Norwegian Newspaper Apologizes for Evoking Nazi Occupation by Using Phrase ‘the Jewish Question’
Norway’s largest newspaper apologized on Monday for using the phrase “the Jewish question” in a recent article on left-wing political attitudes toward Jews.
Afternposten issued the apology following the publication of an article on Feb. 12 which examined the “line between criticism of Israel and antisemitism.” The introduction to the article asserted that “the Jewish question is splitting the left on both sides of the Atlantic.”
In a statement, Aftenposten news editor Tone Tveøy Strøm-Gundersen acknowledged that the term “the Jewish question” had a “dark history associated with the persecution of the Jews during World War II.” Approximately 800 of the 2,000 Jews in Norway were deported to concentration camps during the Nazi occupation.
“We should of course not use it,” Strøm-Gundersen continued. “There is therefore every reason to complain about its use.”
Critics of the newspaper’s choice of wording included Guri Hjeltnes, director of the Center for Holocaust Studies in Norway. The phrase “the Jewish question” was, she argued, “inextricably linked to the destruction of the Jews and ‘the final solution,’ which was the Nazi planning and execution of the industrial genocide of the Jews during World War II.”
Added Hjeltnes: “Aftenposten was the main newspaper of the occupying power during World War II and it should have learned its lesson.” During the 1930s, the paper was known for its pro-Nazi editorial line; following the German invasion of Norway in 1940, Aftenposten became the main Nazi propaganda organ in the country.
Aftenposten was last accused of antisemitism two years ago, over an article on US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.
A Jan. 12, 2017 article in Aftenposten referred to “the Jew Kushner” having pushed for the appointment of David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel. The paper apologized on that occasion as well for what it described as an unintentional “negative association” involving Kushner’s religion.