Carter and Other Flat Earth Types
Jimmy Carter, once upon a time President of the United States, hostage to Iranian terror and now self-appointed human rights activist, recently bemoaned the fact that despite his book, no one is really discussing the contents.
Hello? No one is discussing why the earth is flat either, and for much the same reason. Mr. Carter lives in a bubble of his own making, ignoring fact and peddling inflamatory fiction in the guise of a work of history.
It fails. Abysmally. As Everett Dirkson once famously said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But you're NOT entitled to your own facts."
One excellent blog entry on the subject is NearEastPundit.
Welcome to the real world Mr. Carter...
In the real world Mr. Carter, if college students are turning down your free lectures, and "prominent Jewish Citizens" and members of Congress are privately telling you how great your attempt at non-fiction is you might want to reconsider the merits of your book. But then again, this all from the guy who said he had so much respect in the Middle East that if he were President right now, there'd be peace.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter defended his position on Israel in the L.A. Times Opinion section. My response is as follows...
Just because you're a former President doesn't give you the right to invent falsehoods, perpetuate lies and plagiarize maps without somebody calling you to account for such discrepencies. You still need to present accurate information, especially on a highly charged topic like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict where you can affect hundreds of thousands of lives because of your former stature as President.
First, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is NOT the American-Israel Political Action Committee. AIPAC is NOT a Political Action Committee or a PAC. Getting such an obvious fact wrong leads the casual observer to question your attention to detail, something critical in this debate.
Second, a Carter Center fellow did not merely "take issue" with your book, he resigned his position over it. Ken Stein, the Carter Center fellow you refer to wasn't simply a fellow. Stein was the first Executive Director of the Carter Center and your primary adviser on Middle Eastern affairs from 1983 to 1996, something he now publicly says he no longer functions as.
"President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments," said Stein.
Stein also disavows any ties to "the research, preparation, writing, or review of President Carter's recent book."
In his resignation letter, Stein says
"My continued association with the Center leaves the impression that I am sanctioning a series of egregious errors and polemical conclusions which appeared in President Carter's book. I can not allow that impression to stand."
Nor can you present a blatant lie referring to Israel as worse than apartheid Africa. Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East, has elected Arab officials in the Israeli government, a free press, has Arabic and Hebrew as the official state languages, and more rights and privileges afforded to Arabs than any other Arab country in the Middle East.
Carter says "It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law..." Last I checked, Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon and received continuous rocket attacks as a result, whereas Hezbollah is still there, a clear violation of International Law.
Israel accepted the UN partion plan to create two independent states living in peace, whereas the Palestinians outrightly rejected it. Even though they were painful concessions, Israel was willing to make peace with the Palestinians in 2000, but the Palestinians again rejected it.
Carter criticizes Israel for requiring Palestinians to carry passes, the segregation of Israelis and Palestinians in the disputed territories and the security barrier (what Carter refers to as an imprisonment wall), all without a reason why. As if the events happening in Israel are in a vacuum and Israel is simply exercising its will upon the Palestinians for no apparent good reason.
Out in the real world, however, many violent Palestinians are trying to murder as many Israelis as possible, hence the passes, the segregation and the security barrier.
Out in the real world Mr. Carter, you cannot make peace with someone who does not want to make peace with you no matter how hard you try.
The AntiDefamation League. also has a quick summation of factual inaccuracies in Carter's spinmeistering.
Alan Dershowitz, hardly a neo-con given his left wing defense credentials, also provides a scathing analysis of Carter's most obvious obfuscations and outright lies of omission.
Carter at one time was closely wrapped up with the Hamas PR campaign to make the Hamasniks all warm and cuddly despite their genocidal calls for mass murder of Jews (The Guardian, Hamas Spends 100K On Image Makeover)....I wonder....is Carter really a romantic who sees Hamas through rose-colored glasses, or did he get paid under the table as part of the PR effort? Certainly its documented that Carter acted as PR advisor and speechwriter for Arafat, as well as all-round gopher on occasion.
Jay Nordlinger used Carter's own words to best explain the ex-president's embrace of all things Palestinian and his hatred for Israel: "While Carter has many warm words for Arafat and for dictators around the world (as we will see shortly), he has nothing but contempt and scorn for the democratic leader in Israel, Ariel Sharon. In Carter's eyes, the Arab-Israeli conflict is not unlike the pre-civil-rights South, with the Israelis as the oppressive whites and the Palestinians as the innocent blacks. As he told his chronicler, Douglas Brinkley, "The intifada exposed the injustice Palestinians suffered, just like Bull Connor's mad dogs in Birmingham."
In other words, Carter has, wittingly or unwittingly, bought into the Palestinian mythology. I'd like to invite Mr. Carter to come live in Sderot for a couple of weeks, and ride the Israeli bus system for a bit. There are no "white people" here--there are people of all shades and backgrounds, including black (many Ethiopian Jews live in Sderot, and two of the child fatalities of that town were Ethiopian), and most of us have heard the word "Jew" used in its pejorative sense at least once in our lives. The majority of the Jews in my building are the sons and daughters of Iraqi and Moroccan and Libyan Jews, who look remarkably like Arabs, and who live here now because their parents were pogromed into fleeing their country. My immediate neighbors are the Sephardi descendants of other white people's racism, both from the Inquisition in ages past and more immediately from the Shoah in Salonika.
Israel is a refuge for Jews, not a colony of white people. Mr. Carter has confused Israel with Georgia, as well as fact with myth and right with wrong.