Dagbladet seems to be trapped in a parallel universe, where they just don’t get it – they are seriously out of touch with what ordinary Norwegians think. The dust has not settled on the cartoon issue, before they got themselves caught up in a very peculiar debate – whether or not Fjordman, the blogger who through his writings (but certainly not throrugh any concrete actions or even incitement to act) caught the sick imagination of that twisted bit of evil ABB) is worthy of receiving a grant from a free speech organization to write a book, his own book on Anders Behring Breivik. Unfortunately for Dagbladet, they have fallen down on the side of denying Fjordman, regardless of how ridiculous many of his ideas might be to many, the right to express himself freely on the topic. After all, people and/or institutions like Dagbladet and others who profess to be progressive, liberal and pro-human rights have held a kangaroo court where they have tried and found Fjordman guilty of practically murdering the victims of 22/7/11 himself. For this, and for the booboo regarding the anti-Semitic cartoons, Dagbladet is being panned.
The Fjordman debacle is not a topic for this blog, so you can catch up on it here (in the very eloquent words of Sara Azmeh Rasmussen and google translate will give you a more than adequate insight in the ongoing cat fight).
THE TOLERATED ANTI-SEMITISM
Vårt Land 2013 06 13 p 24, 25
Anti-Semitism is racist motivated hatred of Jews; in which the Jews has a set of negative attributes through being Jewish; which is being seen as something negative and dangerous. We see dangerous portents in this debate.
The philosopher Bernhard Harrison distinguishes between two types of anti-Semitism; the social and the political. To us; the political is the most interesting. The political anti-Semitism regards Jews as a collective (entity); working to promote its own targets, being a potential threat against the communities in which they lives. They may be referred to as being in control of the media, finances and politics; working for dominance over the world.
My interest for this subject arose from a lecture held by Professor Johan Galtung in the fall of 2011; connected to the Utøya killings. He emphasized the terrorist as being a Freemason, referring to those as “artificial Jews”; recommending the anti-Semite author Erik Rudstrøm. Galtung followed up on this through recommending the “protocols” as a “guide” to today’s world; claiming 96 per cent of the media was being controlled by Jews, based on a tract by neo-Nazi William Pierce. Galtung was removed from festivals and conferences in several countries. Not in Norway, though, where he was the guest of honor at several events. In August of 2009, the Klassekampen published an op-ed, “Israelsk Psykdom”; in which associate professor Trond Andresen claimed a characteristic trait by Israeli Jews were a lack of empathy with other peoples. Andresen has also made claims over Israeli intelligence services being aware of the 9/11 attacks ahead of them taking place, without issuing any warnings, and also over being a supporter of former RV (Marxist party) member Hans Olav Brendberg, excluded due to large number of anti-Semite statements..
Identity as a problem.
In the fall of 2011; Andresen’s colleagues at the NTNU, together with the PalCom, invited the British-Israeli author Gilad Atzmon to hold a lecture. Atzmon- who resigned his Israeli citizenship in 2001- has through many years claimed Jewish identity by itself is being racist; Jewry being in opposition to Christian and humanitarian values. Even a reference to the Nazi extermination of Jews as unique is chauvinist to Atzmon; who has skirted Holocaust denial perilously close. Therefore, many Pal-activists have distanced themselves from Atzmon, not however the NTNU, where Professor Arnuf Kolstad refuted all attempts at questioning the invitation.
In 2010, Kolstad was interviewed in the context of Jewish children being bullied, and the use of the term “Jew” as an invective. He did however place this in the perspective of Israel’s policies; holding the position Israel had the responsibility of treating the Palestinians better, even though parents and teachers also had the responsibility of separating between Jews and the policies of Israel. Something very corresponding could be read in Morgenbladet in February of 2006; as Fredrik Heffermehl, the leader of Norway’s Peace Council, claimed Norwegian Jews were under the responsibility of distancing themselves from the policies of Israel, if they were not to be affected as a group.
These are all examples of Jews being attributed negative features through being Jewish; Jews being held collectively responsible over each other’s actions, Jews being primarily loyal towards each other’s and being a potential threat.
Why does Klassekampen still publish Andresen? Why is the peace movement still engaging Galtung? Why did the PalCom invite Atzmon as other Palestine activists has broken with him- even after he referred to Anders Behring Breivik as a lackey of, and a sympathizer of, Israel?
Part of the answer may be in anti-Semite statements being interpreted as criticism of Israel’s policies. Harrison claims part of the European left wing turned segments of its former ideology into moral rules of life after the bankruptcy of Communism. One of them was states and movements representing the “third way”, fighting “imperialism”, always were right.
To many people, Israel, together with USA, is the closest thing to an “enemy”. Nearly any attack against them may be explained or excused. Israel can be compared to Nazi Germany; Israeli politician’s being caricatured wearing a Nazi uniform. This would be unthinkable with other countries. Research by the Holocaust Center has demonstrated the existence of limited, but genuine, anti-Semitism inside Norway, though there is no reason to believe it is more widely spread among the left wing or those supporting the Palestinians- rather on the contrary. However, tolerance concerning anti-Semite utterances may have dangerous consequences at a time when conspiracy theories- not least those concerning the Jews- are on the advance. The internet has made it easier to migrate attitudes and ideas across political divides. Tolerance of anti-Semitic statements may legitimize these statements when it comes to those harboring doubts; strengthening those who already have faith in them being correct.
THE BLOODY CARTOON OF DAGBLADET
Vårt Land 2013 06 13 p 24
Rune Berglund Steen
The author is the leader of the “Anti-Racist center”.
On May the 28th, Dagbladet printed an unusually brutal cartoon depicting circumcision of boys; staging a scene in which a child is being mutilated by two adults. Any religious practice should of course be subject to open debate (…)
The fact is, this cartoon immediately gives the reader associations to anti-Semite cartoons. These associations are according to our view reasonable and rational. The extermination of Jews in WW2 is not only history; but a living heritage to expect editors in media artists to be actively conscious about. This should consist of an awareness surrounding the risk of using terms of expression close to former day’s anti-Semite propaganda. We do not of course intend to hold the opinion Dagbladet is an anti-Semitic newspaper. However, Dagbladet has printed a cartoon it is both reasonable and rational to interpret as anti-Semitic. Briefly stated: Dagbladet has tangled itself into something it should disentangle from; rather than making a bad situation worse through blaming the alleged existence of something called “Jewish” sensibility.
 Untranslatable. Israelsk means Israeli, «Psykdom» is a portmanteau, most likely devised by Andresen, consisting of «Sykdom» (Disease) and «Psyk» (mental), indicating Israel is something of a mental disease.
THE ANTI-SEMITIC DISEASE MAKES A COMEBACK
Dagbladet 2013 06 14 p 76
Hardly anything more revolting exist in our world than people mutilating children. Perhaps, to me, as a religious individual, this had to be crimes committed against children in the name of religion; justified by the holy writings. Abusing children in the name of God, exploiting children, mutilating girls in order for them never to have sexual pleasure, using children for cannon fodder. As a rabbi, I have devoted much of my public life in the struggle over children’s rights. For natural reasons, children are unable to speak in their own defense, the rights of children being far from secured in our world of today.
As the cartoonist of Dagbladet, Tomas Drefvelin, draws a cartoon depicting a Norwegian rabbi like myself, having characteristic Jewish traits, a black coat and a hat, large nose and a demonic trident in hand, looking at holy texts, mutilating a child so cruelly blood spatters in all directions, a more revolting depiction of me or us being Jews can hardly be imagined.
In a conversation I had with the chief editor of Dagbladet he attempted to defend the cartoon by (stating) it could equally had been an attack on Muslims; as also they are circumcising boys. The problem with this argument is however that IT would have been indifferent if this persecution was directed at the Muslims. Also, the cartoonist is in possession of both the talent and the experience to know how to depict Muslims. He has done this before, thankfully avoiding conveying the hatred radiating from this cartoon.
Protecting free speech and understanding satirical depictions and hyperbole is a basic pillar of our democratic debate. It is above any discussion to point out the place for criticism of religion in the public dialogue. According to Jewish tradition I hold the opinion criticism of religion is not the domain of atheists and agnostics only, but should also include religious individuals as contributors. We do not however need any patronization by the editors of Dagbladet to accomplish this. Actually, we do it on a daily basis.
Dangers arise as free speech, under the cover of democratic rights is abused to disperse hatred and persecution at other individuals. When we are accused of gross violations of human rights, words, and not least this cartoon, becomes part of an image of violence. When classic anti-Semite effects and lies are used in addition to this, like the blood symbols; and alleged Jewish control over the country’s police apparatus, in order to reinforce the effect of the total lack of power of the abused children, this is not only the expression of an opinion. It is an expression which to many will appear to be tantamount to these cruel people, holding a demonic weapon, in this case the Jews, not having any room in our civilization. How often have we not seen throughout history how such racist and anti-Semite expression in its consequences have led to physical violence? To those of us having at least some historic perspective; observing what is ongoing in our society; it is obvious it is conductive to hatred. In this context, the intentions of the cartoonist are not of any great interest.
As the editorial of Dagbladet expresses some understanding of the impossibility of denying Jewish reactions to anti-Semitism after the Holocaust; this reveals a lack of understanding. The question is not whether Jews react to anti-Semitism. The question is whether Dagbladet has the courage to express regrets over a cartoon that will take its place in history as yet another example of repulsive anti-Semitic hatred. Seeing the editorial of Dagbladet, defending Drefvelin, this question unfortunately appears to have received an answer.
Talkbacks to this article, as published on the web pages of Dagbladet are unabashedly anti-Semitic in content.