Norwegian Public Broadcaster Puts Out Antisemitic Cartoon

Photo Credit: YouTube / A still from the antisemitic video.

The Norwegian broadcaster NRK aired a video containing the slur “Jewish swine”. It is still on their “Humor” YouTube page.

A new, animated cartoon by Norwegian broadcaster NRK portrays two people playing scrabble in a park. One of the people, playing against a man who appears to be an Orthodox Jew, has the word “jødesvin” ready to play, a slur in Norwegian meaning “Jewish swine”. Throughout the video, the Jewish man continuously taunts his opponent for his lack of skill, as he refuses to play the slur he has ready. He claims they are “on different cognitive levels.”

The production company that made the video shared it on Facebook, with the comment “tag a Jew.” This was followed by an avalanche of calls for it to be taken down, as many commented that it was virulently antisemitic. The author, Monica Csango, drew a parallel between the term and similar phrases employed by the Nazis. The German parallel “Judenschwein” was a common term in the 1930’s to degrade Jews.

The entertainment editor of the network, Charlo Halvorsen, replied to Csango’s comments that the point of the cartoon was “illuminating the challenges and safeguarding daily life of vulnerable minorities”. He said it was merely a joke, and not meant to be antisemitic. 

At the same time as when that op-ed was released, Hans Lysglimt Johansen, a far-right figure in Norwegian politics on behalf of the party Alliansen, said his party was responsible for the cartoon. It was part of an effort to “de-dramatize talking about Jewish Influence” leading up to local elections in Oslo in September. Johansen frequently makes statements questioning the validity of the Holocaust, including calling into question whether a genocide occurred and whether six-million Jews indeed died.

UPDATE as of 9:30 AM EST on 26 July 2019: The broadcaster, NRK, has now taken down and apologized for this video, citing the "more serious impact on the Jewish community than [they] unfortunately knew."