from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Scandinavia, Israel, and Judaism

August 12, 2012

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

In the Weekly Standard last week I reacted to some offensive new developments regarding Scandinavian attitudes toward Judaism and Israel.

Having already banned kosher slaughter of animals (illegal in fact throughout Scandinavia), Norway is now moving to prevent circumcision as well.

As I noted in the article,

Now comes a suggestion from a Norwegian official called the “Ombudsman for Children in Norway” proposing that the ancient procedure be replaced by a “symbolic, nonsurgical ritual.” Apparently in Norway it is possible to create religiously meaningful rituals overnight, which is an insight into the understanding of religion in Norwegian public life.

At the same time, the hostility to Israel is manifest: last week Swedish and Norwegian groups launched an "aid ship" heading to Gaza to "challenge the Israeli blockade."

This occurs just at the time when Egypt has closed the doors to Gazans seeking to get into Egypt--but no Scandinavians are protesting that, it seems. Nor do we see Scandinavian "aid ships" heading for Latakia in Syria, there to protest the slaughter of Syrian civilians.  No, the only targets seem to be Jews, Judaism, and the Jewish state.  It is a sorry story; the full text of my short article is here.