By Bruce Bawer
It was as if a new world had begun.
Mia spoke, and Ronan tweeted: “Listen,
we’re all possibly Frank Sinatra’s son.”
A simple truth, yet guaranteed to stun,
precisely since it was beyond dismissin’.
It was as if a new world had begun,
as if, sans Lotto ticket, one had won!
Was this the piece that always had been missin’?
“We’re all possibly Frank Sinatra’s son.”
One felt like Aaron hitting a home run,
a fisherman watching as John prepared to christen
Our Lord in the Jordan, a new world now begun!
Was your mother once a tasty honey bun,
a sleek bobby-soxer, lips ripe for the kissin’?
We’re all possibly Frank Sinatra’s son.
After all, Mom never was a nun.
Think how those eyes could shine, those full lips glisten!
It was as if a new world had begun.
Imagine: one starstruck night she came undone –
perhaps at the Copa – yes – and let the bliss in.
It was as if a new world had begun.
We’re all possibly Frank Sinatra’s son.
Thursday night I sent in an item to the Tatler (published today) summing up U.S. Embassy reports on anti-semitism in Norway. Friday morning, checking out the major Norwegian newspaper websites, I saw an opinion piece in Dagbladet with the following headline: “Prior Israeli knowledge: On September 11, Israel knew where and when.” The piece presents the now hoary calumny that Israeli officials and other Jews knew beforehand that the World Trade Center would be attacked, the implication being that Israel was behind the attack. No comment.
I’ve written here previously about the virulence of anti-Semitism in Norway. Now the estimable Hans Rustad of document.no – who these days is standing up almost alone against the repulsive effort to silence critics of Islam and multiculturalism after the July 22 massacres in and near Oslo – has posted excerpts from reports sent by the U.S. Embassy in Oslo to the State Department about attitudes toward Jews in Norway.
“Anti-Semitism in Norway, and the expression of anti-Semitic comments, has increased since the Gaza war. The small Norwegian Jewish community is wary of being targeted, and ‘Jew’ has become more popular as an epithet.”
“On December 30 in a television debate program, when asked about the prospect for progress in the Middle East with Obama leading negotiations, Willoch said, ‘it doesn’t look good, because he has chosen a Jew as a chief of staff.’”
“Ole Moen is the most frequently quoted academic on US policy. During the election, he predicted that Americans would never elect either a black man or a woman due to the racism and sexism that he believes permeates American society. On January 9 Moen said Obama ‘has appointed many Jews and pro-Israel people in his administration.…This makes me have little hope for significant change (in Middle East policy.)’”
“Anecdotal evidence shows the small Jewish community in Norway, comprising about 1000 members, are experiencing a growing fear of rising anti-Semitism. When attempting to write a January 10 story about how Jewish families were dealing with the fallout from the war in Gaza, a major newspaper found that most of those contacted refused to be interviewed, because they were afraid of being targeted if they appeared in the paper. One orthodox Jewish family in Oslo chose not to take their children to synagogue, as their appearance on the street makes them especially vulnerable. Some Jewish parents are walking with their children to school as an added security measure. There have been reports of bullying at school, where Jewish children are subject to insults. A recent expose on anti-Semitism in a major paper found that ‘Jew’ has become an epithet among both Muslim and Christian teenagers. One Muslim teenager interviewed commented that his friends say that the Israelis ‘aren’t people.’ When pressed by the reporter on what that meant, he responded, ‘well of course we know they’re people, but when we say they’re inhuman, we mean they aren’t good people.’”
(And yet we are told ad nauseum that Muslims are today’s Jews.)
“The chief Rabbi of the Oslo Synagogue reportedly receives a pile of hate mail each day. Typical salutations on such mail are, ‘Murderers,’ ‘Maybe Hitler was right,’ ‘May hatred toward you Jews grow and strengthen,’ and so forth.”
“According to an Israeli embassy official, during a dinner in honor of a visiting member of the Knesset, some Jewish Israeli-Norwegian married couples commented that among people like themselves, many were talking of moving to Israel, because they did not want to expose their children to fear and hatred.”
“In mid-January, a first secretary at the Norwegian embassy in Saudi Arabia used the MFA’s [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] email system to send out a fundraising email appeal for Gaza with images comparing Israeli soldiers with Nazi soldiers, urging recipients to forward it as a chain letter. The MFA said it would be dealt with as an internal personnel matter and there has been no further public information given on the disposition of the case.”
One of the reports cites an “anti-war parade that ended with a full-scale riot in front of the Israeli embassy” and that featured “[c]ries of, ‘Kill the Jews!’” The report also notes that a “pro-Israel demonstration in Bergen was cancelled because police told organizers that they could not protect participants.”
It is also pointed out that the Norwegian media encourage “outrage over Israeli policy” and thus shape “an atmosphere in which anti-Semitism is easier for ordinary Norwegians to express,” though “there is no corresponding freedom to attack Hamas.”
None of which is news to those of us who have lived in Oslo for years and have been relatively awake. But it is good to know that the U.S. Embassy is aware of what’s going on, and cares.
(front page graphic found here)
What happened in Norway today? The answer is still not clear. Several government workers died in a bomb explosion at the main government office buildings in downtown Oslo; several teenagers were apparently shot to death at a Labor Party youth camp on an island called Utøya. The initial assumption by many was that this was an act of Islamic terrorism. Then the police announced that they had arrested a 32-year-old suspect who, they emphasized with what seemed like relief or even joy, was a tall, blond ethnic Norwegian (one police spokesman even called him an “ethnic Norwegian Norwegian,” a turn of phrase that Norwegians would describe as “smør på flesk” – i.e., putting butter on bacon, or, as we’d say in English, gilding the lily). They insisted that the suspect (although they described him not as a suspect but as a “perpetrator”) had no connection to a terrorist group, though when asked about other connections he might have, they seemed to dodge the question. Is this Norway’s Oklahoma City rather than its 9/11? Or is this tall blond 32-year-old, say, a Muslim convert whose religious affiliation Norway’s leaders would prefer not to divulge so quickly?
We’ll have to wait and see…
ALSO READ: Perpetrator IDed in Norway attacks?
Norway’s cultural elite loved Obama – until he actually did something terrific.
In today’s Aftenposten, Norway’s #1 communications consultant, Kjell Terje Ringdal, who founded the country’s first PR firm and runs the Washington Seminars (which takes Norwegian politicians to Washington and teaches them about “politics and PR”), offers up a “rhetorical analysis” of Obama’s speech about killing bin Laden. The speech, Ringdal says, was “a hymn to revenge,” a “cowboy action,” a rationalization of state terror. By announcing that the U.S. had Osama’s remains, Obama sought “to humiliate”; it was “a kind of Indian reference – a moral scalp.” (In other words, Obama taking Osama’s corpse was like cowboys scalping Indians.) When Obama referred to the 9/11 victims and families, it was to justify the killing – for only by citing the suffering of mothers and children could he hope to make such an atrocity seem acceptable. The speech’s closing flourish – in which Obama said that “we can do these things not just because of wealth and power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” – “sums up the entire psychology and politics of Americans.” Ringdal does not mean this as a compliment.
One plus: though Obama, says Ringdal, has proven to be, like Bush (and like all Americans), at heart a “cowboy,” his rhetoric is at least more “elegant,” more – yes, yes, wait for it – “European.”
Meanwhile, Dagbladet reports that after Osama’s death Norwegian novelist Elin Brodin tweeted: “R.I.P. Osama bin Laden. No matter what one may otherwise think of him. Achtung: I will not tolerate any crude and flippant chitchat here.” In an interview with the newspaper, Brodin expanded on her tweet: bin Laden was “brave,” an “idealist” who “put his life in danger for what he believed in.” He was David, she said, taking on Goliath: “We don’t listen to those who don’t think the ‘right’ way; it must be very frustrating for them. We must learn to see things from other people’s perspectives even if we don’t agree.”
David taking on Goliath: what a brilliantly original analogy! Boy, those novels of hers must be dazzling.
10. It’s headed “President Obama’s Birth Certificate”
9. The attending physician’s name is listed as “Dr. Demento”
8. The address given for Obama’s mother is actually that of Jack Lord’s house
7. It’s scratch-’n’-sniff
6. The street name, “Kalanianole,” is Hawaiian for “take this, combover boy!”
5. It’s printed on the back of an 8” X 10” of Tom Selleck
4. Curiously enough, both the doctor and local registrar were old poker buddies of Jack Ruby
3. His mother’s occupation is listed as “some kind of academic social-science bullsh*t”
2. It turns out that doctor died under mysterious circumstances last year at the age of 106
1. Obama’s father? Don Ho
Trond Andresen, a Norwegian professor who has been active in Norway’s Red (Communist) Party, Maoist AKP (m-l) Party, and Red Electoral Alliance, which places him fully within the mainstream of the Norwegian cultural elite, has written a letter to the Wall Street Journal taking issue with Alan Dershowitz’s account of his encounter with the poisonous anti-Semitism that is endemic in that elite. Andreson’s letter powerfully, if inadvertently, confirms Dershowitz’s account (about which I put in my own two cents here), and closely echoes a 2008 post on an online forum in which Andresen wrote: ”There is something immensely self-satisfied and egocentric about the ’tribal mentality’ that is so widespread among Jews….Not just the religious ones, but also a great many modern secular Jews view their own ethnic group as being worth more than all other ethnic groups. Yes, they actually think they are ‘the chosen people.’” No, folks, Dershowitz wasn’t exaggerating.
Roger is right: Hillary is President! Or at least Head of Government. She and Obama fought each other down to the wire in ’08, but it turns out the fight was unnecessary. For, as is obvious now to the entire world, he was never interested in being Head of Government — he just wanted to be Head of State. She, meanwhile, was more drawn to the governing than the pomp. If only the Constitution had allowed them to split the job down the middle, they could’ve been spared that primary drama…!
Want a journalism job in the left-wing media? Here’s one tip: if Muslims carry out a terrorist attack or commit some other brutal offense, do your best to focus not on this action, i.e. on what has actually happened, but rather on what might happen in response – namely, a violent “backlash” against innocent Muslims by dangerous right-wing Islamophobes whose racist hatred threatens multicultural harmony.
Never mind that such “backlashes” virtually never actually occur. There’s always the possibility that they might – right?
Today’s example: a documentary on Britain’s Channel 4 shows a man at an Islamic school hitting and kicking kids in Koran class, and another man at another Islamic school saying that Hindus “drink piss” and counselling his audience to “stay away” from infidels “the same way you should stay away from a serpent or a snake.”
So how does the Guardian report this? In an article blandly headlined “Mosque school arrest following Channel 4 documentary,” it includes the above information. How can it not? But it also gives us to this extraordinary comment by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming:
“If Channel 4 thinks this is a school where racism and intolerance is accepted in any way, they have got their facts seriously wrong. [The school] have already had hate mail, and now they are having to close for the safety of their pupils. This kind of documentary is ideal fodder for the [far-right] English Defence League. Channel 4 is putting the safety of children at risk by criticising a school which is doing its job properly.”
In other words, the kids aren’t endangered by a teacher who’s beating them – they’re endangered by Channel 4 and the EDL, neither of which, as far as I know, has yet to be accused of beating Muslim children. Note how smoothly and effectively we’re encouraged here to look with disapproval not upon these creeps who’ve been caught on camera saying and doing these disgusting things, but rather upon the people who took the pictures and upon other people who haven’t done anything. (Note, too, how the Guardian helpfully inserts the words “far-right” into Hemming’s quote.)
The piece concludes as follows: “A previous Dispatches documentary in Birmingham investigated the alleged preaching of hate and extremism in mosques and Islamic centres.” In fact, as anyone who saw that previous documentary will recall, there was nothing “alleged” about it: the program’s footage demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that hate and extremism were being preached at those places.
The word “alleged” also crops up in the Guardian’s subhead: “Police act after alleged assault on child as second mosque featured in film is forced to close amid far-right attack fears.” Let’s unpack this expertly crafted little text. Assaults on children that have been captured on camera, and that are likely representative of typical behavior not only at the school in question but also at other such schools around Europe, are reduced to a single assault on a single child, which, in turn, is described as “alleged” – a word that serves, in this instance, to play down an obvious pattern of violent abuse. The subhead’s emphasis falls, in any event, not on the reference to the “alleged” assault on one “child” but, rather, on the punchy, staccato, heavily charged closing words – “far-right attack fears” – words referring to something that has not happened and that has very little likelihood of happening.
All in all, beautifully done. Once again a documentary exposes vicious anti-infidel propaganda and physical cruelty at British mosques – and once again crack left-wing journalists adroitly spin the story in such a way as to make the documentary-makers themselves and the Muslims’ “right-wing” critics (who haven’t done anything) the heavies.
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.
A few minutes ago on CNN, one of the “world’s most brilliant team of journalists” (or whatever superlatives that network is throwing at itself this week) described Egypt as the world’s largest Muslim nation, apparently unclear about the difference between those two recondite concepts “Arab” and “Muslim.” None of her “expert” colleagues corrected her. And these are the people who deign to lecture at us about Islam and are now urging us to join in the Caireuphoria…
Why is it that when you hear the word “transpired” three or more times in the course of a brief briefing, you somehow know you’re being hosed?
Just saw Jeanne Moos do one of her whimsical, feel-good little reports on CNN. This one was about the signs at a pro-Mubarak rally. In a tone that invited us to find the whole business charming, endearing, and amusing, she drew our attention to misspelled homemade signs and to signs being held by small children (or, in one case, hung around the neck of a pet cat). One of the signs depicted in tight close-up in the report featured a picture of Mubarak, and viewers paying close attention would have noticed the Star of David scrawled on his forehead. But of course if Moos had pointed out to that nasty little detail, she’d have failed in her effort to give viewers a warm, cozy feeling about the demo and its participants. So in good CNN fashion, she pretended it wasn’t there.
Here, courtesy of today’s Aftenposten, is the Norwegian cultural elite in a nutshell.
Stein Lillevolden, born in 1958, is a longtime member of a radical youth activist group, Blitz, who’s been arrested for throwing bricks at police officer in Gothenburg, hurling paint at the gate of the Israeli embassy in Oslo, and interfering in an arrest at an anti-U.S. demonstration – in short, an honored member of the Norwegian cultural elite. Who better, then, to write in Norway’s most conservative (!) major daily about a new book by Flemming Rose, the brave Danish editor behind the Muhammed cartoons? Rose’s book is an urgent defense of freedom of expression; Lillevolden scorns that freedom (for which the European left, of course, has little affection), accusing Rose and others of exploiting it to prosecute a cruel “witch-hunt against Muslims.”
OK, so much for free speech. But that’s not all! Today’s Aftenposten also offers an op-ed by mommy blogger Kristine Grav Hardeberg proposing that Norwegians adopt the Muslim practice of arranged marriage. “There’s a lot of wisdom,” she argues, “which we have lost on the way to absolute individualism….Perhaps it’s time to turn around our stubborn notions and see that we have a lot to learn from other cultures….Why should we cling for dear life to this individualism?” At first I thought this was a joke, like Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” Apparently not.
For the price of a newspaper, then, you get not one but two full-throated attacks on pillars of Western civilization: free speech and individualism. Way to go, Aftenposten!