Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre compared Israeli settlers to Nazis, a Norwegian news agency claimed Monday following the publication of Støre's book, 'To Make a Difference.' The foreign minister has denied the claim.
According to the news agency's site, Støre wrote that his most recent visit to Israel stirred "associations to Nazism." The minister denied the claim he compared occurrences in Hebron to Nazi-era ones, and said it was "the job of every reader to interpret the text as he sees fit. There are other examples in history."
Støre's book was published just one day after the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht. In one chapter the minister writes that during a visit to Hebron he saw a number of closed Palestinian stores that appeared looted, with some of their windows shattered.
The news site reported that the ransacking he observed brought to his mind the manner in which the Nazis abused Jewish places of business during the 1930s.
Støre also wrote he saw graffiti saying "Arabs to the gas chambers." His book argues that the US and Europe have been expressing views that are too pro-Israeli.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy responded to the report by saying, "All of those familiar with the issue are having a difficult time believing that the Norwegian foreign minister did indeed write these things." He said the embassy was currently investigating the report.
Støre visited Israel in July of 2007, and met with President Shimon Peres. He promised the president that his country had severed its ties with Hamas, after Norway became the first country to lift the diplomatic siege on Gaza when his deputy met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.