Friends in Norway

by Jay Nordlinger

Readers of NR and NRO may remember Kristian Norheim, an official of the Progress party in Norway. The “Progs,” as some of us call them, are the Reaganite-Thatcherite party in that country. Kristian is a friend of mine, and I believe I first wrote about him in this piece: “Among the Progs.”

He is something fairly rare in his country: pro-U.S., pro-Israel. He is also unabashed about it — but not obnoxious. He is a gentle, refined, good-humored person. It takes almost a reckless bravery to express the views he does. I’m not sure most of us Americans can fully comprehend it. We conservatives often think of ourselves as embattled or put upon. We are in mother’s arms, compared with Kristian and his band.

Currently, Kristian is experiencing a certain hell. He posted to his Facebook page a cartoon about the Arab-Israeli conflict. It shows a Hamas terrorist holding a little kid in front of him, and is captioned “The Hamas Missile Defense Shield.” Kristian commented, “Sad, but true.”

Exactly right. And the ferocity of the Norwegian political culture has been unleashed on Kristian.

The invaluable Bruce Bawer has written about all this on our homepage: here. Bruce is the veteran literary critic and political analyst who has long lived in Norway. The Norwegians don’t realize how lucky they are to have him: a foreign truth-teller.

Let me say again that Kristian Norheim is a gentle guy, the last person who should be pegged as a hater. At dinner one night, someone across the table described the Progress party, which Kristian represents, as racist. I could see the hurt in Kristian’s eyes — but he was amazingly polite to the man. Far more than I would have been.

Anyway, Kristian is a parliamentarian and his party’s foreign-policy spokesman. They could not have a better man in place. (I hope he will serve on the Nobel committee someday…)

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