Yesterday, I promised that there would be a rant about Scandinavia. Iceland’s ignominious 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Super Eagles of Nigeria provides the perfect opportunity to deliver on that promise.
There are six Scandinavian football federations in the world: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland (if one considers the Finns “Scandinavian;” most self-respecting Scandinavians just consider the Finns to be weird), and the Faroe Islands. (Don’t forget the Faroe Islands!) Of these six, half of them made the elite club of footballing nations which constitutes this year’s World Cup draw.
Let’s face it: the Scandinavians consider themselves superior to most of the rest of the planet. Furthermore, a significant chunk of the rest of planet–particularly those who like socialized medicine, Pippi Longstocking, and Volvos–agree with them. There can be little doubt that the prevalence of Scandinavian teams in the World Cup only serves as a reinforcement to their collective sense of self-satisfaction and Nordic smugness.
The Scandinavians are so seemingly successful in all of their endeavors that they think nothing of judging the rest of us from their safe northern European home. With regard to Israel, the Nordic countries are among the most critical of Israel and the most supportive of those who seek to destroy or dismember the Jewish State.
Most, if not all, of these countries have banned shechitah by now, and brit milah is on the way to being similarly outlawed. Yes, Chabad just recently opened a center in Reykjavik, but that is about the only good Jewish news coming out of the region.
Now, perhaps there is a Statute of Limitations with regard to various unpleasant episodes of European history, but it seems to me more than a little chutzpahdick of the Norsemen to pontificate on the moral failings of Israel, given that their descendants terrorized most of Europe over the course of a few centuries. No one refers to it as “Danish-Occupied Greenland,” by the way.
The Icelandic Team have been the darlings of sports fandom ever since the 2016 Euros. One commentator for The Forward suggested that the Jews should naturally root for them because they are underdogs. Horse feathers.
A guten Shabbos.