Elliott Abrams

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Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Scandinavia, Israel, and Judaism

by Elliott Abrams
August 12, 2012


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.

Post a Comment 7 Comments

  • Posted by EthanP

    Anti-Semitism is so entrenched in European and Islamic cultures, (Yes! Culture DOES matter.) that it’s second nature. At least the Arabs/Muslims are honest about it. Europeans pretend that if their attacks are on Israel because of the Palestinians, it’s not really anti Semitism, only anti Zionist. Really? For every persecuted Palestinian, there are thousands persecuted and slaughtered in Darfur. Silence. For Those poor Palestinians don’t have a state. Niether do the Kurds. Silence. Do you see freedom flotillas going to China on behalf of the Tibetans? No! It would seem that such efforts are aimed only at Jewish Israel. Could there be a reason that has nothing to do with persicution and occupation?

  • Posted by Matt McL

    If one inspects the Mormon position on the Israeli/non-Israeli conflict it is noticeable that one of the Mormon church’s favorite phrases is that, ‘…it doesn’t take sides.” Then what is Mitt Romney doing overseas advocating a ‘Jewish state’? Backing a bombing of Iran by a false Zion? Mitt’s Zion is in Utah, not Palestine.
    Latter Day President Howard W. Hunter on the subject: “We do not need to apologize nor mitigate any of the prophecies concerning the Holy Land. We believe them and declare them to be true. But this does not give us justification to dogmatically pronounce that others of our Father’s children are not children of promise. … Both the Jews and the Arabs are children of our Father. They are both children of promise, and as a church we do not take sides. We have love for and an interest in each.” (Devotional speech BYU 1979)
    If the GOP wanted a Zionist for Prez, or Vice-Prez, they blew it. Mormons and Catholics aren’t FOXNEWS evangelical Zionists like Beck or Huckabee. Sorry FOX NEWS, sorry Heritage Foundation

  • Posted by Dan

    It’s all called Jew-hatred and no form of polite “diplomacy” has ever made a difference.

  • Posted by Hugh7

    Brit Shalom has not been created overnight. This list of celebrants has been online for more than 10 years.
    There are now more than 80, more than 40 of them rabbis, in 30 US states and several other countries including Israel.

  • Posted by Tomer

    I am Jewish (and Israeli) and I strongly support a legal ban on Circumcision of infants.

    You have no right to take a baby child and mutilate his genitals. Period.

    This has nothing to do with antisemitism. It is a simple issue of human rights.

  • Posted by Josh

    @ Tomer

    As an American Jew who grew up practicing reformed Judaism, experimented with the Orthodox tradition, and now practice Conservative Judaism, I respect your right to disagree with ritual circumcisions. However, with that being said, it is not your right to BAN the practice for others who may wish to perform it.

    If you support human rights, you should support a person’s right to choose what practice is best for them. You would persecute a religious hasidic Jew who wants to circumcise his child according to the laws of his ancestors because of YOUR liberal beliefs? shame on you.

  • Posted by LWJR

    Norwegians/Sweeds should get rid of their antisemitic permissiveness. What a bankrupt culture, propped up by north sea oil.

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