Sunday, November 26, 2006

Biased or Not?

Read this post by Alan Dershowitz on Jimmy Carter's new book.
I like Jimmy Carter. I have known him since he began his run for president in early 1976. I worked hard for his election, and I have admired the work of the Carter Center throughout the world. That's why it troubles me so much that this decent man has written such an indecent book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His bias against Israel shows by his selection of the book's title: "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid." The suggestion that without peace Israel is an apartheid state analogous to South Africa is simply wrong. The basic evil of South African apartheid, against which I and so many other Jews fought, was the absolute control over a majority of blacks by a small minority of whites. It was the opposite of democracy. In Israel majority rules; it is a vibrant secular democracy, which just today recognized gay marriages performed abroad. Arabs serve in the Knesset, on the Supreme Court and get to vote for their representatives, many of whom strongly oppose Israeli policies. Israel has repeatedly offered to end its occupation of areas it captured in a defensive war in exchange for peace and full recognition. The reality is that other Arab and Muslim nations do in fact practice apartheid. In Jordan, no Jew can be a citizen or own land. The same is true in Saudi Arabia, which has separate roads for Muslims and non-Muslims. Even in the Palestinian authority, the increasing influence of Hamas threatens to create Islamic hegemony over non-Muslims. Arab Christians are leaving in droves.

Why then would Jimmy Carter invoke the concept of apartheid in his attack on Israel? Even he acknowledges--though he buries this toward the end of his book--that what is going on in Israel today "is unlike that in South Africa--not racism, but the acquisition of land." But Israel's motive for holding on to this land is the prevention of terrorism. It has repeatedly offered to exchange land for peace and did so in Gaza and southern Lebanon only to have the returned land used for terrorism, kidnappings and rocket launchings.
Read the whole thing. It is a reasonable argument against an unreasonable book. He points out Carter's factual errors and ignorance of things that Carter should know and acknowledge if he's going to write a book about the Middle East. The only quible I have with Dershowitz is when he says:
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.
Dershowitz should have pointed out that Islam didn't exist in Roman times. Muslims conquered the Holy Land from the Christian residents a few hundred years after the fall of Rome. Unless he is referring to the Byzantines as Roman.

The thing that struck me the most though are the comments. I admit that I have a strong, unapologetic pro-Israel bias. Many of the commentators have a strong anti-Israel bias, but wouldn't admit it in a hundred years. They accuse Dershowitz of being biased. He is also accused of being a shill for Israel. In typical "progressive" fashion, there is no tolerance for deviation of thought on Huffington Post. A morally superior posture is taken and any dissenting opinion, whether from Dershowitz or the rare commentator supporting Dershowitz is accused of bias or being in the pay of Israel. They refuse to see their own twisted totalitarian, terror supporting bias. They are as blind and deluded as they accuse their critics of being.

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At 11:24 PM, Blogger Yzerfontein said...

There are similarities and differences with apartheid South Africa.

For instance, the new law that palestinians cant drive in Israeli number-plated cars is out-and-out apartheid.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Harry said...

There is no law that Palestinians can't drive on certain roads. For more on that bit of libel, go to:

For more on the topic, visit:

On the other hand, Gaza is now a Jew-free zone. It's against the law for a Jew to own land in Gaza, and it's a capital crime for a Gazan to sell land to a Jew. That is apartheid.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Harry said...

Let's fix those links. The first one, debunking the Palestinian road myth is here.

The second one, challenging the insanely hateful comparisons between Israel and South Africa is here. By the way, Gaza is an actual apartheid state.


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