The leader of Oslo Jewish community on Erna Solberg’s ‘Muslims are treated like 1930’s Jews’

Erwin Kohn, the leader of the Jewish congregation in Oslo was interviewed by Dagsavisen on August 5:

– A comparison lacking in historical understanding

The leader of the Jewish Congregation in Oslo thinks the real intention behind conservative leader Erna Solberg is to attract attention with her initiative to compare agitation against Muslims with the persecution of Jews.

HÅVARD THERKELSEN 05. august 2011,

– This is a populistic initiative. I think Erna does this to attract attention, says the leader and daily manager of the Jewish Congregation to Dagsavisen.

Yesterday [August 4] the leader of the conservative party, Erna Solberg said to VG that “the way extreme anti-Islam groups characterize  Muslims today, reflect the way extreme anti-Semitic groups characterized the Jews during the decades leading up to WWII.

Kohn reacts to what he sees a comparison “lacking in historical understanding” and points out that Jews were persecuted by the state in the 1930s and subjected to rasist laws. This is not the case for Muslims today. This is one of the reasons he thinks the conservative leader acted improperly.

– The Prime Minister has said there is a time for every thing. Political leaders have agreed to not make politics of this terror, but this comes pretty close, he says to Dagsavisen.

Wants unity

Kohn agrees with Erna Solberg that every-day racism is a problem, but asks the conservative leader to phrase herself more clearly

– If she had compared the  way people from the North were treated during the 50s, or with the [treatment of] the Sami people, she would not have achieved the same attention.

The manager does not want inflame the situation, sos that it becomes a competition between Jews and Muslims to see who suffers most. In his opinion, in spite of it all, the nation is more united after the terror attack.

– We are now seeing the opposite of what the terrorist wanted: we are much more unified as a nation, Kohn says.

Also others react.

The leader of Minotenk, Linda Alzaghari, also reacts to the choice of words by the conservative leader

– It is too bad that Erna compares this to the persecution of Jews. Bu it is a good thing that she wants to combat every-day racism, she says.

The leader of Center against anti-Semitism (SMA), Michal Rachel Suissa, is surprised by Solberg’s comments to VG

– Erna Solberg wants to fight every-day racism in our society. This is an important task, but one should not give in to panic in the wake of such a special situation as we currently have in Norway,  Suissa says to Dagsavisen.

– When she claims that Muslims are persecuted the same way the Jews were during the 1930’s, she has lost sense of history, she says.