Today, at 3 PM, our PM Jens Stoltenberg is widely expected to officially and formally apologize to the Norwegian Jewish community for the state sponsored persecution and murder of Norwegian citizens with a Jewish background during the WWII.
Whatever form that eventual apology finally would be presented as, does not detract from the perception that Norway continues to send mixed signals to our own Jewish community as well as our well documented partiality in the ME conflict.
Whilst we as a nation, prepare to possibly apologize to our Jewish minority, former Bishop of Oslo, Gunnar Stålsett led a rally against extremism. In his address, he said among other things
Through the years we have paraded against racism and war. We have turned our backs on neo-Nazism anti-Semitism. We stand shoulder to shoulder, Christians, Jews, Muslims, believers and humanists. Today too, we stand together for human dignity and tolerance.
Fine words, but actions speak louder than words. Stålsett himself should look in himself before preaching tolerance to others, judging by his own record
, he leaves a bit to be desired in that department. To make it even more complex, how can a rally that features Lars Gule as a speaker, remotely be related to anti-extremism?
At the same time, VG
informs us that Norway continues to disregard Israel’s warning
of terror attacks against Jewish communities in Europe, and that the Government has declined a request from the Jewish community itself for more funds to bolster security at the community centers and synagogues. Norway should realize that the terror attacks that hit the Israeli Embassy
and the Jewish community center AMIA
in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, easily could happen anywhere in Europe, Norway included. The leader of the Jewish community in Oslo, Ervin Kohn said in a statement to VG that:
Every time something happens in the Middle East, we face increased security threats against the Synagogue and other Jewish targets. At the same time we feel that such threats are completely ignored by Norwegian authorities.
But official Norway may have their eyes set on something else, for instance the potential for a juicy oil deal in Lebanon. Earlier this week, Aftenposten wrote on how Norwegian development aid organizations have been involved in developing basic infrastructure for the budding Lebanese petroleum industry. Now it emerges that Statoil will be bidding
for lucrative contracts in this war town country, and hopes that Norway’s involvement in Lebanon will influence the Lebanese decision makers positively. Israel on its side has said that for them a potential Statoil involvement in Lebanon would be unproblematic as long as this does not stand in the way of cooperation with Israel. Israel will finally be sending its delegation to Oslo in order to learn more about the Norwegian petroleum industry.
The NRK P2 radio program Ekko aired a discussion on how Jewish school kids in Norway experiences anti-Semitism in Norwegian schools. This program also discussed the ongoing efforts to undertake a survey to explore anti-Semitic sentiments in Norway. The discussion revealed that Jewish school kids in Norway, all 150 of them regularly face hate speech and threats. Among the participants in the program was Ervin Kohn, the leader of the Jewish community in Oslo, and Øyvind Kopperud, a researcher at the HL center. Both of the men underlined that Norway has not sufficiently dealt with our historical anti-Semitism and that we have used the Nazi invasion from 1940 to 1945 to pretend that Jew hatred was an exclusively German affair.
Israelwhat has previously expressed doubt with regards to the scientific rigor of such a survey, fearing whitewashing. After listening to the Ekko program, I now regret my skepticism
and look forward to reading the report when it is done.