BERLIN – A schoolboy burned a Jewish student with a red-hot coin at an Oslo
secondary school on Monday, triggering the Simon Wiesenthal Center to issue a
strongly worded letter to Norwegian Justice and Police Minister Grete
“This child has been the subject of anti-Semitic bullying and
violence for the past two years, reportedly, because his father is Israeli,” the
“Despite the mother’s report of assaults on her son to NRK
radio evening news in 2010, there has been no reaction by the school, the police
or governmental authorities.”
Dr. Shimon Samuels, head of the Wiesenthal
Center’s division of international affairs, noted: “The boy has stated that he
must stay clear of Norwegian and Muslim children and hide his parentage to avoid
continued anti-Semitic attacks.
“These young school hatemongers point to
a new generation of Breivik-style racists for Norway’s future. You have a
responsibility to protect every threatened child and, especially, this victim
targeted simply for being Jewish,” Samuels added, referencing Anders Breivik’s
Oslo massacre in July 2011, which was motivated by his far-right
“The Norway, Israel and the Jews” website, which monitors
Norwegian anti-Semitism and hate directed at Israel, appears to have first
reported on the attack. The article’s headline read: “Anti-semitism in Norwegian
schools – now they are fire-branding Jewish kids.”
According to “Norway,
Israel and the Jews,” the “Med Israel for Fred” website “has gained access to a
private cellphone image showing the result of the attack, which took place at a
school barbecue for the senior class this Monday. The 16-yearold boy was
enjoying his grilled chicken when a red-hot coin was placed on his neck by a
fellow student, an ethnic Norwegian.
The coin made a very visible burn on
the boy’s neck.”
Vebjørn Dysvik, the chargé d’affaires at Norway’s
Embassy in Tel Aviv, wrote in an email on Wednesday to The Jerusalem Post, “The
embassy does not presently have any more information about the specific case
other than what has been reported on a Norwegian blog.
At a general
level, I would like to underline that the Norwegian government has a
zerotolerance policy when it comes to bullying in schools. This has been an
important objective for successive Norwegian governments.”
continued, “The letter from the Simon Wiesenthal Center will be replied to by
the Ministry of Justice in due time.
I would nevertheless like to
highlight that the quotes I have seen from the letter contain several extreme
statements that lack any foundation in reality. We take exception to the attempt
of painting a picture of Norway and Norwegian society as being
This is a gross distortion of facts for which the center
must bear responsibility.”
“Recent studies show that that the prevalence
of anti- Semitic notions in Norway is low, and on par with countries such as
Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain and the Netherlands,” he said, conceding,
“Nevertheless, anti-Semitism is a big problem for those who feel its
According to European reports, Norway’s school system has
permitted the fomenting of an increasingly hostile climate for Jewish
The Austrian paper Die Presse wrote in 2010 that “statements
sharply critical of Israel” by Kristin Halvorsen, education minister of the
Norwegian Socialist Left Party, have been “legitimizing attacks” against
Critics say Jewish students have been subject to assaults in
Norway’s schools, and teachers have looked the other way.
Center said that “the silence of the school, the police and your government is
too reminiscent of another Norway, under the World War II Nazi collaborator
The center referenced the Norwegian politician who in
1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, seized power in a
Nazi-backed coup d’etat. Quisling went on to serve as minister-president from
1942 to 1945.
“Our center urges your immediate investigation of this case
and protective and judicial action, as continued silence is tantamount to
complicity,” Samuels wrote in the letter.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a
leading Israeli expert on anti- Semitism in northern Europe, wrote in an email
to the Post, “The issue with Norway is not that they are more or less anti-
Semitic than others. The issue is that their elites are pioneers in promoting
Israel-hatred and that according to the European definition of anti-Semitism,
[this includes] several members of their government.”
Meanwhile, a woman
who took over the Swedish government’s Twitter account unleashed a storm of
criticism on Tuesday with tweets viewed as anti-Semitic.
Abrahamsson, a mother of two from Goteborg, participated in a project that
allows ordinary Swedes to run the country’s Twitter feed.
fuzz with Jews?” she asked, also lampooning Jewish circumcision.
Germany, they even had to sew stars on their sleeves. If they didn’t, they could
never know who was a Jew and who was not a Jew,” she tweeted.
commented: “The social Web has created new means to transmit anti- Semitism to
The contents of the anti-Semitic messages usually do not
differ much from what one sees or hears elsewhere; the mode of transmission is,
however, different and reaches different publics.
“Experts keep telling
us that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all problematic when one approaches
them to remove hate content,” he added. “As I once heard: ‘On the Internet some
Davids can become Goliaths.’”