lifted from vg.no, google translate
Ambassador Schutz wastes no time in pointing out the many and ugly elephants in our Norwegian society living room. Last month he put the Norwegian press in their place, and now he’s putting the PalCom’s nose out of joint!
The Power of a Symbol
I was recently in a meeting with the Norwegian Palestine activists where I got a letter with their logo. Since the meeting expressed positive attitudes toward Israel’s right to exist, I made them aware that the logo conveys the opposite.
RAPHAEL SCHUTZ, Israel’s ambassador to Norway
The logo indicates that the territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River is only Palestinian. The State of Israel does not exist according to the logo.
First the campaigners claimed that map shows historic Palestine. I argued that historic Palestine also included the large Transjordan area, today better known as The Hashemite kingdom Jordan. Large parts of historic Palestine is not included in the logo.
Their explanation was that the logo is a symbol that does not reflect a defined political standpoint. I can agree that a logo alone does not define political standpoint, but symbols have meaning. They represent ideas, and sometimes in a very powerful way.
Had this been an isolated instance, could easily be dismissed criticism that I possibly have a little paranoid and overreacting.
The problem is that this is neither begins or ends with nonprofit organizations in Norway. For example, Israel does not really exist in the public sphere in the Arab-Muslim world. Israel is more a target of extreme hatred and anger. The Israeli flag exists only to be burned in demonstrations, and of course you won’t find the country on a map. Take a trip with an airline from an Arab-Muslim country, and browse through the brochure in the seat pocket in front of you. Most likely you will not find Israel on the map. I know this is also the practice of some of the Western airlines which fly there, as they have received complaints from angry passengers. Nor does Israel exist in most educational institutions in the Middle East. Large populations are growing up without learning anything about my country, except hatred.
The typical cliches blaming Israeli policies why a Palestinian state does not exist. In my opinion, the root of the problem aversion among parts of the Arab-Muslim world, including parts of Palestinian society, to accept Israel as an integral part of the region. Some are open about this, while others use a more sophisticated approach using soft concept to satisfy the West and the liberal public opinion – but again – the logo is there.
In an interview with The Atlantic journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, President Obama said: “Denying Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is anti-Semitic.”
For me, this logo is only one meaning and a very strong message – that Israel should not exist.
To say that this logo is only “symbolic” is to underestimate the power of symbols. It also shows the indifference in relation to an issue that for most Israelis is about nothing less than the right to exist.