Mr. Færseth deserves a round of applause, it is not a small thing he has done here, to stand up for Israel and Jews may cost him friendships, social standing and even money.
NRK Ytring 2013 02 17
Certain forces on the left in politics are allowed anti-Semite statements, in newspapers and in the lecture halls. Is it a wonder many holds such expressions are legitimate criticisms of Israel, John Færseth asks.
In the best of traditions of the left, I shall commence with criticism of myself. Many of my statements will seem to be a political intimate disclosure, a procession of individual statements made by individuals. Unfortunately, they show a pattern.
Anti-Semitism is racist, religious or culturally based hatred, in which being a Jew is to possess certain – negative- characteristics.
The sociologist Helen Fein defines this as “ a latent structure of ideas about Jews as a collective; manifesting itself as attitudes on the individual level, as myths in culture and ideology, and in actions as social or legal discriminations or political mobilization directed at Jews; all having the result of or the purpose of removing, the running out of or the destruction of the Jews only over being Jewish”. The core lies in the last sentence of the quote; “Jews as a collective and only over being Jewish”.
Criticism of Israel.
Additionally, the philosopher Bernard Harrison adds an aspect of conspiracy: “Being Jewish is to be a member of a collective, who at all times may be suspected over working for the promotion of its own goals, contrary to the interests of the community as a whole”.
“The Protocols of the Elder of Zion”; created by reactionaries in pre-revolutionary Russia, in which the Jews were attributed plans over securing the political and economic powers over the whole world is one example.
Criticizing the Israelis over the treatment of the Palestinians is not anti-Semite. Nor is it anti-Semite to state it was a mistake to establish the state of Israel in 1948; or a one state solution being the best way to end the conflict. It is anti-Semitic when claims are made over Jewishness disposing to brutality; or all Jews being potential agents for Israel.
Jewish powers in the media.
Unfortunately, the Norwegian left has in later years seen numerous examples of statements coming close to this. Most likely, the most extreme was the peace researcher Johan Galtung, something of a lodestar within conflict analysis and conflict resolution, making comments during a lecture at the University of Oslo in the fall of 2011, referring to the anti-Semite Norwegian author Erik Rudstrøm’s books on “Jewish power”; stating Freemasonry was built upon “Jewish elements”, and might have been involved in the 22/7 terrorist actions.
Later on, Galtung has followed up on this through recommending “the Protocols of the Elder of Zion” as a “guide to the world”; also stating it is time to research on “Jewish control over the media” and the significance of this. For this reason, several institutions have chosen to take Galtung off their curricula. However, this has not happened in Norway, where Galtung only this fall was lecturing to the Norwegian Peace Council, and was a guest of honor at the SILK festival in Skudeneshavn.
’’Jews as “Virus”.
On January the 3rd of 2009; Trond Andresen, an associated professor at the NTNU in Trondheim, wrote in the Klassekampen newspaper of Jews as an ethnic group suffering of a collective lack of empathy to others than their own. This was in the context of the Gaza war. Andresen has also made himself noted through his defense of Hans Olav Brandberg, excluded from the AKP (ml) party in 2004; over dispersing anti-Semite thinking. Among other issues, he had defended authors like Kevin MacDonald, a controversial evolutional psychologist. MacDonald regard Jewry as a “group survival strategy”, rewarding those who care for their own, so that Jews act like a “virus”, in risk of destroying their “host organism”. According to Brandberg, MacDonald’s theories were “a classical critical academic piece of work”; useful in understanding the Jewish lobby in USA.
Jewish identity as racist.
In the fall of 2011; Andresen’s colleagues at the NTNU, collaborating with The Palestine Committee, invited British-Israeli author Gilad Atzmon to lecture. Atzmon resigned his Israeli citizenship in 2002; having been a crass critic of Israel through many years. He criticize the Jewish identity as being racist; claiming Jewry is in opposition to Christian and humanistic values. Even referring to the Nazi persecution of the Jews as unique is chauvinism to Atzmon. Nor does he hesitate to employ pre-modern descriptions of Jews as Christ killers, recommending the “Protocols of the Elder of Zion”, this being a book describing the world of today with “Prophetic force” or coming close to denying the Holocaust.
For this reason, many Pal activists have distanced themselves from Atzmon, not the NTNU, however. Attempts to make a problem of his invitation were totally irrelevant, according to Professor Arnulf Kolstad. Critics should focus less “on what his homepage says and who his friends are”, and rather concentrate on the main message, “the significance of Jewish identity to the Israelis treatment of the Palestinians”.
Why does the Klassekampen still publish Andresen, the peace movement praise Galtung and the Palestine Committee invite Atzmon when their standpoints are so very obvious?
To many, USA and Israel are in a particular position of their own. They are the enemy; nearly all attacks can be excused. Even physical, as when Muslim youth attacked the Freemason’s lodge in Oslo during the demonstrations against the Gaza war in 2009; receiving support by the Blitz group over this, in spite of it being clear this was a result of conspiracy theories concerning the Jewish influenced Freemasons. Without any objections, Israel can be compared to Nazi Germany, as when the Israeli blockade of Gaza is compared to the Ghetto in Warsaw, or Israeli politicians are depicted in Nazi uniforms in cartoons.
I could also mention the author Fredrik Heffermehl’s claims about the Jews behaving like a group, having no feelings over the sufferings of others, or the aforementioned Kolstad’s hints about Israel being responsible over the bullying of Jewish children. Having such a point of departure, there are no wonders about many reflexively taking such statements as valid criticism of Israeli policies.
However, thankfully, there are few indications over anti-Semite concepts being common among the Norwegian left wing; neither politically nor in newspapers in the category of Klassekampen. Polls indicate expressed negative attitudes towards Jews are more common in other segments of the population. However, at a time when 19 percent of Norwegians holds the opinion Jews are secretly working for Jewish interests, while opposite forces would like to brand all criticism of Israel as anti-Semite, time has come to establish a boundary.
Perhaps not unexpectedly; there are a number of outright anti-Semite talkbacks to the article above. One Mr. John Nikolai Omark distinguishes himself in this capacity, though one Mr. Ingar Holst goes one better, defending the Taliban(!). Unfortunately, they are not alone.
Some more anti-Semitism from the reader’s pages of Dagsavisen. The translator does not have the capacity (nor the wish) to translate the rants of Mr. Andor M. Aure, but will contend himself with stating that Mr. Aure is an enthusiastic advocate of Hamas. Oh, and Israel is evil personified.