Expert slams study for playing down anti-Semitism
Norweigan study fails to use EU definition of anti-Semitism, Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld says.
Map of Norway Photo: Thinkstock
BERLIN – A leading Israeli authority on Norwegian anti-Semitism sharply
criticized on Sunday the results of a Norwegian study of bias against Jews
because it plays down expressions of modern anti-Semitism and fails to use the
EU’s definition of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hatred.
Gerstenfeld, chairman of the Board of Fellows at the Jerusalem Center for Public
Affairs, told The Jerusalem Post that “if the new report had used the common
European definition of anti-Semitism its conclusion would have been that 38
percent of Norway’s population have anti-Semitic views with respect to Israel. A
study last year came to the shocking finding that one third of Jewish students
in Oslo schools are harassed verbally or physically at least two to three times
Though Norway is not a member of the 26-nation EU, it tends
to follow a EU course on policy issues.
Dr. Gerstenfeld, who authored an
authoritative book on Norwegian Jew-hatred, Anti-Semitism in Norway: Behind the
Humanitarian Mask, in 2010, added that “some Jewish students say that they know
of no Jewish student in Norway who has not been harassed. According to the
European definition several Norwegian cabinet members are
Gerstenfeld said that he detailed the bias of many
Norwegian politicians against Jews in a Norwegian paper article.
Norwegian study, “Anti-Semitism in Norway,” was published in May by the Oslo
Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities and gained traction in
the European press in June and July.
According to the results of the Oslo
Center study, 8% of Norwegians do not want Jews as friends or
Roughly 11% have hostile feelings toward Jews and 12.5% of the
Norway’s population has biases against Jews. The study revealed that 13% are of
the view that Jews are to blame for their own persecution.
definition of modern anti- Semitism cited by Gerstenfeld has broader language to
capture hatred of Israel and secondary anti-Semitism in Europe (post-Holocaust).
This definition largely embraces the “3-D” test developed by Jewish Agency
chairman Natan Sharansky, which states that those who demonize, delegitimize and
apply double standards to Israel meet the criteria of contemporary
Frode Overland Andersen, a spokesman for Norway’s Foreign
Ministry, wrote an email to the Post – in response to a query at the time the
media first reported the study – saying, “Recent studies show that that the
prevalence of anti-Semitic notions in Norway is low, and on par with countries
like Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain and The Netherlands.
anti-Semitism is a big problem for those who feel its effects, and the Norwegian
government maintains a strong commitment to combat all forms of discrimination,
including against Jews in Norway.”
Andersen added that in early June,
“the Norwegian foreign minister made public statements to this
At the time, Gerstenfeld wrote on Ynet that Norwegian
explanations that shift the blame to Europe in general “can be better worded as:
‘There are anti-Semites in Norway, but that phenomenon is common in post-war
Europe and we don’t have as many as some people accuse us of.’”