New York, NY, May 2, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed dismay that the Prime Minister of Norway, the featured speaker at a May Day celebration of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) in Bergen, failed to condemn the anti-Israel slogans that were an official part of the event.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who leads Norway's governing Labour Party, spoke at the LO event in Bergen to celebrate International Workers' Day. Among the 11 official slogans for this year's parade were "Israel = Apartheid" and "Boycott Israel!"
"It is extremely troubling that given the nature of these anti-Israel slogans, their official status at the parade, and the fact that they were written about by newspapers days before the event, Prime Minister Stoltenberg still participated and did not speak out against these vile, offensive statements," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The slogans are not legitimate expressions of criticism of Israeli policy. They are intended to delegitimize Israel and declare economic war on Israel in an attempt to isolate it from the community of nations. We call upon Prime Minister Stoltenberg to condemn these wholly inappropriate expressions and to insist upon their removal from future Trade Union events.
Mr. Foxman also said, "Norwegian press and opinion-makers roundly and rightly condemned the recent anti-Semitic outbursts of Norwegian academic Johan Galtung. The Prime Minister should have done the same in Bergen and spoken out on the LO slogans when he stepped up to the microphone. He had the perfect opportunity to declare that Israel is not an apartheid state, that Norway opposes boycotts of Israel, and that these LO slogans must be rejected."
In a letter to Prime Minister Stoltenberg, ADL said it was disturbed by his decision to participate in an event that featured anti-Israel statements, and was dismayed he had not denounced the despicable slogans.
The letter noted that in an ADL opinion poll of anti-Semitic attitudes in Europe released this February, 39% of Norwegians answered "yes" to the question, "Is your opinion of Jews influenced by actions taken by the State of Israel?" Of the 10 European countries surveyed, Norway had the highest percentage of respondents answering positively to that question.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.