Barbara Kay: Behind the Humanitarian Mask in Scandinavia

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Barbara Kay: Behind the Humanitarian Mask in Scandinavia
Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Foreword by Gert Weisskirchen. Published by Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, 2008. $29.00 pp.256

Manfred Gerstenfeld is a member of SPME.



Last week CNN aired a heartrending videotape of a “dying” Palestinian child receiving “CPR,” ostensibly one more Gazan victim of Israel’s inhumanity. It was quickly blogged on by alert medical professionals as an obvious hoax.

The “war crime” was a stunt engineered or abetted by a Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, who was filmed narrating the bogus scenario for the videographer, supposedly the “victim’s” brother, but in fact the owner of a Hamas-supportive Web site.

Gilbert is not your average do-gooder medic. A radical Marxist member of the Norwegian Maoist Party, he has supported terrorism against Israel for decades. Emblematic of a larger problem, Gilbert’s activism is funded by the Norwegian Aid Committee, in its turn funded by the Norwegian government.

Scandinavia is so outwardly peaceful, internal political attitudes there are rarely critically scrutinized. Countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway are reflexive bywords for humanitarian compassion.

In reality, all of the Scandinavian countries revel in an invented moral superiority that ignores entrenched anti-Semitism.

Long active before the Second World War, then briefly subdued by the Holocaust, Scandinavian anti-Semitism reappeared in the 1970s, wearing the humanitarian mask of sympathy for the victims of “Nazi” Zionism.

That Scandinavian anti-Zionism is just old-fashioned Jew hatred in disguise is made painfully clear throughout the collected essays in a just-published book, Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews, edited by Manfred Gerstenfeld.

As a cascade of irrefutable data demonstrates in these pages, none of the Scandinavian countries has properly confronted its history of anti-Semitism, or its complicity with Jewish genocide during the Holocaust. Sweden and Norway refuse to prosecute Nazi war criminals. Other insalubrious Holocaust-related facts emerge for the first time in this book from reluctantly opened archives.

Norway is particularly problematic. In spite of its paucity of Jews – barely 1,300 – Norwegians’ anti-Semitism is deeply embedded in their history.

Norway’s ban on the kosher slaughtering of animals, for example, was introduced even before Hitler’s. The rationale for the ban – humanitarianism – doesn’t jibe with the fact that Norway permits whaling with agony-causing harpoons, or with the fact that Norway accommodates halal slaughter strictures (similar to kosher) for Muslims.

Never acknowledging Hamas and Hezbollah’s exterminationist motivation, both Norway’s politicians and cultural elites project virulent anti-Zionism. Norwegian unions remain the world’s most relentless Israeli trade and academic boycott obsessives.

Although ranked amongst the leading countries for press freedom, the Nordic media are notable for their bias against Israel. Norwegian journalists deliberately dumb down Middle East complexity to a fairy tale of Evil Powerful Israel vs. Innocent Helpless Palestine.

Worse are cartoons in the Norwegian press that rival pre-war Nazi propaganda.

Popular cartoonist Finn Graff specializes in them, for example depicting Israeli Prime Minister Olmert as a sadistic Nazi commandant. Yet he was awarded Norway’s equivalent of the Order of Canada because he is an “inspiration” to other illustrators.

Two years ago Norwegian “comedian” Otto Jespersen tore pages from the Jewish Bible and burned them on TV. This past Nov. 27, he “joked” on camera: “I would like to take this opportunity to remember all the billions of fleas and lice that lost their lives in German gas chambers, without having done anything wrong other than settling on persons of Jewish background.”

Jespersen defended his “satire” on the grounds that “people oppose the apartheid-state Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.” The station supported him. And so, apparently, did the Norwegian population, for he is still welcome in their living rooms. Mere criticism of Israeli policy? Please.

Behind the Humanitarian Mask is important scholarship. Sadly, I have but scratched the surface of the many dispiriting revelations in the book. We learn that, amongst other ironies, Norway’s number one ranking amongst 121 countries on the Global Peace Index can co-exist in hypocritical harmony with the “civilized” world’s oldest, but still permissible hatred.

National Post
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Barbara Kay: Behind the Humanitarian Mask in Scandinavia

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