Dear Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide (Minister of Foreign Affairs) and Dag-Inge Ulstein (Minister of International Development),
We have taken note of your response (dated February 18, 2021) to our letter (January 21, 2021). Addressing the report produced by your grantee B’Tselem, which labeled Israel an “apartheid regime” and used antisemitic rhetoric, you specifically noted, “The report was not supported by Norwegian funding.”
As such, we wish to bring to your attention a similar report, ‘This Is Ours – And This, Too,’ produced by B’Tselem and Kerem Navot. According to the title page, “This publication was supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.”
The stated purpose of the report is to expand “B’Tselem’s position… asserting that the Israeli regime, which strives to promote and perpetuate Jewish supremacy …is an apartheid regime.”
Similar to B’Tselem’s earlier publication, this document repeatedly invokes the terminology “Judaizing” and “Jewish supremacy” to create a highly offensive parallel between Israel and the racist ideology of white supremacy. Furthermore, we note that the NGOs also refer to the territory “between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea,” echoing long-standing Palestinian terminology for the destruction of Israel.
In this context, we note that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism including the example of “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” as an expression of antisemitism.
In your answer to our previous letter, you wrote that your government had launched an Action Plan against Anti-Semitism as a part of “our general effort to combat discrimination.” This is a positive and important step that we support.
In this context, however, we note that support of NGOs that demonize Israel and use hateful rhetoric is not consistent with this objective.
We look forward to positive cooperation on these important issues.
Prof Gerald M. Steinberg Olga Deutsch
President Vice President
Kåre Reidar Aas, Norwegian Ambassador to Israel
Espen Lindbæck, Director Section for the Middle East and North Africa
Mattis Raustøl, Senior Advisor Section for the Middle East and North Africa