Today’s issue of the Norwegian newspaper Vårt Land (Our Country) includes an article by Line Madsen Simenstad about Anja Savosnick, a 23-year-old Oslo college student who’s routinely harassed in public for being Jewish. People have said to her: “Burn in Auschwitz!” She’s constantly tempted to lie about her background: “Always, when I’m at a party or out on the town,” she says, “I have uncomfortable experiences when it comes out that I’m Jewish.”
Although Muslim anti-Semitism is a widespread phenomenon in Oslo, as in other European cities, Savosnick says that most of the anti-Semitism she’s experienced has been directed at her by ethnic Norwegians. No surprise there: a college student in Oslo is less likely to have social contact with Muslims who learned in mosques that Jew-hatred is part and parcel of Islamic belief than with ethnic Norwegian fellow students who’ve learned since childhood – from teachers, professors, media commentators, and distinguished Norwegian authors alike – that Jew-hatred is the only civilized option for an educated, right-thinking Scandinavian.
Savosnick says that when people find out she’s Jewish, they “began to hold me responsible for Israel’s actions.” Her reaction: “I don’t understand why I, as a Norwegian Jew, must take responsibility for Israel’s actions.” Given what Norwegian college students (even Jewish ones) have been told all their lives about Israel, it’s no surprise that absolutely nothing in Savosnick’s comments, as reported by Simenstad, so much as hints at the possibility that any of Israel’s actions might actually be defensible.