A magnificent show of Norwegian tolerance and understanding.. (?)


Stavanger Aftenblad 2013 09 23,Ivar Vasstveit, Pay wall

Israeli Naim Araidi is a poet, family man, diplomat, ambassador and professor of literature. Which Araidi visited Kapittel ; and can these roles be genuinely separated?

Stavanger, Kapittel on Saturday night, somewhat before ten pm.

The Israeli poet and professor of literature, Naim Araidi, read out loudly from his own awarded poetry; at the Cementen in Stavanger. Actually, Scot punk band Oi Polloi was supposed to have played; however, the politically devoted group withdrew from the festival, in protest against Araidi.

As if this was not enough, half of the public has left the locality; after Kapittel’s own free-reined artist, Lisa Dillan[1], protesting Araidi, stood on her head in front of him, recommending those present to leave the locality with her. She partially succeeded in this.

“In Norway, there is a belief in freedom and tolerance. She is a marvelous person; however she arrived in order to tell me her views. She did not allow me to present mine. What she did was not Norwegian”; Araidi states to Aftenbladet.

Do you hold she was intolerant?


Dillan, however, had no need to listen to Araidi’s views.

“”This was an artistic performance with a political message. I have heard the arguments of the State of Israel before and did not want to hear them anew before Israel delivers results”, she says.

Wants to be a bridge for peace.

Kapittel on yesterday evening; after seven pm.

The Israeli Ambassador to Norway, the diplomat Naim Araidi is speaking to the journalist of Aftenbladet, Harald Birkevold, in front of a public of more than a hundred in Kulturbanken, five minutes to walk from Cementen.

“I thought I would start by asking you”, Birkevold began his introduction, “who actually comes to this festival. Is it the poet, the professor, or is it Israel’s voice in Norway, the Ambassador”?

“I don’t know” Araidi replied, continuing: “To me, it’s difficult to separate these different roles- I am all of them at once; as it to me is impossible as a human being to be one without being the other”, Araidi said, telling about how he received the role of being Israel’s Ambassador unexpectedly; yet accepted without thinking over it. A role in which he has free reins to express himself:

“Israel is a marvelous country; contributing to the world in so many ways; I wanted to aid in promoting this view. As an Arab; I see this issue from both sides; finding it to be tragedy that people base their impression of Israel only through the conflict. I want to be a bridge for peace”; Araidi told Birkevold ahead of being asked by Birkevold over the Ambassadors’ weekly blog posting.

In this Araidi is criticizing Arab parties in Israel, among others, over being destructive.

“I write what I feel”, the Ambassador replied.

“Never the less, I am surprised over you in your role as a diplomat being able to do this”?

“But you are”, Birkevold said, changing the theme.

“Yes, it is self-contradictory. However, it shows only how complex and difficult the situation in the Middle East is”, Araidi said after the lecture was finished.

“Horrible to talk about”.

The fact Araidi possesses more than one voice makes him very interesting, the leader of the Festival, Espen Røsbak, points out

“Being both a diplomat and a poet is a strange combination; in many ways being something that can be seen as mutually exclusive”, the Festival’s leader says; adding this was one extra good reason to be curious about the Ambassador.

Actually, Araidi was to have met with Sidsel Wold, correspondent of the NRK trough a multitude of years, and another third well-known face of the Norwegian public in order to debate on what it means to be the voice of others; and what dilemmas arise when it comes to talking on their behalf. Wold called off her contribution as it became known this third person had to cancel this debate; due to a glitch by the leadership of the Festival. Instead, she took over the stage after Birkevold and Araidi.

“When one has a voice on others behalf; one must be conscious over what one is saying; what the voice is used for”, Wold started by stating, explaining her Middle East experiences- a theme she herself described as “Horrible to talk about” .

By this time; Araidi had left the hall.



Dagbladet 2013 09 22 p 34, Line Fransson

Not Online



A long in-depth interview with Israeli author Shani Bolnjiu (26) whose recent book “The people of eternity know no fear” has been published in Norway. This author is presented in a positive fashion; unthinkable just a few years ago, even though she is outspoken in defense of Israel.


“We Israelis are not perfect; remember we are a young country, however, hearing of EU countries intending to boycott Israel makes me angry: You must talk to us, you must listen to us. I see discrimination and racism in Israel; and I shout out about this”.

1 comment for “A magnificent show of Norwegian tolerance and understanding.. (?)

  1. de Bacle
    September 25, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Yes, Prof – this is the face of Norwegian hypocrisy again and again: WHen it comes to Hamas or Ahmedinayad it is “dialogue” at any cost. When it comes to civilized educated and democratic representatives of Israel (Jews ?) denial and avoidance is the recipie.

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