Jostein Gaarder is a cherished Norwegian author and academic. Like many other Norwegian authors and academics he operates with two standards when it comes to the Middle East: one for Israel and a different one for Israel’s neighbors. Author colleague Unni Lindell supports Gaarder.
Recently Gaarder wrote a letter to Aftenposten complaining that his infamous 2006 op-ed, a vicious harangue of Israel with a good portion of anti-Semitism thrown in for good measure, was written in a pure and unbridled humanitarian spirit and not anti-Semitic at all.
Today Aftenposten publishes two letters in reply to Gaarder’s. The first letter (below) is critical of Jostein Gaarder. The second letter is written by author Unni Lindell, who not only claims that Gaarder’s 2006 op-ed was not anti-Semitic, but furthermore suggests that the state of Israel has become the Jews’s “worst enemy”.
Amidst an orgy of unbridled condemnations of Israel, Jostein Gaarder claims to be victim of control techniques as his infamous essay from 2006 is criticized. Actually, it is on the contrary: Those attacking Israel demands immunity from even the smallest hint their rhetoric can influence attitudes towards Jews.
Gaarder should read his essay one time more, as this teacher of the Norwegian language and Brage award winner attacks Jewish divinity, our sense of justice and our respect of human lives, with an aggressive ignorance which should make any serious critic ashamed.
In the name of reconciliation, I invited him to my synagogue in the USA to watch Yamim Noraim, in order to learn more about this religion he has so little understanding or respect of. Gaarder did not bother to answer.
Gaarder might be honest about his belief there is not a single anti-Jewish cell in his body. Actually, this is the most frightening of all.
The other letter is written by author Unni Lindell.
In 2006 Gaarder wrote an essay in the aftermath of the Israeli state’s bombing of Lebanon. He wrote the day the horrible photos from Qana were published. Civilians and many children were killed in a most terrible way. The entire world reacted!
I am frightened by observing how Gaarder’s precise indignation over the killing of innocents is attempted to be twisted by stealth into something different than what was actually written in his essay. It is a matter of self-evidence. The behavior of the state of Israel, however, has through the years contributed to becoming the Jews worst enemy by itself.
Torbjørn Grepstad points out Gaarder is not writing essays on North Korea and its concentrations camps, China occupying Tibet and other dictatorships like Iran. Gaarder wrote of bombing! It is curious one attacks an engaged person over not engaging in all misery around the world! What Gaarder did was to focus upon an extreme act of killing civilians innocents, revolting the entire world at the time.