Norwegian artists, leading business bosses call for compassion for Jews

opprop (follow link to read the public letter in English)


A most welcome initiative, highlighting the steep increase in antisemitic attacks in recent years – on top of the antisemitism that already was prevalent in the general population. It will be interesting to see if the initiative will lead to some reflection on behalf of leading Israel “friends” who have massively contributed to an atmosphere where anything goes in the “friendly” criticism of Israel.

Lifted from (google translate)

Massive call against bullying and harassment of Norwegian Jews
Billionaire Olav Thon, publiser William Nygaard and author Vigdis Hjorth are among the prominent persons who engages against Jew hatred.
Bjørn Egil Halvorsen

“Do we have a heart for our Jewish compatriots?” Reads the headline of a petition on Aftenposten Sunday, 4/19.
The ad is addressed to the leaders of the seven main parties and signed by over 100 prominent people from the financial, cultural and social life.
Several famous investors, writers, actors and artists have signed the petition.
Among them are investors Oystein Stray Spetalen and Jan Haudemann-Andersen, florist Finn Schjøll, artist Håkon Bleken and writers Jon Michelet and Vigdis Hjorth.
Altogether over 100 names on the list.
One of the initiators is Nanna Segelcke. She says terrorist attacks in Copenhagen and Paris sparked the initiative.
3 of 10 Jewish schoolchildren being bullied
Segelcke also refers to two separate reports under the auspices of Oslo and Holocaustsenteret who uncovered bullying and prejudice against Jews in Norway.
In Oslo’s survey from 2011, it emerged that 30 percent of Jewish schoolchildren being bullied and harassed two to three times monthly.
– We Norwegians have a responsibility to do something for our Jewish compatriots who experience bullying and harassment. The idea behind the petition is that enkeltinvidider can make a difference, says Segelcke, who arranged a ceremony for Samuel Steinmann in November, along with the University of Oslo and HL-seneteret.
Steinmann is one of the few Norwegian Jews who survived their concentration camp Auschwitz.

Requires mapping of hatred
The petition is addressed leaders of the seven main political parties. Now they want initativtagerne including a thorough survey of the extent of Jewish proportionality in Norway.
Although a team of famous personalities have signed are also a number of unfamiliar names on the list. According Segelcke, the point is to mirror the cross section of the Norwegian population.
The text asks the politicians to answer three questions:
Do you think that Jewish Norwegians feel both safeguarded and welcome in their own country?
In what way can you contribute to antisemittitiske attitudes in Norway is identified, understood and combated?
How can we effectively prevent Jewish Norwegians held responsible for another country’s politics?

Business Top protects Jews

Earlier Bertel O. Steen manager, investor and business profile Marius Steen, is another of the initiators. He is concerned that the police are considering the threat so seriously that they set with armed guards outside the synagogue.
– We hope to bring Norwegian Jews case even higher on the political agenda. Taking good care of minorities is what characterizes the good and civilized society, says Steen.
– Are you planning more thrust in the future?
– We have no concrete plans, but would not rule it. There are many on the list. Many are engaged in this matter, he said.
– Important to meet stigma with resistance
Earlier Publishing Director of Aschehoug, William Nygaard, did not think it was difficult to stand behind the petition.
– Norwegian Jews feel obviously occasionally squeezed at a time when anti-racism has renewed meaning. It is important that any hint of stigmatization meet with conscious resistance and openness, says Nygaard.

Judging by the response from Amnesty International, human rights are fine and dandy as long as we don’t hit the nail on the head and focus on the oldest hatred of them all. 

Even as this very exciting initiative is getting the support from the elites, getting the Storting to support the measure in the form of a specific plan to combat antisemitism has so far proven impossible:

lifted from Vårt Land (google translate)

Three times no to anti-Semitism plan
Jonas Gahr Støre collects party leaders to a resounding yes to work against anti-Semitism. But creating an action plan has been rejected three times.
Monday, a combined Norwegian eliteput a joint declaration on combating anti-Semitism: “If someone does not feel safe in Norway, there is a shared responsibility to act,” wrote the leaders of the eight parliamentary parties, in response to the request of the petition against harassment of Norwegian Jews.

In party leaders chronicle also mentioned the work with an action against anti-Semitism in Parliament. But the proposal for such a plan has been up three times previously since 2011. All the times have been voted down the proposal.


Voted out

Unfortunate, says Ervin Kohn, head of the Jewish community, which has called for an action plan:

– With an action plan is a greater chance that the work of anti-Semitism are taken seriously. Having a plan ensures that things happen. Above that only say things – that does not happen, says Kohn.


The measure has been promoted  in Parliament again. KrF representatives behind the proposal think it is strange that it has been so difficult to gain acceptance.

– Studies from HL center in 2012, and surveys from Oslo School and The Jewish religious community members showed that anti-Semitism was a much bigger problem than we thought. After that we thought that it was possible to get a more coordinated plan. But the majority would not, says Hans Olav Syversen.

This is the fourth time since 2011 he is engaged in promoting the proposal for KrF.


Both Syversen and party colleague Anders Tyvand, who will consider the proposal in church, Education and Research Committee of the Parliament, hope and believe more receptivity this time. He believes both negative and positive events last time, as the terror in Copenhagen and Paris, and initiatives such as the Peace Ring, has encouraged more people to wake up.

– Antisemitism is a problem that we have to take more seriously than we have done so far, says Tyvand.

ALSO READ: Støre gathered party leaders to appeal against Jew proportionality

A wake up call

Parliamentary colleague and committee member Henrik Asheim (Conservative), confirms that several have now woken up:

– The recent debate and events have revealed enough people, and not least for us politicians, the extent to which anti-Semitism characterize our society.

– Are you surprised?

– There are certainly varying how much people knew from before, but for my own part, it is surprising. I often discuss racism, extremism and xenophobia against Muslims, but I have not been as aware of how big issue Jew hatred is. It has enough evolved unnoticed over time, responding Asheim, who looks forward to a thorough parliamentary treatment of the proposal.

Face the test

Ervin Kohn hopes for unanimity this time:

– Why is it more likely that the proposal will go through now?

– More committed in words to combat anti-Semitism. The test is when the proposal comes in Parliament. There is an American proverb that says: “Put your money where your mouth is.” This is the test it must pass


Still doubt

Parliamentary politicians supports the intention, but is unsure whether the measures in the action plan is the way to go.

Although party leaders their have joined the petition, the members of the Church, Education and Research Committee are hesitant.

– Today there are lots of steps, but if there should be a separate action or private action, I can’t be sure. But I support the intent, says Bente Thorsen, Progress representative on the committee.

Previously, only the FRP has been compared with KrF about similar proposals earlier.

Mandatory bussing?

Both Labor and the Centre party are unsure about which guidelines Parliament should impose on school and teachers:

– I do not know whether it is right to make this mandatory for teachers. Should all Norwegian youths on tour with white buses? There is already a lot of curricula today and specific programs to combat bullying and harassment has been put on the national curriculum, says Anne Tingelstad Wøien (Centre party). She also calls for dialogue across faiths in the KrF proposal.

Definite improvement

Ervin Kohn, head of the Jewish community, who have provided input for the proposal, believes the proposal is good – and better than previous proposals:

– In this representative proposal is not so one-sided focus on the Holocaust as it has been previously. It is set more focus on anti-Semitism, and Jewish culture and tradition, in addition to knowledge building efforts there are also for suggestions of two professorships in Judaism and anti-Semitism, says Kohn.



1 comment for “Norwegian artists, leading business bosses call for compassion for Jews

  1. motti
    April 27, 2015 at 2:44 am

    What nice thoughts and talk. Unfortunately, facts and actions are much more difficult to proceed with.

    Will the Jew hating establishment allow it?
    Will the Jew hating extreme left allow it?
    will the Jew hating Muslim community allow it?
    Will the Jew hating Church, unions, academics etc etc etc and Muslim leadership allow it?

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