Most Norwegians do not know what anti-Semitism is

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Vårt Land is to be commended on its earnest effort to inform the public on the poor education Norwegian school children receive on anti-Semitism. In two on-line articles the newspaper highlights the limited understanding Norwegians have of anti-Semitism, and how this topic has been sidelined, if not replaced by problems encountered by new minority groups in the Norwegian curricula.

To our eternal shame, this sidelining of minorities is not only limited to the tiny Jewish community in Norway; the Norwegian Travellers. This minority group has suffered every type of harassment from the Royal Norwegian Government that possibly can be imagined from 1934 to 1977 (which is pretty much the time the Labour Party had political monopoly in this country).Anything from forced sterilisations to unlawful stealing of children (if the hapless Travellers would not agree to, or “voluntarily” submit to said castrations). Only the Norwegian Jews have been treated worse by the Norwegian society, because they were robbed not only of their belongings, but also their lives!

Today’s textbooks stop at Auschwitz
– Many do not know what anti-Semitism is, researchers warn.
Andreas W. H. Lindvåg

– 12.5 percent of the population in 2011 hold clearly negative attitudes towards Jews. At this proportion, you should call it a social problem, and it should feature clearly in educational tools, Vibeke Moe says, a research fellow at the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities (HL center) in Oslo.

Monday she told Vårt Land that recent textbooks forget old minority issues in today’s society.

A new report has documented how indigenous peoples and national, ethnic, and religious minorities are described in textbooks for junior high and high school.

Themes related to the multicultural society is treated in a way that allows students from minority backgrounds to feel included in the Norwegian “we”. But for so-called national minorities is different. The challenges Jews, Roma, Romani or Gypsies, the Kven people, and Finns face in today’s society, is thematised  to a small extent.

Not only hatred

Moe is co-author of the report Antisemitism in Norway ?, who in 2012 recommended that it should be taught about anti-Semitism “as a form of racism or xenophobia”, in relation to the Middle East conflict, and “as a phenomenon of the (…) where anti-Jewish myths and beliefs are studied in particular. ”

– There is a general lack of understanding of what anti-Semitism is, says her colleague at HL center, Harald Syse.

In 2009, Syse reviewed all the new history books for middle school and high school which was adopted by the Ministry of Knowledge in 2006.

In an article in the journal Prose writes: “A weakness of all school books is that everything practically stops at Auschwitz. Then it’s just a big vacuum. ”

– Anti-Semitism is presented primarily as Nazi racial hatred, says Syse.

Do not recognize

Only one in 19 social studies textbooks surveyed in the new report “Descriptions of ethnic and religious minorities”, mentions the word anti-Semitism. Its discussion is mostly relegated to history teaching. Neither anti-Semitism or the Holocaust is mentioned in the learning objectives for junior high and high school, according to Syse. A lot of attention is  devoted to the Holocaust in the books, while antisemitism hardly gets a mention, even when it comes to the presentation of Nazism.

Unable to recognize Jew-hatred

Syse highlights the fact that conspiracy theories are at least as significant for anti-Semitism as racism.

Ervin Kohn, head of the Jewish community, continues in the same vein:

– Anti-Semitism does not require Jewish presence. It was here before we arrived, yet we don’t recognize it when we see it, says Kohn.

Therefore, the phenomenon of needs to be “profiled more clearly into the curriculum,” he says.

3 comments for “Most Norwegians do not know what anti-Semitism is

  1. motti
    October 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    There is an easy answer.
    Let every Norwegian stare at the mirror. Look at themselves and mutter the word “JUDE.”
    Watch your face when you utter this word. That will tell you whether or not you recognise Jew hate

  2. PeaceKeeper
    October 31, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Twenty years after the end of WWII the history curriculum for “Realskolen” had four lines mentioning the holocaust. Yes in the 1960’s.

  3. motti
    November 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Peacekeeper, I went to work in Germany in1962 for a British exporter, working with the US military. The Nazi period in German history was very short with the war itself covering 1/2 page. The Nazis were not presented as being democratically elected, instead, they appeared to just take over the country as if they were aliens.

    I remember seeing a TV drama about a butcher in a German town who had the odious position of supplying food the tJews who were only allowed out at night to visit his shop. In the end, he was killed. My German hosts said to me that is what happened to all the good Germans. My reply was that there were no good Germans left then..

    I do feel for the decent Norwegians, a very tiny minority who work with MIFF and belong to the group. They do outstanding work on behalf of Israel. I remember one middle aged Norwegian who was taken in by the local police. his crime? Carrying an Israeli flag. We have to be very keen and recognise the fact that the whole of Norwegian elitist society and the establishment is just one large Jew hating group. It matters not who is in powere. Even the new Hoyre parti FM is anti-Israel. so what is this government doing with a dritsekk like him?

    Israel needs to terminate all diplomatic relations with Norway and Sweden, probably for good. Either way, neither country should be allowed to interfere any further with Israeli politics.,

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