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Øyvind, Bergen

b) they were the ones who allowed Kåre Willoch to use their event last year to rant endlessly about Israel's "racist" ways.

You should check this out, Leiv, because it isn't true. Willoch did indeed hold a speech on Kristallnacht last year, but it was in another arrangement that had nothing to do with SOS Rasisme. If you look it up, I'm sure you'll discover I'm telling the truth.

Øyvind, Bergen

Press release from Det Mosaiske Trossamfund, 16.11.04. By Rolf Kirschner, president of Det Mosaiske Trossamfund.

Unfair critique of SOS Rasisme

Det Mosaiske Trossamfund has noted that a debate has evolved in the media after a group of people were stopped by the police in connection with SOS Rasismes demonstration in memory of the Kristallnacht, 9th November.

In connection with this there have been accusations against SOS Rasisme that we want to comment:

It is in no way right that DMT as a congregation or Jews as individuals were unwanted in connection with the demonstration. We find it regrettable that such claims have been raised. It's also completely unknown for us that Jewish symbols, like the Star of David, should have been unwanted in this connection. What we were told, and found to be a correct decision is that [SOS Rasisme] did not want to allow national flags in the demonstration. As far as we know, this was done to prevent the demonstration from ending up being a demonstration with connections to the Middle Eastern-conflict or the war in Iraq.

DMT was invited to take part in the arrangement, but we refused. This is because of our scepticism to the development of the arrangement in Oslo the last few years, because the demonstration in our opinion has developed into a political manifestation that go far beyond the original intention. For us who are surviors and decendants of those who survived the atrocities of the Nazis it is worrying that forces that in many ways use the same argumentation against Jews as the fascists and Nazis once did are invited to take part in such a commemoration. To put it even clearer:

The Kristallnacht was the start of the Nazi persecution of Jews in Europe, and what happened this night was to a large degree attacks on Jewish stores and institutions. Today we see that groups on the far left wing of the political spectre and some Muslim groups (that we hope are not representative for most Muslims) use the same means. Jewish schools, retirement homes, graveyards and society houses is being attacked over almost the whole of Europe, as is Israeli embassies and consulates. There has been signs of this also here at home, and it is mainly the same groups that are being these actions here as in the rest of the world. For us as Jews it is impossible to take part in a commemoration against racism when other participants carry posters that, in Arabic, have clearly racist messages. We are however aware that SOS Rasisme has noticed this and that they made every attempt to prevent such things this year. The arranger deserves good words for this, and therefore we find the critique against them regrettable in this connection.

Eventhough we have been critical to parts of the commemoration we have had, as a Jewish congregation, no wish to stand in the way of the yearly arrangements, or any wish to damage them in any way. We have also in no way encouraged our members to keep away from the demonstrations.

As Norwegian Jews we are concerned with dialog as a way to reach increased understanding. Therefore we dissociate ourselves from any action that front confrontation and build up under more opposition and hate between [different] groups. That is why we found it very unwise of some of our members to act in a way that clearly would have been provocative on the others that took part in the commemoration 9th of November. That we were made aware that people that are connected to extreme right groups was a part of this made it unbearable for us. This is why what happened also had the consequense that two of our members were excluded from our congregation.

It is repeatedly said that there is an increasing anti-Semitism in the society. To a certain degree this is also correct, but in the debate that has surfaced now, it is important for us that the Jewish society in Norway does not experience this as a immidiate problem. We see the tendencies, we warn against them and we are glad to see that both the government and the public sphere raise the issue. It is therefore completely wrong to claim that Jews feel unwanted in Norway, or that anti-Semitism has reached a level creating problems. It is simply not right, and such claims should not be used unless a situation arises where it is necessary. And with the help of G-d we hope that this will never be a case.

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