It didn’t have to be defeated in a bloody war. This meant that left wing ideas were not disqualified in the same way as those of the Nazis and the fascists. Hard core left wing ideologists and people influenced by their ideas remained in important positions in many European countries.

The Norwegian government is also deadly afraid to offend Muslims. It behaved as real cowards during the Danish cartoon crisis. It tries to please Muslim countries with its criticism of Israel.

Biased Journalists

All these aspects together provide part of the explanation for the obsession of Norway’s arrogant progressive elite with Israel. The Soviet Union was a master of anti-Israeli hate propaganda, and those influenced by it today continue it. Those who write in the Norwegian media are far more left wing than the general Norwegian population.

For instance, a recent study showed that among youngsters studying journalism, 10% support the extreme left Red Electoral Alliance, which didn’t get enough votes in the September 2009 parliamentary elections to obtain even one seat in Parliament. Another study showed that the great majority of journalists vote for the government parties or even more to the left.

As Professor Frank Aarebrot pointed out,a poll in 2005 showed that the close to 70 percent of the journalists supported the three left wing parties: Labor, the left Socialists and the Red Electoral Alliance. The largest opposition party, the Progress Party on the right, had the support of 26% of the population in the elections and only of 2% of the Norwegian journalists.

For the rest of the speech click here

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