Lifted from aftenposten.no (google translate)
At a time when a continued Jewish presence in Europe is coming under pressure, and journalists who have spared no effort bringing petrol to the anti-Semitic fire under the pretext of being “friends of Israel” (jargon for Israel bashing), and failing to meaningfully challenge interviewees (Muslim preachers, mad MPs, academics, union reps) when their “friendly criticism” of Israel in reality is demonization of Israel and the Jews.
The Jewish minority should not stand alone. No minority should stand alone. We must all show clear support.
This year’s Holocaust commemoration is more important than ever. The attack on the Jewish kosher shop in Paris attracted a global deal of attention. The terror in France attack fundamental values as freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Attacks on Jewish targets is nothing new in Europe. Many will remember the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels May 2014. The number of hate crime against British Jews double many fold last year.
The whole of France was shocked when a Jewish couple were attacked in their apartment and the woman raped while the armed assailants said to them: ‘You Jews, you have the money’.
I share their concern
These attacks make head lines for a short while before everyday life resumes. French Jews have long been worried about the banalization of anti-Semitism.
It’s a concern I share.
I worry when I hear about people use the word “Jew” as a swear word. I worry when Jewish congregations in Norway talk to me about their fear. And I worry when I hear that the French and British Jews are emigrating from Europe to Israel in order to feel safe.
The Norwegian Jewish congregations have also related that they are afraid after the attacks such as the ones seen in Brussels and Paris. Safety measures have been enhanced.
It is understandable that Norwegian Jews feel fear after repeated attacks against Jews in Europe, but it is also quite unacceptable that people in our country feel insecure. We have a common responsibility to stand up for the Jewish minority.
It is unreasonable that European Jews are held responsible for Israel’s war on Gaza. Norway must be a country where everyone should feel safe.
We must crack down on intolerance
Regrettably, this is part of a trend that different minorities in Norway relate how they have been the target of hate speech based on religion and ethnicity.
“There is one road leading from hate speech to demonizing, stereotypes and conspiracy theories to dehumanization” Anne Sender, former chair of the Jewish Community, writes and current secretary for the council for Religious and Life Stance Communities in Norway, in a commentary published in relation to the Kristallnacht commemoration in November each year.
We must be sensitive to the concerns being voiced. We must take them seriously. Here, both the majority and minority population must take responsibility and crack down on intolerance within, as well as between different groups.
On January 27 we mark the annual International Holocaust Day. This is the day where we remember one of the darkest chapters in Norwegian history.
On the actual date of January 27, 1945 Soviet forces accessed the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. The date marks the end of the Nazi industrial mass murder of Jews and other groups during WWII. The war continued another three months and in this period tens of thousands of prisoners died in the so-called death marches.
The Holocaust Day is a good occasion to review a few of the fundamental topics we must work on in Norway today.
The Holocaust Day should be an annual commemoration for the victims of the events of World War II, but it must also remind us that harassment and violence against persons or groups based on ethnicity or religion is unacceptable.
As Prime Minister, I have for the last year focused my attention hate speech. In November last year I invited a number of people who themselves had experienced, or work with hate speech to a meeting. We learned stories from those who participate in the public discourse that should challenge us all.
“Hate speech and dehumanization starts BEFORE a genocide” Ervin Kohn the leader of the Jewish Community reminded us in the meeting.
Our attitudes towards fellow human beings and how we refer to others, shapes our society. We must meet hate speech with protests, and confront the liar with truth in social media and warn when talk backs ooze hatred.
Our responsibility for expressions
We have a responsibility to express ourselves in such a way that children and young people can learn from. This requires an effort by all of us as fellow human beings and citizens.
On January 26, 2001 Benjamin Hermansen was brutally murdered at Holmlia by neo-Nazis. In recent years, the Benjamin Prize is awarded on the Holocaust Day to a school that has stood out i in its efforts to combat racism and discrimination. Schools across the country mark the Holocaust Day as part of an important educational effort – an important effort we should all be inspired by.
We mark the Holocaust Day to remind ourselves how wrong things can go – that we must never forget. We also mark it as an opportunity discuss fundamental issues in today`s society. Antisemitism is one of them.
We must all show clear support for the Jewish community in Norway after the terror in Paris. The Jewish minority should not stand alone. No minority should stand alone. Norway must be a safe country for all to live in.