Icelandic Government Accused of Anti-Semitism Skip to content

Icelandic Government Accused of Anti-Semitism

Hótel Breiðdalsvík

Manfred Gerstenfeld, a chairman for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, criticized Iceland’s position on the Palestine and Israel conflict; the accusations were made after Iceland’s Foreign Minister, Össur Skarphédinsson, recently visited Palestine and declared his support of the Palestinian state and the propositions to be made at the next UN General Assembly.


Össur Skarphédinsson.

Skarphédinsson visited the Gaza strip and Palestine earlier this month where he met with the president of the state of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas, the lead negotiator for Palestine Saab Erekt, Foreign Minister Riad al Malki and Yasser Abed Rabbo, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

Skarphédinsson emphasized Iceland’s support of the propositions to be presented at the upcoming UN General Assembly. He emphasized the need for a united nation under a national government.

Abbas told Skarphédinsson he was trying to put together such a government by uniting representatives of the Fatah and Hamas movements.

Skarphédinsson stated during the visit that he will support the propositions to be presented at the UN General Assembly in the fall; in those propositions the Palestine-Israel borders are to be as they were in 1967.

Palestinian involvement in the United Nations is also to be discussed.

President Abbas was thankful to the Icelandic government for its support of an independent state, reported recently.

Abbas hopes to send his Foreign Minister Riad al Malki to Iceland where he would meet with Icelandic officials to discuss the next step of Iceland’s support of Palestine. Össur Skarphédinsson did not visit Israel during his trip to the Middle East.

According to Gerstenfeld was not impressed by the disrespect shown to Israel by Skarphédinsson’s actions and those from a minister of a nation in debt.

In Gerstenfeld’s opinion piece published last Monday on an Israeli news website, Ynetnews, he pointed out instances of anti-semitism in Iceland’s history. He gave as an example Iceland’s refusal to receive Jewish refugees in the 1930s; he names particular instances such as Iceland’s defense of its citizen Edvald Hinriksson, or Evald Mikson, former coach of the Icelandic national soccer team, and Bobby Fisher’s citizenship.

Gerstenfeld also pointed out anti-semitism can be found in Icelandic hymns by Hallgrímur Pétursson.

Click here to read Gerstenfeld’s article


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