Acting Ambassador for Israel in Norway, George Deek, confronts Erik Hillestad

lifted from vårtland.no (google translate)

George Deek has penned a strong criticism of music “mogul” and anti-Israel activist Erik Hillestad.

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‘Hillestad describes the concept of a Jewish state as illegitimate’
Erik Hillestad’s commitment to the Palestinians does not delegitimize the Jewish religion or race. He is more sophisticated than that – he delegitimize the Jewish state, according to George Deek, acting Israel ambassador.

In the feature article in Vårt Land July 7, “Israel operates targeted racial politics,” the renowned Norwegian record producer and lyricist Erik Hillestad writes that does not  accept being called “Jew hater” for his participation in “The Oslo Wall” event. It is true that his writings and statements can not be regarded as a classic anti-Semitism. But he is wrong if he sees himself innocent of promoting hatred against Jews.

Anti-Semitism has changed. I can understand why the term antisemitism upsets Hillestad. It is after all not acceptable in public to dislike people based on their identity. Therefore, it has historically been the case that anti-Semitism seeks its validity from the moral authority of the time you are in. Previously, it was religion that decided the moral codes in society, and anti-Semitism took a religious form. With the rise of science, anti-Semitism was given a scientific basis. The cruel lessons of the Holocaust led to a scientific approach to anti-Semitism became unacceptable. Today the basis of society’s moral authority is based on the concept of universal human rights. Human rights are now being used in attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state.

Just as religion and science have been cynically manipulated to promote hatred, human rights are now abused in the same manner. It is this direction “Oslo Wall” chose. The event website describes the conflict as follows: “The one population group (Palestinians) get their house taken over by the other (they call themselves Jews).”

This should not be a surprise when you know that the event is led by Trond Ali Lindstad. A man who does not believe in democracy for Muslims “because it is based on secularism,” and who considers homosexuality to be a “deviation” and who urges people to be “critical of the Jews.”

Democracy and Progress. Its this company that Hillestad chooses, and calls for a boycott of a country. No, not Sudan for genocide, not Saudi Arabia to oppression of women, not Syria for massacres, nor Iran who hangs gays and dissidents from cranes. Hillestad wants to boycott Israel, the place where Arab citizens have more democracy, prosperity and freedom than anywhere else in the Middle East.

In this setting Hillestad feels comfortable. Under the pretense of being opposed to the occupation, he describes the concept of having a Jewish state as illegitimate. Hillestad defends the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, while denying the same privilege to the Jews.

In other words, Hillestad does not delegitimize the Jewish religion or race – he is more sophisticated than that – he delegitimises the Jewish state. Just as Jewish shops were boycotted, Hillestad and his collaborators encourage a boycott of the Jewish state. Different causes, same hatred.

Sorespot. Generally, it is unwise to debate with people who have such extreme attitudes as Hillestad, because it can give them unjustified legitimacy. But I will admit that he hit a sore spot when he accused the Palestinians who climb high in Israeli society – like myself, an Arab Israeli diplomat – to be used “as truth witnesses that Arabs are not discriminated against,” and even by comparing it with Nazi practices.

I’m amazed how Hillestad can admit that Arabs can actually climb high in the Israeli society, while he calls it racist. I wish his knowledge of the topic was as large as the commitment to attack Israel. Here are some corrective facts:

The status of Israeli Arabs is not only better than in the Arab world, but also better than in most Arab and Muslim communities in Europe. In Switzerland it is illegal to build minarets, and in France it is forbidden to wear the hijab in certain public places. In Israel, Muslims can build mosques without restrictions, and wear hijab anytime, anywhere.

An Arab judge sent former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, in prison for sexual assault. An Arab sent a Jewish Israeli president in prison without anyone making a big deal of the judge’s ethnicity.

Haifa. There are currently 13 Arab parliamentarians who, based on free speech, have right to criticize the government, a right which they exercise well. 20 percent of students and 10 percent of the employees at the University of Haifa Israeli Arabs.

A high technology park has been built in the Arab city of Nazareth, in addition to several training programs with the goal of increasing the number of Arab workers in the thriving high-tech sector in Israel.

Hillestad represents a more sophisticated form of classical anti-Semitism. Instead of attacking the Jewish religion or race, he attacks the Jewish state. The reasons are changing, but hated remains the same. When trying to understand anti-Semitism by watching the Jews, you’re looking in the wrong place. To understand anti-Semitism, it is the mindset of anti-Semites themselves one must penetrate.

If I may say so, your Excellence, very well put!