Skip to comments.Making sense of Norwegian anti-Semitism
Posted on 04/20/2011 3:49:41 AM PDT by Eurotwit
BERLIN In an eye-opening interview, Bruce Bawer, an American literary critic, writer and poet and a sharp critic of European anti-Semitism and radical Islam, who lives in Norway, talks to The Jerusalem Post about the outbreak of Jew-hatred and loathing of Israel in his country.
Bawer is the acclaimed author of While Europe Slept and Surrender.
Your recent essay, Alan Dershowitz and Norwegian Anti-Semitism, featured in Pajamas Media, attracted intense attention. Why did Norwegian universities boycott Professor Dershowitz?
One of them wouldnt say. Another said he was controversial. Yet another wanted him to talk about O.J. Simpson, but not Israel. The fact is that Norwegian universities are eager to welcome critics of Israel, apologists for terrorism, hard-line Islamists and relativizers of the Holocaust but not defenders of Israel.
These universities consider themselves beacons of enlightenment and diversity. But being pro-Israel is, for them, over the line.
What is contemporary Norwegian anti- Semitism? What is propagating post-Holocaust hatred of Israel and Jews in Norway?
Its a phenomenon of a sort that I never encountered in all my years in the US, and that I once thought had been banished to the dustbin of history. Its most virulent among the cultural elite the academics, intellectuals, writers, journalists, politicians, and technocrats.
Theyre overwhelmingly on the left, and intensely hostile to the West, to capitalism, to the US and to Israel. Before the fall of the USSR, an extraordinary percentage of them were Communists. They have replaced their affinity to the Soviet Union with sympathy for the great totalitarian ideology of our time: Islamism. Thus they romanticize Palestinians and despise Israel.
Part of the motivation for this anti-Semitism is the influx into Norway in recent decades of masses of Muslims from Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere. Multiculturalism has taught Norways cultural elite to take an uncritical, even obsequious, posture toward every aspect of Muslim culture and belief. When Muslim leaders rant against Israel and the Jews, the reflexive response of the multiculturalist elite is to join them in their rantings. This is called solidarity.
Norwegian history also plays a role in all this. Anti-Semitism has a long, deeply-rooted history here. This was never a cosmopolitan country no nation in Europe was less ethnically or religiously diverse. On the contrary, Norway was a remote, rural, mountainous land of pious Lutheran farmers whose early 19th-century constitution banned Jews from its territory.
With a few notable exceptions, Norwegians did not exactly cover themselves in glory during the Nazi occupation. Unlike their counterparts in Denmark, Norwegian gentiles made no major effort to protect their Jewish neighbors. To be sure, in the decades after the war, Norway was a staunch ally of the US and Israel; but the entrenched leftwing elite did its work through the schools, universities and media producing a generation of Norwegians for whom being virtuous and intellectually sophisticated means, among other things, embracing the Muslim victim, and despising the Israeli bully.
On Oslos version of Fleet Street there is a bar, a journalists hangout, called Stopp Pressen (Stop the Presses). For years, there hung in its window a photograph of a smiling, beatific Yasser Arafat. From the way he was portrayed, youd have thought he was Albert Schweizer. I walked by that picture almost every day for years. It was a good reminder of the sickness at the top ranks of this society.
How is modern anti-Semitism expressing itself in Norway?
Norwegian academics have sought to ban contacts with Israeli universities. Norwegian activists have encouraged boycotts of Israeli products. Every so often, a high-profile professor or activist, or some famous author like Erlend Loe or Jostein Gaarder, will write a virulent op-ed or give an angry speech denouncing Israel and insulting Jews as a people. Nothing they say is ever fresh or new; on the contrary, its all pure cultural-elite orthodoxy.
Nothing, moreover, could be safer for them to say in this country; no one will seek to harm them physically or otherwise. On the contrary, their anti-Semitic drivel will only win them plaudits from their colleagues. Yet they are treated as bold, courageous, original truth-tellers.
Can you explain what is driving Norways Socialist Left Party a member of the current governing coalition to be amenable to using the Norwegian military to strike Israel?
The Socialist Left Party is the spiritual home of much, if not most, of the Norwegian cultural elite. Many of its members were once card-carrying Communists and Soviet sympathizers. They despise the US and hate the fact that Norway is in NATO.
At one time they wouldve gladly enlisted Norway in the Warsaw Pact, because in their view the great force for evil in todays world is capitalism. Now they are eager to embrace jihadists and terrorists for the same reason.
Are Norwegians consumed with memorializing the Holocaust and dead Jews, but at the same time ignoring the lethal anti- Semitism directed at Jews in Israel and Diaspora Jews because of their support for Israel?
Yes. People who are professionally committed to memorializing the Holocaust will deplore it in one breath, and in the next will explain that the Muslims are todays Jews and that the Israelis are todays Nazis. Again, in large part I think this can be explained by history. It salves the conscience of many Norwegians about their parents and grandparents wartime moral choices to be able to tell themselves that, well, that was long ago, and today Norway is a virtuous bringer of peace, and Israel is a bloodthirsty warmonger.
Do you consider Norway to have the highest levels of anti-Semitism among the Scandinavian countries?
Its close, but if I had to bet on which country was the worst, I do think Id pick Norway.
How dangerous is political and radical Islam in Norway?
Terrifyingly dangerous. And what makes it dangerous is the eagerness of the cultural elite to whitewash it. Islamists are welcomed into the elite. In recent years, one high-profile Islamist has been given a coveted position as a columnist for the countrys newspaper of record, while another has become a leading member of one of the political parties, and has established himself as a powerful figure in Norwegian society.
These men are invited to parties at the US Embassy, and enjoy friendly relations with top members of the Norwegian government and with members of the royal family. It seems clear that they are being groomed for high political office here.
Then theres our resident terrorist, Mullah Krekar, and his family, who have long been the subjects of fawning newspaper and TV profiles in which they are depicted sympathetically as kind, gentle, suffering victims. (This is a man who founded the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam, and who is known to be guilty of murdering and torturing children.)
Two years ago, supposedly in response to Israels actions against Hamas, Muslims rioted in downtown Oslo, making a large area of the city look like Beirut or Sarajevo at their most violent moments in modern history. The violence was out of control, the damage extensive. Yet almost everyone got off scot-free.
Early last year, in the same Oslo Square where Quisling and his henchman once held rallies, scores of radical Muslims gathered to hear a Nazi-like message of hate against Jews, gays, secular democracy, America, the West, Israel. The speeches were chilling. Yet the men who gave those speeches continue to be treated with respect by Norwegian authorities.
What types of alliances exist between Norways leftists parties and Islamic groups?
Very cozy alliances. They share common enemies.
How can Norwegian authorities combat Islamic, left-wing and right-wing anti-Semitism?
In the next election, Norwegian voters need to hand the reins of government over to the Progress Party the only one of Norways several major parties that is truly friendly to Israel, and the only one that is remotely honest about the realities of Islamism. Otherwise, nothing will happen.
In terms of Norways small Jewish community estimated to be 2,000 you wrote: The upside of the Dershowitz story is that his anger over Norways shabby treatment of him and of Jews generally seems to have awakened at least some members of Oslos Jewish community. Baila Odidort, a reporter for a Jewish website, attended a breakfast at Chabad House in Oslo at which Dershowitz met with Jewish leaders. For local Jews who have grown accustomed to keeping a low profile, wrote Odidort, Dershowitzs fearlessness was a stunning eye-opener.
Odidort provided a vibrant example: After so many years of living here and hearing people tell me that day is night and night is day, Ive stopped screaming that its not true, one of the guests at the Chabad House breakfast who preferred to remain anonymous told Rabbi Wilhelm after the meeting. Mr. Dershowitz comes along and opens the window and says its a beautiful day!
What is the explanation for the reticence among Norwegian Jews to flex their pro- Israel muscles, and at the same time assertively confront modern Norwegian anti-Semitism?
They are extremely few in number. And they fear for their childrens future. But their silence is no solution. Their children have no future here unless they speak up.
Should Norways Jews consider making aliya?
Dr. Daniel Pipes, a leading American expert on Islam, talked about a reverse migration of Europes 1 million Jews, comparable to the 1948 eviction of Oriental and Arab Jews who fled to the State of Israel.
He noted European Jews might end up leaving because of Muslim hostility and hardcore anti-Semitism. Do you see a similar exodus of European Jews in the immediate future?
Its happening already.
I take issue with this though:
“With a few notable exceptions, Norwegians did not exactly cover themselves in glory during the Nazi occupation. Unlike their counterparts in Denmark, Norwegian gentiles made no major effort to protect their Jewish neighbors.”
Norway contributed more money and blood to the allied cause in the war than ever Denmark got even close to. Though, the antisemitism... It surely is an issue now. I had friends in college always saying when I did not want to give them my beer, “Don’t be a jew”.
I always said don’t be a Scot :P
Also want to add:
“Norwegian activists have encouraged boycotts of Israeli products.”
I have done consulting for retailing. Sales of Israeli goods have actually increases after these boycott attempts. Personally I have always bought a few extra bags of Jaffa oranges after such boycott calls.
Seems like I am not alone.
Sorry for “Fisking” the article:
But, this is obviously nonsense:
“Two years ago, supposedly in response to Israels actions against Hamas, Muslims rioted in downtown Oslo, making a large area of the city look like Beirut or Sarajevo at their most violent moments in modern history. The violence was out of control, the damage extensive. Yet almost everyone got off scot-free.”
Not a single person got killed that day. Shees. I used to like Bawer, but statements like that does not add to his credibility.
Mind you I thought that day is the saddest day I have ever witnessed in Norway.
AND, the Norwegian media, society seems to do its best to put it in the “forget it ever happened” box.
I would venture to guess that anti-Israel sentiment in Norway is directly related to the numbers of Islamic immigrants versus remaining native Norwegians
The only useful thing in this whole ugly trend is that the Left's mask of "pacifism" and "antiwar" has been discarded.
Overall, the EU Jewish community has great influence. Do they support halting Muslim immigration to Europe?
That’s the thing...
Most jewish organization are firmly behind the islamic invasion - branding everyone opposed to it as “nazi’s”.
So there you go.
I was going to add that our former FReeper Aloutte was very prominent among them.
Sad thing/good thing.
Is that the IDF would probably take out Norway in one day, with one hand tied behind their backs.
Did you read the story about the Norwegian Royal Guards (supposedly an elite unit) hid underneath the bed when the alarm went???
However, I believe the only aspect of Norwegian resistance the author is interested in is how effectively they protected their Jewish inhabitants. About 99% of Danish Jews survived, while about 1/3 of Norwegian Jews died in the Holocaust.
Denmark was a neutral country occupied by the Germans. Their government generally cooperated with the occupiers, while resisting in some areas such as that of protecting Jews.
Norway was a conquered country, and was treated very differently and more harshly by the Germans. The wartime Norwegians had less ability to resist in the subtle ways the Danes did.
I always buy Israeli products when I see them - especially after the boycotts are announced. Fortunately, in the USA, those boycotts are not really popular. YET.
You sort of raise an interesting question...
Would it have been better to surrender like the Danes?
More Norwegian and jewish lives would probably have been spared?
The Danes never really got a chance to surrender. They were occupied almost before they knew they were invaded.
Given the difference in geography and topography the two countries were in very different situations.
The Norwegians (and Danes) had the huge advantage when occupied of being on the right side of the Nazi delusions about “race.”
Norwegians and Danes were the ideal Aryans per Nazi ideology, possibly more so than actual Germans, who admittedly had more admixture with inferior alien blood.
The Nazis wanted to convert and recruit the Norse, not exterminate them.
My late FIL was Norwegian. His family owned a sailing school in Bergen. FIL was offered a math scholarship to Munich by the NAZIs, not only because he was very bright, but because he was Aryan. He refused.
The NAZIs brought the Bismarck to port at the family marina to be fitted. FIL and his brothers, one of whom had a career in the Merchant Marine, were supposed to help in the work. They gained access to the radio room and sent messages to the Brits detailing anything they knew. There were active partisans among the upper classes.
After the war, FIL emigrated, became an American citizen and only returned to Norway once, in the 1960s. Ironically, the girl he married was of German descent and her family were early Bund members who became very quite, to the point of denial, after the war.
For him it's just Norwegian Lutheran farmers all the way down ~ like they were stacked turtles or something.
Norway is still in the midst of a thousand year long effort by the Continental Norse to wrest ownership of the Sapma from several different Sa'ami nations.
I doubt people who'd kick around the Sa'ami really care much about Jews either ~ and I wouldn't count on the greater part of the Norse being much concerned with the plight of the various Moslem immigrant groups.
They know a couple of good Fimbul winters and all the recent foreign immigrants will go back home and then it's just the Norse (with their three different languages) hacking away at the land rights of the Sa'ami.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Standard Internet acronym.
I guess I am happy not knowing every Internet acronym.
Though it seems Americans have a special love for those acronyms.
I was doing some science at CU-Boulder. It was all acronyms all the time. Geek humour I guess :)
Have a good one.
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