Gerstenfeld takes the Norwegian press to task on Honest reporting

This oped has previously been published on Honest Reporting; I hope the powers that be in Norway sit up and pay attention; Gerstenfeld is like a 1000 yard marksman, very patient and only fires when sure to hit! And with millions watching from the sidelines… Not good for Norwegian reputation!


Manfred Gerstenfeld

For a number of years, Norway has held the number one position on the Press Freedom Index. The perception that Norway has a free press is however largely false. Indeed, Norwegian authorities do not supervise or censure the media. Yet there is a strong anti-Israel slant and self-censorship among the editors of most media. The country shares a border with Russia. However, one often gets the impression that Israel appears in the Norwegian press more than its own powerful neighbor. Norway’s media are obsessed with Israel and many incite against it in various ways.

The aberrations of several leading Norwegian media often go beyond the usual bias of many other Western anti-Israel papers. They will readily report on issues in which they can blame Israel, but the numerous Palestinian crimes are often omitted or greatly under-reported. One usually searches in vain for articles about the Hamas party platform which mentions its intention to commit genocide of Jews. The same goes for the Palestinian Authority’s glorification of murderers of Jewish civilians. Frequent and transparent lies by Palestinian ministers, officials and media, rarely if ever get attention.

Norwegian media often looks away from the huge criminality and transgressions of humanitarian laws in the Arab and Muslim world. Mentioning that there is no other religion where murderous ideological criminality flourishes as much as in the Islamic world, is equally taboo.

Occasionally a positive article about Israel appears in one of the major papers. This was recently the case with an editorial in the third largest daily Dagbladet. It wondered about the lack of interest in Norway about Syria’s many war victims and contrasted it with a focus on Israel.

Were it not for a few brave people like the editors of the small Christian weekly Norge Idag and the leading Norwegian blog, Norwegians would not have any opportunity to read about how unbalanced the information on the Middle East is that they are being fed by the state-owned TV and radio station NRK and almost all media. The small Christian daily Dagen is equally courageous. It recently published an article of mine in which I explained why Labour Party Prime Miniser Jens Stoltenberg is a part time anti-Semite.

In early 2009, a blog in English called Norway, Israel and the Jews was launched. It was established after its blogger read my 2008 book Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews. He had checked footnotes in it about Norwegian anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. To his surprise, all quotes were correct. The blog — now managed by another blogger who writes under the pseudonym Miranda McGonagal – has become a major source of information on widespread Norwegian anti-Semitism. This largely expresses itself as anti-Israelism.

In 2009, a number of academics proposed a cultural/academic boycott of Israel to the Board of the NTNU University of Trondheim. Only on Norway, Israel and the Jews one could find detailed descriptions of how the battle against this boycott was fought by Jewish and other organizations abroad. The Norwegian media reported little and late on this boycott action, which was later voted down by the NTNU board.

One example of how the Norwegian press omits unwelcome information about the country was when in summer 2010, then-U.S Senator Sam Brownback sent a letter to the Norwegian Ambassador in Washington. In it he expressed his worries about Norwegian anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. Attached to it was a detailed description of anti-Semitic acts by Norwegian ministers also involving King Harald the Fifth. There was almost total silence on the letter in the Norwegian media. Yet one wonders whether another U.S. senator has ever deigned himself to address Norway on anything in this century. The Norway, Israel and the Jews blog was the first to publish the Brownback letter.

Domestic critics of Norway’s Labour dominated government were silenced even more after the mass murders by criminal Anders Breivik in July 2011. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg falsely claimed shortly thereafter that there would be even more openness (sic) and democracy in Norway. The opposite happened as has been described by American author Bruce Bawer who lives in Norway. He published a book titled The New Quislings: How the International Left Used the Oslo Massacre to Silence Debate About Islam.

I can add some of my own surreal experiences with Norwegian media. An interview of me by journalist Fredrik Graesvik was aired in March 2009 by the major Norwegian commercial TV station TV2. He translated most of what I said correctly. Graesvik however interjected that I considered the Norwegians to be “barbarians and un-intellectual” because they killed whales and seals. This was a major distortion of my words.

The person at TV2 who transcribed this distorted interview for the station’s website maltreated my quotes even further, falsely claiming that I said that “Norwegians are unintelligent and barbaric” and that “Norway is the most anti-Semitic country in Europe.” The Norwegian press agency NTB spread these false quotes further. They were taken up by many Norwegian and some Swedish papers. As a result, I now own a representative collection of hate emails from Norwegians. TV2 also gave the British Holocaust distorter David Irving more than a quarter of an hour of air time to express his views. The station paid for his trip and expenses to come to Oslo.

Sidsel Wold, then-Israel correspondent from state radio NRK even outdid TV2. She interviewed me and afterwards claimed that she mistakenly deleted the interview. Instead of interviewing me anew, she fabricated a false interview. She culled recorded some text of mine off the internet. Thereafter, she aired an invented interview with me, full of distortions and then criticized the text she had falsely attributed to me. For this she received a Dishonest Reporter Award in 2010. Thus Wold became one of the rare Norwegian journalists to actually win an international prize.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 20 books, several of which deal with anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.