“We are fighting against a systematic discrimination against smokers,” Geir Finne, leader of the Coastal Party in the country of Troms, said an article published by TV2. “We have not seen anything like this since the time of the occupation.”
The party, which describes itself as “culturally conservative” has made the battle against smoking bans in cafés, restaurants and bars key to its campaign ahead of this month’s municipal elections.
“This is legally enforced discrimination. Jews were also already being persecuted from 1933,” he continued. “We are more monitored today than under the Stasi.”
Kristian Andresen (21), a senior party member in Tromsø, said that the comparison was Jews was intended to be striking.
“You have to use some pretty powerful language if you want people to listen,” he said. “That’s why we are comparing the smoking ban with the persecution of Jews, especially what happened in 1933-1939. We did not compare it with the torture and murder that happened during the war, but with the actual persecution.”
Monica Csango, a writer, director and author who is one of Norway’s 1,500 Jews, said the Coastal Party should try and make its members less ignorant.
“I would recommend that the Coastal Party take not just a crash course, but spend a minimum of one year carefully reading history,” she told TV2. “Most of all I would recommend that they get in contact with a skilled communications agency.”
The Coastal Party was founded and originally led by the charismatic fisherman and whale hunter Steinar Bastesen, and combines culturally conservative positions with environmentalism and libertarianism.
It briefly won some seats in the Norwegian Parliament between 2001 and 2005, but it but has fallen below the threshold ever since.