Jostein Gaarder defends his rant against the idea of the “chosen people”

6 Responses to “Jostein Gaarder defends his rant against the idea of the “chosen people””

  1. Guardian reader Says:

    Apologies for moving slightly, but only slightly, from the topic under consideration, but this is a letter the Guardian saw fit to publish as a comment on the changes taking place in Egypt today,

    “More than 30 years since the Iranian revolution, western governments have still not learned that support for despots in the Middle East is a no-win policy. All the fine words about democracy are lost when the possibility of governments hostile to Israel being elected is faced. And yet we are repeatedly told that, as Israel is the only democracy in the region, it is worthy of our support. It is the only democracy because our governments make sure it is. Until the US abandons its policy of unconditional support for Israel there will be no genuine peace.”

    Apparently, the only policy issue that is concern to “Western governments” in the region is the defence of Israel; nothing else matters!

    Now, I appreciate that the Guardian is still in a post-coital phase following the release of the Palestinian papers and Milne’s ecstatic orgasm over them. But, this outdoes even that craven episode.

  2. m Says:

    Sorry this is off topic: How can I donate money to engage? Paypal would be great…

  3. Philip Says:

    Wait, so now saying that you don’t believe in the notion of a ‘chosen people’ is racist? Opposing racism is racist?

  4. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    As so often, Philip Blue takes something out of context, trivialises it and expects the rest of us to marvel at his apparent wisdom and perspicacity. Which we might if he did. The quote from which he extracts two words is as follows:

    “We do not believe in the notion of God’s chosen people. We laugh at this people’s fancies and weep over its misdeeds. To act as God’s chosen people is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity.”

    Oddly enough, this is far from all that Gaarder said. He said much else besides. However, Philip knows this of course, and is being deliberately…well, let’s call it mischievous. although this is a mild term for what it is. This is especially so given that in the quote above, Gaarder deliberately takes a biblical statement and applies it to groups who make no such claim. It is decades (if ever) since I’ve heard Jews claim this status of being chosen for themselves (other than ironically), and I don’t believe anyone other than possibly some sects of the ultra-orthodox would ever claim this status: certainly the general run of Israeli Jews don’t.

    Of course, what Philip Blue is hoping to do is distract our attention from (a) Gaarder’s original antisemitic article and (b) his refusal to resile from that article 5 years later. Two chances, Philip: fat and no.

    Tell you what, Philip, why don’t you come up with a reasoned statement as to why Gaarder’s original article, in toto, not just in part, was not, in any jit or tottle, antisemitic, and we _will_, collectively, applaud your wisdom and perspicacity – if you get it right and convince us, of course.

    Fair enough?

  5. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    And, of course, Philip Blue might like to add in to that statement a considered response as to why this, from a response by Gaarder to a criticism of his original article was not a prime example of the Livingstone Formulation: ‘On being accused of anti-Semitism, Gaarder said: “As soon as you attack Israel, you get accused of anti-Semitism.” ‘


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