Israel chides Norway for celebrating Nazi sympathiser


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 24, 2009 at 4:11 AM EDT

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has reproached Norway for commemorating its Nobel Prize winning novelist Knut Hamsun who sympathised with the Nazis, a newspaper reported on Monday.

"I was shocked to discover that the Norwegian government had decided to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Hamsun, who was an admirer of the Nazis," the ultra-nationalist minister said.

Hamsun, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920, sent the medal to Hitler's propaganda chief Josef Goebbels in 1943 and "even wrote a eulogy to Hitler saying he was fighting for humanity," Lieberman said.

Norway issued a stamp and inaugurated a museum in honour of Hamsun to mark the anniversary of his birth on August 4, 1859, even though he was disgraced for his Nazi sympathies.

In July, Norway's foreign ministry issued a statement making it clear that they had not forgotten the writer's controversial political beliefs.

"Hamsun?s Nazi sympathies are a sordid part of his life. He received massive condemnation for them after the war, and they have been debated in Norway for many years.

Lieberman also charged that Norway was one of the few countries which did not walk out of a UN racism conference in Geneva in April during a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Israel considers Iran its greatest foe after Ahmadinejad's repeated diatribes calling for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map and questioning the Holocaust.

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