Friday, December 15, 2006

[OBRL-News-Bulletin] Carter's book: Hatred, Not Analysis

I supported Jimmy Carter's policy for renewable energy, which still is a viable option and if implemented in the 1980s would have put the USA on a much more secure future today.  Unfortunately, his new book on Israel and the Middle East makes a massacre of the facts, reflecting much the "popular truth" of the day, and so is worthwhile to critically review.   J.D.

Go to the original item for the colored weblinks.


Hatred, Not Analysis
By Jacob Laksin | December 12, 2006

It is difficult to make O.J. Simpson seem like a model of authorial integrity. But with the release of his latest book, a biliously anti-Israel screed titled Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Jimmy Carter may be credited with that dubious achievement.

Start with Carter's cynical use of the word "apartheid" to smear the Jewish state. As Carter makes clear in his book, he does not, titular histrionics aside, subscribe to the demonstrable absurdity that Israel is an apartheid state. The alleged injustice of Israeli policies "is unlike that in South Africa-not racism, but the acquisition of land," Carter writes toward the end of his book. In interviews, similarly, he has acknowledged that there is "no semblance of anything relating to apartheid within the nation of Israel."
Instead, according to Carter, "apartheid" is what happens under the Israeli "occupation" of Palestinian territory. This, of course, renders the term meaningless. Palestinian territories are entirely autonomous and, as the recent
firebombing of churches in Gaza and the West Bank attests, the only discrimination is practiced by Muslim militants against their Christian neighbors. Meanwhile, the sole restrictions employed by Israel - such as the security fence and border checkpoints - seek not to imprison Palestinians but to keep terrorists out.
For such nuances, Carter has little patience. As far as he is concerned, all the troubles of the region, from the lack of a peace settlement to the suffering of the Palestinians to the terrorist murder campaign against Israel, are directly attributable to Israeli policies. "Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land," he asserts in his book.
Never mind that Israel has time and again volunteered to surrender all territories in exchange for a suspension of Palestinian terrorism and a recognition of its right to exist as a majority Jewish state. Disregard as well the fact that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza has only fanned the flames of Palestinian hatred and injected fresh vigor into the cause of the resident jihadists. For Carter, Israel's presence in the territories remains the source whence all evil flows. So terrible are the injustices committed by Israel that, during a recent
appearance on "Hardball," Carter even unburdened himself of the view that the Israeli occupation was worse than the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda. Carter brooks no disagreement on this point. "No one can go [to the Palestinian territories] and visit the different cities in Palestine without agreeing with what I have said," Carter says.
Except that they can. More embarrassingly for the ex-president, "they" include all the foremost experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and even some of his onetime allies.
Of all the critics of Carter's book, the most unlikely may be Kenneth Stein. A professor of Israeli Studies at Emory University and the first executive director of the university's Carter Center - founded by and named for the former president - Stein not only accompanied Carter on diplomatic trips to the Middle East but also helped him co-author a book, The Blood of Abraham (1984). But last week Stein resigned from his position at the center and issued a devastating resignation
letter in which he described Carter, in so many words, as an incompetent, a liar, and a fraud.
Of Carter's book, whose title he described as "too inflammatory to even print," Stein said that it was "replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments." More troubling than Carter's prosecutorial and tendentious attacks on Israel, Stein noted, were his outright misrepresentations. In particular, Stein called attention to "meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book." (Carter does not deny that Stein was present at the meetings, but insists that his version of events is "completely accurate.")
In his suspicion that Carter fudged the facts to fit his anti-Israel agenda, Stein is not alone. Dennis Ross, who served as the Middle East envoy and chief negotiator between Israelis and Palestinians during the Clinton administration, is another critic deeply unimpressed with Carter's book. Ross points out that Carter's version of events at the 2000 summit at Camp David is a glaring inversion of the truth. Carter claims, for instance, that Prime Minister Ehud Barak rejected the Clinton administration's proposal of land for peace. In fact, Israel accepted the proposal, agreeing to a Palestinian state in all of Gaza and 97 percent of the West Bank. Barak even supported allocating $10 billion to
compensate Palestinian refugees.
Apart from getting his facts wrong, Carter may also have appropriated, without permission or attribution, a map from Ross's book, The Missing Peace, which recounts his attempts to forge a settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. And, sure enough, the map that appears in Carter's book bears a
striking resemblance to the one featured in The Missing Peace, and which Ross says he created specifically for the purpose of his book. For his part, Carter admits that he's never read Ross's book, which may at least explain his profound innocence of the Camp David summit.
Neither scenario is especially flattering for the ex-president. Either he's a thief, or he's an ignoramus.
Carter prefers a different explanation: He's a victim of a vast Jewish conspiracy. In Palestine, Carter trots out a theme previously aired by professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their now-notorious paper, "
The Israel Lobby." Attempting to explain why most Americans don't share his animus against Israel, Carter insists that it is "because of powerful political, economic, and religious forces in the United States" that allow no criticism of Israel. Lest this sound insufficiently specific, Carter alludes sinisterly to the "voices from Jerusalem" who "dominate in our media," in effect conspiring to make most Americans "unaware of circumstances in the occupied territories."
Now that has book has drawn pointed criticism Carter
warns darkly of Jewish domination of the media. "Book reviews in the mainstream media have been written mostly by representatives of Jewish organizations," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times. He has also taken to bemoaning the "powerful influence of AIPAC." At the same time, Carter complains that his offers to speak about his book have been rejected "on university campuses with high Jewish enrollment." Even more frustrating for Carter, he has been accused - for reasons that evidently elude him - of being an anti-Semite.
So embarrassing have Carter's polemical eructations become that the
Democratic leadership has in recent months sought to distance itself from the party's erstwhile standard bearer. However, there is at least one policy worthy who shares Carter's vision for the Middle East: his longtime friend James Baker. Even before Baker's Iraq Study Group had issued its report, Carter was gushing over its proposal to court Syria and Iran, which Carter called the region's "benevolently inclined powers," while exerting new pressure on Israel.
That's not particularly surprising. Party affiliation aside, there has always been a certain symmetry between Carter and Baker's approach to the Jewish state. History will remember Baker for his famous "f-ck the Jews" remark. But it would have been equally apt as the title of Carter's newest tome.


Some additional critiques of the Carter book, which are an education in themselves as to the falsehoods standing behind much of the Jew-hatred and anti-Israel sentiments of the MSM and pro-Palestinian political left:

Here's another, which recounts the usual deceptions and "lies of omission":

The World According to Carter
 November 22, 2006
Sometimes you really can tell a book by its cover. President Jimmy Carter's decision to title his new anti-Israel screed "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" (Simon & Schuster, 288 pages, $27) tells it all. His use of the loaded word "apartheid," suggesting an analogy to the hated policies of South Africa, is especially outrageous, considering his acknowledgment buried near the end of his shallow and superficial book that what is going on in Israel today "is unlike that in South Africa-not racism, but the acquisition of land." Nor does he explain that Israel's motivation for holding on to land it captured in a defensive war is the prevention of terrorism. Israel has tried, on several occasions, to exchange land for peace, and what it got instead was terrorism, rockets, and kidnappings launched from the returned land.

In fact, Palestinian-Arab terrorism is virtually missing from Mr. Carter's entire historical account, which blames nearly everything on Israel and almost nothing on the Palestinians. Incredibly, he asserts that the initial violence in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict occurred when "Jewish militants" attacked Arabs in 1939. The long history of Palestinian terrorism against Jews - which began in 1929, when the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem ordered the slaughter of more than 100 rabbis, students, and non-Zionist Sephardim whose families had lived in Hebron and other ancient Jewish cities for millennia - was motivated by religious bigotry. The Jews responded to this racist violence by establishing a defense force. There is no mention of the long history of Palestinian terrorism before the occupation, or of the Munich massacre and others inspired byYasser Arafat. There is not even a reference to the Karine A, the boatful of terrorist weapons ordered by Arafat in January 2002.

Mr. Carter's book is so filled with simple mistakes of fact and deliberate omissions that were it a brief filed in a court of law, it would be struck and its author sanctioned for misleading the court. Mr. Carter too is guilty of misleading the court of public opinion. A mere listing of all of Mr. Carter's mistakes and omissions would fill a volume the size of his book. Here are just a few of the most egregious:

Mr. Carter emphasizes that "Christian and Muslim Arabs had continued to live in this same land since Roman times," but he ignores the fact that Jews have lived in Hebron, Tzfat, Jerusalem, and other cities for even longer. Nor does he discuss the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries since 1948.

Mr. Carter repeatedly claims that the Palestinian Arabs have long supported a two-state solution and the Israelis have always opposed it. Yet he makes no mention of the fact that in 1938 the Peel Commission proposed a two-state solution, with Israel receiving a mere sliver of its ancient homeland and the Palestinians receiving the bulk of the land. The Jews accepted and the Palestinians rejected this proposal because Arab leaders cared more about there being no Jewish state on Muslim holy land than about having a Palestinian state of their own.

He barely mentions Israel's acceptance, and the Palestinian rejection, of the United Nation's division of the mandate in 1948.

He claims that in 1967 Israel launched a preemptive attack against Jordan. The fact is that Jordan attacked Israel first, Israel tried desperately to persuade Jordan to remain out of the war, and Israel counterattacked after the Jordanian army surrounded Jerusalem, firing missiles into the center of the city. Only then did Israel capture the West Bank, which it was willing to return in exchange for peace and recognition from Jordan.

Mr. Carter repeatedly mentions Security Council Resolution 242, which called for return of captured territories in exchange for peace, recognition, and secure boundaries, but he ignores that Israel accepted and all the Arab nations and the Palestinians rejected this resolution. The Arabs met in Khartum and issued their three famous "no's": "No peace, no recognition, no negotiation." But you wouldn't know that from reading the history according to Mr. Carter.

Mr. Carter faults Israel for its "air strike that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor" without mentioning that Iraq had threatened to attack Israel with nuclear weapons if Iraq succeeded in building a bomb.

Mr. Carter faults Israel for its administration of Christian and Muslim religious sites, when in fact Israel is scrupulous about ensuring those of every religion the right to worship as they please - consistent, of course, with security needs. He fails to mention that between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Hashemites destroyed and desecrated Jewish religious sites and prevented Jews from praying at the Western Wall. He also never mentions Egypt's brutal occupation of Gaza between 1949 and 1967.

Mr. Carter blames Israel, and exonerates Arafat, for the Palestinian refusal to accept statehood on 95% of the West Bank and all of Gaza pursuant to the Clinton-Barak offers at Camp David and Taba in 2000-2001. He accepts the Palestinian revisionist history, rejects the eyewitness accounts of President Clinton and Dennis Ross, and ignores Saudi Prince Bandar's accusation that Arafat's rejection of the proposal was "a crime" and that Arafat's account "was not truthful" - except, apparently, to Mr. Carter. The fact that Mr. Carter chooses to believe Arafat over Mr. Clinton speaks volumes.

Mr. Carter's description of the recent Lebanon war is misleading. He begins by asserting that Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. "Captured" suggests a military apprehension subject to the usual prisoner of war status. The soldiers were kidnapped, and have not been heard from - not even a sign of life. The rocket attacks that preceded Israel's invasion are largely ignored, as is the fact that Hezbollah fired its rockets from civilian population centers.

Mr. Carter gives virtually no credit to Israel's superb legal system, falsely asserting (without any citation) that "confessions extracted through torture are admissible in Israeli courts," that prisoners are "executed,"and that the "accusers" act "as judges." Even Israel's most severe critics acknowledge the fairness of the Israeli Supreme Court, but not Mr. Carter.

Mr. Carter even blames Israel for the "exodus of Christians from the Holy Land," totally ignoring the Islamization of the area by Hamas and the comparable exodus of Christian Arabs from Lebanon as a result of the increasing influence of Hezbollah and the repeated assassination of Christian leaders by Syria.

Mr. Carter also blames every American administration but his own for the Mideast stalemate with particular emphasis on "a submissive White House and U.S. Congress in recent years." He employs hyperbole and overstatement when he says that "dialogue on controversial issues is a privilege to be extended only as a reward for subservient behavior and withheld from those who reject U.S. demands." He confuses terrorist states, such as Iran and Syria, to which we do not extend dialogue, with states with whom we strongly disagree, such as France and China, but with whom we have constant dialogue.

And it's not just the facts; it's the tone as well. It's obvious that Mr. Carter just doesn't like Israel or Israelis. He lectured Golda Meir on Israeli's "secular" nature, warning her that "Israel was punished whenever its leaders turned away from devout worship of God." He admits that he did not like Menachem Begin. He has little good to say about any Israelis - except those few who agree with him. But he apparently got along swimmingly with the very secular Syrian mass-murderer Hafez al-Assad. Mr. Carter and his wife Rosalynn also had a fine time with the equally secular Arafat - a man who has the blood of hundreds of Americans and Israelis on his hands:

Rosalynn and I met with Yasir Arafat in Gaza City, where he was staying with his wife, Suha, and their little daughter. The baby, dressed in a beautiful pink suit, came readily to sit on my lap, where I practiced the same wiles that had been successful with our children and grandchildren. A lot of photographs were taken, and then the photographers asked that Arafat hold his daughter for a while. When he took her, the child screamed loudly and reached out her hands to me, bringing jovial admonitions to the presidential candidate to stay at home enough to become acquainted with is own child.

There is something quite disturbing about these pictures.

"Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" is so biased that it inevitably raises the question of what would motivate a decent man like Jimmy Carter to write such an indecent book. Whatever Mr. Carter's motives may be, his authorship of this ahistorical, one-sided, and simplistic brief against Israel forever disqualifies him from playing any positive role in fairly resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. That is a tragedy because the Carter Center, which has done much good in the world, could have been a force for peace if Jimmy Carter were as generous in spirit to the Israelis as he is to the Palestinians.


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In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

If you find this material of value, please donate to OBRL:

Or, purchase books on related subjects from our on-line bookstore:

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