I was in fact looking for an oped penned by Roger Hercz a couple of days ago, when I came across this reaction to an oped he published in early in August. It is a most bizarre letter, apparently written in a frenzied fog of hate. The author is the former editor of the Peace Research Institute Journal (so, also this is Galtung’s legacy) and is spitting feathers after Roger Hercz dared to move focus from the perceived plight of the Palestinians. If her reaction is outlandish, you really should save your sense of outrage for the comments left by a Mr. Ben Økland. Now, he has got some serious issues with racism and might not have looked up on the EU’s working definition of anti-Semitism. He falls amply within all of the points listed and shame on Dagsavisen for publishing such bigotry and hatemongering speech.
By Margaret Chapman
Published 22 August – 1319 views Post
The Roma are having a hard time and the Syrians are suffering terribly but this is not an argument against supporting the Palestinians in Gaza.
Roger Hercz Dagsavisen (6/8) shows great solidarity with the people of Syria who are being killed these days. Fair enough, I support him in this. Unfortunately, he goes further and compares the war in Syria with the Christmas bombing of Gaza in 2008-09, an event that prompted many here in Norway to react strongly. The bombing also got the world to react and among other things, the past three years solidarity convoys to Gaza have been organized (which Hercz characterizes as “funny”).
Hercz questions why Norwegians react so strongly to the situation in Gaza while hardly no reaction can be mustered for Syria. He concludes that there probably is not a question of “universal belief in human dignity” as the driving force, but rather that politically engaged people use the situation of Palestinians in support of their own worldview.
When I came to Norway in 1970 there was not a widespread support for the Palestinians among the Norwegian people. The most famous and loud voice around this issue was Kåre Kristiansen, Christian Democratic Party, which along with a good part of the Norwegian people and politicians from most parties, totally supported Israeli policy. But because of Israel’s long-standing neglect of international law, Norwegians have become aware of how great injustice Palestinians have suffered.
Hercz are rude enough to mention that if they want, the Palestinians can just get up and leave Gaza. Ironically many of them got “permission” to leave their homes in 1948, aided by some encouragement from the Irgun and Lehi. To make life so uncomfortable that people choose to travel, fits well into the Israeli state strategy, but where are the Gaza Palestinians to go?
Finally, Hercz quite gratuitously attacka the Norwegian morale again by mentioning this summer’s discussions about the Roma people and racism. He wonders whether the Norwegian people are as nice as they think they are. This is obviously open for discussion, but the fact that the Roma are having a hard time, and that the Syrians are suffering terribly cannot be an an argument against supporting the Palestinians in Gaza.
Published on Dagsavisen debate pages the same day.
Comments that have been approved:
Ben Økland: Not just unbelievably outrageous of Hercz, but also evil. Thank you for an absolutely brilliant post.
Hilde Jørgensen;Difficult questions. I agree with you, Margaret, that it was difficult for a Palestinian activist as I am, to read this article by Hercz. But I did not perceive it as outrageous, and certainly not evil.
Instead, I perceived it as marked by frustration over something that we should all ask ourselves. Why isn’t our the involvement with the rights of Syrian civilians the same as our involvement with the Palestine issue? Why do we so easily anger when we hear about more settlements in the West Bank, while reports and news reports that August is the deadliest month in Syria, does not arouse the same anger? The same cry for justice?
These are important questions to ask. It’s good Hercz dare to direct the spotlight on this.
Ben Økland; Because … The Christmas bombing of Gaza was systematic and planned genocide, it happened without any reasonable relationship between the alleged provocation and reaction, and the atrocities committed by the regime are of the very worst kind. After this incident the Zionist regime is not considered on a par with any other regime. The bombing put an end to a long debate, creating international understanding of Hamas’s political objectives.
The regime in Syria is undemocratic and the genocide which now takes place, is committed within the framework of a civil war. The Assad regime could say they were subjected to ongoing military provocation, with greater right than the Zionist regime could. It is not necessarily easy to establish that the Assad regime’s civil actions were planned, such as the Zionist regime’s.
We’re not sure to what extent Western and Western-allied powers are behind the violence by the rebels in Syria. It is difficult to determine to what extent civil war in Syria is a major political proxy war, or whether it can be the result of a Zionist-American plan to launch war games against Iran.
Genocidal actions are anyway always reprehensible and criminal under international law.
On consideration, I think it is fair to say that Mrs. Chapman is angry because her pet cause has been ripped out of her mouth and she now looks quite heartless for her lack of interest in other people who are not herself. Mr. Økland looks decidedly mentally deranged, but as we have established after the ABB trial, mental delusion is no excuse for deeply racist and hateful attitudes.