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‘I Wish the Vaccine Didn’t Work:’ Uproar in Norway at Radio Show Hosts’ Antisemitic Rant Against Israeli Success Fighting Pandemic

avatar by Ben Cohen

Norwegian radio host Shaun Henrik Matheson. Photo: NRK.

A program host on a Norwegian state-owned radio station embarked on an antisemitic tirade in the middle of his broadcast on Tuesday, telling listeners that the success of the COVID-19 vaccine in Israel made him “almost wish” that it had failed.

Shaun Henrik Matheson — who hosts a morning show on NRK P13, part of Norway’s state-owned broadcasting network — regaled his audience with a commentary bemoaning Israel’s success in vaccinating its population against the COVID-19 pandemic. Matheson’s words were subsequently translated in full by ‘Med Israel for fred’ (MIFF), a pro-Israel advocacy organization in Norway.

“Jeez, well, we had better mention the good news, even if it comes from Israel (laughs). I know, how sick is this? Good news from Israel, when did that happen last time?” Matheson began.

Matheson claimed that in reporting Israel’s progress in combating the virus, Norwegian media outlets “forgot something important, or didn’t mention it, something we should never forget: Israel is an occupying power, an apartheid regime, where some people are more worth than others, and where these “others” are subjected to systematic oppression, their land are stolen from them and their water and electricity will be cut if they step out of line.”

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He continued: “And if some homemade rocket should land somewhere over the God’s chosen people, then terrible actions of revenge are committed where thousands of people are killed, often children.”

Matheson asserted that Israel’s progress against COVID-19 could be regarded as good news “only if we think about ourselves and forget about all the abuse and murders the Israelis perpetrate against the Palestinian people.”

He said: “So apparently, numbers from Israel show that among more than 1 million fully vaccinated persons, less than 1,000 were infected. No matter how you twist and turn it, this is good news. Only I wish it was from another country, if you get what I mean. It’s almost as though I wish the vaccine didn’t work. You cannot say that. I’m sorry, I do understand that. Damn it.”

He then went on to repeat a series of debunked myths alleging that Israel was withholding the COVID-19 vaccine from the Palestinian population.

“We must just never forget just what a s***ty country Israel is, it’s desperately important that we never forget,” Matheson said. “We must never forget what a s***ty country Israel is!”

MIFF — the organization which called attention to Matheson’s on-air rant — said it was considering reporting Matheson to the police for hate speech.

“MIFF’s report, and other reactions, stirred a publish outcry, with hundreds of complaints both in social media and directly to NRK within a few hours, forcing NRK editors to deal with the case in a meeting the same evening,” the organization’s spokesperson, Conrad Myrland, wrote on its website.

“NRK decided to remove the radio item from their archive, but the editor in charge says that the incident will have no consequences for the radio host,” Myrland reported. “We will make a formal complaint to NRK and are considering to report the case to the police for hateful expressions.”

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