Hamsun celebrations cause diplomatic row / News / The Foreigner

Hamsun celebrations cause diplomatic row. Israeli Foreign Minister accuses Norway of promoting Anti-Semitism. In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the author Knut Hamsun’s birth, the Hamsun Centre in Hamarøy council district opened its doors to the public on 04 August. Norway has also taken over the chair of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF) this year. The right wing Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, reacted to Norway’s decision to mark the occasion, whilst Jonas Gahr Støre, the Norwegian Foreign Minister, accuses Lieberman of making a grave and loaded statement. The debate

israel, israeli, embassy, knut, hamsun, nazi, sympathiser, foreign, minister, avigdor, lieberman, jonas, gahr, stoere, bodil, boerset, haaretz



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Hamsun celebrations cause diplomatic row

Published on Monday, 24th August, 2009 at 20:40 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

Israeli Foreign Minister accuses Norway of promoting Anti-Semitism.

Knut Hamsun Painting by Alfredo Andersen
Knut Hamsun Painting by Alfredo Andersen
Photo: A.A. (1860-1935)/Wikimedia Commons


In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the author Knut Hamsun’s birth, the Hamsun Centre in Hamarøy council district opened its doors to the public on 04 August. Norway has also taken over the chair of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF) this year.

The right wing Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, reacted to Norway’s decision to mark the occasion, whilst Jonas Gahr Støre, the Norwegian Foreign Minister, accuses Lieberman of making a grave and loaded statement.

The debate

Although Hamsun was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920, he was active supporter of Hitler.

In a letter to Aftenposten printed on 25 June, Bodil Børset, the Hamsun centre’s director, refers to “criticism from various Jewish organisations that by celebrating the Hamsun jubilee, Norway weakens the international work of promoting knowledge of the Holocaust.”

She answers the criticism – from amongst others Manfred Gerstenfeld, director of the Institute of Jewish Affairs, and Ephraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, who criticise the government for “showing ignorance and a lack of political and moral conscience” – by extolling Hamsun’s literary virtues, and writing that the centre has zero tolerance for the disgusting Nazi regime that Hamsun supported.

“Amazed”

Under an address to students at the Ariel University Centre located in Samaria, Lieberman criticised Norway for their decision to mark the “pro-Nazi” author’s birthday.

“I was amazed at the Norwegian government’s decision to celebrate the 150th birthday of Knut Hamsun, who admired the Nazis...He gave the literary award he won in 1943 to Josef Goebbels, and praised Hitler in an obituary as a warrior for mankind,” he tells the Israeli paper Haaretz.

Distancing the minister

In an interview on the 06:30 news this morning on NRK, Støre disassociated himself from Lieberman’s remarks, saying that Norway had been very quick to explain to the International, and especially the Jewish community, that it felt it was completely possible to celebrate Hamsun’s authorship, whilst at the same time distancing itself from Nazism.

The Israeli Embassy in Oslo had this to say about Lieberman: “Contrary to what was published by the Norwegian Press, Israel’s Foreign Minister Lieberman has never accused Norway or the Norwegian people as a whole of Anti-Semitism. Foreign Minister Lieberman has merely mentioned two past topics, to which Israel has already reacted in real time”, they write in a press statement.

So far, there have been 85 readers’ reactions to Lieberman’s accusation on Haaretz’ Internet site, whilst on Stavanger Aftenblad's it currently stands at 20.



Published on Monday, 24th August, 2009 at 20:40 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: israel, israeli, embassy, knut, hamsun, nazi, sympathiser, foreign, minister, avigdor, lieberman, jonas, gahr, stoere, bodil, boerset, haaretz.





  
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