lifted from dn.no, google translate (article behind pay wall)
Report from the echo chamber
There is no lower limit to how bad a Norwegian non-fiction book may be, as long as the reviewers share the author’s political views.
Published: 06/03/2016 – 9:43 p.m.
Odd Karsten Tveit “The culprit – Israel and Palestine” was released on Kagge publishing last fall, but not reviewed in this newspaper. There simply were too many uncredited Indexes, the source references too seedy and discussion of terrorist attacks offensively nimble and frivolous. The author has been exposed for plagiarism in this newspaper earlier (he lifted text from theconspiracy website globalresearch.ca in NRK affair “The devil they know”), and to find journalistic objections to this book is like shooting fish in a barrel. There are too many things to write about, so better let the man be at peace with his fantasies.
But more than half a year after its release, the book is still reviewed in the Norwegian press, most recently in last week Morgenbladet under the heading “In the desert of anticipation” by Morten Strøksnes. The friendliness and constant attention Tveit is met with surprises nobody. With his long experience in NRK he is an institution in himself, and the subject he writes about are of great interest to many. Norwegian TV correspondents to the Middle East published after all three books about Israel last fall, and not one about Syria or Libya.
Can a coincidence between the critic’s and the author’s attitudes, influence a book review? What a scary, scary thought.
In “Everybody got a share of the blame” in Aftenposten on November 1 expresses Harald Stanghelle admiration for the sheer volume of Tveit references and writes: “He will have to get up early, the one who wants to discover any factual errors by Tveit.” But this is true only if one is sympathetic to start with. A skeptical sleepyhead with access to Google will spot the finds immediately. On page 645 Tveit writes about a demonstration in Gaza against Hamas in 1996 with the slogan “Yes to peace, no to terrorism, no to closure.” For those who follow Arab media and culture,this slogan is a big surprise indeed. “Peace” with Israel is consistently described as capitulation, and it is extremely controversial to publicly call terror against Israelis anything else than “resistance”. The Palestine Committee in Norway would hardly come together to shout “yes to peace, no to terror”, is it even feasible that such a wording really would attract anybody in Gaza? There is therefore nothing to suggest that Tveit has attended this demonstration. To the contrary, the wording describing it is exactly the same as Arafat party comrade Hassan Asfour has used on one occasion in negotiations with Israel, in which he concluded that unless his demands were met, the cries soon become “no to peace.” Asfour is not credited in this context, and instead the readier is mislead to believe that these rhetorical points in negotiations, refers to a credible eyewitness account.
This is representative of the blurred distinctions between what Tveit experienced and what he has read. Quotes and phrases where the reader is left to presume that a particular episode is experienced in first person is often to found in articles from international news agencies. And even where he has credited the source this often comes to nothing. On page 21 he writes that there is no archaeological evidence of King Solomon’s Temple on the Temple Mount, with a reference to Islamist Middle East Monitor in the foot notes. If you check the Middle East Monitor, one sees that they in turn quote from an alleged interview with archaeologist Israel Finkelstein Jerusalem Post, but no link is provided. On the other hand, one can find archaeologist elsewhere writing about the opposite of what Tveit claims. It belongs to the story that the matter in question in Middle East Monitor is regularly used by Iranian and Arab websites that evidence that the Jewish connection to Jerusalem is just a newfangled concoction. And when one realises this, there are still over 1,000 pages worth of Tveit’s book.
Regarding the terror attack during the Olympics in Munich Tveit claims that the captors never intended the hostages to be injured,” and makes the point that one of the terrorists’ names was the Arabic equivalent of “Jesus.” The blame for the deaths is laid on the failed rescue operation by the German police. Tveit confidence in the perpetrators peaceable intentions is touching for those who know that prisoners were tortured and at least one, weight lifter Yossef Romano, was castrated. Tveit describes on another occasion a massacre in 1978 in which 38 civilians, including 13 children were killed. He allow the father of one of the terrorists to write the conclusion. This father was not even present during the operation, but is certain that Israeli bullets were the cause of the high death toll. Tveit has no objections, and does not interview any of the surviving eyewitnesses.
“The guilty” is praised as a “a standard work, a major work” by Morten Strøksnes in last week Morgenbladet. About 20 years ago Strøksnes wrote an article in the same newspaper on how the Israelis were trying to create an “ethnic bomb” with a virus or bacterium which would only frame Arabs, not Jews. To his defence the Sunday Times admittedly wrote the same, but in any other context the same journalist admittedly hardly circulate an obvious science fiction fantasy without checking the sources.
Normal rules do not seem to apply when Israel is the focus.
But all other nonfiction books will certainly reviewed in the professional way. Definitely.