Norway Israel missionary organisation apologises to Jewish community


Northern Europe


Vandalised Jewish gravestones. Photo AFP, Bo Amstrup

The Norwegian Israel Mission organisation asks the Jewish people for forgiveness. It published an apology in its latest magazine, First.

The organisation regrets how its leaders spread anti-Semitic messages in the interwar period, Dagen reports. The organisation acknowledges that its leaders contributed to the portrayal of Jews and Judaism as a "dangerous anti-Christian" power and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. "We strongly deplore the triumphalist attitude and the false accusations that have been levelled against Jews and Judaism throughout our history", the organisation states in the letter. It also acknowledges that even when Jews were in dire need of protection, the organisation was too inept.

In addition to the letter published in First, Israel Mission also directly sent an apology to the Mosaic Faith Society, which represents the Norwegian Jewish community.

"Natural to apologise"

The Secretary-General of the organisation, Vegard Solveit, says to Dagen that the apology was offered now because the issue was raised. He states that it felt "natural to apologise and distance ourselves from what has been expressed by key leaders in the Israeli Mission." One of the leaders that made anti-Semitic statements is Christian Ihlen, Solveit says to Dagen. The newspaper writes that Ihlen was the organisation's chairman between 1918 and 1948.

On the other hand, Solveit stresses to Dagen that the attitudes are "not representative of the organisation's roots."



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.