Jewish groups have harshly criticized Norway's King Harald V for his decision to award a royal service medal to Trond Ali Linstad, an activist who has been influential in promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories regarding Jewish world domination and publicly advocating for Arab terrorism against the State of Israel.
Trond Ali Linstad has been nominated to receive Norway's Royal Medal of Merit which recognizes service in the fields of art, science and industry and outstanding public service.
While the award was intended to recognize Linstad's work in education for immigrants, his website, Koranen.no, warns his readers to “beware the Jews,” and the “influence they have in newspapers and other media, in many political organs.”
He defends violence against Israel as a legitimate and "great success” and supports the use of the slogan, "Kharibat Khybar!," a recognized jihadist term for terrorism against Jews in the context of anti-Israel actions, which has frequently appeared in his blog.
One Oslo anti-racism organization has called Linstad’s views “one of the worst collective attacks on Jews…”
"At best, the disturbing decision to grant Mr. Linstad the award resulted from a failure by the staff involved to fully examine Mr. Linstad's public statements," said National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman. "At worst, those reviewing Mr. Linstad's public record have shown great insensitivity to anti-Semitism. Whatever the cause, we respectfully urge that this error be rectified with a decision to rescind the award, coupled with a clear and public statement that Mr. Linstad's advocacy of violence and bigotry are contrary to the values of Norwegian society and the Kingdom of Norway."
In a letter to Wegger Strommen, the Norwegian Ambassador to the United States, Foxman stressed that Linstad's comments on anti-Israel violence and Jewish conspiracy theories should have disqualified him from receiving the award, regardless of whatever achievements might have served as the underlying reason.
Linstad has also expressed "Thanks to Johan Galtung," a Norwegian academic and proponent of the anti-Semitic forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, asking whether Jews in positions of power used "manipulative and undemocratic methods" to influence world events. He further stated that "every president in the U.S. must adapt to the Jewish lobby," in which he argued, determines U.S. foreign policy.
“This shocking award is not only insulting to Jews, but potentially dangerous as well,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “Perhaps the King is unaware that young Norwegian Jews are bullied by their classmates and that in France the very same conspiratorial worldview of the all-powerful Jew contributes to violent and sometimes deadly attacks on Jewish citizens.”
“Make no mistake, whatever the motivation, the impact of Norway's king awarding a bigot who wraps his Jew-hatred in theological garb, will be to further mainstream anti-Semitism in your country and beyond,” added Cooper. “Is it too much to ask that the King acknowledge an error and judgment?”
Since the controversy has hit, Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang has refused to award the medal and the public ceremony was postponed due to security concerns. It is still not known if the Royal Palace will withdraw the award.
During a recent visit to Oslo, the Wiesenthal Center launched “Norway Watch”, an initiative to track anti-Semitism in Norway as well as the support for the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) Movements in the Scandinavian nation. “Norway, may be a small nation, but it has an oversized impact on the international community and global human rights,” Center officials explained. “Frankly, instances of anti-Semitism in Norway have damaged Norway's international reputation,” they added.