Israel in Norwegian media and public debate, a small selection

Editorials 2014 08 05

Aftenposten in full:

 

SAYING GOODBYE TO A TWO STATE SOLUTION IS A DANGEROUS OPTION

So far, victims of the war in Gaza must be in focus of the discussion over the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The first priority must be to put an end to human sufferings. Meanwhile, it is of importance to view the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in a long perspective in order to find a lasting solution. In a debate on radio on yesterday between FM Børge Brende and the Labor party leader Jonas Gahr Støre, a volatile question was raised: “Is the goal over a two state solution in the Middle East an illusion”?

Brende refuted this question; stating that without a two state solution giving the Palestinians autonomy and faith in a better future; no peace can be attained.                And neither can Israel live safely behind safe borders. The conflict will remain a tumor; growing ever larger. There are strong indications over Brende being correct in his analysis. Nor do many see any other viable solutions. This does not imply the solution will be realized. Actually, Brende did not sound very convinced himself.

The background over Støre’s pessimist question were in particular a statement made by PM Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel never accepting an accord entailing an Israeli surrender of control over the West Bank. Rather, this statement point towards a consolidation of the occupation. Among those following Israeli debate, many will say there is little new in Netanyahu’s statements. Pointing to the ongoing construction of settlements in the occupied areas should suffice. It is however clear that both the choice of terms and the timing of these statements has made an impression on both Støre and Brende.

We are coming close to a point where the pursuits of new realistic options are pressing. To Norwegian foreign policy politicians; it is of painful to observe the line of thoughts leading to the Oslo accords being publicly written off in this manner.                              As Israeli spokesmen talks of the future and potential future peace negotiations in the extension of a possible ceasefire; focus is put on the influence of Hamas.                 Israel wants international accept over the unfeasibility of Gaza being ruled by an organization supporting rocket attacks on Israel. For the same reason; Israel will wait for as long as possible to raise the blockade of Gaza, in order to avoid granting Hamas a victory.          It is noteworthy to observe Brende and Støre, while discussing the tough attitude by Israeli politicians, also are focusing on the divides among the Palestinians; and who can exert influence on Gaza. Here, the distance to Israeli views is not a long one.            There are reasons to make a reminder of the fact Hamas has not accepted the right of Israel to exist; like the PLO has. The Palestinians are divided in the question over a two state solution. Actually, Israel may experience greater accept over the necessity of playing Hamas out of the field. If not, peace negotiations are not an option.            However, there is unfortunately more vagueness than ever over which principles for a peace solution may have a possibility of gaining support. If Israel finally turns it back towards a peace solution, the country may inflict great harm upon her.

 

Debates on Israel

IS NORWAY ON THE SIDE OF THE OCCUPIER?

Aftenposten 2014 08 07 p 10, Sonja Krohn, Not online

Norwegian artist holds the opinion Norway is far too friendly towards Israel.

Quote:

“The News editors of NRK behave like they are a mouthpiece for the war machine Israel as they repeat the Israeli justification for the rabid attacks on the Palestinian population incarcerated in Gaza”.

She also holds the interesting view that the Israeli “occupation” of Palestine is “far more gruesome” than the Nazi’s occupation of Norway in WW2.

This “letter to the editor” should perhaps be in the category “anti-Semitism”.               It illustrates well what attitudes can be expressed freely in Norway, without any fears over social repercussions.

More on Ms. Krohn here:

 

 

RACIST HATRED AND “HEBREW NEO-NAZISM” BLOOMING

Avisa Nordland/Neattavisen 2014 08 07

Stein Sneve

Op-ed on the situation in the Middle East, as usual blaming Israel over most ills, stating Israelis have turned towards “right-wing extremism” and, quoting Amos Oz, “Hebrew neo-Nazism”.

Quote:

“Absurdly finding a foundation in 3000 years old writings, they regard themselves justified to possess all lands. The result is depletion of Israel as a democracy and a state under the rule of law; and blooming of racist hatred and what the author Amos Oz refer to as “Hebrew Neo-Nazism”.

 

ATTACKS MIFF OVER 22/7 MESSAGE

Dagbladet 2014 08 06

Trym Mogen

Socialist politician Snorre Valen attack Miff over comments regarded as less than sensitive made three years ago.

 

ISRAEL AGAINST GAZA-WITHOUT PROPORTIONS

Verdens gang 2014 08 06 p 22, Trond Ali Linstad, Not online

Former Marxist, later on convert to Shia Islam, and like certain other anti-Israelis, also a MD, slams acting ambassador George Deek over defending Israel, states “Hamas” not “really” hostile to Israel.

HOLDS THE GOVERNMENT IS PROCRASTINATING OVER HAMAS QUESTIONS

Vårt Land 2014 08 06 p 8, 0, Petter Nordgaard Lorentzen

Dag Henrik Tuastad of the University of Oslo holds the government vocally supports the present “technocrat” PA government in order to avoid being forced to recognize Hamas as part of a legitimate Palestinian government body.   In this article, Christian Tybring-Gjedde of the Progressives issue general warning about funding sent to the PA being used to aid terror, also holds that Palestinians should be taught to stand on their own, in order to survive economically. Tybring-Gjedde also hold Norway should be more reluctant over taking on a role in international diplomacy.

 

THE JEWS AND I

Aftenposten 2014 08 06 p 10

Mimir Kristjansson

In this op-ed, former Marxist party leader makes the claim there is no anti-Semitism among Norwegian leftists, though admitting the left may have “overlooked” anti-Semitism with others. At least, he makes the admission anti-Semitism exist in Norway; making his excuse to Norwegian Jews.

For good measure, talkbacks to this op-ed contain numerous comments hard to describe as anything but anti-Semitic.

ISRAEL IN BREACH OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

Vårt Land 2014 07 07 p 23

Trond Ali Linstad, Not online

Former Marxist, convert to Shia-Islam and also an MD, Trond Ali Linstad writes op-ed in Vårt Land; states Palestinians have unlimited “right to return” and that Israel is in breach of international law through not allowing this.

 

RACIST PREJUDICES BY HILLESTAD

Vårt Land 2014 07 07 p 24, 25

George Deek

The acting ambassador of Israel tear up the arguments of “church activist” Erik Hillestad, as used against Israel, points to inherent anti-Semitism in his arguments.

WHAT SORT OF FRIENDS DOES ISRAEL NEED?

Verdens Gang 2014 07 07 p 22

Liv Tørres

The leader of Norwegian People’s Aid writes op-ed in VG; directed at Israel. Her main subject is the “occupation” being the problem in Israeli-Palestinian relations, and nothing else.

Quotes:

“Meanwhile, the Ambassador of Israel points to the main problem not being the occupation and Israeli bombing of civilians in VG on August the 4th; Hamas must be disarmed and must recognize the state of Israel. Thereby, he makes a wholehearted attempt at turning the problem upside down. It is impossible to avoid the fact the occupation is what creates conflict and support to Hamas”.

“Israel withdrew from peace talks as the coalition government supported by those two was published in May-in spite of Hamas stating its willingness to recognize an Israel based upon the 1967 borders. Never the less, Israel wants to obliterate Hamas”.

“The best defense against hatred and Palestinian attacks is to treat Palestinians like humans”.

Also, Ms. Tørres states she wants a ceasefire and UN forces in Gaza, and reiterates her opinions of Israel being somehow responsible over all ills befalling the poor Palestinians.

 

THE SIX DAY’S WAR

Verdens Gang 2014 08 05, Ingvald Godal, Not online

Former member of Storting and Junior Minister (Conservative) refers to historical facts, misrepresented by Trond Ali Linstad, point to the Six Day’s War having been started by declared intent to “wipe out” Jewish state by Arab belligerents.

 

Israeli issues

A GLIMPSE OF HOPE IN THE GAZA STRIP

Dagsavisen 2014 08 06 p 16, 17, Roger Hercz, Pay wall

Tense ceasefire, yet glimmers of hope over this latest ceasefire lasting, in spite of destruction caused by month long war.

NO VICTORS

Dagsavisen 2014 08 06 p 17, Heidi Taksdahl Skjeseth, Pay wall

Dag Henrik Tuastad of the University of Oslo believes ceasefire will hold; states Hamas should be drawn into political processes. As usual, Israel is accused of breaches of international law; Palestinians may attempt to impeach Israel.

THE ROTTEN GAMES OF USA

Dagbladet 2014 08 02

Jan Erik Smilden

JES is angry over USA; on one hand criticizing Israeli warfare, on the other hand supplying them with weaponry.

“KILL THE ARAB CHILDREN SO THERE WILL NOT BE A NEXT GENERATION”

Aftenposten 2014 08 04

Stine Barstad/Ragnhild Steinvaagnes

This article, using some dubious sources, make sweeping accusations against Israeli youth and Israeli politicians, including Benjamin Netanyahu and Ayelet Shaked over “hateful” statements on Palestinians.

THE TWO-STATESMAN

Dagbladet 2014 08 02 p 54, Editorial staff, Not online

An interview with the acting ambassador of Israel to Norway, George Deek, portraying him in a human light; actually allowing him to make relevant comments to the questions raised.

 

STØRE IS DESPERATE

Dagbladet 2014 08 04 p 4

Kjetil Magne Sørenes, Not online

The deputy leader of the Progressives, Per Sandberg, launches attack on Jonas Gahr Støre over his comments on the government’s foreign policy; states his own comments on the Middle East policies of Børge Brende was however “constructive criticism”.

 

ISRAEL WIRETAPPED KERRY

DAGBLADET 2014 08 04 P 6, Ralf Lofstad

Claims over Israel having wiretapped John Kerry, using “Der Spiegel” as its source, are conveyed by Dagbladet, in an article reiterating claims over 10 civilians killed by Israel in attack on school in Gaza.

WHERE NUANCES ARE LOST

Verdens Gang 2014 08 04 p 2, 3, Hans Petter Sjøli, Not online

A very high-brow op-ed; the author stating he is above taking a position on the Israel/Gaza question, making readers understand the superior intelligence and insight of the author.

Quote:

“Also in Norway, the Israel/Palestine debate is dominated by the dogmatic. The Christian Conservative NGO “Med Israel for Fred” gets time on broadcasts and some sort of role (and new members from the Progressives) while the uncompromising spokesperson of the mosques in Oslo and leftist activists gets to set the tune from the opposite direction. Everything for “the sake of balance”, as they say. Both are as ready to accept nuances as a child is to accept a cod roe meal”.

Of course, this author refers to the “harassment” of Sidsel Wold.

A STORY OF LACKING PROPORTIONS

Verdens Gang 2014 09 04 p 24, 25

George Deek

Op-ed by Israel’s acting ambassador to Norway, George Deek, raising pertinent questions to opinion makers in Norway.

 

LITTLE CONCERN OVER NORWEGIAN VOLUNTEERS TO IDF

Dagsavisen 2014 08 02 p 7, Jon Even Andersen/NTB, Pay wall

PST, the Norwegian Police Security Services states they have little concerns over Norwegian citizen traveling to Israel in order to support the iDF.

Quote:

“As related to our mission of preventing and fending off acts of terrorism in Norway, those leaving for Israel cannot be compared to the extreme islamists travelling to Syria”.

 

HABIMA

Klassekampen 2014 08 04, Editorial, Not online

A forthcoming collaboration between the Norwegian National Theatre, the Israeli national theatre Habima and six other theatres has once again put the issue of the effects of an artistic boycott on the agenda. The dispute is over whether the Norwegian National Theatre will be part of an artistic collaboration with a theatre that regularly tours the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Where there are good reasons to question the impact of a general artistic and academic boycott of the State of Israel, putting the cooperation with Habima on the table brings more concrete issues to a head. Theatres touring in Ariel and other settlements are, as far as we can see, already a controversial and debated issue in Israel’s cultural life. Several Israeli theatre actors have been very vocal against the practice, including through an organized petition in 2010. Habima management, on its part defended touring activities because the institution has as its purpose to perform theatre for all Israeli citizens. The fact that the theatre would lose financial allocations if they oppose to performing in the settlements, probably explains also in part, the theatre management line. However for the Norwegian National Theatre to join a partnership with Habima and the included touring without any demands, can be perceived as a kind of support to the official Habima line in a situation where there is a cultural split.

The employed actors of the Norwegian National Theatre, who now call for a boycott of Habima, can be faced with the situation where they may be required to play on occupied land. Their demand for a boycott is thus understandable. However, due to the shocking, bloody, ongoing operation in Gaza, through which Israel increasingly seems to turn away from the outside world, it would hardly be appropriate for it to be also artistically driven to isolation. If we keep in touch with Israel’s own artists, actors and intellectuals, we can get closer to the key to a real dialogue. However Theatre Director Hanne Tømta ought to be clear in the demands to Habima if they so choose to implement the cooperation. A clear presumption should be that the performance cooperation does not involve playing in the illegal settlements

IN THE CLUTCHES OF WOLD[1]

Dagbladet, Weekend addendum 2014 08 02, p 10-13, Anders Fjellberg, Not online

Dagbladet pays homage to Sidsel Wold, who sees no reason to regret any statements she has made on Israel, and make it clear she is some sort of martyr, having been subjected to unjustified “hatred”.

THE PRICE OF WAR

Dagens Næringsliv 2014 09 06 p 2, Kjetil Wiedswang, Pay wall

In this op-ed, the author makes some pertinent comments on the by now ended war; stating some pessimism, predicting a repeat within five years. Contrary to other commenters, he does not blame Israel first.

Quotes:

“One main cause is Hamas by its political and economic misrule being powerless; while the wars, relatively, are at little cost to Israel”

“When the rain of bombs over Gaza comes to an end; media focus may again be directed at the orgies of violence within Iraq and Syria. Compared to numbers and damage inflicted by President Assad, damage made by Israel in Gaza appears modest”.

 

BOOM DURING THE WAR

Dagens Næringsliv 2014 08 06 p 26, Mathilde Becker Aarseth, Pay wall

Unexpectedly, Israeli economy expands during crisis in Gaza, stock market in Tel Aviv seeing an upswing, defense manufacturer Elbit being among the winners. Bjørn Hermann is referred to in article, over statements on IDF non-interference in defense exports. However, imports of Israeli defense materiel is controversial in many countries, including the UK.

 

Gaza 

FEARS ANARCHY IN GAZA

Vårt Land 2014 08 05 p 8, 9, Petter Nordgaard lorentzen

Researchers on the Middle East states Gaza may face anarchy in the future, if Hamas opts to go underground, rather than taking responsibility over ruling Gaza.                   “Somali” state of affairs may be result of this. Henrik Tuastad of the University of Oslo states Hamas is “moderate” compared to other groups in Gaza. Together with Hilde Henriksen Waage, he is in agreement over Gaza future being bleak, also speculating on whether a future Fatah-Hamas coalition is viable, though both have doubts over this.

 

WE SHALL BOMB YOUR HOUSE

Dagbladet 2014 08 02 p 5, Magnus Lutnæs Aas/Kjetil Magne Sørenes, Not online

On Israeli tactics in issuing warning to Gazans ahead of bombings; numbers of dead this weekend; and , interestingly on fallen Israeli Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, still MIA at the time of this article being written.

 

WHEN THE REFUGE IS BOMBED

Dagsavisen 2014 08 02 p 14, 25, Mohammed Omer, Pay wall

More than 250 children killed in Gaza; Israel is stated to have killed ten people in UN school, children suffering under war. In spite of having been written by a Palestinian journalist, this article is rather subdued in its depictions of the misery in Gaza.

 

HAMAS SUFFERING HARD TIMES WITHOUT A CEASEFIRE

Dagsavisen 2014 08 05 p 18, 19, Roger Hercz, Pay wall

The situation in Gaza is far less advantageous to Hamas than for instance in 2012; the Hamas being seen by the population of Gaza as having caused immense destruction and suffering, yet having nothing to show for it, Israel having won the game this time. However, in spite of setbacks, Hamas is till firing rockets at Israel, though with very little effect.

GAZA TOWARDS A DANGEROUS CLOSING MOMENT

Dagsavisen 2014 08 04 p 2, 3, Roger Hercz, Pay wall

Roger Hercz sees end of this conflict; but is pessimistic about the future, predicting the conflict will flare up, blaming both Hamas and the Israeli leadership.

 

Middle East issues

NO ONE HARBOURS PEACE HOPES

Vårt Land 2014 08 02, Geir Molnes, Pay wall

Professor Hilde Henriksen Waage holds that US policy on the Middle East under Barack Obama has been “without directions”. She criticizes USA over not condemning Israel’s actions. Interestingly, this article refers to “Palestinian” villages being shelled by Israel- in 1953.

 

HEAVY FIGHTING AGAINST SYRIAN REBELS IN LEBANON

Dagsavisen 2014 08 04 p 14, NTB, Pay wall

Lebanese government forces involved in fighting against al Nusra rebels from Syria near city of Arsal, many casualties reported.

 

MANY KILLED IN RENEWED FIGHTING IN LIBYA

Dagsavisen 2014 08 04 p 14, NTB, Pay wall

At least 20 killed in renewed fighting in Tripoli airport between rivaling militias. Worst fighting since end of the Libyan civil war, according to media. 

ARMS DELIVERIES TO LEBANON

Vårt Land 2014 08 06 p 16, NTB, Not online

France will accelerate deliveries of arms to the Lebanese Armed Forces; due to security threat on Syrian border.

Defense and security

MIFF-LEADERS RECEIVE MURDER THREATS

Vårt Land 2014 08 02, Petter Nordgaard Lorentzen

Leaders of pro-Israel NGO “Miff” receive numerous murder threats by sympathizers of Palestinian cause.

 

NINE NORWEGIAN SYRIA TRAVELLERS KILLED

Dagsavisen 2014 08 02 p 6, NTB, Pay wall

According to the PST, nine “Norwegians” having travelled to Syria have been killed; 15 are reported as having returned to Norway. The PST state concerns over this last group.

 

ALL SYRIA-TRAVELLERS MUST BE KEPT UNDER SURVEILLANCE

Vårt Land 2014 08 02 p 6, NTB, Not online

Thomas Hegghammer of the Norwegian Armed Forces Research Institute states “Norwegians” travelling to Syria to fight the Assad forces have been radicalized; must be kept under surveillance after return, being hazard to national security.

 

Of interest

THREE JEWS VISIT SCANDINAVIA

Huffington post 2014 08 01

Seth Menachem

American Jews visit Denmark, Sweden, receives numerous anti-Semite comments. This web-article is referred to in several Scandinavian web-sites.

 

 RECALLED FROM THE MIDDLE EAST OVER HIS FOCUS

Bergensavisen 2014 08 07

Lars Selvik

Fredrik Græsvik makes claims his employers in TV2 has withdrawn him from coverage of the Middle East due to his “focus”. However, he has later retracted this statement. In a request to the TV2, the journalist writing this article asks whether Fredrik Græsvik has made an objective coverage of the recent conflict, something which TV2 tactfully avoids to comment upon.

 

BDS

WANTS TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL

Dagbladet 2014 08 06 p 30

Filip Roshauw

(Similar article in Aftenposten

Actors demand National Theatre of Norway boycotts Israeli Habima theatre; signed by 750 “cultural personalities”.

 

 Anti-Semitism/Anti-Zionism

DANISH JOURNALIST CRITICIZED AFTER GILBERT-INTERVIEW

Dagen 2014 08 05 p 6

John Solsvik

Danish journalist Martin Krasnik is receiving criticism after having raised critical questions to hero doctor Mads Gilbert in interview n Danish TV2. An initiative to stop Krasnik, having Jewish ancestry, is reported of in Denmark.

 

THE JOURNALIST WAS ACTUALLY SKILLED.GILBERT WAS NOT PREPARED

Nettavisen 2014 08 05

Heidi Schei Lilleås

Commenter Elin Ørjaseter states the obvious; Gilbert appeared unprepared to answer critical questions and did not appreciate being interviewed by someone who did not immediately accept his exalted status. Ørjaseter indicated Norwegian media is “subservient” to Gilbert, also she states this is mainly due to the basically left wing opinions dominating among media people.

Ørjaseter appears to have hit a nerve on this; receiving a remarkable number of positive talkbacks, though the Gilbert fan-club is present, ever repeating his inherent goodness.

 

[1] Untranslable pun in original text