The Forward has an interesting piece up about Iceland’s 100 Jews, almost all of them intermarried immigrants. The Icelandic Jews tell reporter Jenna Gottlieb that they have not experienced anti-Semitism– though there is lots of criticism of Israel there. Good distinction.
Then there’s this amusing story about the most prominent Jew, Iceland’s first lady, having trouble with Israeli immigration. Gottlieb:
Iceland’s closest tie to Israel, however, lies in a personal relationship. In 2003, Iceland’s president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, married Israel-born Dorrit Moussaieff — bringing yet one more Jew to Iceland and to an interfaith marriage with an Icelandic native….
Still, the tie has not necessarily helped burnish Israel’s image. During a private visit to the land of her birth in 2006, the Icelandic first lady was taken out of line at passport control and denied permission to leave the country after a three-day stay because she did not have an Israeli passport. An immigration officer refused to accept her British passport, noting that Israeli law requires all citizens to arrive and leave the country using an Israeli passport only.
According to the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, the president’s wife was allowed to leave only after an hour-and-a-half, culminating in a shouting match between Moussaieff and the female border patrol officer.
“This is about to become a serious diplomatic incident,” Moussaieff reportedly said. “This is why everyone hates Jews.”
In an interview afterward with Iceland’s national broadcasting authority, Moussaieff did not deny the comment. “I lost my temper,” she said. “I couldn’t say anything else…. At that point, [the immigration officer] didn’t know that I was married to Ólafur. And I said something like: ‘How can you do this to the first lady of another country? I’m not your possession.’”
The immigration officer’s response, according to Moussaieff, was: “I couldn’t care less who you are. I’ve never heard of Iceland, and the people there don’t interest me at all.”
As I say, amusing; but of course Palestinians are subject to far greater restrictions.