By MANFRED GERSTENFELD
“The country’s 3 largest opposition parties have asked for an investigation into Norwegian financing of the PA”.
There have been greatly surprising developments in Norway in the past weeks. Conservative parliamentarian Peter Gitmark has said on television that his country is indirectly funding Palestinian terrorists. The country’s three largest opposition parties – the Conservatives, the Progress Party and the Christian Democrats – have asked for an investigation into Norwegian financing of the Palestinian Authority by the Parliamentary Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs. This committee has requested that the Foreign Ministry provide proper documentation clarifying the funding of Palestinian salaries paid to convicted terrorists.
Foreign Minister Barth Eide admitted that his predecessor Jonas Gahr Stoere had twice misled parliament. He had said in 2011 and 2012 that his ministry knew where Norwegian aid money to the Palestinian Authority went and that convicted terrorists in Israeli jails only received cafeteria money while their families are given financial support. State Secretary Torgeir Larsen has now disclosed that prisoners in Israeli jails serving long sentences receive payments from the PA. These prisoners can choose to whom they want to give the money. Contributing about 50 million dollars annually to the PA, Norway is one of its largest donors.
The government-owned Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) broadcast a television program on February 28 in which the claim was made that part of Norwegian taxpayers’ money goes to funding Palestinian murderers in Israeli jails. This was remarkable as NRK has a long record of anti-Israel bias and distorted reporting on the Middle East.
All of this was triggered by information provided by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW). It showed that the PA uses money from its budget to pay salaries to all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails for security offenses. The recipients include those serving multiple life sentences for murder. Among them is Ibrahim Hamed, the man behind, among others, the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing and who was convicted for the murder of 46 Israelis.
Until recently, the strongest criticism of the massive misconduct of the Norwegian Labor-dominated government usually came from abroad. This author’s 2008 book Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews was a lone foreign voice documenting that Norway is a pioneer in promoting Israel-hatred and anti-Semitic acts. Most Norwegian media reactions to the book have been classic responses against internal dissenters and foreign critics; one does not mention them, but when doing so is unavoidable, they are demonized.
At the time there were no studies on anti-Semitism in Norway and thus no statistics to support the massive amount of anecdotal information. Even the tiny organized Norwegian Jewish community – with less than 900 members – tried to publicly minimize the high level of anti- Semitism.
In a somewhat similar way, in 2010, almost all Norwegian mass media concealed a letter former American senator Sam Brownback sent to the Norwegian ambassador in Washington expressing concerns regarding Norwegian anti- Semitism and anti-Israelism. They were accompanied by documentation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center listing examples …read more