Nevertheless, Gaarder’s essay is highly problematic. “We do not recognise the state of Israel” is not clarified in the way I attempted in my previous post, which invites the criticism slung at him by Andrew Sullivan and (no doubt) many others.
We do not believe in the notion of God’s chosen people. We laugh at this people’s fancies and weep at its misdeeds.
Crucially, his mockery of other people’s beliefs makes him look arrogant. Jews have a history of persecution we know all too well, and the exodus of the Torah is mirrored by countless diaspora in modern times. An attachment to (and a desire to live in) the Holy Land is genuine and heartfelt. In itself, it is not a reason for scorn.
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, but that the Kingdom of God is within us and among us. The Kingdom of God is compassion and forgiveness … Two thousand years have passed since the Jewish rabbi disarmed and humanized the old rhetoric of war. Even in his time, the first Zionist terrorists were operating … For two thousand years, we have rehearsed the syllabus of humanism, but Israel does not listen. It was not the Pharisee that helped the man who lay in the wayside, having fallen prey to robbers. It was a Samaritan
For most of the ‘two-thousand years’ in question, there was no ‘Israel,’ so he must be talking about The Jews. This looks like ‘classic’ anti-semitism: Jesus and the Christians had it right, while the Jews (that depraved bunch) had it wrong.
Peace and free passage for the evacuating civilian population no longer protected by a state.
Gaarder does not consider the idea that the current Jewish residents of Israel might stay put after the anti-apartheid paradigm shift. Replacing one set of refugees with another solves nothing, it just reverses the problem. If he is saying that Jews are more suited to the refugee lifestyle than Palestinians, he is merely buying into the Old Testament tosh he refuted earlier.