Sunday, 30 January 2011

Jostein Gaarder: my op-ed was not anti-semitic only "legitimate Israel-criticism"

Source: Norway, Israel and the Jews

"Five years after the fact and Jostein Gaarder has not learned a thing. He is considered an intellectual."

Five years after having written one of the most ludicrously anti-Semitic op-ed’s in Norwegian history, Jostein Gaarder still considers it to have been an expression of “legitimate Israel-criticism”.

In 2006, author and academic Mr. Jostein Gaarder wrote one of the most shockingly anti-Semitic op-ed's in Norwegian history. The op-ed was published in Aftenposten. Here is an excerpt:

"There is no turning back. It is time to learn a new lesson: We do no longer recognize the state of Israel. We could not recognize the South African apartheid regime, nor did we recognize the Afghan Taliban regime. Then there were many who did not recognize Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or the Serbs’ ethnic cleansing. We must now get used to the idea: The state of Israel in its current form is history."

On January 27th Aftenposten published a story on how the Holocaust Centre is receiving funds to carry out a survey of attitudes towards Jews. In that context the director of the Holocaust Centre, Mr. Odd-Bjørn Fure, mentioned Gaarder’s op-ed as an example of why voices in Israel are identifying anti-Semitic voices in Norway. Here are another couple of lines from Gaarder’s 2006 op-ed:

"We do not believe in the notion of God’s chosen people. We laugh at this people’s fancies and weep over its misdeeds. To act as God’s chosen people is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity."

Today Aftenposten publishes a letter from Gaarder where Gaarder insists that Fure is on the wrong track. Gaarder’s points are the following:

1) That he is not an anti-Semite.  [Our comment: nobody in Europe is ...]
2) That in the op-ed of 2006 he specifically recognizes Europe’s responsibility for the Holocaust and acknowledges the Jews’ need and right to have their own national home. [Our comment: European intellectuals view themselves as magnanimous.  They even recognise "Europe’s responsibility for the Holocaust" and graciously grant Jews the right to have a State!]
3) That his infamous op-ed of 2006 was far from anti-Semitic, and merely full of compassion, humanism, empathy, and what not. Is this why he writes the following:

"We call child murderers ‘child murderers’ and will never accept that such have a divine or historic mandate excusing their outrages. We say but this: Shame on all apartheid, shame on ethnic cleansing, shame on every terrorist strike against civilians, be it carried out by Hamas, Hizballah, or the state of Israel!"

Read the full piece HERE

Jostein Gaarder - a better friend to the Jewish people than Israel, by David Hirsh (2006)

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