Norway is campaigning for a seat on the UN Security Council. However, the country has a problem in that respect: the nature of its relations with Israel. Israel and Palestine have been locked in a conflict that has been at the crux of the unrest in the Middle East ever since Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, but not Palestine, gained independence in the 1940s.
After WWII, Norway had to face up to the fact that 773 Norwegian Jews “had been deported” to Germany during the war. Please note the passive form here: “had been deported”. To this day, it hardly bears thinking about that Norwegians actually helped deport them, cf. the outcry in response to the recently published book Hva visste hjemmefronten.
In its shame, Norway was one of the first countries to embrace the establishment of the Jewish state and still officially considers itself one of Israel’s “best friends”.
In Norway as elsewhere there are those who maintain that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians must not be judged on the grounds of man-made laws but according to the words of the Bible’s Old Testament. Although they mostly stay out of harm’s way, people who hold such views, reminiscent of Sharia Law, have powerful friends, including the Norwegian finance minister. I shall not tire you with references – they are innumerable – though it is quite mind-boggling, in our day and age, to come across sites such as Bibelfellesskapet.net.
I doubt that Norwegian evangelicals hold anywhere near the power they wield in USA, but their influence added to the “shame” I mentioned above may go a long way to explain, together with the country’s servility to USA, why Norway has abstained in almost all UN General Assembly votes from condemning Israel’s crimes against humanity.
To be fair, the head of mission of TIPH (an observer mission in Hebron) was, until the entire TIPH was thrown out by Netanyahu earlier this week, a government-appointed Norwegian. And the mission did perform its work conscientiously, which was presumably why it was thrown out. Israel does not want witnesses, and that in itself should serve as grounds for alarm and sharp criticism. The Norwegian government’s reaction to the expulsion is merely one of polite regret.
Norway’s foreign ministers keep reiterating that the country is staunchly “neutral” with respect to Israel and Palestine. But what, I ask, does neutrality mean? If you see an 18-year-old beating a 6-year-old, and yes, the 6-year-old fights back as hard as he can, kicking and biting, what would your judgment be? Would it be: Both parties have behaved badly and none should be scolded more than the other? Is that neutrality? That is Norway’s stand in Palestine.
What if Congolese soldiers rape defenceless women, some of whom kick and bite as hard as they can to defend themselves? Both parties have behaved badly and none should be scolded more than the other? No. That is not Norway’s stand. Human rights defenders from Congo have just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
But Israel’s crimes against humanity have found a vulnerability in the Norwegian conscience. Hence, Norway does not qualify in questions of the Middle East. Since the Middle East still is the most explosive part of the world, Norway should not be on the Security Council.