According to the country’s largest paper, Verdens Gang, the Norwegian government financed the Gaza War trip of two extreme left-wing physicians, Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, through a development organization. They spread their anti-Israel hatred widely, via the international media, but failed to mention the fact that the Hamas leadership was camped in the hospital where they were working. After 9-11, Gilbert had told the daily Dagbladet that the mass murders by Arabs in the U.S. were justified. Norway is a NATO ally of the U.S. One would expect that government ministers in a democracy would have nothing to do with someone who justifies terror, leave alone against an ally. Yet Stoltenberg called the physicians in Gaza and stated that all of Norway stood behind them. Later, Gilbert and Fosse wrote a book in which they claimed that Israel went into Gaza to kill women and children. This is a new version of the classic anti-Semitic blood libel. Stoere wrote a back cover comment for the book.
When President Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff, former Conservative Prime Minister Kare Willoch stated that the appointment of a Jew to that position was bad for the peace process. In a rare public reaction, a Norwegian Jewish journalist, Mona Levin, called him an anti-Semite.
Another extreme example of government-sponsored incitement occurred in autumn 2010, when the Norwegian government co-financed an exhibition of anti-Israel hate graphics from the artist Hakon Gullvag, in Damascus. The Norwegian Jewish community, in light of its dependence on the government, often does not react publicly to such acts of hate. However, when a leading daily, Aftenposten, printed one of Gullvags works Oslo’s rabbi, Yoav Melchior, could no longer remain silent. He wrote that he hid the paper from his son. One can give tens of other such examples of hate promotion.
To understand all this one has to know that the ruling cultural elite in Norway largely consists of Labor Party and Far Left constituents. Its worldview dominates politics, media, universities, culture, trade unions, NGOs, the official churches and so on. It is characterized by a far-reaching lack of self-doubt and self-criticism with an overlay of Marxism. This combination often produces a mixture of arrogance, shamelessness, lack of morality and intellectual dishonesty. The elite has succeeded in misinforming a large part of the population about Israel. This supports the expansion of anti-Semitism.
With such a mindset, it is easy for the ‘progressive’ elite to abuse their positions of power in order to demonize opponents, such as some opposition politicians and evangelical church movements. These people often invest great effort on behalf of Jews and Israel. The demonization is also directed at individuals who make “politically incorrect” statements.
The situation is likely to get worse. After the murders, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said that Norway will react by becoming an even more democratic, open and humanitarian society. What will probably happen is just the opposite. Some dissenters tell me that they now practice self-censorship and remain silent. One encouraged me to continue exposing what goes on in the country saying: “As almost everyone in opposition in Norway shuts up, and for the moment seem to completely have lost their right to freedom-of-speech, it is nice to see voices from the outside analyzing and speaking up.”
Norwegian establishment figures often demonize these dissenters as extremists. In America however, one would probably define them as liberal Republicans. Another one of them wrote to me about the establishment: “I think they actually hate us for being professional, if we were raving phobes they wouldn’t have minded, but we beat them at their own game. They have so much to hide. What they don’t understand is that it is impossible to seal the doors in the internet age. What they fall back on is the blame game and witch hunt.” It is a sign of the times in Norway that these quotes better remain nameless.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 20 books. Two of these address Norwegian anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism.
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