Iceland Accused Of Anti-Semitism

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Iceland’s support for Palestinian statehood at the UN is part of a long history of anti-Semitism in the island nation, according to an Israeli-born political activist who heads a political think tank.

“Relations between the two countries under the present left-wing government of Iceland are plainly bad,” writes Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) Chairman, Manfred Gerstenfeld in a July 18 editorial published in Ynet News.

Gerstenfeld notes that when Icelandic Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson announced his country’s support for a Palestinian state during the early part of July, he did so after a trip to Gaza that “studiously avoided any diplomatic contact with Israel.” During his trip, the FM also called on Israel to end its blockade of Gaza. Adding to the insult, MP Birgitta Jonsdottir “was the first parliamentarian of any country to visit participants of the failed second Gaza flotilla” shortly before Skarphedinsson’s trip.

This is not the first diplomatic slight Skarphedinsson has given Israel, Gerstenfeld notes. “At the previous UN General Assembly, Iceland’s foreign minister spoke out against Israel,” he writes. “When FM Lieberman wrote to him on this issue, Skarphedinsson did not answer. He did not even confirm receipt of Lieberman’s letter.”

Ossur Skarphedinsson (L) with Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir

Another example of diplomatic disrespect came when “Skarphedinsson also ordered Icelandic diplomats to remain in the hall while Iranian President Ahmadinejad spoke at the Durban review conference in Geneva in 2009. Diplomats from almost all other European countries left,” claims Gerstenfeld.

The Jewish activist claims Iceland’s current political attitude towards Israel falls in line with what he says is an “unimpressive history” the country has towards Jews.

“Few Jews live in the country,” Gerstenfeld writes, adding that “in the past, there have only been Jewish communities established at times when there were either British or American troops stationed in Iceland with a substantial number of Jewish soldiers among them.

Gerstenfeld goes on to say that “Iceland’s anti-Semitic history” includes clergyman Hallgrimur Pétursson, whose hyms he wrote in 1625 mention Jews more than 50 times, “yet only for their ‘perfidy, falseness, wickedness and other malice'”; rejection of Jewish refugees during the 1930s; granting refugee status to Estonian war criminal Evald Mikson, who changed his name to Eðvalds Hinrikssonar, in the 1980s; and granting citizenship to “the rabid anti-Semite of Jewish ancestry,” chess champion Bobby Fischer in 2005.

Katharina Hauptmann

The op-ed has opened a soul-searching discussion about the issue of anti-Semitism in Iceland. “What makes me angry is the arrogance and condescension he [Gerstenfeld]’s displaying towards the Icelandic nation,” Katharina Hauptmann wrote in a rebuttal written on the Iceland Review website this Sunday. “In his little pamphlet he discredits and belittles my adopted home in a patronizing and mean way.”

Hauptmann goes on to give the right perspective on Gerstenfeld’s tainted view – first by mocking his “smug comment” about Iceland “gaining major publicity” with the economic crash of 2008 and volcano erruption of 2010, then knocking down his argument that because “few Jews live in Iceland” and that “there is only one ‘expert on the country’s attitude toward Jews’ in Iceland” that the country as a whole is anti-Semitic.

“Iceland is a nation of 320 000 people – just to remind you – how many experts on Jews and Anti-Semitism must one have?,” Hauptmann asks in her piece.

While noting that “many Icelanders are quite xenophobic and there is quite a lot of room for improvement” based on her own personal experiences as a foreigner living there, Hauptmann notes that “ot almost seems as if he [Gerstenfeld] wants people to be anti-Semitic. What a pity.”

“To conclude, Mr. Gerstenfeld’s so called “opinion piece” is nothing but a patronizing, paranoid and polemic piece of propaganda that is unfair and offensive to the people of Iceland.

“The fact that the Icelandic government may have issues with Israel’s treatment of Palestine has nothing at all to do with anti-Semitism.”


  • Ultimately, who cares about Iceland? It is a nation who has defaulted upon it’s obligations, it’s currency is devalued, it will get no help from the outside world as it’s infrastructure crumbles.

    • I care about Iceland. They are great people and great businesspeople. Iceland is leading the world today against zionist gang crime. And Manfred Gerstenfeld is nothing but an ignorant, racist pig fighting a losing battle.

      BTW Einstein, the BANKS have failed to meet their obligations, not Iceland.

    • Ultimately, who cares about the United States? It is a nation which is defaulting upon its obligations, it’s currency is devalued, it will get no help from the outside world as it’s infrastructure crumbles around its feet, while its people starve in the streets and its veterans go PTSD crazy on return from irrelevant wars for Tel Aviv.

      Iceland had the cojones to tell the banksters where to get off, and still has control over its banking system. More than can be said for the Land of the Fee and the Home of the Knave!

    • First of all, the mountain of debt foisted upon Iceland was not of their own doing, this was part of the agenda of the EU so the zionists can start buying up entire countries. Being a part of the EU has not helped smaller countries in any way, only disenfranchised them and, as far as i’m concerned, the people of Ireland, Iceland, Greece, etc. should owe NOTHING for the criminal acts done under their name or pretense. The people signed no contract, they owe nothing and I think their attitude to the EU is the right one. The smear campaign is just because they won’t play ball with the fucking jews, and you can watch them try to false-flag Iceland soon like they did Norway!

    • Iceland have alreday got oustide help from the rest of the Nordic countries, and have unlike the US taken needed action to get their finances in order (but it will take a decade or two of hardship)

  • by using anti-Semitism so freely, they make it mean less. Icelanders are mostly anti-war, does not matter which race it is.

  • Over 90% of World Jewry (Ashkenazi Jews) are descended from Noah’s son Japheth, not from Noah’s son Shem (the origin of Semitic peoples) see:

    Genesis 6:10
    10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. KJV

    1 Chronicles 1:4-7
    4 Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
    5 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
    6 And the sons of Gomer; Ashchenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.
    7 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. KJV

    The modern-day so-called ‘Jew’ is the mixture of so many different peoples. Not all Jews are of the same blood, as is easily recognizable in pictures of several of them side by side.

    “Inter-marriage” has always been a problem in the Jewish community (both by choice and by conquest), and even more so today where 50-75% (exact percentile disputed) of “Jews” are not “religious Jews,” and thus do not follow the strict non-assimilation traditions of the Jewish Talmud, etc.

    To answer the Japheth link:

    The Jews of Khazar origin (Ashkenazi Jews) are a mixture of the Turks and the Mongolians. The Turks trace their ancestry back to Noah’s son, Japheth (as did the Khazars in their early writings). Below is an excellent book on the matter, provided in free electronic “E-Book” format; and written by a Jewish fellow, and Holocaust survivor, named Arthur Koestler:

    The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler This book traces the history of the ancient Khazar Empire, a major but almost forgotten power in Eastern Europe, which in the Dark Ages became converted to Judaism. Khazaria was finally wiped out by the forces of Genghis Khan, but evidence indicates that the Khazars themselves migrated to Poland and formed the cradle of Western Jewry…

    The Khazars’ sway extended from the Black Sea to the Caspian, from the Caucasus to the Volga, and they were instrumental in stopping the Muslim onslaught against Byzantium, the eastern jaw of the gigantic pincer movement that in the West swept across northern Africa and into Spain.

    …but that does not alter the fact that the large majority of surviving Jews in the world are Eastern European — and thus perhaps mainly of Khazar — origin. If so, this would mean that their ancestors came not from the Jordan but from the Volga, not from Canaan but from the Caucasus, once believed to be the cradle of the Aryan race; and that genetically they are more closely related to the Hun, Uigur and Magyar tribes than to the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    Should this turn out to be the case, then the term “anti-Semitism” would become void of meaning, based on a misapprehension shared by both the killers and their victims. The story of the Khazar Empire, as it slowly emerges from the past, begins to look like the most cruel hoax which history has ever perpetrated. ? Arthur Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe; pg.17. (also see

    You can aslo buy his book at

  • Roger Lafontaine

    It’s not true that Iceland is anti-Semitic – especially when Palestinians are Semites themselves. The truth is that everyone who has eyes to see can see that Israel is stalling the so-called Peace Process while they are confiscating land and grinding down the Palestinian people, and gradually destroying any hope of their achieving statehood and possibly any hope of surviving as a people. Iceland has taken a position of conscience and reason. Shame on those who resort to these name-calling tactics.

  • I’m proud of Iceland. More countries should stand up straight like these people.

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  • On March 9, 2011 – The BBC reported that property tycoons Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz were arrested as part of an investigation into the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing. However, it was not mentioned that the two brothers were Israeli citizen and their father, Victor Tchenguiz, was an Iranian Jew and the royal jeweller of King Reza Shah (d. 1979). According to The Telegraph (March 6, 2010), Vincent Tchenguizs once dated Dorrit Moussaieff, the Israeli-born Jewish wife of Iceland’s President Dr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.

  • Iceland’s position most likely has nothing to do with anti-semitism. However, their one-sided support for the Palestinians is not the most intelligent policy.

  • The act of granting citizenship to Bobby Fischer was by us considered a humitarian act. Giving a mentally unstable man a safe home close to people he trusted. Had nothing to do with anti-semi-semitism.

  • Outside of the current administration, Iceland has a very long and proud history of friendship and help towards Israel.

    You can about it here:

    There is English translation on the site, and you will also see many pictures of Icelandic PMs and FMs visiting Israeli heads of state.

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