Anti Racist Center boss says Dagbladet crossed a line when publishing the anti-Semitic cartoon


lifted from (google translate)

A hellish caricature
Much of the criticism against Dagbladet is justified
Published on 7 June 2013, at. 12:45 by
Posted by: Rune Berglund Steen
Director, Centre against Racism

Dagbladet has received strong criticism for an unusually brutal caricature of circumcision of boys. Much of the criticism is justified.

In their editorial on 3 June Dagbladet stated that the caricature is not directed against the Jews, but against anyone involved in the circumcision of boys. The caricature appears not to include North Americans, so at the most  the cartoon directs itself against Jews and Muslims. Particularly the caricatured woman alludes to the Jews.. Caricatures are precisely based on immediate and simple associations, and the pale woman’s skull cap and bead necklace will easily be linked to old notions of Jewish prosperity and bourgeois lifestyle. She is not wearing typical Muslim symbols.

Dagbladet’s editorial judgment here seems to have failed grossly. There is an extensive history of anti-Semitic cartoons of this type which Dagbladet undoubtedly familiar with, not least as a newspaper that prides itself of its reflexive anti-Nazi attitude. More than that: coarse anti-Semitic caricatures of similar type have previously been the building blocks on the road to genocide. One would have expected that Dagbladet was particularly conscious of this. We would also have expected a clearer awareness of the harsh social climate that many Jews in Norway are experiencing, including Jewish schoolchildren.

The problem with highly caricatured, violent drawings like this where Jews – and eventually Muslims – are portrayed as they grossly abuse their children, that they support the negative beliefs that have been potent throughout history. They indicate a form of Jewish evil that unfortunately some people believe in. It  even blends into an old tradition of blaming Jews for ritual murder and mutilation of children.

We do not go into the character’s motives here. A decisive feature here is that  it is not only the sender, but also the receiver who determine how a drawing should be interpreted.  This drawing is both so caricatured and so brutal that it would be reasonable for the recipients to perceive the drawing as hostile toward Jews. In short: An anti-Semite will automatically be pressing this drawing to his chest and use it for their own purposes. It has hard to believe that Dagbladet can be comfortable with this fact.

It follows that we do not share the view that these caricatures somehow prove that Dagbladet is an anti-Semitic newspaper. We believe this view is overshooting the target.

Circumcision should be debated openly and vigorously. It does not mean that you should ignore all other considerations. It is also a further problem when Dagbladet trie to reduce the responses to a question of Jewish “sensitivity”. The drawing is unusually crude, it is both as simple and as serious as that.


20 comments for “Anti Racist Center boss says Dagbladet crossed a line when publishing the anti-Semitic cartoon

  1. June 13, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Are some Norwegians that ignorant to not see how bigoted they are?

    Yet many of these same people claim not only intellectual superiority, but moral superiority, which appears to mean that their bigotry is sanctioned.

  2. : )
    June 14, 2013 at 2:05 am

    In my opinion one has to know what Luther and that ideology stand for before one start a discussion with Norwegians in general. The reaction system people have is one truth are acceptable and all others are false or worst made by the devil him self, so to Norwegians one has to be careful to present new things. When a Jewish person enter the stage and goes on with 1000 projects, then for Norwegians religious or not its natural to suppress a creative person as much as possible, that this pressure ends in personal tragedy is real not a matter for the society, all knows well the limits or at least one has friends that tells one to keep low for a time until the mad people has found new “bad” person to go after. Martin this has nothing to do with 1984 or Darwin, this is just good old Luther, may he rest in peace!

    One don’t have to be very smart to see the parallel between Ibsen and the Chinese system that is growing up. The Nordic system has crashed landed, so its growing up Chinese classes at public schools to prepare the kids for the new world ; ) Well I like Chinese food a lot so I don’t have any problems to make that or Russian food if that is the new system ; ) Norwegian food what is that? Salmon made by polluted fish from south America? Ups, sorry that was a mistake, no, no the Salmon is so pure that its holy so we Norwegian seldom eat it ; ) As with the Oil that comes from us, it does not pollute in anyway if someone says something else its a lie, I know it because I was told it is so! Oldschooltwentysix I think its something that feels home for a lot of people when they meet a person that can hold the truth just by being the person they are, and that very few of us wants to lose that feeling because then we will feel very empty and lost. Its better to keep to a bad plan than no plans? I think that goes for all people so we all have to face critic with questions how are the one that gives critics what can we learn by their knowledge of failing?

  3. June 14, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Yet many Norwegians have a disconnect as to who they are on the inside and outside, and are held down by conformity.

    It still does not justify the moral lapse that cannot allow recognition of their own bigotry, for those that engage in it, fooling themselves in altruism.

  4. : )
    June 14, 2013 at 9:22 am

    What can one do when people refuse to let go of their own self image even if its not correct? When it comes to national identity well I really have no clue how to argue with a person that is a nation, just that its a fun experience in one way to live out a fantacy world. Its the same when one meet Jews that believe they as a singel individual are a part of the hole Jewish history or better God them self, it gets anoying after more than 2 min talking or what?
    Israel is a democracy, in my opinion was it correct to open up for a state where Jewish identity can live in peace. Well if two Jews in a room can keep peace then : )
    Norway was made in 1905, because? Really and I’m still cluless how much alcohol one has to put into these people to make them say their real opinion. Freedom to speak in Norway is a joke, very few knows why they should say anything at all, else than complaining about small issues like bad coffe etc ; )

    McG was I very bad now? Its just that I think Israeli do it best if they study everything about Norway as the Chinees do. Anyway I love to study Israel ; )

  5. Ellen
    June 15, 2013 at 7:41 am

    This is just my two cents, but here is what I have experienced among the more secular and “enlightened” (typed with as much sarcasm as possible) of my acquaintances.

    Thing is, most Norwegians don’t recognize the Jews as an ethnic group, they see them as “just another religion,” (At least that’s what my outspokenly atheist history teacher in the 8th grade said), and that changes everything. Criticizing an ethnic group can very often lead to charges of racism, because well… you’re slamming them for what they are born as. A religion is “just something you do”, and your actions can and should be subject to criticism, especially if the cultural elites think they are harmful…

    By reducing the Jewish people to “just another wacko sect”, who are not special in any way, they are legitimizing both criticism and outright opposition to Jewish faith and culture. Because, if the Jews are not an ethnic people, how can you be racist to them? How can you be racist to Christians, to Jehova’s Witnesses, to the ***damn Scientologists? To the hard-core secular, religion is a bad thing, which should be discarded on the scrapheap of history, along with slavery and putting babies out to the wolves. That’s what they have learned from their enlightened not-so-spiritual leaders. Nobody would cry if the Scientologists disappeared off the face of the Earth. Most people probably wouldn’t be all that sad to see the end of the Witnesses either. (Not necessarily by genocide, though. That would be horrible, obviously!)

    So yeah, if you’re 100% certain of your secular viewpoint, and the only thing that in your mind separates a Jew from a Catholic or a Pastafarian is what “superstition” they prefer, then there is no need to protect either of them. If your moral position in life is that religion is inherently bad, then why should you protect anybody’s right to do that very bad thing?

    I’ve seriously heard people compare religious practise to doing heroin, and forcing your kids to be addicted from infancy as well. If that’s how I see you, then how can you reason with me? How can you make me understand that everything I’ve heard about “heroin” is misinformed and prejudiced, when I pride myself so much on being educated and informed? I’m convinced I’m right, because I know I’m a smart person. My friends and colleagues, who are probably even smarter, hold the same views. And you? You’ve done smack and your brain is damaged from it.

    This is probably where Thomas Drefvelin comes from. He probably doesn’t see the Jews as a people. Although, I don’t at all buy the whole “I can’t see why you think they’re supposed to be Jewish”-crap he’s been spewing. Judaism is hardly the dominant religion in Norway. If he really wanted to just protest “child abuse in the disguise of religion”, as he claims while his electrically powered Halo is flickering ominously, then he’d probably gotten the message across much more clearly if he’d chosen to draw a picture of a Pentecostal threatening horrified children with descriptions of Hiyeronimus Bosch’s hell. (Boy did that guy have a twisted imagination.) But nope, he chose to depict people that everyone in Norway immediately recognized as Jewish, because THEY LOOK JUST LIKE THE NAZI POSTERS IN OUR HISTORY BOOKS!

    It feels so good to be on the right side of the established ethical divide, to have science and the human rights to slam on the table. I know, I’ve been there! (Never as an Anti-Semite!!! But I used to be really pro gay-rights. Still not anti-gay, just a bit disenchanted with the whole “Liberal” thing. I’m old enough now to return to my conservative working-class roots.)

    I need to point out that this is just one side of the story. But it’s the one most relevant for to this controversy. Yes, I know there are also people in Norway who DO recognize Jews as a (collection of) ethnic group(s). And yes, some of them are racially prejudiced against Jews, and think there is something “inherently wrong” with them. These are usually the same people who think there is something inherently wrong with “n*****s”. You rarely meet them among the higher social spheres. (Rarely, not never.) I know maybe one person who is like that.

    And then of course there are the Pal-pals. They remind me of the kind of people who fight for Pitbull “rights”. Definitely the loudest and nastiest. Obsessing over the Jews the same way Pit-nutters obsess over proving that it WAS THE KID’S FAULT!!!! etc. Angry that you dare blame their beloved morality-pets for anything. I only know one of those personally.

    Sorry about 2-page essay on Norway, I just get writer’s diarrea sometimes. :/ You probably knew all of this already.

  6. Ellen
    June 15, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Oh and BTW, Norwegian salmon can give children braindamage, so feel free to boycott. Don’t know about the Canadian ones.

  7. June 15, 2013 at 8:00 am

    well, I must say that your output holds a very high standard. No need to diminish it by referring to it as diarrhea. Interesting that you mention your conservative working class roots. Have you been following the new blue labour in the UK? They have also had it with ultra-liberal and elitist thinking and are too looking for a way back to the original roots. here is a recent BBC article on how this is panning out, I am also more than intrigued by Lord Glasman and a term he has coined, towards a post liberal future…. I might just pop over to get a better idea what this is all about, but it is abundantly clear that the UK is about to make a major change in policies. Norway will follow suit in about 10 years, unless ongoing and very unpleasant developments in Europe will force the political elite’s hands much, much before.
    I am of course also proud that the Milibands, Glasman, and many other of the leading thinkers are of a “certain ethnic origin”, and they are unabashedly proud of it too!

  8. Ellen
    June 15, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Thank you, Professor!

    Hmm, I guess Post Liberal is exactly what I am. My parents were… I guess they could be described as kind of Libertarian in the later years. Believed in the free market and liked a glass of wine on Fridays and Saturdays. They were both very pro-Israel, although my dad was a long-time member of the Worker’s Party. He was old enough to have lived through the war (intergenerational marriage FTW), and saw the increase in worker’s rights and standard of living first hand. Well, so did my mom, as she came from a rather poor family, He always said that AP was something quite different back then, as it was a party of-and-for the working class, and international affairs were hardly ever on the agenda of the local branch. He eventually came to disagree with them on… everything, I think covers it, and quit.

    “How dare they call themselves a worker’s party? None of them has ever worked! Why don’t they just rename themselves the “Academics Party” already? Bloody “experts”, they ought to be hunted for a bounty!”
    — More or less correct quote.

    For a long time, I didn’t think I had inherited the political bug, but now I feel it starting to stir. My Boss just joined the Conservatives. I said I’d join too, if he joined MIFF. 😀

  9. Ellen
    June 15, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I’m double-posting awfully today, but I just wanted to make clear that I don’t actually have anything against academics just on principle. Ehehehe. I’ve actually got a puny little degree myself, which my working-class parents strongly supported me in getting. ;P

  10. : )
    June 15, 2013 at 8:54 am


    your opinions, observations and memories are not diarrhea no matter what anyone might say to you, you have the right to say what you believe is right! I’m really shocked that the reality in Norway can be so bad as your analysis says. Well McG I read in Dagbladet most of the comments to MM before it was shut down, and its not at all a happy situation we have her in Norway. Ellen if you are not Jewish its not your fight so please feel free to step back when ever you feel you need to. For us that are born this way we have no options to live with our self or hide us self. I think most common people do both and still pick their fights. To see evil as you do is not at all something you should do on your own. Anyway thank you very much for sharing your opinions and showing the world that its not just a few paranoid Jews that make noise, its is really a bad situation, sadly. Your english writing is a lot better than MA! Just had to say so ; )

    Have a lovely evening and take care!

    No man is an island ; )

    All best

  11. Ellen
    June 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Ellen if you are not Jewish its not your fight so please feel free to step back when ever you feel you need to.

    Well, most of the Pal-pals are not Palestinian. You know what they say: “First they came for the Jews, and I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t a Jew.” We know how that ended. I think it’s important that ordinary Norwegians face the skeletons in their own closet. Because if we tolerate this, then our children will be next. And we’ll be to blame, for not doing anything when the “others” needed our help.

    In the 30s, before Al Gore invented the internet, there were no blogs, nowhere for dissenting voices to be heard. These days we have that, and we have the oportunity to let the world know A: What’s going on in Norway, and B: That we’re not ALL bad.

    This is my fight too, because I LOVE Norway, and I do not want to see it turn into a country where groups of people don’t have the right to walk down the street without being harassed and threatened. I don’t want this to be a country I have to be scared of living in, or ashamed of being from. And I have to say I’m getting reluctant to tell people on the net that I’m Norwegian.

  12. June 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Good conversation.

    To those who only see Jews as a religion, it does not excuse the bigotry in their words and behavior. As they have the right to be bigots, others have the right to shine a light on it.

    The more that Norwegians practice group think, the less they are taken seriously. Without diversity of thought, brought about by an environment where people are not afraid to be unconventional, ideas become one-sided, simplistic and unrealistic. That is too often the case in the Scandinavian environment.

  13. : )
    June 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm


    I think you show a tremendous courage and I’m glad you are with MIFF. Without people like you there could not have been a Jewish life her in Norway. In my opinion things are getting better, and we get more focus on emotions in general in the news, and people can be more the one they want to than what the “state of Norway” wants them to be or what they feel others expect from them.

    My grandfather always sad to me when I was furious about an episode at school: uten mat og drikke duger helten ikke. My respons was: uten mat og drikke får helten hikke. Then it was just to eat the ice was broken ; )

    Its very important to not want to become a hero, but just do the best you can everyday and see the good things more than the bad.

    Good luck! All best.

  14. : )
    June 16, 2013 at 12:11 am


    I agree with you, but when one loves someone its really hard to accept that they ruin them self. I think that for the small group of Jews that did come back after the war and the one that hided during the war, it has been more focus on how to build up Norway than to get justice for what happen during the war. When I asked my family what happen, the response was that every normal person could live in prison for five years with out becoming odd. When it became so personal I just closed my mouth and pried that no one in my family should turn mad.

    Hope you see that for us that feel we are 100% Norwegian it takes time to develop understanding that we behave very foolish, and that it is just a way to give up our self to just forget the past. Most Norwegian Jews as I know them are now planing vacations to Israel and start to be more open about them self. We do also have problems that some lose their mind in this process, we need more educated Jewish psychologist to help the old that has been keeping this secret and for our children and students. When the situation is under control my hope is that one can say that Jewish life is protected by the Norwegian Kingdom, but until them we depend that people like Ellen and her alike. We need to help these people so that they don’t burn out!

    We live!

  15. June 16, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I was not speaking about Norwegian Jews, but Norwegians and Scandinavians in general, especially the elite class that has so much influence over the institutions of society.

  16. : )
    June 17, 2013 at 1:29 am


    I have no clue how to move non Jews her in Norway, my only message is to let the world know that there exist Jews her and that they don’t have religious freedom as Norway claim we have! During this weekend has there again been discussions about if Jews can be parents since they do circumcision and therefor lack feelings for their children. People working for the government ask in public Jewish women to come to them and get help from the men in their religion, what kind of a democracy does things like that to people that they gladly send out to be killed 70 years ago?

    I think you are a person with knowledge to understand what can and will happen to a Jewish woman that seek help her in Norway from the public.

  17. Ellen
    June 17, 2013 at 11:19 am

    They’ll try to convince her to leave “the sect”, I guess? And as for women who have left actual scary sects, they have very often gotten full custody of their children, as well as a restraining order against ex-husbands and family members. :/

  18. : )
    June 17, 2013 at 1:22 pm


    if this is so, one need a real look on how the social service work on minorities. One need to get people from the minorities inside so that people in problems at least meet someone that can see them as individuals. Its so many nice things I love about Norway, but Ikea solutions when it comes to humans is really bad! McG I have no clue how many cakes or presents i have organised at university or school to make people feel good, well I have no clue how many hugs I have received back ; )

  19. June 21, 2013 at 5:18 am

    I think Ellen hit the nail on the head. Most Norwegians don’t link religion with ethnicity, as we are trained from childhood to see it as separate things. You can choose what you believe in, you cannot choose your genetic make-up.

    To complicate things further, in many cases the divide between religious and cultural traditions are muddled. A typical case here is the whole debacle of the so-called “honour-killing” of rebellious youths (girls mostly) which many associate with the Muslim faith. (When it in fact only is present in some Asian cultures, not all of which are even Muslim…)

    As for Drevfelin he stated that he tried to draw a “typical old-fashioned religious leader” and was inspired by images of people like Ludvig Nessa and Børre Knudsen, which are undoubtably Christian, not Jewish.

  20. : )
    June 23, 2013 at 3:04 am


    I agree with you Ellen’s points was very eye-open to me as well. My main experience with religion her in Norway is the old State religion and as I remember it was a facts one did not question at all. Most normal Norwegians that has felt this has as I known them chosen a new way in their life away from this feelings of control. Her I see Gule and his team act in a good way, but when they start to take all religion under one they use their own experience in situations where it does not fit at all. Therefor they just make chaos and confusion and with out wanting to do it they in fact act as the Antichrist and its really scary to see that its impossible to have a conversation about them about how they fulfill the New Testament. As long as the average Norwegian continues to accept being told what they should know and not read the Bible, Koran etc people like Gule and his alike has to see what kind of responsibility they has and accept that they are given critics in the same way as they do it them self.

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