Freedom of speech versus freedom of violence / Columns / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Freedom of speech versus freedom of violence. EDITORIAL: Events in Paris and Copenhagen remind us how dangerously lily-livered and vague Norwegian politicians are. The Scandinavian freedom of speech mantra is both democratic and naïve. Those who wish to hurt and kill often use this politically anchored near carte blanche as a defence. Not muzzling the populace may prevent revolt, but this does nothing to muzzle the fanatics’ weapons. The links between shooting freedom of expression workers the journalists/cartoonists and 21st Century freedom of religious practice the Jews are unclear – unless subscribing to the Nazi-propagated conspiracy theory that Jews control the press (and other influential media such as Hollywood).

anti-semitism, norway, synagogue, paris, copenhagen, muslims, jews



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Freedom of speech versus freedom of violence

Published on Monday, 16th February, 2015 at 16:00 under the columns category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 16th February 2015 at 16:14.

EDITORIAL: Events in Paris and Copenhagen remind us how dangerously lily-livered and vague Norwegian politicians are.



The Scandinavian freedom of speech mantra is both democratic and naïve. Those who wish to hurt and kill often use this politically anchored near carte blanche as a defence. Not muzzling the populace may prevent revolt, but this does nothing to muzzle the fanatics’ weapons.

The links between shooting freedom of expression workers the journalists/cartoonists and 21st Century freedom of religious practice the Jews are unclear – unless subscribing to the Nazi-propagated conspiracy theory that Jews control the press (and other influential media such as Hollywood).

Some 17 years ago, when I first arrived in Norway and immigration levels were lower than at present, a white Norwegian asked me “is it true that Jews control politics in the US?”

Another instance saw a clearly Rightist taxi driver in Oslo bidding me welcome as a white, British male after I highlighted that foreigners did not seem to be welcomed here.

Neither Jews nor Muslims have been popular because of two commonly-adopted fallacies: all Jews are responsible for/agree with the actions of Israel, and all Muslims are Islamic extremist sympathisers/terrorists. White ethnic Norwegians can (and do) discriminate against both groups.

Extremism, when racism turns really nasty, is indefensible on any grounds. Most reasonable people would agree that killing somebody for their race, religion, and/or ethnicity is abhorrent.

Norway promotes itself as an advanced social democracy. It has laws in place directed against hate speech and hate crimes – though there has been little hastiness when it comes to imposing these legislative measures, however. Oslo police only established an anti-hate crime group at the beginning of this year.

Norway does not promote itself as a country of conundrums. Three profiled Islamic extremists live here, the Rightist government wishes to restrict immigration, and the country has a history of assisting Jews’ deportation to concentration camps in WWII.

Norway, in its early 19th Century independence, also had laws barring Jews and Jesuits from access to the Kingdom. The 1814 Constitution’s so-termed Paragraph 2 was not repealed for Jews and Jesuits until 1851 and 1956, respectively, Norwegian Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling was shot in 1945 after the end of the Second World War.

So what of Norway now? Norwegian papers and cartoonists heightened their security; politicians have condemned the Paris and Copenhagen attacks. Conservative (H) Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who in 2011 compared the then current hate of Muslims with that of hatred of the Jews in the 1930s, has expressed solidarity for Jews and minorities.

The same Norway Jewish community has asked for increased police protection, saying that they fear an attack.

Centre-Right politicians continue to hurl rhetoric. The PM has declared the Jewish community’s security is a high priority matter for the police, while Progress’ (FrP) Finance Minister Siv Jensen offers no specific safety guarantee for Norwegian Jews. Incumbent Justice Minister Anders Anundsen (FrP) declares that it is an open and free debate that will change attitudes, not banning freedom of expression.

Using the same mantra, Christian Democratic Party (KrF) leader Knut Arild Hareide declares human rights are paramount, and does not think punishing internet sites that promote Holocaust denial is the right path.

He also refers to the Norwegian Holocaust Centre’s 2012 poll, which found that 12.5 per cent of Norwegians have a distinct prejudice against Jews, and that 19 percent think that the world's Jews are working in secret to advance Jewish interests.

Declaring that he fully understands the demanding situation the Jewish community finds itself in, that we must understand the situation, not least following the Paris and Copenhagen attacks, Mr Hareide explains the traits of a good society.

His free speech-toned sermon is about how society safeguards cares for its minorities – from a security and attitude point of view – and the considerable challenges Norwegian society faces regarding attitudes in the context of the terror threat faced by Jews around Europe.

Labour (Ap) leader Jonas Gahr Støre is more focused on preventing anti-Semitic attitudes in preschools, schools, at work, and in society.

The Party was in power in 2010, when it was found that Jewish schoolchildren experienced harassment. Norwegian employers are also not known to prefer job applicants that have a foreign-sounding name.

He encourages people to consider how they talk about Jews and minorities, and does not believe that Norway’s little-used anti-hate speech legislation regulates what Mr Hareide mentions.

Advising against adopting the French ban on Holocaust denial, he also strongly encourages that Norway’s various religious communities unite to show they have a common issue. Freedom of speech is both a mainstay of democracy, and decisive regarding freedom of religion, according to him.

Pull yourselves together politicians; freedom of speech is more than just toe-wetting.




Published on Monday, 16th February, 2015 at 16:00 under the columns category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 16th February 2015 at 16:14.

This post has the following tags: anti-semitism, norway, synagogue, paris, copenhagen, muslims, jews.





  
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