NRK only now picks up story on children’s book – author does not want to provoke, but editorial admits they expected controversy

Hans Sande says he does not want to provoke. But he does demonize.

More than a week after we published the story on the Children’s book that depicts Israeli’s as cruel, does NRK pick up the story. So too does Vårt Land, which presents the context somewhat differently.

According to the NRK, the author does not wish to provoke, but presents “facts” in the ugliest form possible. The editorial thinks the book is ‘balanced’, but admits it wont be an easy read for everybody, and that they expected controversy.

In both instances, this more than smells of hypocrisy:

Children’s book makes embassy see red

The book, “daddy is a pirat” by Hans Sande from Forde, has provoked anger at the Israeli embassy.

– When you get a children’s book in your hands, you get some expectations. But when we opened the book, we were shocked, says communication director at the Israeli Embassy, Hildegunn Hansen.

Palestinians denied water

She and her colleagues choked on their coffee when they leafed through the book and read about  Israeli soldiers who deny Palestinians water, but who then get served alcohol into drunken stupor so that the heroes can sneak past the control.

«We approach the border, but once there, we come to a complete stop.  In front of  us the tallest wall I have ever seen, like a steep wall, almost up to heaven. At an opening in the wall, soldiers keep guard, with helmets and weapons. . What’s in your tank? they ask in English. Just water,  daddy says Just water.» (excerpt from the book)

– Deceitful and demonizing

– This amounts to presenting a deceitful and demonizing image of Israel and Israelis, says Hansen, and adds that this is the first time the embassy reacts to a children’s book.

She Thinks Sande has crossed the limit for what is acceptable criticism of Israel.

The author, who has written more than 30 books does not agree.

– I had expected some reactions. Israel and the friends of Israel are accustomed to monopoly on truth. Any criticism of Israel is automatically labeled anti-Semitism and horrible things. But it’s not like this any  longer, says Sande.

Something of importance to Sande

Maalot massacre - Sande seems to find it opportune to forget that tough controls and reluctance to accept activists assurances only on their honest faces. Experience has taught them that even pretty faces can be deceitful, with horrible costs to civilians.

He underlines that he has not written the book in order to provoke, but because this is a topic that occupies him.

– The goal was that I could express my frustration and despair over the hopeless situation the Palestinians are in. And therefore this was a natural topic for me, says Sande.

The editor of the book, Geir Nummedal at Cappelen Damm, thinks the book is balanced.

– For some groups, this book will be difficult to accept, we understand as much. But it is not a onesided presentation of a country the way we at the editorial interpret it. Our consultants think the same, says Nummedal, who is proud of the book .

Prepared for controversy

Sande's book falls within the framework of the company, says the editor of the book, Geir Nummehagen. The political message falls on the author, is the position of Cappelen Damm. In principle, there is no difference between Sande's demonization and Hamas'. Would Cappelen Damm reconsider their policy that children's books can be controversial, if the similarities in language, imagery that casts Israelis as cruel, were made more clear to them?

He underlines that it is the author, Hans Sande, who represents the political content of the book, but admits that the editorial nevertheless was prepared for controversy.

– We understood from the first moment that this book is controversial, and that it is a strenght by children’s books that they can be controversial. We have no problems with that. This book is within the framework of the company, says Nummedal.

Have sent letter to the MFA

Hansen at the Israeli embassy realizes they have no power to stop the book, but they have written a book to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to let it know of their points of view.

– And so we hope that we can have a debate over which values we wish to educate our children, Hansen says.

Sande can hardly believe that the embassy has written to the MFA.

– I think it is strange and a little comical. What do they expect the FMA to do, order authors to step into line? This is not how democracy or freedom of speech works in Norway, says Sande.

Sande feels safe on facts

He underlines that he has checked the facts carefully and that he is not afraid of being caught in wrongdoing.
– I have checked the facts. it wont be me who will be disclosed as a liar. it is not me who has a propaganda machinery by my side, says Sande.

I sincerely doubt that Sande has presented us with the most innocuous version of the truth, otherwise he would not have bothered to write a book to vent his frustration. Just like it is a fantasy that the daddy in this story stole a lake from Finland and smuggled it to the West Bank, the claim that Israel denies Palestinians water is an ugly, demonizing lie.

Hadas Fogel, her life tragically butchered at 3 months, maybe a topic for a children's book?

To balance this blatant hate message, he could for instance write a children’s books on Israeli children who have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists, there are many examples to choose from, Maalot, Mercaz HaRav, the Fogel family just to mention some.

Otherwise, if Sande is a doctor, I would have thought he would have reflected on the message he is imparting and how that conflicts with the values of the Hippocratic Oath he surely must have taken. Or maybe he just swore a hypocrite oath?

I put it to him that he is a disgrace to his profession, he could have chosen other, less toxic ways to present his views. In the UK, this alone would be cause for disciplinary action from the Royal College, if only to ensure that the profession as such does not fall into disrepute.