dimanche 4 septembre 2011

Wikileaks: les Juifs norvégiens ont peur de parler d'antisémitisme

Intimidés, les Juifs norvégiens n'osent pas parler de l'antisémitisme ambiant qu'ils vivent au quotidien - eux et leurs enfants.  Le gouvernement américain est parfaitement informé de la montée de l'antisémitisme en Europe et dans ce cas de la Norvège.  En Europe l'intimidation est grande et le résultat c'est l'auto-censure généralisée.

Source: Norway, Israel and the Jews et Wikileaks - Voir également ICI.
1. (C) Summary: Anti-Semitism in Norway, and the expression
of anti-Semitic comments, has increased since the Gaza war.
The small Norwegian Jewish community is wary of being
targeted, and "Jew" has become more popular as an epithet.
While the issue of anti-Semitism is frequently debated in the
media, Norwegians society has difficulty confronting it.
Compared with Americans, Norwegians generally are more
reluctant to accuse anyone of anti-Semitism, more reluctant
to judge offense by the standards of the offended group, and
more likely not to differentiate between Jews and Israelis.
Israeli embassy officials have told us that increased
Norwegian anti-Semitism is viewed in Israel as consistent
with Norway's general anti-Israel bias, and anti-Semitism's
rise further diminishes Norway's ability to mediate in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  End Summary. 

Public Debate over Rahm Emmanuel
2. (C) Over the last two months, a former prime minister,
Kare Willoch, and a preeminent commentator on U.S. policy,
Ole Moen, were accused of making comments that were
anti-Semitic.  On December 30 in a television debate program,
when asked about the prospect for progress in the Middle East
with Obama leading negotiations, Willoch said, "it doesn't
look good, because he has chosen a Jew as a chief of staff."
Mona Levin, a Jewish columnist who also participated in the
television debate, later wrote a column in which she accused
Willoch of both anti-Semitism and racism for sending a
message that Jews can't be trusted and blacks are easily
manipulated.  She also commented on a feeling of hatred she
perceived from him during the television debate, noting he
pointedly said "you people," although her family has lived in
Norway since the 19th century.  Many voices in the media
(including Willoch's own) have risen to his defense.  Willoch
has for years been an especially strident voice against
Israeli policy. 

3. (C) Ole Moen is the most frequently quoted academic on US
policy.  During the election, he predicted that Americans
would never elect either a black man or a woman due to the
racism and sexism that he believes permeates American
society.  On January 9 Moen said Obama "has appointed many
Jews and pro-Israel people in his administration. ...This
makes me have little hope for significant change (in Middle
East policy.)"  Despite complaints by a prominent commentator
that Moen characterized Jews as a group and appears to have
assumed Jews don't have independent opinions as individuals,
because they're Jewish, no apology was offered. Both Willoch
and Moen publicly and repeatedly rejected the
characterization of their comments as anti-Semitic.  Despite
the "debate" about the issue, neither has truly been tarred
as an anti-Semite in the Norwegian consciousness. 

Anti-Semitic Attitudes Spreading?

4. (C) 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.  One Muslim teenager interviewed commented that his friends  say that the Israelis "aren't people."  When pressed by the reporter on what that meant, he responded, "well of course we know they're people, but when
we say they're inhuman, we mean they aren't good people."
5. (C) 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?"  The Rabbi
answered that he understood the terrible tragedy for the
civilian population in Gaza, but that hatred was growing and
impacting Jewish people who had never even been to Israel.
According to an Israeli embassy official, during a dinner in
honor of a visiting member of the Knesset, some Jewish
Israeli-Norwegian married couples commented that among people
like themselves, many were talking of moving to Israel,
because they did not want to expose their children to fear
and hatred.  The Knesset member said he would communicate
this back to the Israeli government.  Leon Bodd, a local Oslo
politician who is Jewish, as well as his daughter, have
received threats by mail.  During the Gaza war, online
comment sections on articles in the main Norwegian newspapers
were full of often hate-filled invective, most of which
condemned Israel, some of which referred interchangeably to
Israelis and "Jews."  (Note:  In one online chat sponsored by
a major newspaper, the Israel Charge chose to respond to a
question that included various threats in order to share with
the public the nature of these types of comments.  MFA
Protocol upon seeing the question appear on the internet
newspaper site, called up the editor to demand its removal.
The editor choose to retain the exchange.  The Israeli
embassy interpreted this action as a GON effort to downplay
the existence of anti-Semitism.) 

6. (C) In mid-January, a first secretary at the Norwegian
embassy in Saudi Arabia used the MFA's email system to send
out a fundraising email appeal for Gaza with images comparing
Israeli soldiers with Nazi soldiers, urging recipients to
forward it as a chain letter.  The MFA said it would be dealt
with as an internal personnel matter and there has been no
further public information given on the disposition of the

7. (C) The atmosphere forced FM Stoere to acknowledge the
problem and on January 18th he visited Oslo's synagogue to
show solidarity with Norwegian Jews who "feel alienated" and
are "experiencing growing anti-Semitism."  Stoere said it was
important to show the Jewish community that Norway supports
them and that criticism experienced in the public is directed
at Israel's conduct in Gaza.  While acknowledging the
delicacy of his speaking about the Norwegian Jewish
community, an Israeli diplomat told emboffs that the problem
is that it was only the Jews in the room who heard this
message from Stoere, as it was not directly or widely covered
by the media.  He 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.  See reftel for more information on the recent


8. (C) Post has no doubt that anti-Semitism is both
increasing and becoming more obvious in Norway, and it is a
good sign that at least it is being discussed.  Norwegian 
society, however, has obstacles to effectively combating it.
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.
In many discussions with Norwegians, there is often an
assumption that all Jews agree with IsraQi policy.  The
public mention of USG officials in this regard is only an
extreme example of local opinion. 

9. (C) For all of these reasons, latent anti-Semitism is more
likely to be expressed publicly, if indirectly, and in turn
increase anti-Semitism in society at large. Offended
Norwegians feel constrained about protesting anti-Semitism,
since they would be questioning the Norwegian self-image.
Post believes that the "legitimization of rage" practiced by
the Norwegian media, in which outrage over Israeli policy is
encouraged, has contributed to an atmosphere in which
anti-Semitism is easier for ordinary Norwegians to express;
there is no corresponding freedom to attack Hamas, however,
since the local narrative predominantly blames Israel.  Given
the response to the Gaza war, Post believes further increases
in tension in the Israeli-Palestianian conflict are likely to
result in increased anti-Semitism in Norway.  These
developments have not gone unnoticed by the Israeli
government, and that diminishes Norway's ability to play a
mediating role in the conflict.

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