Aftenposten oped: Hate crimes against Jews must be taken seriously

This (lifted from Aftenposten) merely serves to demonstrate the schizophrenic attitude to Jews in Norway:

IN THE LAST MONTH, the Jewish community has experienced eleven cases of harassment, vandalism and threats. The number is not large enough for police to set up separate statistics  for this type of crime.

Unlike countries such as Sweden and Germany, the Norwegian police,  has no overview over the scope of anti-Semitic hate crimes, an article in Vårt Land informed earlier this week.

In 2009, a total of 240 cases of hate crimes reported to the police. The reason for not recording anti-Semitic acts in particular, is that the numbers are too small for it to be appropriate to have more categories than the police operates with already: hate crimes based on ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

THE POLICE should reconsider this practice. The Jewish population in Norway is only about 1000 people. The numbers will always be small in all statistics that include such a small minority. But this should never be used as justification for selecting registration methods that prevent the community from obtaining the best possible knowledge of anti-Semitic tendencies.

With its own registration, Jews feel that the harassment they suffer, is taken seriously. It is an important consideration in itself.

THE FIGHT AGAINST anti-Semitism is a battle that must be fought every day. It is only a few days since the terrible murder at a Jewish school in Toulouse, where four people, three of them children, were brutally gunned down and killed. The killings were the worst crimes against Jews since the early 1980s in France, which has the largest Jewish population in Europe.

But neither is the Norwegian society  immune to the various manifestations of anti-Semitism, even though the number of Jews is so small. On the contrary. There are indications that Norwegian Jews are particularly vulnerable, because the minority is so small and vulnerable.

A TOTAL  of 33 percent of Jewish pupils in Oslo schools feel that they are being harassed, a report from the Oslo Municipality’s Department of Education concluded last year. Over half of all students have found that the word “Jew” is used to describe something negative. The report led to the Education Minister Kristin Halvorsen allocating NOK six million  for a training course for teachers to make them more aware of the problem anti-Semitism represents.

The School survey gave an important knowledge base. The Holocaust Center is now in the process of finalizing a comprehensive survey of anti-Semitic attitudes in contemporary Norway. The survey will hopefully expand the picture even further.

It is in this context, the police’s handling of harassment and vandalism against the Jewish community must be seen. A separate registration of the Jew-hatred these actions express,  will make it easier to understand and prevent anti-Semitism. Knowledge is a necessary tool in this fight.