In present-day Europe, antisemitism has again become an issue of public concern. According to a recent survey, 28 per cent of European Jews experienced anti-Jewish harassment over the last year and close to 40 per cent have considered emigration during the last five years because of rising anti-Jewish hostilities.1 The new threat for Jews in Europe is often attributed to antisemitic attitudes among Muslim immigrants. At the same time, Islamophobic ideas have gained ground in Europe as a political tool and have become an integral part of an ideological worldview, particularly on the far right of the political spectrum. Intensified by deeply divided opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this constellation has framed a view of antisemitism and Islamophobia as essentially different.2

The present volume challenges this view. Based on varied and comprehensive survey data about attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in Norway, it provides a more differentiated picture. While the empirical evidence shows that Muslims in Norway support stereotypical ideas about Jews to a greater extent than the general population, and that opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are connected to attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in opposite directions, it also indicates that antisemitism and Islamophobia are closely related phenomena, and are linked to xenophobic ideas in the general population. The minorities’ experiences of discrimination show that Jews and Muslims share a number of the same problems associated with being minorities in Norway, and therefore see a possibility to cooperate on combating prejudice and discrimination.

Part of the public debate on both antisemitism and Islamophobia has been concerned with the definition of the terms themselves. The term “antisemitism” was coined in 1879 in Germany as the brand name of a socio-political movement that attributed negative traits of modern society to “Jewish influence”, combining social criticism with ideas of race and unifying under the slogan “Fight against Jewish domination!” Although the term was a misnomer (since there is no such thing as “Semitism” and the movement was not directed against “Semites” in general), it gained currency and is today used as a generic term to denote all forms of Jew-hatred throughout history. While there is a general consensus that “antisemitism” means hostility towards and discrimination against Jews as “Jews” (as defined in the antisemitic worldview), it has been controversial whether hostility toward Zionism (anti-Zionism) and the State of Israel (anti-Israelism) is principally to be classified as a form of Jew-hatred (“new antisemitism”) or not.3 In the present volume and the surveys it is based on, attitudes towards Jews have been researched separately from attitudes towards the state of Israel. This is done for methodological reasons – in order to explore correlations and differences between the two phenomena.

The term “Islamophobia” goes back to the early twentieth century, and was used more frequently in the 1980s and 1990s. It gained prominence in 1997 with the publication of the report Islamophobia – A Challenge for Us All by the Runnymede Trust, which described the word as “a useful shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam – and therefore, to fear and dislike of all or most Muslims.”4 While the term took root in Western societies after that, its definition and public use have been the object of controversial debate both within politics and in academia. Critics found the concept imprecise because it blends together divergent phenomena, such as criticism of Islam as a faith, and negative stereotypes about Muslims. In the academic study of Islamophobia, more precise definitions have been developed in recent years.5 The present volume perceives of Islamophobia as an ideology that attributes inherently negative traits to Muslims solely by virtue of being Muslim. Islamophobia is thus perceived as a form of racism.6 Furthermore, Islamophobia is understood as widespread prejudice, acts and practices that attack, exclude or discriminate against people on the ground that they are – or are assumed to be – Muslim.7

The research presented in this volume is based on a rich and unique set of quantitative and qualitative data: two population surveys about Norwegian attitudes towards Jews (2011) and towards Jews and Muslims (2017), and, in addition, separate surveys among Norwegian Jews and Muslims about their experiences as minorities in Norway and about attitudes towards the respective other minority (2017).8 By applying the same questionnaire over time (2011 and 2017) and to different samples of respondents at the same time (2017), the quantitative data allow for the study of trends in attitudes and for direct comparisons between different samples. In presenting a comprehensive survey analysis, the volume aims at providing innovative perspectives for the study of attitudes towards minorities in general.

Our approach is specifically informed by the assumption that attitudes are formed within certain communicative contexts and that quantitative studies therefore need to be supplemented with qualitative research, exploring the historical and societal framework conditions of attitudes towards and among minorities. In particular, the discursively constructed boundaries of “what can be said or not be said” about Jews and Muslims need to be analysed. This is conceptualised in our volume as “communication latency”, a concept that was first introduced into the study of contemporary antisemitism by sociologists Werner Bergmann and Rainer Erb in 1986 and has since been influential.9 Applied to the history of antisemitism in West Germany, the concept explained why antisemitic attitudes, which were still widespread in the German population after 1945, could not be communicated publicly under the new political conditions. They were not acceptable in a democratic state that was eager to integrate into the Western alliance. Increasingly ostracised by the public, antisemitic prejudices could only be expressed in the private sphere or in marginal extremist groups. Drawing a clear dividing line between psychological latency (Bewusstseinslatenz) and communication latency, Bergmann and Erb turned scholarly attention away from the psyche of the antisemites and towards the study of public communication and its norms.10 Consequently, language, semantics, political culture and public conflicts became major focuses for the growing field of antisemitism studies (Antisemitismusforschung). It reconstructed the mechanisms by which the boundaries of prejudice were established, transformed and contested.11

Our study has been influenced by these developments within the field of research on antisemitism. Through discourse analysis of public debates in the period from 1960 to present-day Norway and in-depth analysis of three sets of qualitative data from the survey in 2017, the book explores how these boundaries are established and negotiated in different social contexts. Are they equally effective towards expressions of Islamophobia as towards expressions of antisemitism? What is the connection between attitudes towards Israel and attitudes towards Jews? How are attitudes towards Jews and Muslims expressed, distributed and regulated? Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict relevant for the attitudes and the relationship between the minorities? By investigating these questions, the book aims at providing new knowledge about the prevalence and social acceptance of antisemitic and Islamophobic attitudes in contemporary Norway.

Antisemitism and Islamophobia have been subject to comprehensive previous research. While numerous surveys have been conducted on antisemitism after the Holocaust, particularly in the European context, there also has been an increase in research and monitoring of Islamophobia in recent years.12 The surveys include comparative studies of attitudes and experiences. However, in combining different sets of data and different (quantitative and qualitative) approaches, the current volume represents something new. Few prior studies focus specifically on antisemitism among Muslims or include Jewish views of Muslims.13 A relevant previous study on the subject of Muslim antisemitism was conducted by Günther Jikeli.14 By focusing on negative attitudes, however, his analysis does not include the broader context of Muslim-Jewish relations.

A relevant context for the present volume is also provided by the body of research that includes historical perspectives on antisemitism and Islamophobia.15 This research has pointed to some characteristics of contemporary antisemitism that are part of the discussion in the present volume. More specifically, the book is a contribution to present-day scholarly and public debates about the “new antisemitism” in Europe, which is mostly expressed as hostility towards Israel and often attributed to left-wing anti-Zionists and Muslim immigrants.16 For the first time, our book provides a comprehensive analysis of Norwegian Muslims’ attitudes towards Jews and compares these with the attitudes of the general Norwegian population. In addition, the book is a contribution to the study of Islamophobia. It presents a comprehensive analysis of the population’s (and Norwegian Jews’) attitudes towards Muslims. Moreover, it includes information about the experiences of Jews and Muslims as minorities in Norway. This approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data from different perspectives, has not been applied in previous research (where antisemitism and Islamophobia are typically studied separately) and will, we believe, be of general methodological interest to national and international scholars in the field.

The Norwegian Surveys (CHM 2011 and CHM 2017)

The two quantitative surveys at the core of the present volume were conducted by the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies in 2011 and 2017. The surveys were commissioned by the Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion and funded by five ministries of the Norwegian government. The surveys were conducted among representative samples of the population (N=1,522 in 2011 and 1,575 in 2017). The two minority samples in the survey from 2017 consisted of self-identified Muslims with an immigrant background (N=586) and members of the Jewish communities in Oslo and Trondheim (N=162). The survey of the Muslim respondents was limited to immigrants with a minimum of five years’ residence in Norway and Norwegian-born citizens with immigrant parents. The respondents’ country backgrounds represented the key countries of origin for Muslims in Norway. While the Muslim sample is representative for the immigrant population in terms of geographical distribution, gender and age, the question of representability is difficult to assess for the Jewish sample as there exists no comparable data on the Jewish population in Norway.17 Another variable known to impact the prevalence of negative attitudes is level of education. The education level among the respondents in the population samples in 2011 and 2017 was representative for the general population. There is a lack of reliable data on the level of education in the immigrant population in Norway. However, in 2017, the level was equal in the Muslim sample as in the population sample, with one third of the respondents having a high level (up to four years of university/university college education or higher). It was significantly higher in the Jewish sample, with three quarters of the respondents having a high level of education. This difference has to be kept in mind when interpreting some of the results.18

Historical background and relevance of the Norwegian example in an international context

The first mentions of individual Jews in Norway can be traced to the 1600s and the so-called Portuguese Jews (Sephardim).19 Jews had limited access to Norway at the time. Further limitation was introduced in 1687 in the law by Christian V, which banned Jews from entering the country without special permission. The inclusion of the prohibition against Jews, Jesuits and monastic orders seemed an anomaly in the Norwegian constitution of 1814, which was considered one of the most liberal constitutions of its time. The fact that the exclusion was explicitly written into the constitution represented a significant tightening-up compared to the traditional practice that had allowed for exceptions by issuing temporary travel and residence permits (letters of safe conduct) for Jews.20 The clause against Jews was lifted in 1851, but immigration after that was slow and limited. It took forty years before the first Jewish community was established in Oslo, in 1892. Pogroms in Russia in the early twentieth century increased the number of Jewish immigrants. By the outbreak of World War II, approximately 2,100 Jews lived in Norway.

Antisemitism was evident in Norwegian pre-war society, both on the level of popular attitudes, cultural expressions and among the authorities, but there was no organised antisemitism comparable to that found in other European countries at the time.21 Significant historical incidents such as World War I, the Russian Revolution and the economic crisis of the 1920s and 1930s contributed to an increase in expressions of antisemitism and to the establishment of exclusionist antisemitic practices in Norway that proved effective in the prohibition of kosher slaughter in 1929, the rejection of Jewish refugees in the 1930s, and the collaboration in the arrests and expropriation of Norwegian Jews under German occupation. Antisemitism was also part of the political platform of the Nazi party, Nasjonal Samling, founded in 1933; however, the party had marginal support.

The German occupation of Norway on 9 April 1940 had immediate consequences for the Jewish population.22 The two Jewish communities in Oslo and Trondheim were ordered to produce lists of members, and radios were confiscated. There were also sporadic antisemitic campaigns against Jewish shops, though they were soon stopped by the Nazi authorities to avoid public concern. Systematic registration of all Jews started in January 1942. In March, Vidkun Quisling, the appointed Minister President in the pro-Nazi puppet government, reintroduced the “Jewish clause” from the 1814 constitution. On 26 October 1942, all Jewish men were arrested and Jewish assets were liquidated. One month later followed the arrest of women and children. Approximately 1,000 Jews fled to Sweden during the war to escape the persecution. A total of 773 Jews – one third of the population – were deported from Norway during the Holocaust, almost all to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Only 38 of those deported survived the genocide; 230 families were eliminated entirely. Today, the Jewish community in Norway is still small in a European context, consisting of an estimated 1,500 people.23

There are few registered incidents of antisemitic hate crime in present-day Norway.24 Similar to the situation in other countries, antisemitic expressions in the Norwegian public are primarily found on the internet. Cases of public antisemitic expressions have been more visible in connection to anti-Israel demonstrations.25 In 2006, shots were fired at the synagogue in Oslo; the Norwegian Islamist Arfan Bhatti was later convicted of the shooting.

The international relevance of Norway with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is primarily linked to the Oslo Accords, the set of agreements signed in 1993 and 1995 between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Norwegian attitudes towards Israel have undergone a significant change since the first decades after 1948, when the relationship to Israel was very positive and close.26 Particularly in the years following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, a predominantly negative view towards Israel emerged. At the time of the first population survey in 2011, Norway was accused by some critics of being a country with relatively widespread negative attitudes towards Jews based on anti-Israel views.27 The two population surveys showed a link between anti-Israel attitudes and antisemitism, though the majority of respondents were critical of Israel without harbouring negative attitudes towards Jews. The index of antisemitism from the survey in 2017 showed marked prejudice among eight per cent of the population, comparable to other countries in northern Europe.

Muslim immigration to Norway started in the late 1960s and consisted of labour migrants from Pakistan, Turkey and Morocco. A ban against labour immigration was introduced in the mid 1970s; however, family reunification and later refugees contributed to the growth of the Muslim population. Today, Norwegian Muslims form a heterogeneous group in terms of country background, religious tradition and degree of religiosity. The national backgrounds of the Norwegian Muslim population are predominantly Somali, Pakistani, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Bosnia-Herzegovinian, Iranian and Turkish.28 Norwegian Muslim communities comprise different religious orientations and interpretative traditions, though the majority can be placed within the broad category of Sunni Islam. Since the 1990s there has been an increase in organisations that are independent of national background, doctrinal or linguistic lines.29 Muslim congregations can be found in all Norwegian counties, though the largest population is to be found in the Oslo area. According to estimations based on the number of immigrants from “Muslim countries” and members in Islamic congregations in Norway, the Muslim population amounts to approximately four per cent of the total population.

Attitudes towards immigration have steadily become more positive in recent years, and there is also a positive trend concerning attitudes towards Muslim congregations.30 Results from the population survey in 2017 show, on the other hand, that Islamophobia, defined as anti-Muslim racism, is widespread: one third of the population (34 per cent) have high scores on the prejudice index.31 Furthermore, Norwegian society has experienced attacks motivated by anti-Muslim ideology. The terrorist attack on 22 July 2011 by Anders Behring Breivik, in which 77 people were killed, was aimed at government offices in Oslo and the annual summer camp of the Labour Party’s youth movement (AUF) on the island of Utøya outside Oslo. Marking a lasting point of reference for the understanding of right-wing extremism in Norway as well as internationally, the attack was motivated by Islamophobic ideology, white supremacist ideas and hatred against the Norwegian Labour Party.32 A new awareness emerged in the aftermath of the attack concerning the violent potential of the far-right anti-Muslim discourse.33

While Norway has a strong tradition of interfaith dialogue, the state church, The Church of Norway, has contributed to a close association between the Norwegian state and Lutheran Protestantism. The state church was abolished in 2017, largely based on considerations related to secularisation and increased heterogeneity in terms of religion. An increasingly multicultural society has contributed to a focus on minority rights and religious practices in the public debate. Particularly relevant for the Jewish and Muslim communities have been extensive debates on male circumcision, kosher slaughter (forbidden since 1929) and halal slaughter.34


Major parts of the research for this volume were conducted within the scope of the project Shifting Boundaries: Definitions, Expressions and Consequences of Antisemitism in Contemporary Norway, funded by the Norwegian Research Council and located at the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies (2017–2021). The group of researchers contributing to the book consists to a large extent of the members of the project group that has conducted the two surveys. The disciplinary backgrounds of the contributors include sociology, history, political science and statistics, the history of religion, and comparative literature, providing a broad range of different methodological and conceptual approaches to the analyses.

Outline of the book

The book has three sections. The first section explores the ways in which antisemitism and Islamophobia have been defined and treated as issues in the Norwegian public in recent decades. Based on an analysis of newspaper articles, the three chapters reconstruct how discursive boundaries of what can be said about Jews and Muslims were formed and negotiated in the Norwegian public.

Chapter 1: A fading consensus: Public debates on antisemitism in Norway, 1960 vs. 1983.

Comparing and contrasting two central debates about antisemitism that took place in 1960 and 1983 respectively, Christhard Hoffmann traces a fading consensus and growing confusion about the definition of antisemitism among the Norwegian public. In 1960, the concept of antisemitism was shaped by the experience of the Holocaust and, consequently, any flare-ups of Nazi ideology, racism and antisemitism were unanimously condemned and ostracised. In 1983, there was still a consensus that antisemitism was an evil that needed to be combated, but a bitter dispute emerged about the boundaries of the concept, concretely about the question of whether the radical condemnation of Israel (“Zionism is racism”) that had developed in the Norwegian radical Left after 1967 should be seen as illegitimate antisemitism or as legitimate criticism protected by the freedom of speech. Hoffmann concludes that only Nazi-style antisemitism was ostracised from public expression in Norway during these years, whereas there were no restrictions on anti-Zionist and anti-Israel polemics.

Chapter 2: The Gaarder debate revisited: Drawing the demarcation line between legitimate and illegitimate criticism of Israel.

Following up this topic to the present, Claudia Lenz and Theodor Vestavik Geelmuyden provide a new interpretation of the “Gaarder debate” in Norway, which was triggered by the polemical article “God’s Chosen People” published by the internationally renowned Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder during the war between Israel and the Hezbollah in July 2006. Written in the style of a biblical judgement-day prophecy that anticipated (and seemingly justified) the end of the Jewish state as a punishment for its inhumanity, Gaarder’s article was immediately regarded as antisemitic by several voices in the emerging debate. While Gaarder protested against the accusation of antisemitism and affirmed that he was only motivated by a humanitarian concern about the civilian victims of Israel’s brutal warfare, his portrayal of Judaism as an archaic, revengeful and inhumane religion was heavily criticised as tainted with traditional anti-Jewish tropes. Lenz and Geelmuyden argue that the Gaarder debate signified a turning point in the understanding of antisemitism in the Norwegian public. In later debates, it served as a kind of “narrative abbreviation” indicating the demarcation line between legitimate and illegitimate criticism of Israel.

Chapter 3: A growing consensus? A history of public debates on Islamophobia in Norway.

Whereas antisemitism has been regarded as an issue of concern in the Norwegian public ever since the Holocaust, the awareness of Islamophobia as a societal problem that needs to be addressed developed rather slowly and was never undisputed. The emergence of a specific anti-Muslim discourse in the right-wing populist Norwegian Progress Party in the late 1980s was, as Cora Alexa Døving shows in her historical overview, originally understood as a form of xenophobia. Only later, the phenomenon was specified as Islamophobia, although the term itself was not frequently used in Norway. Public concern about the possible rise of anti-Muslim attitudes in Norway was regularly expressed in the aftermath of major events, such as the Rushdie affair, the terror attacks on 9/11 or the cartoon affairs, but it was typically limited to the left-wing spectrum of Norwegian politics. It was only after the terror attacks of 22 July 2011 in Oslo and Utøya, when Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in the name of self-defence against the “Islamisation” of Europe, that the right/left polarisation on this topic became less prominent and a consensus gradually emerged according to which Islamophobia existed in the midst of Norwegian society and constituted a problem that called for public awareness.

The second section contains in-depth analyses of the comprehensive data material: the two Norwegian population surveys and the surveys among Muslims and Jews in Norway.

Chapter 4: Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Norway – a survey analysis of prevalence, trends and possible causes of negative attitudes towards Jews and Muslims.

In a comprehensive survey analysis, Ottar Hellevik presents the main findings of the two representative population surveys about attitudes towards Jews (2011 and 2017) and Muslims (2017) in Norway, conducted by the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies. Attitudes towards the two minority groups were measured by indices of prejudice, dislike, social distance and a summary index of antisemitism and Islamophobia, respectively. The results show that the level of negative attitudes towards Jews is low and declining, whereas negative attitudes towards Muslims are more widespread. The incidence of both antisemitic and Islamophobic attitudes is higher among men than among women, among older people, and among people with lower levels of education. Hellevik further discusses possible explanatory variables and finds that opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affects antisemitism and Islamophobia in opposite directions, while both are strongly influenced by xenophobia. Negative attitudes towards Jews and Muslims tend to coexist in individuals.

Chapter 5: Counting antisemites versus measuring antisemitism – an “elastic” view of antisemitism.

Applying Daniel Staetzky’s concept of an “elastic view” of antisemitism to the Norwegian survey data, Werner Bergmann attempts to explain why Jews often regard antisemitism as a severe and growing problem, while at the same time survey results indicate a low level or even a decline in negative attitudes towards Jews in the population. This gap may partly be explained by the ways antisemitism is measured in surveys, typically focusing on the small number of convinced antisemites. Including also those who agree only sporadically to negative stereotypes without expressing a general dislike towards Jews might give a better picture about the spread of attitudes that Jews consider to be antisemitic. Bergmann explores this approach by analysing the association between the emotional (sympathy/antipathy) and cognitive dimensions (prejudices) of attitudes towards Jews, by researching the overlap of antisemitism and anti-Israelism, and by investigating a possible correlation between negative attitudes and the justification of violence against Jews and Muslims. Comparing the Norwegian results tentatively with those of Staetzky’s survey on Britain, he concludes that Staetzky’s “elastic view” approach, which differentiates between convinced antisemites and the wider diffusion of stereotypical ideas, is a helpful tool in understanding Jewish perceptions on the dissemination of antisemitism.

Chapter 6: Conspiracy beliefs about Jews and Muslims in Norway.

Making use of data from four different Norwegian surveys, Asbjørn Dyrendal puts international research findings on conspiracy beliefs to the test. Although the surveys were only partly designed to specifically record conspiracy mentality, the available data allow for an analysis of conspiracy stereotypes of outgroups, i.e., the presentation of Jews and/or Muslims as obsessively striving for domination, engaging in deceptive conspiratorial action and being characterised by a high degree of group egoism. In applying this concept, Dyrendal finds out that conspiracy stereotypes of Jews and Muslims in Norway are closely linked to general xenophobia and measures of social distance. In general, belief in conspiracy theories was more often found among the adherents of the political far right than those of mainstream or left-wing parties. In contrast to international findings, anti-Muslim conspiracy beliefs in Norway were more closely tied to a conspiracy mentality than antisemitic ones.

Chapter 7: How do Jews and Muslims in Norway perceive each other? Between prejudice and the willingness to cooperate.

In this chapter Werner Bergmann presents and analyses the results of the survey about attitudes and experiences of the two minority groups. Using the results of the population survey as tertium comparationis, he is able to examine to what extent Jews and Muslims share the views of the general population. While Jews show less emotional rejection and stereotypical views of Muslims than the general population, Muslims are more likely to show an emotional rejection of Jews and endorse antisemitic stereotypes more frequently than the general population. On the other hand, Jewish respondents are more likely to show an emotional and social rejection of Muslims than they themselves experience from the side of the Muslims. Bergmann explores further to what extent these mutual prejudices are correlated to other phenomena, such as taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the justification of violence, and whether they have an effect on the willingness of the two minorities to cooperate in combating prejudice and discrimination in Norway.

The third section explores the discursive and societal contexts of antisemitism and Islamophobia by analysing qualitative data (open questions, group interviews) based on the surveys.

Chapter 8: “Muslims are…” – Contextualising survey answers.

Taking the finding that 34 per cent of the Norwegian population display marked prejudices against Muslims as a point of departure, Cora Alexa Døving examines the answers to the open-ended question about the possible reasons for existing negative attitudes towards Muslims. About a third of the respondents explain anti-Muslim sentiments solely by pointing to the alleged characteristics of Muslim culture and behaviour, such as their religion, their lack of integration, oppression of women and exploitation of the welfare system. Exploring the question why negative stereotypes about Muslims are widespread in one of the world’s most wealthy and stable countries, Døving refers to politicised and ideological Islamophobic discourses and argues that they have moved from the margins to the mainstream of society and have affected attitudes in the general population. While expressions of racism and antisemitism are socially sanctioned in Norway, the boundaries of what can be said about Muslims are less restricted. In order to avoid accusations of racism, the rhetoric of a “battle of values” has developed in which Muslims are presented as a threat to democratic and liberal ideals. Døving argues that Islamophobia probably would be met with stricter sanctions in the Norwegian public sphere if it were understood as a variety of racism.

Chapter 9: How People Explain Antisemitism. Interpretation of Survey Answers.

In a parallel study of the open-ended question about the reasons for existing negative attitudes towards Jews, Vibeke Moe detects three different contexts that the respondents mainly use for the explanation of antisemitism: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the “import” of Muslim antisemitism, and the age-old tradition of anti-Jewish prejudice. These contextualisations share a tendency to place the source of antisemitism into the remote distance, either spatially (Middle East), “ethnically” (Muslim immigrants) or chronologically (bygone past). While referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is clearly the most widespread explanation of anti-Jewish attitudes, the applied arguments might be different, and either pointing to Israel’s violent and expansionist politics or to biased presentations of Israel in Norwegian media as the main cause. As Moe’s in-depth study shows, many answers include very strong statements against Israel, indicating that the communication boundaries of anti-Israelism are less restricted than those of antisemitism, and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict constitutes a subject where negative views of Jews may escape what are otherwise perceived as boundaries of expression. That (some) respondents are aware of the differences is demonstrated by the ways they try to avoid a conflation between anti-Israel and anti-Jewish attitudes. The observed tendency also to understand the origins and manifestations of antisemitism as something distant, which is projected onto others (for example onto Muslim immigrants), may, as Moe argues, be related to the ostracism of antisemitism in Norwegian society after the Holocaust.

Chapter 10: Negotiations of antisemitism and Islamophobia in group conversations among Jews and Muslims.

Based on six group interviews with either Jewish or Muslim participants carried out in 2016 and 2017, Claudia Lenz and Vibeke Moe explore Muslim-Jewish relations and inter-group attitudes between Muslims and Jews in Norway. The use of visual stimuli (photographs) related to the dual face of the topic – prejudice, hate crime and conflict on the one hand, and inclusion, recognition and participation on the other – allows for detailed insights into the processes of how attitudes towards the other minority are formed and negotiated in specific social settings. The qualitative method thus reveals nuances and ambivalences in the formation of attitudes that quantitative surveys with fixed response alternatives cannot register. The results show that the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Norway is characterised by ambivalent sentiments: feelings of togetherness and solidarity on the one hand, and of mistrust and competitive victimhood on the other. Proceeding from the observation that latent negative attitudes towards the other group may be linked to a feeling of bitterness about the stigmatisation and lack of acknowledgement experienced by their own group, Lenz and Moe argue that the study of attitudes among minorities needs to account for the impact of public discourse and broader social contexts on inter-group relations.


Antisemitism Worldwide. General Analysis. Tel Aviv: Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, 2009–2018.

Bangstad, S. Anders Breivik and The Rise of Islamophobia. (2014). London and New York: Zed Books.

Bayrakli, E., Farid H. (Eds.) (2017). European Islamophobia Report 2015/2016/2017. Istanbul: SETA, Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research.

Bergmann, W., Erb, R. (1986). Kommunikationslatenz, Moral und öffentliche Meinung. Theoretische Überlegungen zum Antisemitismus in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 38, 223–246.

Bergmann, W. (1997). Antisemitismus in öffentlichen Konflikten. Kollektives Lernen in der politischen Kultur der Bundesrepublik, 1949–1989. Frankfurt/New York: Campus.

Beyer, H., Krumpal, B. (2013). The Communication Latency of Antisemitic Attitudes: An Experimental Study. In Small, C.A. (Ed.), Global antisemitism. A Crisis of Modernity (p. 83–96). Leiden: Brill.

Bleich, E. (2011). What is Islamophobia and How Much Is There? Theorizing and Measuring an Emerging Comparative Concept. American Behavioral Scientist, 55(12), p. 1581–1600.

Botsch, G., Glöckner, O., Kopke, C., Spieker, M., (Eds.) (2012). Islamophobie und Antisemitismus – ein umstrittener Vergleich. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.

Bruland, B. (2017). Holocaust i Norge. Registrering, deportasjon, tilintetgjørelse. Oslo: Dreyer.

Døving, C. A. (2016). Jews in the News – Representations of Judaism and the Jewish Minority in the Norwegian Contemporary Press. Journal of Media and Religion, 15(1)1, p. 1–14.

Eiglad, E. (2010). The Anti-Jewish Riots in Oslo. Porsgrunn: Communalism Press.

Elahi, F., Khan, O. (2017). Islamophobia: Still a Challenge for Us All. London: Runnymede Trust.

Emberland, T. (2005). Antisemittismen i Norge 1900-1940, in Trond Berg Eriksen, Håkon Harket and Einhart Lorenz, Jødehat. Antisemittismens historie fra antikken til i dag (p. 401–420). Oslo: Damm.

Esposito, J., Kalin, I. (Eds.) (2011). Islamophobia. The challenge of pluralism in the 21st century. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). (2013/2018). Experiences and perceptions of antisemitism. Second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). (2015/2016/2018). Antisemitism. Overview of data available in the European Union 2004–2014/2005–2015/2006–2016/2007–2017. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). (2017). Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey – Muslims Selected Findings. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). (2019). Young Jewish Europeans: Perceptions and experiences of antisemitism. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Gerstenfeld, M. (2008). Behind the humanitarian mask: The Nordic countries, Israel, and the Jews. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Gerstenfeld, M. (March 27, 2011). Something rotten in Norway. YNet. Retrieved from,7340,L-4048299,00.html.

Gerstenfeld, M. (July 22, 2015). Norway: The Most Anti-Semitic Country in the West. Retrieved from

Gjerde, Å. B. (2019). The Meaning of Israel. Anti-Zionism and Philo-Zionism in the Norwegian Left, 1933–1968 (Doctoral dissertation). University of Bergen.

Gjernes, M. (2002). Jødar i Kristiania: dei fyrste innvandrarane si geografiske og sosioøkonomiske plassering i samfunnet frå 1851 til 1942 (Master’s thesis). University of Oslo.

Global 100 (2014/2015). New York: Anti-Defamation League.

Harket, H. (2014). Paragrafen: Eidsvoll 1814. Oslo: Dreyer.

Heilbronn, C., Rabinovici D., Szaider, N. (Eds.) (2019). Neuer Antisemitismus. Fortsetzung einer globalen Debatte. Frankfurt/M., Suhrkamp.

Hellevik, O., Hellevik. T. (2017). Changing attitudes towards immigrants and immigration in Norway. Tidsskrift for Samfunnsforskning, 58(3), p. 250–283.

Hoffmann, C. (Ed.) (2016). The Exclusion of Jews in the Norwegian Constitution of 1814. Origins, Contexts, Consequences. Berlin: Metropol Verlag.

Hoffmann, C., Kopperud, Ø., Moe, V. (Eds.) (2012). Antisemitism in Norway? The Attitudes of the Norwegian Population towards Jews and other Minorities. Oslo: Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities.

Hoffmann, C., Moe, V. (Eds.) (2017). Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in Norway 2017. Population Survey and Minority Study. Oslo: Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities.

Hoffmann, C. (2020). A Marginal Phenomenon? Historical Research on Antisemitism in Norway, 1814–1945. In Adams, J., Hess, C. (Eds.), Antisemitism in the North: History and State of Research (p. 155–171). Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter.

Jacobsen, C. (2011). Islamic traditions and Muslim Youth in Norway. Leiden: Brill.

Johansen, P. O. (1984). Oss selv nærmest. Norge og jødene 1914–1943. Oslo: Gyldendal.

Klug, B. (2014). The limits of analogy: Comparing Islamophobia and antisemitism. Patterns of Prejudice, 48(5), p. 442–459.

Leirvik, O. (2014). Muslims in Norway: Value Discourses and Interreligious Dialogue. Tidsskrift for Islamforskning, 8(1), p. 137–161.

Lien, L. (2016) ‘... pressen kan kun skrive ondt om jøderne.’ Jøden som kulturell konstruksjon i norsk dags- og vittighetspresse 1905–1925 (Doctoral dissertation). University of Oslo.

Marcus, K. (2015). The Definition of Anti-Semitism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mendelsohn, O. (1969/1986). Jødenes historie i Norge gjennom 300 år. 2 vols. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Moe, V., Kopperud, Ø., (Eds.) (2011). Forestillinger om jøder – aspekter ved konstruksjonen av en minoritet 1814–1940. Oslo: Unipub.

Oslo politidistrikt (March 2019). Hatkriminalitet. Anmeldt hatkriminalitet 2018. Oslo.

Renton, J., Gidley, B. (Eds.) (2017). Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe. A Shared Story? London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Runnymede Trust, L. U. K. (1997). Islamophobia: A challenge for us all. London: Runnymede Trust.

Shainkman, M. (Ed.) (2018). Antisemitism Today and Tomorrow: Global Perspectives on the Many Faces of Contemporary Antisemitism. Boston: Academic Studies Press.

Simonsen, K. B. (2009). ‘Den store jødebevægelse.’ Antisemittiske bilder av jøden i bondeavisene Nationen og Namdalen, 1920–25 (Master’s thesis). University of Oslo.

Simonsen, K. B. (2019). Norwegian Antisemitism After 1945: Current Knowledge. In Adams, J., Hess, C. (Eds.). Antisemitism in the North: History and State of Research (p. 173–190). Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter.

Snildal, A. (2014). An Anti-Semitic Slaughter Law? The Origins of the Norwegian Prohibition of Jewish Religious Slaughter c. 1890–1930. (Doctoral dissertation). University of Oslo.

Staetsky, D. L. (2017). Antisemitism in Contemporary Great Britain: A Study of Attitudes Towards Jews and Israel. London: Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

Ulvund, F. (2014). Fridomens grenser 1814–1851. Handhevinga av den norske “jødeparagrafen”. Oslo: Scandinavian Academic Press.

Vogt, K. (2000). Islam på norsk. Moskeer og islamske organisasjoner i Norge. Oslo: Cappelen.

Waage, H. H. (1995). Norge – Israels beste venn. Norsk Midtøsten-politikk 1949–1956. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Weyand, J. (2016). Historische Wissenssoziologie des modernen Antisemitismus. Genese und Typologie einer Wissensformation am Beispiel des deutschsprachigen Diskurses. Göttingen: Wallstein.

Weyand, J. (2017). Das Konzept der Kommunikationslatenz und der Fortschritt in der soziologischen Antisemitismusforschung. Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung 26, p. 36–58.