Norway’s Jews want cops to track anti-Semitism

Norway's Jews want cops to track anti-Semitism
Photo: Jarl Fr. Erichsen/Scanpix
Norway’s Jews are calling for the police to begin recording all anti-Semitic crimes reported in the country after noting eleven cases of harassment, vandalism and threats in a single month.

The group that represents Jews in Norway – Det Mosaiska Trossamfund (‘The Mosaic Community’ – DMT) – said it wasn’t acceptable for anti-Semitic offences to be bundled in with other hate crimes.

“When there’s a lack of an overview of these incidents, one is ill-equipped to combat the virus that anti-Semitism represents in a community,” said the head of DMT, Ervin Kohn, to Christian newspaper Vårt Land.

While the police do not keep figures for incidents of a specifically anti-Semitic nature, DMT said it had recorded eleven cases over the last month, including four threatening letters and a number of death threats.

“This unwillingness to register anti-Semitism seems to me a sign that the police don’t care,” said Kohn.

At Gardermoen airport in Oslo, a Jewish taxi driver was harassed and threatened with death, DMT said.

At a Jewish funeral, a passer-by stopped and shouted “fuck the Jews” while performing a Nazi salute.

Elsewhere, a number of men travelling in a car harassed DMT members. They too used the straight-armed Nazi greeting, the group said.

DMT said stones were thrown at the synagogue in Oslo on two separate occasions, while another time bottles were aimed at the building.

Amid persistent wintery weather, motorists parked near the synagogue returned to find stars of David and swastikas etched in the snow on their vehicles.

Police say they treat anti-Semitism very seriously but that the number of registered case was too low to justify keeping detailed statistics.

“The point of statistics is to get a good overview, follow developments and put necessary measures in place,” divisional police chief Morten Hojem Ervik told Vårt Land.

But this argument was challenged by the head of the Norwegian Centre Against Racism, Kari Helene Partapuoli.

“With a Jewish minority of around 1,000 people, the numbers are always going to be low. A lot of people think anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in Norway, which makes it difficult to do anything about the problem,” she said.

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