A week after the racism poll – media is going balmy

Of course we should be happy. Or maybe just pleased. Or something. But I get a feeling that we are looking at crocodiles shedding tears.

Hardly a newspaper has let the chance pass up to express shock and concern that there is a very high degree of anti-semitic attitudes in the schools in Oslo. True, we are only talking about a small, but probably representative sample of the whole population. Oslo is our own capital and also in a way a mini version of New York, there are more country pumpkins per square foot than anywhere else in the country. And a great many of those country pumpkins have permanently settled, and have children who would be attending school.

In other words, even if the sample is small, the findings are probably statistically significant and representative of the nation, and unless the questionnaire that the Holocaust center after a lot of toing and froing has commissioned, has been hopelessly botched, when eventually they get around to actually carrying out the survey, the result should confirm the trend that was identified in the Oslo survey.

And this is where the media has reacted so melodramatically that had we not known better, we would have thought we were in the theater.

Dagsavisen: A time to wake up! Dagbladet: A defeat nobody can live with. Other newspapers have recycled the shocking story of the Jewish student Anja Savosnick, and only now did the chancellor of the University of Oslo speak publicly on the matter, apologizing for the event, a few years after it happened. Unless he is real rubbish at his job, he should have had a much clearer picture of what passes for normal attitudes at Blindern and put appropriate measures in place to prevent this unseemly slippage of standards at one of our most prestigious and beloved institutions.

But back to the press. Lets be fair. None of them have actually said that Jews are culpable of any or all conceivable ills in the world. But several of them have actually put in writing – and on more than one occasion – that Israel is the greatest threat to world peace. It may be that the uber-sophisticated journalists can manage to separate the issues, but unfortunately, to most people Israel and Jews are pretty much synonyms, and if the newspapers say Israel, most people will quickly make the association – the Jews. And if the media can say it, then certainly the regular man on the street can say it too.

But this is very dangerous in a country where never there was a reckoning of the crimes that were committed against Jews, Norwegian citizens, just a short while back.

It has always been convenient, too convenient, to protest our innocence and point our fingers to the Nazis. And before that, well, we could not possibly be held responsible, we were not even an independent state. In fact, we have always found a very good excuse to never debate the historical antisemitism in Norway, but always blame it on someone else. It really is a great shame that we dont have a writer like the great Bard, at a time when Jews were forbidden from England, he managed to pen the impassioned plea of Shylock:

He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

So maybe the Norwegian press did not write overt antisemitic statements (well, occasionally at least stepping on the line…) but by silencing relevant Israeli voices, by not challenging shameful expressions of “sophistication” so often heard by Norwegian elites, by allowing drawings that we all recognize as deeply offensive, by misrepresentation, and by outright lies, they have clearly contributed to an atmosphere where it is permissible to mix Israeli-ness with Jewishness, and where contempt is all what is left.

It really is not good enough to cry your crocodile tears all over your front pages. Be fair, publish the whole story and stop printing those horrible “caricatures” our unsophisticated elites think are ironic statements, this may possibly salvage what little is left of your credibility.