Christians in Norway stand for Israel against antisemitism in historic rally outside parliament in Oslo

Several hundred Christians in Norway rallied for Israel outside the national parliament in the capital Oslo, amid Israel’s ongoing war against the Hamas terror organization in Gaza.

The Norwegian branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) organized the rally, which was hailed as a historic event for the Scandinavian country where there has typically been strong support for Palestinian organizations, such as the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) and later the Palestinian Authority (PA). Several Christian denominations joined the demonstration, including members of the Lutheran, Catholic and Pentecostal churches.

“It was an historic demonstration of Christian support for Israel in our nation due to the wide range of Christian leaders and organizations involved. Nothing like this has ever happened in my lifetime,” said Dag Øyvind Juliussen, the national director of ICEJ-Norway.

The Christian pro-Israel rally also called for more action to confront and combat the growing global antisemitism.

In a jointly worded statement, the Christian denominations expressed their sadness over the massacre of Israelis on Oct. 7, as well as the surge in global antisemitism.

“We are shaken by the attack on Israel on October 7th, and it is with deep sorrow that we witness the ongoing war and the global increase in antisemitism and hatred towards Jews. As Christians, we feel a special responsibility to stand up for our Jewish brethren, especially considering the history of the church; so filled with anti-Jewish sentiment and persecution. We cannot remain silent in the face of this reality,” read the joint statement.

The pro-Israel Christians also spoke out against the Hamas terror organization, its anti-Jewish ideology and its charter to eradicate the Jewish state.

“Antisemitism is a significant element in the war between Israel and Hamas. Hamas’ statements that they wish to repeat October 7th again and again until Israel no longer exists, demonstrate the fundamental antisemitic ideology of Hamas, as expressed in their charters from 1988 and 2017. We strongly condemn such statements. The antisemitic element in the war and conflict between Israel and Hamas cannot be overlooked or forgotten.”

Turning to the local challenges in Norway, the Christian groups urged decision-makers to do more to safeguard Jewish institutions and Jewish life in Europe’s northern most country.

There are approximately 2,000 Jews currently living in Norway, a sparsely populated country with a total population of roughly 5.5 million living in an area slightly larger than New Mexico.

In 1947, Norway supported the UN Partition Plan to divide the British Palestine Mandate into one Jewish and one Arab state. However, after the Six-Day War in 1967 and Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria, internationally known as the West Bank, the Norwegian government became increasingly critical of Israel, especially Jerusalem’s policy to build Jewish communities in the disputed territories.

In the 1990s, the Norwegian capital Oslo played a prominent role in the Oslo Peace Process that unsuccessfully attempted to solve the Middle East conflict between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land.

In 2022, Israel condemned Norway’s decision to label Israeli products exported from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

“This decision will not contribute to the advancement of Israeli-Palestinian ties and will adversely affect bilateral relations between Israel and Norway, as well as Norway’s relevance to promoting relations between Israel and the Palestinians,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated.

Last month, Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed that frozen funds collected by Israel on behalf of the PA would be transferred to a Norwegian Trust Fund and only be used for the PA-ruled West Bank and not Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.