A Norwegian Jewish Community Returns to Life, Despite Anti-Semitism

This year, Rosh Hashanah services were held in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, for the first time since World War II. Menachem Wecker describes the revival of the city’s Jewish community, many decades after it was wiped out in the Holocaust, and places it in its historical context:

Norway, whose constitution banned Jews from entry until 1851, has struggled with anti-Semitism. It took until 2012 for Norway to apologize for the first time for complicity in arresting and deporting Jews during the Holocaust. . . . A December 2017 Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies survey found 8.3 percent of Norwegians held negative views of Jews—down from 12.1 percent in 2011. (More than 30 percent disliked Muslims.)

And . . . the Norwegian public television station NRK has recently broadcast [programs with] anti-Semitic tropes and references, including the Jewish domination of the media, “pizza ovens” in concentration camps, and the idea that it might be good if the COVID-19 vaccine didn’t work rather than protect Israelis.

Bergen Jews created a new organization, Det Jødiske Samfunn i Bergen, last year, and the city recognized it in December. On Rosh Hashanah, the group’s leader, Gideon Ovadya, a Beersheba native, read from the Torah, and a University of Bergen musician proved “the world’s greatest shofar player,” said Dániel Péter Biró, the deputy leader and a music-composition professor at the university. The menu featured High Holiday fixings like apples and honey and local pescatarian flavor: very-spicy cod and salmon.

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Read more at Forward

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, Norway, Rosh Hashanah

 

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship