Herland Report: Radical Left turned Norway into most anti-Semitic in the West: Since World War II, we have changed from being supportive to the Labour Party “Kibbutz culture” of Jews fleeing from Holocaust, to becoming a dinstictively anti-Israel society.
This article looks at Norway, first published in 2012. In my view, the Radical neo-Marxist Left has turned Norway into what seems to be the most anti-Semitic country in the West.
There is a remarkable bend towards negativity towards Israel, regardless of what the topic is.
The chronic negative attitudes permeate on State level, the Union and municipality level, NGO level as well as within the media. Whoever voices support to some Israel politics or Jewish NGO, for example, is almost instantly attacked.
My argument is that when the anti-Israelism becomes as strong as it is in Norway, it is but a disguised anti-Semitism. Regardless of what Israel does, it is “always wrong”.
There seems to be this idea that Israel as a nation is something inherently “evil that must be fought”, and we have heard it before in history. Palestinians, on the other hand, are “inherently good” regardless of corruption, abuse of power, neglect of the needs of the population and so on.[pullquote]My argument is that when the anti-Israelism becomes as strong as it is in Norway, it is but a disguised anti-Semitism. Regardless of what Israel does, it is “always wrong”.[/pullquote]
The strange notion seems to be: Whatever a Palestinian does, he is always good and right. Whatever an Israeli does, he is always wrong and evil. How did we come to this?
Where does this distinct negativity towards Israel and the Jews come from? Why is the Jew to blame for “everything” that went wrong in the Middle East?
Why no examination into the corruption, for example, among the Palestinian leaders? How could Yassir Arafat die as a billionaire?[pullquote]The degree of Anti-Israelism is Norway today on state level, in the media, in the trade unions and at the universities, colleges and schools is unprecedented in modern Norwegian history.[/pullquote]
And why is it so hard for us to accept that the world is pluralistic and complex, that the Middle East is far from our reality and that we should not make the mistake of Robert McNamara.
He stated, at the end of his life, in the documentary The Fog of War that the US mistake in Vietnam was to pick a side in the conflict and be biased from then on.
This article will therefore examine, in a critical light, the cultural developments that have led to Norway taking a stance against Israel on a distinct level, writes historian of comparative religions, bestselling author and founder of The Herland Report, Hanne Nabintu Herland.
Lecture held at The Institute for Global Jewish Affairs, Jerusalem Center for Public Affair, 5.11.2012
The Judeo-Christian heritage in Europe
Radical Left turned Norway into the most anti-Semitic country in the West: I will first take a look at the historical process in Europe that has led to the radical swing of anti-Israelism that Norway is suffering from today.[pullquote]In Norway, a substantial part of the media now is owned by the Labor movement and the Left through “the A-pressen”, with articles almost solely portraying Israel in a negative way.[/pullquote]
The past hundred years the atheist, Liberal revolt with its ruthless deconstruction of traditional values away from religious ideals has created an on going battle to crush the beliefs in the Christian Church.
Thus, also reduce the reverence for the Jewish heritage that is closely interlinked with Christianity. The Judeo-Christian values were in history intertwined with European culture, and forged its break-through as a world leading civilization.
The eagerness to break down the respect for the lessons of history and thinking that every new reform automatically will lead to the better, has caused Europeans to lose their confidence in the underpinnings of Judeo-Christian culture.
When contempt for one’s own history is the dominant and politically correct view, it is only natural that lack of respect for the rich Jewish history which is several thousand years old in the Middle East will be part of this picture.
The belief in the dignity of human beings regardless of rank, class or ethnicity carries deep impact from Judaism and the ethics of the Ten Commandments have formed the basis for the creation of stable democratic states.
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Modern European culture found its civilizational peak in the coupling between the Judeo-Christian values of the Ten Commandments and the Protestant ethic.[pullquote]Whatever a Palestinian does, he is always good and right. Whatever an Israeli does, he is always wrong and evil. How did we come to this?[/pullquote]
Joined with the historical capitalism’s emphasis on hard work leading to individual economic gain, the value in being trustworthy and honest, our culture flurished.
This produced a leading societal force which made the Western civilization world leading.
Stories of the lives of Moses, David and Jeremiah have enriched the Western culture for generations and formed the way we view the dignity of the human being and his relationship to God. Every Christian loves the Torah, indirectly, for this book is the foundation of the values that has formed our whole civilization.
As Europeans have come to overemphasize the privatization of religion and thereby marginalizing and encaging religion’s ability to turn citizens into morally aware people who voice the need for solidarity and respect for others.[pullquote]On state level, Norwegian taxpayer’s money as well as oil revenues float uncritically by the billions into Gaza.[/pullquote]
But today even leading neo-atheists like philosopher, Jûrgen Habermas, speak about the need for a renewed respect for religious ethics and morality in order to restore solidarity among Europeans, since solidarity is withering too quickly in modern secular societies. When he received the Holberg Price in the coastal city of Bergen, Norway in 2005, he held a remarkable speech about his change of heart pertaining to the role of religion.
Yet, at the peak of civilizational bliss, Europe decided to move away from the values and ideals that once made its culture great, just like the Roman Empire did before them.
Radical Left turned Norway into most anti-Semitic in the West. The Herland Report is a Scandinavian news site, TV channel on YouTube and Podcasts reaching millions yearly. It is a great place to watch interviews and read the work of leading intellectuals, thought leaders, authors and activists from across the political spectrum.
Norway: Remarkably strong anti-Israelism pushed by the Left
In this picture, the example of the Norway is interesting. This is a marginalized country in the northern parts of Europe that by luck happened to discover oil in the 1970’s.
By the 1980’s the benefits from this most lucrative industry was floating into society, giving regular people the feeling of being rich and above the poor and other nations that we felt had dominated us before. Norway got its independence as late as 1905, and had been dominated by Sweden and Denmark for centuries.
Norwegian culture has traditionally been consensus oriented and post war, very socialistic. The issues in this country are more than what meets the eye: For how can a country that used to be a steadfast friend of Israel turn into a nation with a Labour government that refuses to renounce Hamas as a terrorist movement? Prior to the Oslo Peace Accord in 1993, Yasser Arafat was required to denounce terrorism.
Bias on state level
Today, the Radical Leftwing government silently accepts Hamas’ demand for ethnic cleansing of the Jewish minority while Foreign Ministers like Labour Party’s Jonas Gahr-Store pose no major remarks, – until a late interview in 2011, as if the political pressure was so great that he felt obliged to at least say something. Even then talks and support for Hamas continued.[pullquote]At the peak of civilizational height, Europe decided to move away from the values and ideals that once made its culture great, just like the Roman Empire did before them.[/pullquote]
On state level, Norwegian taxpayer’s money as well as oil revenues float uncritically by the billions into Gaza as Norway heads the “Ad Hoc Liaison Committee” (AHLC) established after the Oslo Accords 1993, with the task of mobilizing financial support for Palestinian state-building.
Yet, all its leader, the Norwegian Labour Party politician, Jonas Gahr-Store’s efforts over the past several years in favor of the Palestinians have ended in failure.
The Foreign Ministers’ relentless efforts to shape the Middle East reached a final peak in 2011 when Palestinians made their UN bid for recognition of their state only to be stopped by the US.
The inescapable conclusion is that the AHLC no longer has a role to play in the peace process and that the strategy to pay money in order to finance the building of a state, has failed.
Not least because nationhood is something that the nation itself must build, foreign aid and money given top-down often doesn’t work as intended, as the case of Africa has shown.
Radical Left turned Norway into the most anti-Semitic country in the West: It is not surprising that anti-Semitism and hostility towards Israel is a major problem in a country where even on state level there is such biased support for only the Palestinian views of the conflict.
Bias in the Trade Unions and Media
Then to the Norwegian trade unions. Since the 1970’s they have strongly supported an organization called The Palestine Committee which states that its main goal is to fight Israel’s Zionism and views the state of Israel as the main hinder for peace in the Middle East.
I use the term Zionism defined asoday, the term is often defined by the Left as “the quest for global, world dominion by Jews”, and is not my definition here.
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[pullquote]The Leftist political elite is cunning in the way they place their own allies in leading positions in state owned companies and political structures in Norway.[/pullquote]
This organization is remarkably well organized with branches in every part of the country that has clearly fuelled a negative impression of Israel into the Norwegian workforce. One of the views impressed unto its members and into the trade unions through this organization is that there is an on going ethnic cleansing of Palestinians done by Israelis and that Norway should boycott any merchandise produced in Israel.
In Norway, a substantial part of the media now is owned by the Labor movement and the Left through “the A-pressen”, with articles almost solely portraying Israel in a negative way. It is almost impossible to find a single article in major Norwegian newspapers that portray Israel in a positive way. The labor unions are very strong in Norway.
The very wealthy Norwegian trade union, LO, now owns newspapers with a daily circulation of 661 000 newspapers in a country with only close to 5 million people. LO owns 81 of the Norwegian newspapers, according to Dagbladet.
In 2011, LO’s current leader Roar Flaaten said that he was very proud of the influence of the Left on the media, as no trade union in the whole Europe controls that many newspapers “on our side,” he said.
Most of the Norwegian labour force is members of LO, the AUF Youth group of The Labour Party, is also strongly engaged in the work of the Palestine Committee, as well as a large portion of LO’s rich member organizations, which pushes the view that Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing.[pullquote]Norwegian society is heading towards a totalitarianism fueled by the Leftist political elite and the media who attempt to control everyone to think just like them.[/pullquote]
LO is also a main sponsor of the Labor Party. The Palestine Committee wants among other things that LO stop any affiliation with Israeli Histadrut. This is why you see regular people with T-shirts in Norway saying: “Stop apartheid in Israel!” Chances are this person is engaged in the labor unions and through its work, involved in the Palestine Committee.
When you then add the influence of the media, which is largely owned by the Left and see the current government’s engagement solely on the Palestinian side, you easily understand some of the reasons why Norway has turned out the way it has.
Please keep in mind that in Norway approximately 50 % of the labor force work in the public sector which is controlled by the government and more than 60 % of the values are owned by the state and thus also controlled by the government.
Retiring professor of Church History, Bernt Oftestad, had a point when he recently held his final lecture at the University of Oslo. He said that Norwegian society is heading towards a totalitarianism fueled by the Leftist political elite and the media who attempt to control everyone to think just like them.[pullquote]We want change, we want new attitudes in the Norwegian political system and the media. [/pullquote]
The Leftist political elite is cunning in the way they place their own allies in leading positions in state owned companies and political structures in Norway.
In the aftermath of the Breivik terror in July 2011, it was quite difficult for the Prime Minister to solve the issues around the needed resignation of Norway’s Chief of Police, Oystein Meland, as he was disqualified due to personal relations.
Radical Left turned Norway into the most anti-Semitic country in the West: The Norway Chief of Police, Oystein Meland was Stoltenberg’s best man at his wedding and the Minister of Justice, Grete Faremo, was also a close friend of both of them.
The CEO and president of the largest Norwegian Bank, DNB NOR, Rune Bjerke is also a good friend of Stoltenberg. The candidate for mayor of Oslo from Arbeiderpartiet, Libe Rieber-Mohn, is Rune Bjerke’s wife. Norwegian media has reported a large number of affiliations like this throughout the Leftist Norwegian political system.
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The negative sentiment amongst academics and intellectuals has been particularly strong, also partly due to their affiliation with the labor unions, but also as a larger part of the Radical Leftist groups that have gained power in Norway in the aftermath of 1968.[pullquote]It has long been known that without the politically-correct Leftist opinions, one does not become professor at Norwegian universities. [/pullquote]
The use of boycott against Israel when it comes to trade is one of the Palestine Committee’s favored actions, which we have seen the past years when for example Ministers like Kristin Halvorsen in 2006 publicly warned Norwegians against buying products from Israel, as well as academic an cultural boycott where Norwegian employees at Norwegian universities refuse to have anything to do with Israeli intellectuals, is a typical pattern in this.
This form of activism caught international attention during the visit of the renowned Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz last year as he came to Norway and was not welcomed to hold a lecture in any Norwegian university.
I held the opening speech at the conference Oslo Symposium 2011, chaired by Bjarte Ystebo, where Alan Dershowitz was a main speaker.[pullquote]Where does this distinct negativity towards Israel and the Jews come from? Why is the Jew to blame for “everything” that went wrong in the Middle East?[/pullquote]
It has long been known that without the politically-correct Leftist opinions, one does not become professor at Norwegian universities. Maybe this is why our universities score so low on international evaluations as the most brilliant minds either are pushed out or choose to move abroad or take other vocations as the Radical Left’s dictate on how to think and what to discuss is way too rigid in Norway.
On the local level disturbing polls like, for example, the Oslo Municipal Survey 2011 stated that “Jew” now is the most used cussword in Oslo schools, 1/3 of Jewish children feel continuously bullied.
The number being as low as 5 % for Muslims which may point to the fact that over 30 % of the young in Oslo are now foreigners and a result of the mass immigration the past 20 years.
The recent report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, showed that as high as 38 % of Norwegians feel Israeli treatment of Palestinians is equivalent to the Nazi’ treatment of Jews and as high as 12.5 % of Norwegians harbor significant anti-Jewish sentiments.
When it comes to business and trade, Norway is known for its strong state companies, especially in the oil sector. Here, the same Radical Leftist government that advises its companies against helping Israel in its attempt to find oil, sends letters to the private sector and urge Norwegian companies to rush into Libya to aid sunni-fractions there.[pullquote]The degree of Anti-Israelism is Norway today on state level, in the media, in the trade unions and at the universities, colleges and schools is unprecedented in modern Norwegian history.[/pullquote]
It has been highly criticized by, amongst others The President of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres.
The powerful individuals that have pushed for these negative and biased attitudes in Norway, are today responsible for creating a politically-correct hatred towards Israel that today portrays my country internationally as the most anti-Semitic country in the West.
Anti-Israelism is anti-Semitism’s new face in Europe.
There is deep injustice in the fact that leading Radical Leftist opinion makers have decided not to contribute to a balanced view of the Middle East, but only reflect the politically-correct Leftwing dictate. The biased media thus becomes a source for warmongering instead of a balanced search for peace.
Articles create mistrust and hatred instead of leading human kind towards peace.[pullquote]During Soviet times this type of biased information such as we see when it comes to reports on Israel was called propaganda.[/pullquote]
No wonder the misinformed people in countries like Norway interpret what they read in newspapers as if Israel is an apartheid rogue state.
The responsibility lies with the editors and the political leaders pushing through political ownership like we see in Norway, which denies people the right to hear different views of the stories and objective information so they themselves can make up their own minds, not clouded by the fog of war, as former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara so eloquently put it. During Soviet times this type of biased information was called propaganda.
The same word is often used by philosopher Noam Chomsky, who by New York Times as well as The Observer is named the world’s most important intellectual and the most cited living author in social sciences and the humanities today.
In Necessary illusions as well as a number of other books he talks about the current patterns in the Western media and says that what is predominant in Western democracies, even more so than in the old dictatorships, is thought control. He believes that in reality the freedom of the press is far more limited in democracies than most people think.
The reason is that the political authorities in democracies need to control public opinion through the media as it is the people that go to the voting polls and elect their political leaders.
In dictatorships, there is no need to control the people to the same extent because political leadership is appointed by those in power, one doesn’t need their vote anyway.
Radical Left turned Norway into the most anti-Semitic country in the West: The late professor J.L. Talmon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has also written extensively about the dangers of democratic states turning into totalitarian democracies.
He points out that wherever you find tough socialistic nations with a great degree of state control, you often see the tendencies towards totalitarian structures where a small all powerful political elite dictate the rules of how everyone should behave.[pullquote]NAZI, famously being an abbreviation for National Socialist Workers Party of Germany brings Socialism into a disfavored light. [/pullquote]
The famous philosopher Hannah Arendt is known for having talked about this in The origins of totalitarianism. She studied the roots of Nazism, NAZI being an abbreviation for National Socialist Workers Party of Germany, and examined how so much evil could be systematized during the Second World War in modern democratic states with an emphasis on bureaucratic state control over the population. This is relevant for today’s Norway, because its Radical socialism also has strong roots here.
The world renowned scientist Samuel Huntington has also written extensively about this in The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order, that the rich Western countries need to respect other nation’s s right to determine their own values on their own territory, that the West has no right to dominate the Rest in such a way that the only freedom one has is the freedom to think and act according to the standards of the Left.
The Leftist belief that everyone else eventually must be silenced, is very dangerous and at the heart of totalitarian thinking.
Final remarks and a hopeful view of the future
[pullquote]“Jew” now is the most used cussword in Oslo schools, 1/3 of Jewish children feel continuously bullied, only a few hundred Jews remain in Norway.[/pullquote]
The Radical Left has been deeply influenced by the utopian dream of a modern scientific unified world joined together in a global village where man has finally triumphed over religion and old traditions.
This has made the Left intolerant and harsh towards people who think differently than themselves, for example against conservatives who believe freedom incorporates the individual’s right to be different from the majority.
Thus, the need to protect the rights of every minority in society is vital: there should be room and respect for Jews, Palestinian Christians, Muslims, gays, unwed mothers, traditional families, conservative Christians. There should be room for all, not only the favored of the Radical Left.
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I believe, that were the Norwegian people given a balanced, just information from an informative objective angle instead of the dividing harsh propaganda from the Radical Left that has dominated the public now for so long, we would see great change in public opinion.
We want change, we want new attitudes in the Norwegian political system and the media.
We want to push for more freedom and less biased information about Israel and more real and balanced knowledge about the world as a whole so that Norway and its international reputation can reflect that we want to join the nations in respect for the differences in cultures and in the quest for more peace in our time.
LINKS to some of articles referring to the speech: Times of Israel, The Algemeiner, JSNEWS, Norwegian Dagsavisen, Israel National News. Frontpage Norwegian newspaper DAGEN, pluss 7 other newspapers in Norway printed excerpts of the speech. The speech in English: Norway, Israel and the Jews.