Norway’s public broadcaster NRK has rejected accusations of anti-Semitism against a cartoon showing an overweight Jew taunting a man who is afraid to call him a swine.
The video, posted online earlier this month by the state-owned NRK, is titled “Scrabbles” and was captioned “tag a Jew” on the Facebook page of the animators who created it, Norske Grønnsaker.
In it, a grey-haired man wearing a kippah and dressed like a Haredi Jew is playing Scrabble with a younger man in shorts. The Jew is frustrated over how long his adversary is taking to construct a word. Then, the camera switches to the young man’s point of view to reveal that he’s constructed the word “Jew swine” (one word in Norwegian) but has not revealed it yet.
The young man sighs in frustration at his inability to use the phrase, as the Jewish man taunts him over his Scrabble skills. “We are clearly on different cognitive levels,” the Jew exclaims.
The cartoon’s airing by NRK, which has long been said to espouse a left-wing editorial line, evoked unusual support and praise by far-right figures, including the anti-Semitic Holocaust denier Hans Jørgen Lysglimt Johansen.
Ivar Staurseth, a journalist for the Minerva newspaper, on Facebook suggested it was anti-Semitic. ”It’s not for nothing that suffix ‘swine’ doesn’t appear together with other groups/minorities,” he wrote.
NRK Entertainment editor Charlo Halvorsen rejected the allegation, telling Aftenpost Wednesday: “The Scrabble player made an indecent and indefensible word that we can’t and shouldn’t use. But he’s tempted to win.”