About two years ago, Klassekampen, our marxist rag, refused to publish an advert sponsored by MIFF, citing it would be offensive to Palestinians. However, their moral grandstanding seems to vane when accepting adverts that would be strongly offensive to Jews. Israeli Ambassador Raphael Schutz thinks this is not on and has sharply rebuked the newspaper for its obvious double standards (Letter from Ambassador Schutz published on his FB profile)
“Dear Bjørgulv Braanen,
I find it necessary to share with you my perspective about the “Israeli Apartheid week” advertisement published in Klassekampen on February 27, 2016. On a factual level, relating Israel with the term apartheid is a flagrant deviation from reality. Contrary to the past situation in South-Africa, all Israeli citizens enjoy the same civil rights with no discrimination. As a matter of fact, when examining the situation of civil rights in Middle Eastern countries it becomes clear that all Israeli citizens – Jews, Muslim, Christians and others are lucky to be members of the Israeli society. Their situation is exceedingly better in comparison with all of their neighbors.
The fact there is an active hate campaign, an industry of lies against Israel is not new. In the past Jews were blamed for using Christian children’s blood for religious purposes and for poisoning the water wells in Europe. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion accused Jews for dominating the world. While these “classical” expressions of Judeophobia are no longer tolerated within the framework of freedom of speech or political correctness, the old hate towards Jews acquires a new face and dimension in the form of BDS and similar movements. While it is no longer politically correct to admit openly to be an anti-Semite, unfortunately it is still legitimate to declare oneself as anti-Zionist.
Some wise and prominent people understood there is no practical difference between the two. It was the legendary Martin Luther King who said: “What is anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short it is antisemitism”. More recently it was president Obama who in an interview last May correctly observed that “Do you think that Israel has a right to exist as a home land for the Jewish people, and are you aware of the particular circumstances of Jewish history that might prompt that need and desire? If your answer is no, if your notion is somehow that history does not matter, then that’s a problem in my mind. If, on the other hand, you acknowledge the justness of the Jewish home land, you acknowledge the active presence of anti-Semitism – that it’s not just something from the past, but it is current – if you acknowledge that there are people and nations that, if convenient, would do the Jewish people harm because of a warped ideology. If you acknowledge those things, then you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora, you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure it is not isolated.”
The advertisement in your paper represents this camouflaged anti-Semitism. It is not only the apartheid lie. You can see it also in the logo that shows a map of “Palestine” that is not based on the 1967 borders. Israel, the Jewish state, does not exist on this map.
My deep concern is not directed at the organizations behind the advertisement. As written above, hateful attitudes towards Jews have existed in Europe for centuries and, as in president Obama’s words – they are not a thing from the past. The aim of my letter is to provoke your conscience to the fact you are giving room and space to something improper and offensive, as obscene as the blood libels from the middle ages. This advertisement is not about legitimate criticism towards policies of an Israeli government. It is about promoting hate and spreading lies against the Jewish state, denying and depriving Jews a basic human right as living freely and protected in their own state, the only piece of land where Jews leave independently as a majority. Back in 2014 you refused to publish an advertisement by MIFF, claiming it contained some offensive elements towards Palestinians. Apparently when it comes to the Jews and to the Jewish state you are less sensitive about what may offend us. This is the very exact double standard mentioned in president Obama’s words. This advertisement should not have been published.