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Excuses aan Noorwegen van Jerusalem Post

Wat al te harde verwijten over mislukte multiculturele samenleving als oorzaak van massamoord Breivik. Islamofobie nu vergeleken met Nazisme. Plus een schietreclame erbij voor de Nederlandse bezoeker.

Jerusalem Post publiceerde op 24 juli ’s avonds op de website en de volgende morgen in de krant het commentaar Norway’s challenge op de gebeurtenis van de moorden van Andreas Breivik, met ondermeer:

“Europe’s fringe right-wing extremists present a real danger to society. But Oslo’s devastating tragedy should not be allowed to be manipulated by those who would cover up the abject failure of multiculturalism…

…The attacks, which targeted a government known for its embrace of multiculturalist policies, are being billed as the worst incident of bloodshed on Norwegian soil since World War II.

As Israelis, a people that is sadly all too familiar with the horrors of indiscriminate, murderous terrorism, our hearts go out with empathy to the Norwegian people, who perhaps more than any other nation symbolize the unswerving – and sometimes naïve – pursuit of peace.

Oslo is the namesake of one of the most ambitious – and misguided – attempts by Israel, under the mediation of the Norwegians, to reach a peace accord with our Palestinian neighbors.

Norway’s capital is where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented annually. And though Norway has troops in Afghanistan to bolster the allied forces there, the basically peaceful nature of Norwegians goes a long way to explaining the utter shock that has gripped the nation in the wake of the tragedy and the blatant incongruity of the conspicuous deployment of security forces in city centers to safeguard citizens.

Now along with their dogged pursuit of peace, the Norwegians are also coming to grips with the reality of evil in their midst. It would be wrongheaded, however, to allow the fact that this terrible tragedy was perpetrated by a right-wing extremist to detract attention from the underlying problems faced not only by Norway, but by many Western European nations.

Undoubtedly, there will be those – particularly on the Left – who will extrapolate out from Breivik’s horrific act that the real danger facing contemporary Europe is rightwing extremism and that criticism of multiculturalism is nothing more than so much Islamophobia.

While it is still too early to determine definitively Breivik’s precise motives, it could very well be that the attack was more pernicious – and more widespread – than the isolated act of a lunatic. Perhaps Brievik’s inexcusable act of vicious terror should serve not only as a warning that there may be more elements on the extreme Right willing to use violence to further their goals, but also as an opportunity to seriously reevaluate policies for immigrant integration in Norway and elsewhere.

While there is absolutely no justification for the sort of heinous act perpetrated this weekend in Norway, discontent with multiculturalism’s failure must not be delegitimatized or mistakenly portrayed as an opinion held by only the most extremist elements of the Right.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel have both recently lamented the “failure of multiculturalism” in their respective countries.

Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel Prize laureate for welfare economics from India, has noted how terribly impractical it is to believe that the coexistence of an array of cultures in close proximity will lead to peace. Without a shared cultural foundation, no meaningful communication among diverse groups is possible, Sen has argued.

Norway, a country so oriented toward promoting peace, where the Muslim population is forecast to increase from 3 percent to 6.5% of the population by 2030, should heed Sen’s incisive analysis.

The challenge for Norway in particular and for Europe as a whole, where the Muslim population is expected to account for 8% of the population by 2030 according to a Pew Research Center, is to strike the right balance. Fostering an open society untainted by xenophobia or racism should go hand in hand with protection of unique European culture and values.

Europe’s fringe right-wing extremists present a real danger to society. But Oslo’s devastating tragedy should not be allowed to be manipulated by those who would cover up the abject failure of multiculturalism.”

Later werd op de website nog toegevoegd:

“The editor-in-chief adds: As a newspaper, The Jerusalem Post strongly denounces all acts of violence against innocent civilians. This editorial is not aimed at deflecting attention from the horrific massacre perpetuated in Norway, nor the need to take greater precautions against extremists from all sides.”

Maar dat kon niet voorkomen dat de redactie van Jerusalem Post er zoetjesaan achter kwam dat de krant – inclusief enkele columnisten – wel erg ver was gegaan met het exploiteren van de aanslag voor eigen opiniegewin; een verschijnsel dat in Nederland maar al te bekend was de afgelopen weken.

Jerusalem Post kwam gisteravond op de website met de ruimhartige excuses, zo te lezen wellicht onder druk van, of in overleg met de Israëlische regering geuit:

Apology to Norway, met ondermeer:

“…This is certainly not the kind of support Israel needs. It is the type of Islamophobia that is all too reminiscent of the Nazis’ attitude toward the Jews. Jews, Muslims and Christians in Israel and around the world should be standing together against such hate crimes.

Israel, it should be stressed, swiftly and strongly condemned the attack in Norway. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying that Jerusalem identified with the “deep pain and grief” of the Norwegian people.

The Foreign Ministry said that Israel “expresses its shock at the revolting terror attacks in Oslo, which have taken the lives of innocent victims.”

“Nothing at all can justify such wanton violence, and we condemn this brutal action with the utmost gravity,” the Foreign Ministry statement said. “We stand in solidarity with the people and government of Norway in this hour of trial, and trust Norwegian authorities to bring to justice those responsible for this heinous crime.”

President Shimon Peres telephoned Norway’s King Harald V to express Israel’s condolences.

“Your country is a symbol of peace and freedom. In Israel, we followed the events… in Norway and the attack on innocent civilians broke our hearts. It is a painful tragedy that touches every human being,” Peres said. “We send our condolences to the families that lost their loved ones and a speedy recovery to the wounded. Israel is willing to assist in whatever is needed.”

In today’s paper, we are publishing an opinion piece by Norway’s deputy foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, in which he thanks Israeli leaders “for their kind and comforting words” but expresses dismay over comments made by two Jerusalem Post columnists.

At the same time, he titles his column, “A time to heal.”

We echo his wish, and hope that the Norwegian government and people will accept the Post’s apology and forgive us for any offense or hurt caused by our editorial and columnists at this sensitive time.”

Boeiende reclame

Toen ik gisteravond keek op de webpagina met het excuus kreeg ik bij het artikel een reclame getoond over het schieten op een iPhone. Ik moest met een glimlach toch even aan good old Max Tailleur denken…

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