Norway’s largest bank is scrambling to apologize after it inadvertently issued a credit card bearing a grossly anti-Semitic caricature.
DNB ASA, a partly state-owned bank, issued the VISA card to an Australian man named Alexander Beckett who lives in Norway. The card shows a stereotypical hook-nosed Jewish man wearing a prayer shawl and rejoicing in front of a background of gold coins.
The image is derived from a series of memetic images about the Happy Merchant, an anti-Semitic caricature popular on discussion forums such as 4chan. According to the European Jewish Press, Beckett says he did not request the design and was surprised when he received the card.
Hallelu quickly brought the matter to the attention of Israel’s embassy in Norway, which in turn asked for an explanation from DNB. According to YNet News, DNB has attributed the incident to a bank feature that allows customers to create cards with custom backgrounds. The company has employees manually sift through uploaded images to make sure offensive cards aren’t printed, but it acknowledged that in this case the process failed and the picture was allowed to slip through.
The bank said Beckett’s card will be canceled and a replacement will be issued.
Norway has a tiny Jewish population of only about 1,000 people. Anti-Semitic incidents are uncommon, though the country has banned slaughtering animals under kosher procedures, meaning kosher meat must be imported.
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