Watchdog: Norwegian broadcaster should be censured for anchor’s ‘anti-Semitism’

Simon Wiesenthal Center makes demand after radio host wishes the vaccine ‘did not work in Israel’ and says ‘Israel is a shitty country,’ comments later praised by neo-Nazis

Shaun Henrik Matheson on September 27, 2019 (Screen grab/Facebook)
Shaun Henrik Matheson on September 27, 2019 (Screen grab/Facebook)

The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Friday called on the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to censure the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation over a digital music radio host’s anti-Israel comments that were later praised by a neo-Nazi group.

Shaun Henrik Matheson made the comments to his predominantly young audience on the NRK P13 digital music channel radio.

“I wish the vaccine did not work in Israel,” he said. “Israel is a shitty country!”

Dr. Shimon Samuels of the anti-Semitism watchdog wrote to Delphine Ernotte, the newly-elected president of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) raising “an apparent indifference to antisemitism in one of your 116 member organizations, the Norwegian NRK,” saying that Matheson’s rant was “unacceptable.”

“Though the State Channel Council and the channel head finally apologized and agreed that this was antisemitism, the radio host is still on the air… The Culture Minister — a member of the channel’s board — did not denounce the affair, but rather stated his pride in this State channel,” the letter read.

Samuels added that the far-right neo-Nazi organization Vigrid had celebrated the statement, though the group also said “it did not go far enough in killing all Jews.”

Samuels said this was proof Vigrid should be banned, citing Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77 people in a neo-Nazi bomb and shooting rampage in 2011.

Matheson made the comments during a monologue about Israel vaccinating Palestinians.

A Palestinian worker gets vaccinated by Israeli Magen David Adom staff at the Sha’ar Efraim checkpoint in the West Bank, March 4, 2021 (COGAT)

While Israel has surged ahead in vaccinating its population — over half of all Israelis have received at least one dose of a coronavirus shot — only scattered shipments of vaccines have reached the Palestinians so far.

Israel has come under criticism for not vaccinating Palestinians, many of whom live under Israeli military rule.

Human rights groups charge that international law requires Israel as an occupying power to provide vaccines for Palestinians, but Israel rejects the characterization that it occupies Palestinian territory, deeming the West Bank technically “disputed.”

Israeli officials have also pointed to bilateral agreements between Israel and the Palestinians that designate responsibility for healthcare to the Palestinian Authority.

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