Months of frustration with Norway came out in a meeting Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had last week at the UN with his Norwegian counterpart, with Lieberman saying that various incidents were creating a Norwegian foreign policy perceived in Jerusalem as anti-Israel.
Among the incidents Lieberman ticked off in his meeting with Jonas Gahr StÃ¸re, according to Israeli officials, were Norway's insistence on continued contact with Hamas, its divestment from Elbit, its sharp criticism of the settlements, and the fact that its representative did not walk out on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech last week at the UN.
Lieberman and StÃ¸re met for 30 minutes last Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN meeting for a discussion that one Israeli official described on Tuesday as polite but tense.
During the meeting Lieberman also brought up the Norwegian Culture Ministry's marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nazi-sympathizing Norwegian author Knut Hamsun (1859-1952), who in 1945 wrote an obituary for Hitler in the Norwegian daily Aftenposten and called him a "warrior for mankind."
In 1943, following a meeting with Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, Hamsun sent him the medal of his 1920 Nobel Prize for literature as a sign of admiration.
Army Radio reported Tuesday that in response to Lieberman, StÃ¸re had denied any allegations of anti-Semitism, saying the commemoration of Hamsun was not political in nature, and that a distinction was made between Hamsun's work and his worldview.
However, former Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel told Army Radio that "Norway is trying to send us messages on different fronts" through its talks with Hamas and "intolerance toward settlements."
"They are tough Vikings and are not intimidated, not even by Lieberman," Liel said. "[Norway] is an ideological opponent that has decided to teach us a lesson."
Earlier this month Norway held general elections, in which the ruling Center-Left "Red-Green" coalition was returned to power.