Icelanders Accused of Anti-Semitism Skip to content

Icelanders Accused of Anti-Semitism

Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, wrote in a blog entry on Times of Israel on Monday, that “Iceland is more than its tourist posters of geysers, volcanoes, the singer Bjork and the Northern Lights. It has now stretched antisemitism to new outer limits, rendering it almost a psychiatric disorder,” based on a video by artist Snorri Ásmundsson.

The video shows a woman clad in a burqa being pulled out of the frame by a man wearing the star of David on his arm, the artist himself posing as Israeli Eurovision star Dana International, singing the Israeli national anthem, and two young men with Down’s syndrome dressed as orthodox Jewish Hassidims.

Snorri explained to when the video was posted on YouTube in July 2014 that he had decided to make it public in response to the situation in Gaza. He stated that the world was too tolerant towards Israel’s warmongering because of the Holocaust and that he believes religion is one of the worst evils of modern society.

Snorri added that he realized his artwork was highly controversial and that it would make people angry but that some of his Jewish friends had had a good laugh about it.

“An opinion poll marked 70% of the 320,000 Icelanders as pro-Palestinian and only 30% as pro-Israel,” Samuels wrote. “The Gaza operations saw solidarity rallies, as elsewhere in Europe, brandishing antisemitic slogans and imagery. A bicycle-shop in Reykjavik posted a warning: ‘Jews Unwelcome,’” he adds, referring to an incident which occurred in 2009, many years prior to Israel’s most recent Gaza invasion.

“Now Iceland, so proud of its Althing, Europe’s first Parliament and its ostensible concern for the oppressed – is the first country to host a new and sickening threshold in antisemitism: the conflation of ‘Jew,’ ‘Zionist,’ ‘Trans-sexual’ and ‘Down’s Syndrome’ – thereby belittling the cause and the rights of each,” Samuels continues.

“Is this new emanation a political stratagem or a mental illness? If the latter, there may still be hope for a psychiatric cure,” he concludes.

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