Norway’s Jews want cops to track anti-Semitism

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.

Norway's Jews want cops to track anti-Semitism
Photo: Jarl Fr. Erichsen/Scanpix

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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Kristallnacht speaker receives death threats

One of the leading figures in Norwegian campaign group Youth Against Racism was forced to pull out of an event commemorating Kristallnacht on Sunday night, after receiving a death threat over the phone.

Kristallnacht speaker receives death threats
Florence Aryanik - Facebook
Florence Aryanik (20), whose Muslim parents fled to Norway from Iran, was due to make a speech at a torchlit procession to commemorate the Nazi attack on German Jews. 
"It was a very difficult decision to withdraw from the event tonight," Aryanik told NRK on Saturday. "Because I'm actually more frightened of being silenced than of any threat to my life. But I decided to withdraw because of my family."
After NRK reported the threat on the evening of the event, which was jointly organised by Norway's Centre Against Racism and the country's Jewish community,  Aryanik received a further threatening call. 
"First it was completely silent, then there was a male voice saying that it was wise of me not to attend the commemoration, but that it was not so wise to talk with NRK afterwards," she said.
Aryanik, who has been attacked by Muslim conservatives in the past for her decision to wear western dress, said she did not know who the threats had come from. 
"It could be Islamists and it could be neo-Nazis. It's impossible to say as they did not say anything about why I should stay away from the commemoration," she said. 
On 10 November 1938, Nazi brownshirts descended on Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues across Germany,  in an orgy of destruction known Kristallnacht, or The Night of Broken Glass. 
The German attackers burnt 1,000 synagogues to the ground, killed at least 91 Jews, and arrested and incarcerated 30,000 more.