August 12, 2006
Dr. Shimon Samuels
Paris, 8 August 2006
CENTRE SIMON WIESENTHAL – SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE – CENTRO SIMON WIESENTHAL
64, avenue Marceau – 75008 Paris – Tel. +33 (0) 1 47 23 76 37 – Fax: +33 (0) 1 47 20 84 01
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wiesenthal Centre’s Open Letter to the People of Norway in the Oslo Daily, Aftenposten
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, addressed an “Open Letter to Norway” in response to the 5 August op ed in the Oslo daily, Aftenposten, by the author, Jostein Gaarder, entitled “God’s Chosen People.”
An English translation of Gaarder’s article follows Samuels’ letter .
AN OPEN LETTER TO NORWAY FROM THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE
Jostein Gaarder, the author of the literary chef d’oeuvre, “Sophie’s World,” has become seriously ill, either with malice or, perhaps, Alzheimer’s, or both.
Translated into 53 languages and with 26 million copies sold, so many of his readers will mourn Gaarder’s current loss of vision, coherence and, above all, his recruitment to the forces of darkness.
His 5 August article in your newspaper has exposed his shallow Biblical knowledge and the Judeophobic paranoia that haunts his nightmares. We call on the Norwegian people to decry his message.
Obsessed with the Jews as “God’s Chosen People,” Gaarder regurgitates this concept’s classic antisemitic definition as “arrogant and domineering.”
I recall from my childhood the ditty: “How odd of God to choose the Jews” and the refrain, “It’s no so odd the Jews chose God.” This self-assertiveness is indeed disturbing to tyrants – as a voice for freedom, diversity and conscience – the Jew, as witness, has been a “light unto the nations” throughout the ages. Not by claiming an absolute truth, but as a significant or early warning system for, what begins with the Jews is often a barometer for the human condition.
When others see not the light, as in 1933 with Hitlerism, or currently with fanatical Jihadist terrorism, the scourge will bring us all to the abyss.
The antisemite believes that salvation will come by effacing that Jewish light. For Gaarder, the “Good Samaritan” is not a “Pharisee” (codeword for Jew), but a “Palestinian”, just as, for orthers, Hizbollah terrorism is posited as integral to the Lebanese political spectrum.
Gaarder goes where no contemporary antisemite has gone before: “Without defence, without skin … If the entire Israeli nation should fall and part of the population must flee to another Diaspora, then we say: may their surroundings stay calm and show them mercy. It is an eternal crime to lay hand on refugees and a Stateless people. Peace and free passage for the evacuating, civilian population no longer protected by a State. Shoot not at the fugitives! Take not aim at them! They are vulnerable now — like snails without shells! … Give the Israeli refugees shelter; give them milk and honey!”
Gaarger yearns to extinguish the light of Jewish sovereignty and for the eternal wandering Jew to live once again at European sufferance – this time given “milk and honey” on the death march.
Norway surely seeks not complicity in this “Gotterdamerung” revival.
Gaarder claims that “Israelis … cheered the plagues of the Lord as ‘fitting punishment’ for the people of Egypt.” He knows nothing of Jewish liturgy. Daily our prayers recall in sorrow the Red Sea drowning of Pharaoh’s horde, which was in pursuit of the Israelite refugees, bent on slaying them.
We also mourn the Lebanese victims of Hizbollah, brutally exploited as their human shields, and we deplore a war that was foisted upon Israel by Iranian design.
Gaarder concludes: “Let not one Israeli child pay with his life,” in the same column wherein he sets the scene for the extermination of all Israeli children.
We will not oblige Gaarder and those he seeks to appease. Jewish sovereignty has returned to history. The wandering Jew is a figment of history, as Gaarder and his ilk are now history.
We await the word of honest Norwegians who will vociferously condemn Gaarder because they realize that the fate of the Jews is an alarm bell for humanity.
Dr. Shimon Samuels
Director for International Relations
For further information, please contact Dr. Samuels at +33 6 09 77 01 58.
Visit our new web site at http://www.wiesenthal-europe.com.
God’s Chosen People
By Jostein Gaarder, Aftenposten 05.08.06
Israel is now history. We no longer recognize the State of Israel. There is no way back. The State of Israel has raped the world’s recognition and will not achieve peace until it lays down its arms. The State of Israel, in its present form is history, writes Jostein Gaarder.
There’s no turning back. It’s time to learn a new lesson: We no longer recognize the State of Israel. We could not recognize the apartheid regime of South Africa, nor did we recognize the Afghani Taliban regime. Then there were many who did not recognize Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or the Serbs’ ethnic cleansing. We need to get used to the idea: The State of Israel, in its current form, is history.
We don’t believe in the notion of God’s Chosen People. We laugh at this people’s capriciousness and weep at its misdeeds. To act as God’s Chosen People is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity. We call it racism.
Limits to tolerance
There are limits to our patience, and there are limits to our tolerance. We do not believe in divine promises as a justification for occupation and apartheid. We have left the Middle Ages behind. We laugh uneasily at those who still believe that the god of flora, fauna and the galaxies has selected one people in particular as his favorite and given it silly, stone tablets, burning bushes and a license to kill.
We call baby killers “baby killers” and will never accept that people such as these have a divine or historic mandate excusing their outrages. We just say: Shame on all apartheid, shame on ethnic cleansing and shame on every terrorist strike against civilians whether carried out by Hamas, the Hezbollah or the State of Israel!
Unscrupulous art of war
We acknowledge, and pay heed to, Europe’s deep responsibility for the plight of the Jews, for the disgraceful harassment, the pogroms and the Holocaust. It was historically and morally necessary for the Jews to get their own home. However, the State of Israel, with its unscrupulous art of war and its disgusting weapons, has massacred its own legitimacy. It has systematically flaunted International Law, international conventions, and countless UN resolutions and can no longer expect protection from the same. It has carpet bombed the recognition of the world. But fear not! The Tribulation will soon be over. The State of Israel has seen its Soweto.
We are now at the watershed. There’s no turning back. The State of Israel has raped the recognition of the world and shall have no peace until it lays down its arms.
Without defense, without skin
May the spirit and the word blow the apartheid walls of Israel down. The State of Israel does not exist. It is now without defense, without skin. May the world therefore have mercy upon the civilian population; for our prophecies of doom are not aimed at the civilian individuals.
We wish the people of Israel well, nothing but wellness, but we reserve the right to not eat Jaffa oranges as long as they are foul tasting and poisonous. It was endurable for some years to live without eating the blue grapes of apartheid.
They celebrate their triumphs
We don’t believe that Israel grieves any more for the forty killed Lebanese children than it has wailed over the forty years spent in the desert three thousand years ago. We note that many Israelis celebrate such triumphs in the same manner they once cheered the plagues of the Lord as “fitting punishment” for the people of Egypt. (In that tale, the Lord God of Israel appears as an insatiable sadist.) We ask ourselves if most Israelis think that one Israeli life is worth more than the forty Palestinian or Lebanese lives.
For we’ve seen pictures of little Israeli girls writing hateful greetings on the bombs about to be dropped on the civilian populations of Lebanon and Palestine. The little Israeli girls are not cute when they strut with glee at the death and torment on the other side of the fronts.
The retribution of blood vengeance
We do not recognize the rhetoric of the State of Israel. We do not recognize the spiral of retribution and blood vengeance that comes with “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” We do not recognize the principle of ten or a thousand Arab eyes for one Israeli eye. We do not recognize collective punishment or population thinning out as a political weapon. Two thousand years have passed since a Jewish rabbi criticized the ancient doctrine of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
He said: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We do not recognize a state founded on anti-humanistic principles and on the ruins of an archaic national and warlike religion. Or, as Albert Schweitzer expressed it: “Humanitarianism consists of never sacrificing a human being for a cause.”
Compassion and forgiveness
We do not recognize the old Kingdom of David as a model for the 21st century map of the Middle East. The Jewish rabbi claimed two thousand years ago that the Kingdom of God is not a martial restoration of the Kingdom of David; the Kingdom of God is within us and amongst us. The Kingdom of God is compassion and forgiveness.
Two thousand years have passed since the Jewish rabbi disarmed and thoroughly humanized the old rhetoric of war. Even in his time, the first Zionist terrorists were operating.
Israel doesn’t listen
For two thousand years, we have rehearsed the syllabus of humanism, but Israel doesn’t listen. It wasn’t the Pharisee who helped the man who lay by the wayside, having fallen prey to robbers. It was a Samaritan; today we would say, a Palestinian. We are humans firstly – then Christian, Muslim, or Jew. Or as the Jewish rabbi said: “And if you greet your brethren only, what more do you do than others?” We do not accept the kidnapping of soldiers. But neither do we accept the deportation of whole populations or the abduction of legally elected parliamentarians and government ministers.
We recognize the State of Israel of 1948, but not the one of 1967. It is the State of Israel that fails to recognize, respect or defer to the internationally lawful Israeli state of 1948. Israel wants more – more water and more villages. To obtain this there are those who want, with God’s assistance, a final solution to the Palestinian problem. ‘The Palestinians have so many other countries’, certain Israeli politicians have argued; we have only one.
The U.S. or the world?
Or as the foremost protector of the State of Israel puts it: “May God continue to bless America.” A little child took note of that. She turned to her mother, saying: “Why does the President always end his speeches with ‘God bless America’? Why not, ‘God bless the world’?”
Then there was a Norwegian poet who let out this childlike sigh of the heart: “Why doth Humanity so slowly progress?” It was he who wrote so beautifully of the Jew and the Jewess. But he rejected the notion of God’s Chosen People. He personally liked to call himself a Muslim.
Calmness and mercy
We do not recognize the State of Israel. Not today, not as of this writing, not in the hour of grief and wrath. If the entire Israeli nation should fall to its own devices and parts of the population has to flee their occupied areas into another Diaspora, then we say: May their surroundings stay calm and show them mercy. It is an eternal crime, without mitigating circumstances, to lay hand on refugees and a stateless people.
Peace and free passage for the evacuating, civilian population no longer protected by a State. Shoot not at the fugitives! Take not aim at them! They are vulnerable now — like snails without shells, vulnerable as slow caravans of the Palestinian and Lebanese refugees, defenseless as the women, children and elderly of Qana, Gaza, Sabra and Shatilla. Give the Israeli refugees shelter; give them milk and honey!
Let not one Israeli child pay with his life. Far too many children and civilians have already been murdered.