God's Chosen People
By Jostein Gaarder,
08/05/06 "Aftenposten " -- 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
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
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
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.