Israel is accusing the Norwegian government of funding and encouraging blatant anti-Israel incitement, according to Israel’s Ynet News.
The accusations are based on reports that the Trondheim Municipality is funding a trip for students to New York in order to take part in the “Gaza Monologues” play, and view an exhibition by Norwegian artists.
The play, which "deals with the suffering of children in Gaza as a result of the Israeli occupation,” was written by a Palestinian playwright from Gaza, and will be presented at the United Nations headquarters.
The Norwegian art exhibition, also on display at the UN, has been shown in Damascus, Beirut, and Amman. Two paintings from the exhibition were removed for the Damascus exhibition because organizers at the French Cultural Center feared the presence of an Israeli flag might be misinterpreted as pro-Israeli by visiting Iranian tourists.
Norwegians have also helped promote and distribute a documentary on the suffering of Gaza’s children called “Tears of Gaza.”
The Israeli Embassy in Norway is protesting the Norwegian government involvement in funding a student trip to such events.
“The open and official Norwegian policy talks about understanding and reconciliation,” Israeli officials said Sunday, “but ever since the war in Gaza, Norway has become a superpower in terms of exporting multimedia aimed at de-legitimizing Israel, while using the Norwegian taxpayer funds for creating and transporting this multimedia.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said in a meeting with Norwegian parliament members that "such activity pushes away the chance for reconciliation and encourages a radicalization in the Palestinian stand which prevents them from compromising."
Norway has a growing movement that supports the 2005 Unified Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until the latter complies with international law and the principles of human rights. Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global recently divested from two Israeli companies, Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus, due to involvement in the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and leading Norwegian artists and academics have recently launched a petition calling for the cultural and academic boycott of Israel.
Norway responded to Israel’s criticism saying that the Norwegian government supports freedom of expression and will not be intervening in the arts.