Norway should have listened to the warnings of Salman Rushdie …

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Some days ago I got deeply frustrated about Norwegian politics.

My wife is Norwegian. I have strong bounds to Norway and relationships with Norwegian people. In the last 30 years I have often wondered about the status and the direction of Norwegian politics. Its stubborn way outside the EU, its powerplay regarding the delivery of gas and oil for maximum prices to other nations, an extreme right-wing party in government over almost a decade, … And blaming all home made problems on others – in particular the EU. (Well, we Germans have excelled in the latter discipline, too, at least on an equal level …). But these topics could all be discussed.

But these days it appears to me that something has gotten totally out of balance in the Norwegian politics after October, 7th, 2023.

Leftist ignorance of terror on the 7th of October, 2023

I regard myself as a value-conservative leftist. But when I visited Norway for more than two months in spring I was shocked about the leftist parties’ ignorance of the terror of Hamas on the 7th of October, 2023.

In February, 2024, I had to listen to Norwegian people calling the events on the 7th October an “action” (meaning a movement of activists). I regard this at least as ignorant of the facts. My question to the guys defending the “action” was: Would not any nation consider the events on the 7th of last October as a declaration of war? This question was received with the comment that war can be declared between states, only – and Hamas were no state. So?

Well, so: I stopped and left the discussion abruptly then. It appeared meaningless to remind ignorant people about what happened after 9/11, 2001. My dear Norwegian leftists: This was the only occasion which triggered article 5 of the NATO treaty. And Bin Laden’s terrorist group certainly was no state! So much about historic ignorance …

Anyway, to name brutal murder, rape, beheading of people and torture an “action” is so off any clear perception of what terror is that it crosses a border beyond which any reasonable discussion is in vain.

Anti-jewish attitudes on top

My next surprise effect was the strong anti-jewish attitude shown in public in Norway in March. One must criticize the way of warfare of Israel. No doubt about this …. But to turn critics on political and military Israeli leaders into an anti-jewish protest?

Anti-Jewish? Anti-zionistic? In Norway? Well, there are videos about occasions where the thin border between criticism and agitation against minorities was crossed. For a German shouts and yells in the streets of Oslo chanted by members of SV and Rødt (two leftist parties) with the slogan “No zionists in our streets” are unbearable. It fitted the disgusting images that those Norwegian guys who shouted against “zionists” could not even answer the question of reporters what “zionism” is …

This all triggers a direct reminder on what the generation of my grandparents were responsible for in the Nazi-Germany. The slogan in the 70s and 80s was “Wehret den Anfängen”. Have you, members of SV and Rødt, totally forgotten what hateful and ideological slogans against a group of human beings, against our fellow citicens, can cause in the end?

One-sided blaming …

What I saw and read in the Norwegian public broadcasting and press regarding the discussion of present war between Hamas and Israel reminded me strongly about an unbearable attitude of socialistic and communistic parties during the time when we protested against US Pershing II and Cruise Missiles in Germany. The guys on the extreme left side in those past days argued about “good” (nuclear) weapons on the Russian side and “bad” ones on the US side. I had multiple long and tough discussions with communists who defended the Russian deployment of SS20 to SS23 in Poland, Czechia and the old DDR in the late 70s and early 80s. I regarded that attitude unbearably stupid at that time … and nevertheless had good reasons to oppose a deployment of more US rockets in Western Germany.

And now, what do we hear from Norwegian leftists in a time of war these days?

I quote from public discussions on TV: “It is all the fault of Israel and the Zionist ideology”, “Israel is an imperialistic artefact on the strings of US capitalism”, … I saw a disgusting debate in NRK about what happened when a group of Jewish women was excluded and physically removed from a march on women’s liberation day (on the 8th of March). Because they had a banner with them which remotely resembled a symbol on the Israeli national flag. And leftists who claimed that they only established “law and order”. Words are treacherous – and tell you something about the state of mind some Norwegian socialists appear to be in.

It is all the fault of Israel? Really? If any sense of historic analysis had survived the last decades at least the parents of the left anti-zionists in Norway would have reminded their children about why the state Israel exists: Antisemitism has been a major part of the European and in particular Germany’s history. This history has directly led to the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948. We Europeans, therefore, have a historic responsibility for a peaceful coexistence between Jews and Palestinians. We have ignored the problem over the last decades – what has happened now is our failure, too. Also of Norway – despite all of Norway’s merits concerning the Oslo Accords, 1993 and 1995.

And now the Norwegian announcement to recognize a Palestinian state without clear conditions …

You would expect a more thorough analysis of professional politicians though. Do not misunderstand me: I condemn the way of warfare of the Israel’s government strongly. I find the relentless bombardment of Gaza unbearable and the bloodshed of innocent people catastrophic. In addition, I think it is a total failure of strategy to go to war without a clear plan of what should happen afterward. And I am not alone with the point of view that the Israel’s government simply does not have such a plan.

But, even if the Israeli army has completely failed its own standards, you cannot ignore a critical point: The official representatives of the Palestine people in Gaza today, namely Hamas, are terrorists – this can not be ignored. It must be a factor in any planning for the future.

However, what I have understood so far is that the recognition of a Palestinian state by Norway is not coming with clear conditions. Which is in my opinion a recipe for future disaster. The minimum condition must be: No Hamas members in the government of a future Palestinian state! And a guarantee of a peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state.

But guess what? A journalist of Reuters had to bring this important topic up in a press conference of Statsminister Støre (head of the Norwegian government). The Prime Minister of Norway did not elaborate on this question by himself during his speech. But according to social media all leftist groups in Norway acclaim the move of the government led by the AP (Arbeiderpartiet).

What has become of the art of dialectic thinking?

Before I – as a German leftist – raise my blood pressure even more I would like to remind all SV and Rødt members about something that was a high value for educated socialists in the old days: dialectic Hegelian thinking. This idea has obviously disappeared completely in the present socialistic Norwegian culture. Shame on you – SV and Rødt. You fail your historic roots miserably.

Shortsighted activism ?

My dear Norwegians, why can’t you follow some simple guidelines: There is no good act of man-slaughter, as there is no good warfare with tens of thousands of Civilian casualties. And: “Realpolitik” must deal with the opponents given – and not with some fictitious representatives which are not in power. You simply cannot close your eyes blindly to the interests of one side.

The right of the civilian Palestinian people to live in a secure state must be fulfilled. But certainly not with terrorists in their government! And peace also requires a secure Israel. Dialectic, my friends! This encompasses a thorough analysis of the needs of both opponents.

The European historic responsibility can only be fulfilled by realistic plans with successive achievable steps and checks and balances. Obviously, the Norwegian government has no such plan, neither has the Israeli government. So, today, the strong and rightful request of the US government to Israel’s government to create such a plan for the time after the war from now on has a new addressee: The Norwegian government.

Without a plan the recognition of a Palestinian state at this point in time is nothing but shortsighted activism. By the way:

  • Norway has lost his former role as a neutral mediator for decades to come.

Is all this mess due to the usual leftist vanity: We socialists (not only in Norway) are for unconditional peace – independent of the crimes that led to the war? Or is it political calculation of a very different kind? I find it astonishing that the gas and oil producing Norway reflects on the good cooperation with Arabian states in the Gulf region in the context of today’s recognition of a Palestinian state. Yes, there certainly are common interests with Arabic countries … but let us not go there …

Listen to Salman Rushdie!

My voice is nothing. But I hope that at least some Norwegian politicians will listen to a voice of someone who once had a high status in Norway, too: Salman Rushdie. Have a look at the following article in the British press and afterward watch the interview with him: article/ salman-rushdie-has-exposed-the-great-lie-of-a-free-palestine