Norway, the American Ambassador wrote in a 2009 cable, wants to play a role in the Middle East ‘peace process’:
Norway’s desire to make a difference combined with the willingness to expend time and money has made it a mediator in conflicts as far a field as Sri Lanka, Colombia, Haiti, and Sudan. It has elevated peace and reconciliation studies in its universities and reorganized its Foreign Ministry to showcase its expertise in this area. It revels in its self-described role as the “moral superpower” and points to the Oslo Peace Accords as a defining national moment.
“Moral superpower.” What a concept!
But moral superiority begins at home. Does the name Jostein Gaarder ring a bell?
He is a Norwegian writer and intellectual, author of numerous books and winner of several prestigious Norwegian and international prizes. He is also known as an environmental and human-rights activist. In 2006, during the Second Lebanon war, he published a song of hatred for the Jewish state — and the Jewish people — in the Aftenposten, now the largest newspaper in Norway, entitled “God’s Chosen People.” It began as follows:
There’s no turning back. It’s time to learn a new lesson: We no longer recognize the State of Israel. We could not recognize the apartheid regime of South Africa, nor did we recognize the Afghani Taliban regime. Then there were many who did not recognize Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or the Serbs’ ethnic cleansing. We need to get used to the idea: The State of Israel, in its current form, is history.
We don’t believe in the notion of God’s Chosen People. We laugh at this people’s capriciousness and weep at its misdeeds. To act as God’s Chosen People is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity. We call it racism.
There are limits to our patience, and there are limits to our tolerance. We do not believe in divine promises as a justification for occupation and apartheid. We have left the Middle Ages behind. We laugh uneasily at those who still believe that the god of flora, fauna and the galaxies has selected one people in particular as his favorite and given it silly, stone tablets, burning bushes and a license to kill.
We call baby killers “baby killers” and will never accept that people such as these have a divine or historic mandate excusing their outrages. We just say: Shame on all apartheid, shame on ethnic cleansing and shame on every terrorist strike against civilians whether carried out by Hamas, the Hezbollah or the State of Israel!
We acknowledge, and pay heed to, Europe’s deep responsibility for the plight of the Jews, for the disgraceful harassment, the pogroms and the Holocaust. It was historically and morally necessary for the Jews to get their own home. However, the State of Israel, with its unscrupulous art of war and its disgusting weapons, has massacred its own legitimacy. It has systematically flaunted International Law, international conventions, and countless UN resolutions and can no longer expect protection from the same. It has carpet bombed the recognition of the world. But fear not! The Tribulation will soon be over. The State of Israel has seen its Soweto.
I don’t want to restart the debate over whether Gaarder and others are antisemitic or ‘just’ anti-Israel. Today it is a distinction without a difference. Gaarder absorbed all of Hizballah’s manufactured atrocity stories and believed them all, in every detail. Then he played them back for the Norwegian people, called the Jewish state irredeemably corrupt and called for its dissolution. How ready he was to uncritically believe the worst and to indict, try, and pronounce sentence on a nation based on it! His language, his emphasis on the illegitimacy of the Jewish state, and his propensity to believe the unbelievable make clear that his hatred is much more than a political point of view.
And he spoke not only for himself. A cable written by Benson K. Whitney, who was the American Ambassador to Norway, in 2009, discusses “Rising Norwegian Antisemitism” and gives some concrete examples:
Anecdotal evidence shows the small Jewish community in Norway, comprising about 1000 members, are experiencing a growing fear of rising anti-Semitism. When attempting to write a January 10 story about how Jewish families were dealing with the fallout from the war in Gaza, a major newspaper found that most of those contacted refused to be interviewed, because they were afraid of being targeted if they appeared in the paper. One orthodox Jewish family in Oslo chose not to take their children to synagogue, as their appearance on the street makes them especially vulnerable. Some Jewish parents are walking with their children to school as an added security measure. There have been reports of bullying at school, where Jewish children are subject to insults. A recent expose on anti-Semitism in a major paper found that “Jew” has become an epithet among both Muslim and Christian teenagers…
The chief Rabbi of the Oslo Synagogue reportedly receives a pile of hate mail each day. Typical salutations on such mail are, “Murderers,” “Maybe Hitler was right,” “May hatred toward you Jews grow and strengthen,” and so forth. In a question that typifies the general views of the Norwegian media, a reporter asked the Rabbi bluntly, “Don’t you understand that the world is outraged by the gruesome attacks against the civilian population in Gaza?” …
[An Israeli diplomat] said he believed the rising tide of anti-Semitism represented a “terrible failure of the Norwegian establishment,” with for example Finance Minister Halvorsen initially participating prominently an anti-war parade that ended with a full-scale riot in front of the Israeli embassy. Cries of, “Kill the Jews!” were heard at this demonstration. Police had not seen such violent demonstrations since the 1980s. Interestingly, one pro-Israel demonstration in Bergen was cancelled because police told organizers that they could not protect participants.
Norwegians do not accept the idea that antisemitism is possible in their moral superpower. The Ambassador continues,
Norwegian society, however, has obstacles to effectively combating [antisemitism]. First, a deep-seated fundamental belief by Norwegians that their national character is deeply and essentially “good,” [!] makes Norwegians reluctant to accuse one of their own of a sin perceived to be as odious as anti-Semitism. Second, whether an anti-Semitic (or racist) statement has been made is determined by the speaker, not the offended group. Even unacceptable statements are forgiven so long as the speaker insists upon his or her good intentions. Third, Norway follows a social model based on consensus rather than individualism, so Norwegians are somewhat more prone to have difficulty differentiating between individuals and groups.
Apparently, Norwegians have difficulty perceiving antisemitism in other places, too. From another cable by Ambassador Whitney:
By 2007, FM Stoere decided to recognize the Palestinian Unity Government, which included Hamas Ministers. Hamas’ vow to destroy Israel was ignored or characterized as only rhetoric by the Norwegians. Norway became the leading dissenter to international norms (only joined by Switzerland), willing to overlook Hamas’ stated aims in pursuit of dialogue at all costs. At this point, some Israeli officials began to characterize Norway as the most anti-Israel state in Europe.
(Note: Although the [Government of Norway] would deny it, there are clear signs that contacts with Hamas go beyond a tactical desire for dialogue to a level of sympathy for Hamas positions. The FM once told DCM for example that one could not expect Hamas to recognize Israel without knowing which borders Israel will have. While the FM expresses some sympathy for Hamas’ positions only in unguarded moments, other prominent Norwegians go further. End Note.)
One wants to ask: Which Hamas positions are they sympathetic with? The one which quotes scripture as a reason to kill Jews? The one that says that “there is no solution to the Palestinian question except through jihad?” The one that insists that all the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean must be ruled by Muslims? The policy of randomly firing rockets at Jewish towns and cities in Israel? The act of kidnapping a young soldier and holding him for ransom, incommunicado for more than 6 years?
Norwegian policy has been pro-Hamas in a very practical way. Additional Wikileaks cables show that when, after Cast Lead, the US asked for help from various nations in interdicting arms smuggling to Hamas, Norway refused to join the effort. In a cable sent in March 2009, the Ambassador wrote,
Embassy Oslo believes that the stated concerns are real but only a small part of the dilemma that the Gaza interdiction effort presents for the GON [Government of Norway]. Reluctant to be left out of any significant Middle Eastern initiative but at the same time not willing to accept the isolation of Hamas, the GON is torn. Broadly speaking, the GON is clearly concerned that joining the interdiction effort would harm their cooperation and ties with Hamas. These ties are very important to the GON (and to FM Stoere himself) and their (his) desire to serve as a peace negotiator.
What could be less moral than the goals, policies and actions of the racist, genocidal Hamas?
And what could be more hypocritical than Norway, which “revels in its self-described role as the ‘moral superpower,'” supporting Hamas?