Serious diplomatic conflict: Israel
is accusing the Norwegian government of funding and encouraging blatant anti-Israel incitement.
According to reports received by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, the Trondheim Municipality is funding a trip to New York for students taking part in the "Gaza Monologues" play, which "deals with the suffering of children in Gaza as a result of the Israeli occupation."
The play, written by a Palestinian from Gaza, will be presented at the United Nations headquarters. It joins an exhibition by a Norwegian artists displayed in Damascus, Beirut, and Amman, with the help of Norway's embassies in Syria,
shows killed Palestinian babies next to Israel Defense Forces helmets, which are reminiscent of Nazi soldiers' helmets, and an Israeli flag drenched in blood.
The Norwegians are also helping the distribution of a documentary film called "Tears of Gaza" to festivals across the world. According to the Foreign Ministry, the film deals with the suffering of Gaza's children as well, without mentioning Hamas, the rockets fired at Israel, and Israel's right to defend itself.
The film shows Gazans chanting, "Itbah al-Yahud," but the Norwegian translation says "slaughter the Israelis" instead of "slaughter the Jews".
In addition, a book written by two Norwegian doctors who were the only foreigners in Gaza to give interviews during Operation Cast Lead was published recently. The book, which accuses IDF soldiers of deliberately killing women and children, is a bestseller in Norway and has been warmly recommended by none other than Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The Israeli Embassy in Norway strongly protested the authorities' involvement in Israel's demonization. "The open and official Norwegian policy talks about understanding and reconciliation," a senior Israeli official said Sunday evening, "but ever since the war in Gaza, Norway has become a superpower in terms of exporting multimedia aimed at de-legitimizing Israel, while using the Norwegian taxpayer funds for creating and transporting this multimedia."
Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said in a meeting with Norwegian parliament members that "such activity pushes away the chance for reconciliation and encourages a radicalization in the Palestinian stand which prevents them from compromising."
The Norwegians responded to the Israeli criticism by saying that the government supports the freedom of expressions and will not intervene in artistic content.