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Norway Launches Crackdown Against Anti-Semitism, Conspiracy Theories

© AP Photo / Jens MeyerPeople of different faiths wear the Jewish kippah
People of different faiths wear the Jewish kippah - Sputnik International
The newly-announced series of measures includes a close monitoring of the Internet for what is deemed to constitute hate speech and raising awareness among schoolchildren about the dangers of racism and anti-Semitism.

The Norwegian government has launched a series of measures against anti-Semitism and hostile attitudes in society.

Among other things, the Internet and social media will be followed more closely for what is deemed to be hate speech, the online newspaper Nettavisen reported. A “national competence environment” against hate crime within the police will be created as well.

“In some environments, we see that more people express themselves more hatefully than before. Therefore, we propose to monitor anti-Semitism on the Internet and social media. This will give us important knowledge to assess the extent of these attitudes,” Digitalisation Minister Linda Hofstad Helleland, who is responsible for minorities, said, presenting the new package of measures.

The alleged background is that Jews in Norway still experience hostile attitudes, both in everyday life and on the Internet.

Linda Hofstad Helleland argued that training in critical thinking and source criticism is vital in a time when conspiracy theories are flourishing.

Among other things, the new measures imply increased investment in schools in order to provide the students with necessary information about the dangers of racism and anti-Semitism and organise school trips.

Additionally, attitude surveys shall be conducted every five years, alongside research, the evaluation of efforts and international engagement.

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The government also pledged its continued support to the Mosaic Faith Society’s information initiatives, various Jewish museums and the Jewish Festival in Trondheim.

The twelve-point action plan is a follow-up of the government’s previous action plan, launched in 2016, and will run until 2023.

The plan was timed to coincide with the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January, which commemorates the six million Jews who fell victims of the Holocaust. A total of 773 Norwegian Jews were deported from Norway during wartime. Only 35 of them survived.

As part of the Danish Realm, Norway historically had a long-standing ban on Jews (except with special dispensation) that lasted for several centuries until 1851. The Jewish community peaked shortly before World War II at some 2,000 people. Today, Norway's Jewish diaspora numbers some 800 people and ranks among the country's smallest ethnic minorities.

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