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Antagonism to Israel Fuels Norway Anti-Semitism

The international security organization OSCE has warned that anti-Israel attitudes in Norway may be fuelling anti-Semitism there.

The warning came in a report on Norway compiled by members of the OSCE, or Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the daily Aftenposten reported, adding that the members called the trend “disturbing” in their report.

The report also called for the abolition of a ban on Jewish ritual slaughter, or shechitah, which has been in place in Norway since 1929, the newspaper reported. Abolishing the ban would be “an important symbolic gesture,” the report said, according to Aftenposten.

The OSCE report points to a survey conducted last year by TNS Gallup for the Oslo-based Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities. Thirty-eight percent of the survey’s 1,522 respondents said that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is comparable to the actions of the Nazis. Some 12 percent expressed strong anti-Jewish attitudes.

The delegates also called Norway “an exemplary state when it comes to human rights and equality,” but called on police to do more to confront hate crimes.

“The foreign minister should promote a civilized discussion about the Middle East conflict, and to react when the state of Israel is demonized in public discourse,” Aftenposten quoted the report as saying.

The OSCE delegation to Norway was comprised of Rabbi Andrew Baker, director of international Jewish affairs for the American Jewish Committee; Adil Akhmetov, a Kazakhstani diplomat; and Catherine McGuinness, a retired Supreme Court judge from Ireland, the Norwegian daily reported.

A spokesperson for OSCE told JTA by telephone that he could not immediately send a copy of the report on Norway.

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