Saturday, January 27, 2007

Jimmy Carter Exposed

Since Jimmy Carter's new book attacks Israel, the Jewish State, none of his attacks have to be factual in order for Israel/Jew haters to support both Carter and his book. Carter himself, while still claiming his book to be truthful has refused to debate Alan Dershowitz (who read and condemned the book) on his dubious claims. Carter has also engaged in one of the age-old libels against the Jews, claiming an organized conspiracy of Jewish organizations who are out to demonize him for telling the - ahem - truth. Sorry, but Carter debases the word. He also claims he wanted to start a debate on an issue which hasn't been debated. Carter must not have read a newspaper or seen a news show since he left office. And as Rich Lowry points out:
Incredibly, given his media presence, Carter thinks that he is being silenced by shadowy forces. He makes this bizarre claim: “My most troubling experience has been the rejection of my offers to speak, for free, about the book on university campuses with high Jewish enrollment.” Does Carter keep track of which schools have lots of Jews? And who does he think is keeping him from speaking at them?

One of the claims of Carter's equally dishonest supporters is that critics of the book haven't even read the book and offer no specific instances of misinformation. They must have their noses pressed so deep in Carter's screed that they see nothing of what is going on around them. If it's specifics you want, here are some from Edward Green
p. 26 Carter mentions a complaint by Samaritans he met on travels in Israel, that their holy sites were not being respected (how is unspecified) by Israeli authorities. He bolsters the complaint by invoking Jesus and his disciples who heard the same complaint almost two thousand years earlier. Carter should be informed that archaeology is a national passion in Israel and that no nation surpasses Israel in devotion to the protection and preservation of antiquities.
p. 59 In the Six Day War, Carter writes, Israel launched pre-emptive strikes against Egypt, Syria, and then Jordan. The fact is that Israel asked Jordan to stay out of the conflict and did not attack Jordan until Jordan began an assault on Israel to honor its treaty obligations to Egypt. I heard King Hussein say exactly that on TV shortly after the cessation of hostilities.
p. 84-5 Carter discussing Jordan’s economic losses from the Six day War, has another opportunity to say that Jordan hit first, but doesn’t take it. In describing the losses in population and income in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, they are described as Jordanian, not Palestinian losses: tacit notice that eighteen years after the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish portions that Palestinian nationalism had not yet widely diffused.
p. 85 Re: the civil war in Jordan between Palestinian guerillas and the Jordanian army. Carter says Syrian forces under Defense Minister Assad of Syria refused to attack Jordan’s forces and Hussein was able to prevail. The fact is that Syrian forces had already penetrated Jordan to assist the guerillas, but under Israeli threat, withdrew.
p. 95 In the course of Israel’s intervention in the Lebanese civil war in 1982, as many as 3500 non-combatant Muslims in the Shatila and Sabra Palestinian refugee camps controlled by Israel’s allies were slain, for which, Carter writes, Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was held accountable. Carter omits to say that the killings were done by Maronite Christian militiamen. Ariel Sharon’s role in the matter is controversial. As commander of the Israeli and allied forces, the buck extended to him, but there is no evidence that he sanctioned the killings. He invited Lebanese Phalangist militia units to enter the refugee camps and expel the PLO fighters. Israeli soldiers would remain outside the camp while the Maronite forces under the direct command of Elie Hobeika, who would later become a longtime Lebanese parliament member and also a cabinet minister, entered. The Maronite phalangists exceeded Sharon’s orders, slaying an estimated 700-3500.
p. 127 In a stunning non sequitur Carter connects the benefits accorded the deeply religious Jewish parties in Israel, their excuse from military service and funding for benevolent causes, to his understanding “..for the first time why there was a surprising exodus of Christians from the Holy Land.”
p. 150 Carter’s discussion of the negotiations regarding a settlement of land issues between Yassir Arafat and Ehud Barak refereed by President Bill Clinton gives the impression that neither side extended itself in order to reach accommodation. That’s not the way Clinton remembers it in his biography: “Barak had shown ‘particular courage , vision, and understanding,” in making concessions and Arafat refused to seize the moment.
Is that specific enough?

According to Tom Teepen:
Carter's entirely proper concern for Palestinian refugees ignores Arab culpability in their plight. Carter repeatedly says the refugees were forced out of Israel. Many were, but Carter fails to note that others fled on their own, often at the urging of Arab capitals that promised a quick, vindicating return. Nor does Carter call much attention to the fact that Jews fled and were chased out of Arab countries in nearly equal number. Israel absorbed its refugees. Most Arab states kept theirs in wretched camps as an incitement against Israel.

Carter takes every pacific Arab utterance at face value, although the rhetoric notoriously says one thing to the West and quite another, in Arabic, for internal consumption.

He charges that Israel never allowed the Palestinian territories autonomy, but it did. The local officials were intimidated, terrorized and even murdered by other Palestinians as "collaborators."

Tracking Carter can be tricky work. As president, he had the United States vote for U.N. resolution 465, condemning Israeli settlements and demanding the return of East Jerusalem and a restoration of the 1967 borders. Within days, Carter recanted the U.S. vote — but now cites Israel's refusal to comply as evidence of Israeli perfidy.

Indeed, add up Carter's references to Israelis as acquisitive, duplicitous and devious and you get — Fagin! Maybe Carter isn't consciously appealing to latent anti-Semitism to push his case.

Israel's unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza are noted but not credited, and Carter's resort to charging Israel with apartheid — when the very point of the Gaza withdrawal was as a first step to forestalling such an eventuality — is a smear.

The Camp David Accords called for specific steps toward a broad Arab-Israeli peace. Those didn't occur, and Carter has always blamed Menachem Begin, the Israeli prime minister, who he did not like, rather than the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, who he did like.
Even Ethan Bronner, who if you read the entire review, blames most of the problems of the Middle East on Israel, points out Carter's fabrications.
his is a strange little book about the Arab-Israeli conflict from a major public figure. It is premised on the notion that Americans too often get only one side of the story, one uncritically sympathetic to Israel, so someone with authority and knowledge needs to offer a fuller picture. Fine idea. The problem is that in this book Jimmy Carter does not do so. Instead, he simply offers a narrative that is largely unsympathetic to Israel. Israeli bad faith fills the pages. Hollow statements by Israel's enemies are presented without comment. Broader regional developments go largely unexamined. In other words, whether or not Carter is right that most Americans have a distorted view of the conflict, his contribution is to offer a distortion of his own.

Yasir Arafat is portrayed as someone who disavowed terrorism. Hafez al-Assad, who was president of Syria until 2000 when he died and his son took over, is quoted for an entire section, offering harsh impressions of Israel, including the opinion that it "initiated the 1967 war in order to take even more Arab land." Carter does not contradict him. The separation barrier that Israel is building along and inside parts of the West Bank is not to stop suicide bombers and other violent attacks. Its "driving purpose," Carter says, is "the acquisition of land." Such misrepresentations - and there are others - are a shame . . .
Jeffrey Goldberg in The Washington Post offers this:
immy Carter tells a strange and revealing story near the beginning of his latest book, the sensationally titled Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. It is a story that suggests that the former president's hostility to Israel is, to borrow a term, faith-based.

On his first visit to the Jewish state in the early 1970s, Carter, who was then still the governor of Georgia, met with Prime Minister Golda Meir, who asked Carter to share his observations about his visit. Such a mistake she never made.

"With some hesitation," Carter writes, "I said that I had long taught lessons from the Hebrew Scriptures and that a common historical pattern was that Israel was punished whenever the leaders turned away from devout worship of God. I asked if she was concerned about the secular nature of her Labor government."

Jews, in my experience, tend to become peevish when Christians, their traditional persecutors, lecture them on morality, and Carter reports that Meir was taken aback by his "temerity." He is, of course, paying himself a compliment. Temerity is mandatory when you are doing God's work, and Carter makes it clear in this polemical book that, in excoriating Israel for its sins -- and he blames Israel almost entirely for perpetuating the hundred-year war between Arab and Jew -- he is on a mission from God.
and this,
This is a cynical book, its cynicism embedded in its bait-and-switch title. Much of the book consists of an argument against the barrier that Israel is building to separate Israelis from the Palestinians on the West Bank. The "imprisonment wall" is an early symptom of Israel's descent into apartheid, according to Carter. But late in the book, he concedes that "the driving purpose for the forced separation of the two peoples is unlike that in South Africa -- not racism, but the acquisition of land."

In other words, Carter's title notwithstanding, Israel is not actually an apartheid state. True, some Israeli leaders have used the security fence as cover for a land-grab, but Carter does not acknowledge the actual raison d'etre for the fence: to prevent the murder of Jews. The security barrier is a desperate, deeply imperfect and, God willing, temporary attempt to stop Palestinian suicide bombers from detonating themselves amid crowds of Israeli civilians. And it works; many recent attempts to infiltrate bombers into Israel have failed, thanks to the barrier.

The murder of Israelis, however, plays little role in Carter's understanding of the conflict. He writes of one Hamas bombing campaign: "Unfortunately for the peace process, Palestinian terrorists carried out two lethal suicide bombings in March 1996." That spree of bombings -- four, actually -- was unfortunate for the peace process, to be sure. It was also unfortunate for the several dozen civilians killed in these attacks. But Israeli deaths seem to be an abstraction for Carter; only the peace process is real, and the peace process would succeed, he claims, if not for Israeli intransigence.
and even this,
Carter does not recognize the fact that Israel, tired of the burdens of occupation, also dearly wants to give up the bulk of its West Bank settlements (the current prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was elected on exactly this platform) because to do so would fatally undermine the thesis of his book. Palestine Peace Not Apartheid is being marketed as a work of history, but an honest book would, when assessing the reasons why the conflict festers, blame not only the settlements but also take substantial note of the fact that the Arabs who surround Israel have launched numerous wars against it, all meant to snuff it out of existence.
Are there more critical reviews of Carter's book by reviewers who have read the book? Of course there are. According to the afore mentioned Alan Dershowitz,
YOU CAN ALWAYS tell when a public figure has written an indefensible book: when he refuses to debate it in the court of public opinion. And you can always tell when he's a hypocrite to boot: when he says he wrote a book in order to stimulate a debate, and then he refuses to participate in any such debate. I'm talking about former president Jimmy Carter and his new book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."
Will this deter Carter's supporters? Will they face the truth that Carter has written a dishonest book?

Never in a million years. It's much easier to blame the Jews for all that is wrong in the world than to accept personal responsibility.

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