Oslo – In June 2011, a survey by the Oslo Municipality found that 33 per cent of Jewish students in Oslo are physically threatened or abused by other high school teens at least two to three times a month (compared to 10% for Buddhists and 5.3% of Muslims).
There are an estimated 1,200 Jews living in Norway in a population of 4,855,000. About 950 members live in Oslo. In contrast in 2010, there were an estimated 144,000 Muslims living in Norway, or 3.0% of the population, with an estimated 359,000 or 6.3% of the population expected to be living in Norway by 2030. In Oslo, there are 44,583 Muslims or 7.5% of the city population.
City officials in Oslo ordered the report on racism and antisemitism in Oslo schools. The study was conducted by analysis firm Perduco, receiving replies from 78% of 7,212 students chosen at random from among 48 schools in the eighth to 10th grades. Harassment was reported to have come in the form of negative comments on the social media sites of those who have online profiles. Some were told their photos were “ugly” and others said their identities had been manipulated or wrongfully used. The digital mobbing was evenly spread between racist and antisemitic comments.
More than half of the students, 52 percent, said they’d experienced that the word jøde (Jew) was used to describe something negative. Fully 41 percent confirmed having heard jokes about Jews at school and 35 percent had noticed generally negative commentaries on Jews. As many as 5 percent had heard other students deny that the Holocaust occurred during World War II.
The Oslo student survey was undertaken after Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) aired a series of reports in March of 2010 exposing a “shocking” level of antisemitism in some Norwegian schools. NRK interviewed parents of Jewish children, teachers, Jewish leaders and officials of Muslim organizations and found antisemitic remarks and bullying going on in schools around the Oslo area.
Teachers at schools with large shares of Muslims revealed that Muslim students often “praise or admire Adolf Hitler for his killing of Jews”, that “Jew-hate is legitimate within vast groups of Muslim students” and that “Muslims laugh or demand [teachers] to stop when trying to educate about the Holocaust”. Additionally that “while some students might protest when some express support for terrorism, none object when students express hate of Jews” and that it says in “the Quran that you shall kill Jews, all true Muslims hate Jews”.
One Jewish parent said he had to transfer his children from one school, to protect them from harassment, only to encounter the same problem at another school. Teachers said Muslim students often interrupt classes on World War II history, for example, claiming the holocaust didn’t occur or making antisemitic remarks.
Most of these students were said to be born and raised in Norway. One Jewish father also told that his child after school had been taken by a Muslim mob (though managed to escape), reportedly “to be taken out to the forest and hanged because he was a Jew”. None of the teachers or Jewish parents dared to appear on camera or be identified, fearing for their own safety. In some cases, they claimed the Muslim students and gangs made death threats against both teachers and Jewish students.
Anne Sender of the Jewish organization Det Mosaiske Trossamfund demanded that the harassment of Jews be taken seriously by school officials and the education ministry.
Norwegian Education Minister Kristin Halvorsen referred to the antisemitism reported in this study as being “completely unacceptable.” Halvorsen herself has been highly critical of Israeli policy and urged boycotts of Israeli products, because of Israeli encroachment on Palestinian territory and Israeli aggression in Gaza. Halvorsen insists this has nothing to do with antisemitism, stressing how important it is to separate criticism of Israel’s national politics from Judaism itself.
In March of 2012, The Norwegian Jewish group Det Mosaiske Trossamfund (DMT) asked police in Oslo to start registering antisemitic incidents. Members claim they’ve been subjected to 11 incidents of harassment, vandalism and threats just in the past month. Members of the organization received threatening letters, had been harassed during a funeral service, and been subjected to Nazi-salutes by unidentified men. A Jewish taxi driver reported being harassed and threatened while on duty at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen, and someone also has thrown rocks and bottles at the synagogue in Oslo.
Anti-Israelism has been built up systematically in Norway by trade unions, media, some prominent Christians and politicians. The demonization is classic: major media report negative things about Israel while obfuscating or omitting Palestinian suicide attacks or declared genocidal intentions.
Norwegian hate cartoons often mix antisemitism and anti-Israelism. Some are straight-out antisemitic, such as one which appeared in the Labor movement daily Dagsavisen in 2003. It portrayed a Jew with a long beard reading the new Ten Commandments, including “murder, kill, liquidate, execute.”
In April 2011, Alan M. Dershowitz sharply criticized Norway for its treatment of Jews, writing that “All Jews are apparently the same in this country that has done everything in its power to make life in Norway nearly impossible for Jews. Norway was the first modern nation to prohibit the production of Kosher meat, while at the same time permitting Halal meat and encouraging the slaughter of seals, whales and other animals that are protected by international treaties.
During World War II, the Norwegians were the ones who rounded up Jews and robbed them before shipping them off to Auschwitz.