Clearly, we have underestimated Støre’s political acumen. In Dagsnytt 18, he (of course) expressed great consternation at reports of antisemitism but (of course) wanted to separate antisemitism and anti-Israeli attitudes. It was for the sake of the Norwegian Jews, he said, that “certain groups” had to stop trying to defend Israel’s “illegal [sic]” occupation by accusing critics of Israel with antisemitism.
And if anyone wanted a character witness for his sincere intention, they only needed to call DMT. I don’t know what his intention was in making this statement, but I have to wonder if he had said this without some idea what the answer would be. And he repeatedly made mention of a small minority dhimmi that Norway has a special obligation to protect.
What would Støre say if the leadership of the DMT said something like:
As a matter of fact, the way you and the rest of the “political elite” talk about Israel is not just unreasonable in its own right, it also encourages antisemitism. Whether or not that is your intention, it is the reality, and you must take responsibility for it.
Would Støre still take the problem seriously?
In coming down hard on this distinction, Støre made it clear that Norwegians have a right to say whatever they want about Israel without having to deal with inconvenient arguments about antisemitism. And that Norwegian Jews, with DMT as their sole representative, could count on the government’s protection as long as they played by those rules.
We can only hope that the DMT finds courage to make it clear that whatever Støre may have meant by this troubling line of reasoning, they will not have their convictions and independence held hostage by his goodwill. We can also hope that other governments with a deeper insight into the nature of antisemitism raises this in private conversations with Støre. (And that Israeli diplomats would have a problem if this friendly yet critical attitude was reciprocated)
Now, for the Hilde Henriksen Waage bonus special. She indignantly complained that she unfortunately and often is accused of antisemitism when she comments on conflicts related to Israel. Fair enough. But then she said:
The problem is, that if you tread just a little bit wrong in these discussions, and I think I have been able to navigate through those waters, but if you do that, as for example Jostein Gaarder did, so emphatically, in 2006, [when] it wasn’t his intention to be antisemitic, but his use of language was. Then you end up with a situation, where certainly Jostein Gaarder never again, wishes to discuss the war in Lebanon, which was his intention. That’s what happens. (The emphases are hers)
I don’t even know where to begin pointing out the appalling lack of morality that she expresses here. Maybe we should just have a competition on funny comebacks you wish you would have come up with if you sat next to her.