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Comments

Igal

Very touching. State of Israel really needs permission to be alive or dead from you.
How pathetic.
Since blood of Israel children you don't count, I may conclude that you plain racist.

kobi

Wow! Such a jerk! This leftist has been so brainwashed that he has no brain left at all!

Simon Hawkin

There used to be a useful expression in the golden age of the Internet: Learn not to say "we". Mr. Gaarder needs to do some learning; and not just this expression, of course.

Censorship

Nice how you censored a comment that was disagreeing with you..

In summary, I had said that I think the above guy makes a lot of valid comments.. That israel does need to "pull their head in".

I think the reason you're so mad is that there's a lot of truth in what that guy said.. The idea that Israel has made itself separate from the jewish people due to its actions is a concept worth pondering..

She

What a chilling article. Thank you for taking the time to translate it into English. It would be interesting to know how the Norwegian-speaking Aftonposten readers responded.

Muby

Gaarder was 100% right, though he only touched isreal role in the war, but the fact any blood of any innocent victims from both sides is forbidden, but just look to israel reaction, look where they target, look how they destroy bridges and airport, how that could self defence. I just can't see any differnce between al-qaeeda & israel state.

John

Gaarder wants to make a statement about the killing of innocent people (collateral damage) in Southern Lebanon. It's an emotional statement. He talks about religion, the jews, the existence of the Jewish State and expresses his wish that Israel should lay down it's arms and be treated like Apartheid South Africa. It's an emotional reaction to what he sees and hears, trying to give this gut reaction a moral and deeper meaning.

By doing so he's missing the point and that is, that there is a lot of senseless killing going on, which needs to be stopped regardles of who is morally right of wrong. But here simplicity ends. The problem is so multi-dimensioned that both sides have enough reason to go on. So, you can't say to one side or the other to stop because of morality.

You have to chose and therefore you have to accept that mistakes and crimes take place. The problem with moral philosophers like Gaarder is they want to make a choice and keep clean hands at the same time. That is impossible.

If you support the defeat of Nazi Germany, you accept the bombardment of Dresden and all the other crimes that took place in the name of defeating Hitler. There is no such thing as a clean war. There is only a just war. Israel is fighting a just war, but it's warfighting makes it going to lose. Gaarder is expressing a feeling that is common ground in the whole of Western Europe. Israel is losing the media war. By the way thngs are now going Hezballah is winning.

Therefore, that's the true value of Gaarders appeal. Israel: Stop the senseless killing of innocent people. Win back the media war and murder silently and covertly whithout mercy the ones that are responsible: the Islam supremacists of the Hezballah.

Mark

Just a comment on the translation of one phrase, which doesn't contribute much to begin with (I think), but the way it is translated doesn't make sense at all: The phrase "Og om dere hilser vennlig på deres egne, er det noe storartet?" has been translated to "And if you greet each in a friendly way, so what?" instead of "And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others?" (Matthew 5:47). Can you please amend the translation?

Roar

Simon Hawkin: Gaarder's use of 'we' intergrates the political goal of his text: a popular denunciation of the current (and as it has emerged in the many years after 1948) state of Israel's institutionalised violence against Palestinians and - now as well as earlier - Lebanese people. In other words, the use of 'we' is a textual tool chosen carefully and hardly a sign of an unskilled pen. Critise it if you will, but don't be textually ignorant.

John: A person can in actual fact support the defeat of Hitler's Third Reich, while critisising aspects of the Allies' second-world-war warfare, including the bombing of Dresden. There isn't just one way to win a war, nor is there just one set of main and part strategies to fight a war.

John: You also claim that Gaarder in his co-ed in Aftenposten misses the point which "is that there is a lot of senseless killing going on, which needs to be stopped regardles of who is morally right of wrong." Well, if you've read the co-ed you're discussing, could you please tell me where Gaarder justifies killing at all in his text? Second, stopping killing regardless of 'morally right or wrong' as y o u r point rests itself in a moral conviction, namely killing is wrong. That is the context in which you perceive the ongoing war in Lebanon and the conflict between Israel and Palestine: a moral context. Yet you say their solutions lie outside such a context, as if there could be an outside. For you there isn't one, nor is there for Gaarder. I wouldn't expect there to be one for the peoples from the Middle East either, which is essential as that's where the killing needs to be stopped. Still, as you critisise Gaarder vehemently for missing this point, let's put the paradox aside and make way for this question: Do you believe that the aggressions of the state of Israel (as a part in conflicts in Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories) can be stopped by virtue of nobody (not state, not civilian) uttering the sentiment: "this is wrong?"

John

Roar: of course you can support the defeat of Nazi Germany and opt out when the bombing of Dresden is concerned. Just by saying so. But that's not my point. What I meant to say is that a just war causes just as much misery as an unjust war. One cannot fight a clean war. There is no such thing. War is hell. War is breaking the will to fight of your enemy. By all means. Of course that is the right way, i.e. the way that brings swift and total victory at a low cost for your own side. Do you mean that the just way is better? So, if 1000 enemy civilians and 300 enemy soliders die die in my way of warfighting and 100 soldiers of our own, and in your way 5 civilians would die, 300 enemy soldiers and 300 of our owns soldiers, you would still say that your way is the just way? My problem with the Israeli violenc is not that its excessive, but more that it is counterproductive to Israel warfighting.

Gaarder wants that Israel fights a clean war (that is the application of violence in accordance with high standing moral values, which is impossible) and because Israel is failing in his eyes, he attacks it morally (they have lost the right to exist and defend themselves, because they perverted the just origins of the jewish state).
I think morality has nothing to do with it. It 'a war, and neither side can afford it to lose.

Concerning your question: Yes I think that one can stop the war by saying this is wrong. But in my view that means wrong because it's counterproductive. I want the Israeli's to win. But, the way it goes now Hizballah can claim victory. And that's a real problem.

Just saying this wrong only for moral reasons and moral reasons only (killing people is wrong) hasn't stopped any war.

John

Roar: of course you can support the defeat of Nazi Germany and opt out when the bombing of Dresden is concerned. Just by saying so. But that's not my point. What I meant to say is that a just war causes just as much misery as an unjust war. One cannot fight a clean war. There is no such thing. War is hell. War is breaking the will to fight of your enemy. By all means. Of course that is the right way, i.e. the way that brings swift and total victory at a low cost for your own side. Do you mean that the just way is better? So, if 1000 enemy civilians and 300 enemy soliders die die in my way of warfighting and 100 soldiers of our own, and in your way 5 civilians would die, 300 enemy soldiers and 300 of our owns soldiers, you would still say that your way is the just way? My problem with the Israeli violenc is not that its excessive, but more that it is counterproductive to Israel warfighting.

Gaarder wants that Israel fights a clean war (that is the application of violence in accordance with high standing moral values, which is impossible) and because Israel is failing in his eyes, he attacks it morally (they have lost the right to exist and defend themselves, because they perverted the just origins of the jewish state).
I think morality has nothing to do with it. It 'a war, and neither side can afford it to lose.

Concerning your question: Yes I think that one can stop the war by saying this is wrong. But in my view that means wrong because it's counterproductive. I want the Israeli's to win. But, the way it goes now Hizballah can claim victory. And that's a real problem.

Just saying this wrong only for moral reasons and moral reasons only (killing people is wrong) hasn't stopped any war.

vt

John wrote:
If you support the defeat of Nazi Germany, you accept the bombardment of Dresden and all the other crimes that took place in the name of defeating Hitler.

John, the point is: HE DOESN'T. Gaarder doesn't support the defeat of Nazi Germany. That's all. That explains his position, one need no more explanation.

Mandrake

Hitler would be proud of him...

Roar

John: Let me above all understand your answer as a clarification of your critique of Gaarder above, since your response is a response to my response to this critique specifically. And you respond by saying there are such things as just and unjust wars. You also ask me: "Do you mean that the just way [to go to war? to fight a war?] is better?"

But how am I to understand your postulate? And how am I to relate it to your question? Are you asking me: is it better to fight a just war as opposed to an unjust war? Or are you asking: is it better to fight just and unjust wars in a just way? Further, what lies in your definition of "just?" Keeping casualties as low as possible? Respecting the Geneva conventions? Defense? And with regards to defense: defense as a military response to an unprovoked aggression from a different part/country - and/or defense as a military response to an agression from a different part/country provoked by the part/country one's own defense represents, but by way of keeping casualties as low as possible and/or trying to respect the Geneva conventions, etc?

I'm not questioning the application of moral thinking, but I need to know what its references are to answer your question.

Also, you need to show me how Gaarder wants Israel to fight a clean (is 'clean' a synonym for 'just?') war? For sure he says that the state of Israel of today by systematically violating international law, international conventions, and far too many UN resolutions has lost its legitimacy - which is one reason why he says he recognises the state of Israel of 1948 and not the one that has emerged by way of the above-mentioned violations in the years that followed. This argument one may like or not, one may also find it problematic and look for paradoxes. However, the following is clear: according to international law Israel occupies land that doesn't belong to it. Also, democratically elected Palestinians authorities have made and make claim for this land, yet have not in negotions with Israeli authories received an offer to get it back in full. Also PLO have made and still make territorial claims as defined by 1967 to make peace with Israel, a state whose existence it acknowledges. Hamas on the other hand have offered Israel a permanent truce in return for such hand over of land.

The state of Israel's refusal to return land that doesn't belong to it results in this: an ongoing Palestinian fight to get back territories that by way of international law are rightfully Palestinian. This specific context informs Gaarder's critique of the state of Israel in its post-1948 development. Also by referring to international law, international conventions, and UN resolutions he calls upon the international society to respond to Israel's aggressions in a radically different manner that it has so far, because the international society is obliged by its law, its conventions, and its resolutions.

Following your claim that "Gaarder wants that Israel fights a clean war" (a claim you have yet to explain), you conclude that "Israel is failing in his eyes." So "he attacks it morally" because "they [(all) Jews? (all) Israelis? the state of Israel shaped in the years after 1948 up until today? - who are "they?"] have lost the right to exist and defend themselves, because they perverted the just origins of the jewish state."

If you by this conclusion mean that the current state of Israel has no legitimacy according to Gaarder, because it (among other things) fails to acknowledge Palestinian territories as indeed Palestinian and not parts of Israel, I follow you. Gaarder, however, doesn't denounce Israel as a state's right to exist per se.

I would also like to comment your views on productive and counterproductive strategies to end a conflict, but as your critique now stands some crucial aspects in order to do so remain unclair to me.

(I hope I don't come across as too much of a pedant, that is not my intention.)

James Pasto

Let's think about this anthropologically rather than theologically.

If Gaarder had simply criticized Israeli policies and condemned the
killing of Lebanese, or argued that Israel had gone beyond the limits of
what he was (or others should be) willing to support, then charges of
anti-Semitism would be incorrect. However, he made his claims within a long
standing discourse of situating Jews as particularistic, exclusivist,
violent, etc, and seeing holding these ‘features’ of Judaism as a causative
structure for Israeli action. Thus, for him, Israeli actions, whether one
condemns them or not, stem not from present geo-political events and goals,
but from a putative, long standing structure of Jewish hatred of the Other
and resistance to universalism. This makes his essay anti-Semitic.

The topic of “The Chosen People” can be viewed from another perspective. Jews are not the only people to make such a claim. For example, the Cherokee of North
America believe they are a people special to their gods and to the cosmos (one could add countless other examples here). Jews are not different in this regard. What is different is that there are NOT billions of other people (Christians and
Muslims) who make a claim on Cherokee special status. Nobody else, to my knowledge, has claimed to be
the ‘true Cherokee’. But people have claimed to be the true Jews/Israel or
the seal of the biblical tradition, and so always articulate Christian and
Muslim claims to chosen status a) against Jewish claims, and b) as universal
to particular. To put this in some historical perspective, this means that a
very common but specific, local, Iron Age, Jewish claim to be special to
their Iron Age divinity, was made problematic against the claims of others,
Jews and Muslims, to the same divinity (the matter is more complex of
course, given the Jewish claim that their divinity is also a universal one,
but this is comprehensible within the the late Iron
Age/Hellentistic cultural context). We simply cannot perceive the Jewish
claim to Chosen Status outside of its wider Christian and Muslim currency.
Gaarder thus again weaves his criticism of Israel within an older ‘structure'
here. Again, this is anti-Semitism.

There are plenty of good reasons and ways to criticize the state of Israel. Using anti-Semitic themes is not one of them. The issue is complex, and we need some complex thinking about it. Gaarder does not provide this.

I have read that there have been more translations of Kant into Persian in the last 10 years than any other language. Some Iranians are reading Kant (and some obviously who are not). The rest of us should join those who are.

My motto: Read Kant, not Gaarder

James Pasto

Jerry

The point of the author is that the original justification for the state of Israel in the first place was a refuge from oppression and persecution. Now this same state has become a persecutor and an occupier. The origin of the present conflict is a direct result of the former. The slogan of 'no justice,no peace' emphasizes this. The present conflict (between Lebanon and Israel) although more destructive to Lebanon has far reaching consequences for Israel as well. Things cannot continue as before since the myth of a 'strong' Israel has been quashed. If the underlining injustices are not honestly and directly addressed in a very short time the consequences for the Middle East could only grow worse. NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE.

Marianne Conley

Shame on you Jostein Gaarder. If you are an example of everything which is intelligent and good in Norwegian society, then Norwegian society is not fit to take any place in humankind.

Think of this and weep, Jostein Gaarder. The more evil people like you hate, the stronger Jews and Israel become. They thrive on conquering adversity the same way as you thrive on hate. The only difference is they become stronger, but your hate will eventually consume you, and you will have nothing, you will be nothing.

Do you think Israelis care what you, a mere hate-driven feeble caricature of a man, think of them? When you and your kind are dust, Israel will still survive, and that will be your punishment.

Hettie

with this logic a lot of countries should be disbanded (but Israel should not). Oh dear, asking the Arabs not to hurt the stateless Jews, chilling ignorance. Accusing Israel of being an ultra right wing state is an outright lie.

Emotions do not justify altering of facts...

I am very outraged.

Aridan

I start by quoting:

" Just to fresh up your memory read the following moral dilemma from the WWII:

In 1944, the German Nazis loaded a ferry with barrels of heavy water used to produce atomic bombs. But together with the barrels they sent dozens of Norwegian children and women as human shields. The dilemma for the British HQ and the Norwegian resistance was terrible - but they received the right decision: they blew up the ferry with the barrels and the women and the children! What a courageous decision!

We should reject the moral blindness that refuses to recognize that we must fight the barbarians and fanatics, crushing their dream of dominion and wiping their virulent ideologies from the face of the Earth."

Or Mr. Netanyahu, who gave a response to a British reported who asked about the disproportion of civil dead: England destroyed the city of Dresden in Germany, killing more people than the people killed in Hiroshima. Was it disproportionate, or the result of the German aggression?
Israel was aggressed.
to explain what is called disproportion and double moral standards. Because Mr. Jostein Gaarder, seems to see only one side of the coin: if ISRAEL is bombed by rockets and missiles aimed to kill civilians, regardless if they are children, women, handicapped people, etc. This is OK with him. He ignores totally the facts, that the Hizbullah coerced Lebanese people to be shields at the rockets launch sites. Israel warned that she'll shoot at the launch places - only distorted and perverted people can do that, but Mr. Gaarder ignores that! (is it on purpose?, I think yes.)

To finish: if the Arabs should stop shooting there will no more fighting.
If Israel should stop shooting, there would not be Israel.

People like Mr. Gaarder deny the right of self defense, and this because for him it is intolerable that Jews defend themselves, he is used as all his fellow anti Semites, to see Jews humiliated and begging for their lives. A Jewish fighter is inconceivable.

Aridan

Royal King

Hey its about time you put those fucking jews into place. I am so sick and tired of them telling the world false about there 76 versions of the Hebrew bible of there own words just so they can brainwash the world like they have been. Let me remind you all If it wasn't for Britain the Jews,Zionists,and others who was involved in making some kind of agreement to take over Palestine. Or what the Whole american world trying to rename Israel. We no matter what even all the bulldozing homes, using plastic bullets on arab familys behind the non jewish americans back. Or how about Blowing up property and by using car bombs on too more arab territory just so they can take over all of the middle east. Hell, You say Jews are chosen hell where in the very first Original bible in Greek and Arabic does it actual say about all jewish people are chosen its doesn't only the Hebrew and all american text. Hell The Mexicans know that the Jews arent chosen, Chinease know they aren't chosen even Japan knows it honestly every other foreign country know this hell even the Jews and Zionists but they lie so fuck them again They will burn in hell for all wrong they have done and every commandment they have not follow hell is comming for you. All other arab countries knows it. Just because Arabs don't want to follow murdering Jews all the sudden we are hatted all over the world well guess what people. God told moses that everyone will be scattered on the face of the earth. And the Real chosen people despite of some Igorant Zionists or Jew or any other non educated american, The chosen ones follow Jesus follow his ten commandment,Let me remind you all Jews never and still today don't worship god or jesus they only worship King David and pray at a wall instead of praying in Gods Home the church. God and Jesus didn't say we have to drink his blood, burn crosses and cut the cattles heads off like the Jews been doing since they actually stepped foot in Palestine. Jews are FAR from the promise land and will never stepp foot on there and no matter what kind of shit they are trying to pull know THAT LAND THEY TOOK FROM THE PALESTINIANS AND OTHER ARABS It will always be palestine. What kind of person dumbs gas on clothes in an arabs home, what kind of person takes a bulldozer and just rammes it through your home, how would you like it if the children can't go to school because of all the Books the Jews have been burning including Greek and ARabic bibles. How would you like it if you visited a family member but you can't cross the boarder to go back home to your own family, How would you like it if you was getting beatin everyday if you didn't do anything wrong to to a jew. There is more than meets the eye, American Media is all own by jews so of course its all being paid off just so you can here what they want you to hear. So Despite you fuckers out there lets get one thing straigh what ever you say to the world remember whone thing there are more arabs the jews in the world there are more christians in the world than jews. So you all can put that in your jewish pipe and smoke that up your ass. Im through have a peacefull day. one more thing you talk about strapped bombs well hell how many times have we heard that over and over again hell compared of what the jews are doing to arabs we should hear more about what they are doing behind americans and turkeys, Egypts back.

podiatry emr

Hey, the point of the author is that the original justification in the first place was a refuge from oppression and persecution.

Kevin

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