Friday, July 22, 2011

Lieberman accuses Norway of promoting anti-Semitism


Amid escalating tensions between Israel and Sweden, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday accused another Scandinavian country - Norway this time - of promoting anti-Semitism.

Israel and Sweden have been embroiled in diplomatic crisis this week, after a Swedish daily printed an article alleging that Israel Defense Forces soldiers harvested organs of Palestinians.

On Sunday, Lieberman moved his criticism on to Norway for marking the birthday of an early 20th century "pro-Nazi" author.

"I was amazed at the Norwegian government's decision to celebrate the 150th birthday of Knut Hamsun, who admired the Nazis," Lieberman told students at the Ariel University Center. "He gave the literary award he won in 1943 to Josef Goebbels, and praised Hitler in an obituary as a warrior for mankind."

But the foreign minister's criticism of the Scandinavian country did not end there.

"I remember that in the Durban-II conference," Lieberman said, referring to last April's UN anti-racism summit which was criticized as allegedly biased against Israel. "The Norwegian representatives were among the few who didn't walk out, and today I realize it's not a coincidence. How low can you go?"

In regard to the controversy over the Swedish article, Lieberman said that "the most annoying thing" was the fact that the Swedish embassy in Israel was reprimanded by the Stockholm government for condemning the allegations made in the article.

"The ambassador continued the tradition championed by Raoul Wallenberg, [the Swedish diplomat who saved Jews] against the official position of the Swedish government during the Second World War," he said.

"The Swedish government hides under the cloak of free speech," he added, "but when the caricatures that depicted Prophet Mohammed were published, the Swedish foreign minister sent a letter of protest to the Danish president."

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