Ever since during the Israel-Lebanon conflict in 2006 the Norwegian novelist and intellectual Jostein Gaarder published an op-ed essay in the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten in which he condemned certain aspects of Judaism and Israeli politics, and argued that the state of Israel should not be recognized in its present form, there has been a steady rise in anti-Semitic feeling throughout Norway. Although the currents of anti-Semitism were already present in Norwegian society, the publication of Gaarder's article seemed to have a profound effect on public opinion in the country, reinforcing old prejudices and stereotypes.
In his essay, translated here by a blogger, Gaarder wrote that
the state of Israel, with its unscrupulous art of war and its disgusting weapons, has massacred its own legitimacy. It has systematically flouted International Law, international conventions, and countless UN resolutions, and it can no longer expect protection from same. It has carpet bombed the recognition of the world. But fear not! The time of trouble shall soon be over. The state of Israel has seen its Soweto.
We are now at the watershed. There is no turning back. The state of Israel has raped the recognition of the world and shall have no peace until it lays down its arms.
We do not believe in the notion of God's chosen people. We laugh at this people's fancies and weep over its misdeeds. To act as God's chosen people is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity. We call it racism.
Despite protestations that his statements were aimed at a state and not at a people, and that he did not want Israelis to suffer retribution, Gaarder provoked outrage in many parts of the world.
Today, the Jerusalem Post reports on a disturbing continuation of the increase in anti-Semitism in Norway -- a trend that was further aggravated by the Gaza conflict. In one comment, Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld, chairman of the Jerusalem Centre of Public Affairs, notes that
Update:The Jerusalem Post has now removed Maya Spitzer's article from its website following a large number of protests, apparently from Norwegian-American readers. The author has stood by her report, and we are still linking to the article via Tundra Tabloids. We'll continue to watch developments.
"the [Norwegian] elite, the academics, politicians and media consider themselves to be great moralists, with very little self-introspection. Their self-righteousness, arrogance, and inherited Lutheran prejudices against Jews has led to a huge amount of anti-Israel sentiment. Gaza caused these latent feelings in society to come to the fore."
For a further update, see also in this blog: Anti-Semitism in Norway - 2