Thursday, April 18, 2002
I am shocked by the recent flurry of statements and actions by prominent Norwegians regarding Israel and the Middle East. The comments of Hanna Kvanmo and others regarding their desire to revoke the Peace Prize from Shimon Peres, while smiling benignly on Yasir Arafat, boggle the mind. Yet under normal circumstances I might just chalk this up to the usual puffing of annoying but essentially irrelevant fools.
But far more telling is the decision to ban Ingvar Tveitt from wearing a Star of David in the Norwegian Parliament building. No other symbol worn as decoration seems to bother Norwegian Parliamentary figures -- flags of Palestine and other nations? Hey, no problem! Just keep that Jewish star out...it offends our sensibilities.
This is the same type of bias demonstrated by Kvanmo et al, but in this case practiced by the government of your nation.
I find these actions, and the apparent bias behind them, to be both revealing and revolting. I will visit Denmark this autumn for a conference, and initially intended to visit Norway and the rest of Scandinavia while there. Rest assured that now I will not visit Norway, nor will I knowingly purchase any Norwegian products, for the foreseeable future.
Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.
The Royal Norwegian Embassy has taken due note of your comments to the
incident in the Norwegian Parliament last week, when a young man was
requested to leave his outer garment - displaying a small Israeli flag on
the chest pocket - in the cloak room before being re-admitted to the
It should be underlined that the incident was not politically motivated. Nor
does the incident reflect any change in Norway's position with regard to the
situation in the Middle East.
The Norwegian government has repeatedly given its full support to the U.S.
efforts to stop the violence and seek a negotiated solution to the conflict.
We share the objective of an immediate cease-fire, an end to all violence,
an Israeli retreat and a dialogue between Israel and the Palestine
Authorities. In a statement issued on April 17, Foreign Minister Jan
Petersen expresses his concern for the current situation, and calls on both
parties to implement recent resolutions by the U.N. Security Council.
Israel has many friends in Norway. The young man visiting the the Parliament
last week is only one of them. Their consititutional right to voice their
opinion has not been and will not be restricted.
All the same, where is Marc Herold? Shouldn't he be releasing a carefully researched study of Palestinian civilian deaths about now? Let's see, in the last four days I've seen one story that alleged 500 deaths in Jenin, another alleging 2,000 deaths, and a third alleging 3,000. So I anticipate that Herold will calculate that there have been 5,500 civilian deaths in Jenin alone.