In the wake of the recent terrorist attack in Norway, Israeli popular opinion does not seem to be finding much sympathy for the Norwegians. Our media seems to be concerned with making sure that Anders Behring Breivik is labelled a neo-Nazi while hiding his pro-Israel ideology.
The following article appeared on the Mondoweiss website July 26th 2011.
Norwegian victims ‘got what they deserved,’ say some Israeli commentators
Jul 26, 2011 09:38 am | Philip Weiss
Remember when they kept saying that some Palestinians cheered the 9/11 attacks? Well, JJ Goldberg has a thorough report in the Forward on nasty sentiment throughout Hebrew websites in Israel, Israelis saying Norway got what it deserved because of its pro-Palestinian positions. This is true self-isolation. Excerpt:
And I do mean nasty: Judging by the comments sections on the main Hebrew websites, the main questions under debate seem to be whether Norwegians deserve any sympathy from Israelis given the country’s pro-Palestinian policies, whether the killer deserves any sympathy given his self-declared intention of fighting Islamic extremism and, perhaps ironically, whether calling attention to this debate is in itself an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic act.
The debate seems to be taking place almost entirely on Hebrew websites. There’s a bit of bile popping up on the English-language Jerusalem Post site as well (for example, there are a handful of choice comments of a now-they’ll-know-what-it-feels-like variety following this Post news article reporting on Israel’s official offer of sympathy and aid). In Hebrew, though, no holds are barred. I’ve translated some of the back-and-forth from the Ynet and Maariv websites below, to give you taste.
The debate exploded above ground on Saturday in an opinion essay at Ynet (in Hebrew only) by Ziv Lenchner, a left-leaning Tel Aviv artist and one of Ynet’s large, bipartisan stable of columnists. It’s called “Dancing the Hora on Norwegian Blood.” He argues that the comment sections on news websites are a fair barometer of public sentiment (a questionable premise) and that the overwhelming response is schadenfreude, pleasure at Norway’s pain. As I’ll show below, that judgment seems pretty accurate.