Musings on remorseful politicians, newspaper scandals and silly laws

Summer is such a great time to read newspapers and reflect on the wider picture of things.

A lot of brouhaha has been kicked up by one particular piece of legislation, and as always it is only Israel who is capable of passing laws that represent a danger to freedom of expression. I giggle as I reflect on how President Obama could have struck down the Patriot Act, or how my beloved UK detains and expels (but not before a classic border agency FUBAR was committed) an Israeli citizen Raed Salah simply because he holds some utterly disgusting opinions. In Israel he can calmly go about radicalizing young hotblooded boys or whatever it is that he does , simply because the supreme court there has said that he is allowed to.

As HIV positive Norwegians have found to their enormous pain, ┬áthe penal code is being applied against HIV positives who also want to have a sexually active life. In a strange bid to “prevent” HIV/AIDS to spread, the best the Norwegian legislators could come up with is to make it a criminal offense to have unprotected sex or fail to advice a partner on your HIV status (Criminal code 155). The only problem with this kind of approach is that it is utterly impossible to prove who caused sero-conversion, as it is also impossible to narrow date of infection to a particular date, thus denying HIV positives first of all the right to privacy, but also makes toast of HIV positives basic judicial rights. Norway is out of synch with the UN, USAIDS and WHO and their underlying policy of non-discrimination and non-stigmatization of HIV positives.

I invite those in Norway who think we are morally superior to Israel to reflect on these aspects of our own criminal code, rather than obsessing about a silly law in Israel. At least the Israeli Supreme Court will put firm limits to laws that may encroach on the Basic Law. I wish the Supreme Court of Norway would scrutinize our Criminal Code 155 to determine if it encroaches on Norwegian citizens basic rights.

As media empires crumble around us, many a journalist-turned-activists may find that it is not only illegal and scandalous hacking that irks the readers. It should be a cause for much concern that year on year, surveys show that Norwegian journalists are far to the left of the general electorate. Although the secretary general of the Norwegian Press Union, Per Edgar Kokkvold has warned that journalists ought to keep a sound distance to politicians, there are many examples of how Norwegian politicians suck up to members of the press, or how the limits between state-owned media and powerful politicians become blurred. It really is a great mystery to me why top politicians in Norway appear on prime time entertainment programs with a very very cosy atmosphere, and no tough questions asked?

The Gaza floptilla has finally produced one very positive outcome. Failed Gaza sailor Aksel Hagen now realizes that his party’s Israel policies are in the very least poorly nuanced, and that the level in the Norwegian debate on the Middle East lacks depth and simplifies very complex problems. Interestingly, it was meeting, debating with North American Jews who also wanted to sail to Gaza that prompted this recognition.

But it seems much more probable that confronted with the much more mature level of debate, even among Jews and Israelis with a very critical attitude towards Israel, Aksel Hagen has seen what is so easy to observe for the more sober minded; the Norwegian public discourse on Israel is unintellectual, shallow and propaganda-like. How fitting that he came to his own and was firmly shown his shortcomings.