Carter, Palestine, and AmJews

Here is a collection of articles dealing, directly or indirectly,
with Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid
and the reaction of Americans, especially the American Jewish community,

An excerpt of its conclusions is here.

General background may be found at the Wikipedia article
Allegations of Israeli apartheid.”


Occupation Is Oppression
by Desmond Tutu (Anglican Archbiship and Nobel Peace Laureate)
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 2002-06

[Here is the full text, as it appears in WRMEA,
of this extremely powerful address,
given at the 2002-04-12/13
“Ending the Occupation” Conference in Boston, Mass.
For the (startlingly small) trace of this talk on the web, click here.
All but the first three paragraphs of this talk
were published by The Guardian on 2002-04-29 as
Apartheid in the Holy Land.”

Emphasis has been added.]

GOD IS WEEPING over what He sees in the Middle East.
God has no one except ourselves, absolutely no one.
God is omnipotent, all-powerful, but also impotent.
God does not dispatch lightning bolts to remove tyrants,
as we might have hoped He would.
God waits for you, for you to act. You are His partner.
God is as weak as the weakest of His partners,
or as strong as the morally strongest.

The title of my talk is “Occupation Is Oppression.”
I would like to change that to “Give Peace a Chance, for Peace is Possible”;
for we are bearers of hope.
To God’s people, Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, we want to say:
our hearts go out to all who have suffered the violence
of suicide bombers and of military incursions.
I want to say to all: peace is possible.
These two peoples are God’s chosen and beloved,
with a common ancestor in Abraham.

I give thanks for what the Jews have given us.
During apartheid we told our people God has heard their crying.
And God will deliver us as God delivered Israel from bondage.
God never abandoned us through tribulation and suffering.

In our struggle against apartheid, the great supporters were the Jews.
Jews almost instinctively had to be
on the side of the disenfranchised, of the voiceless ones,
fighting injustice, oppression and evil.
I have continued to feel strongly with the Jews.
I am patron of a Holocaust center in South Africa.
I believe Israel has a right to secure borders.

What is not so understandable, not justified,
is what it did to another people to guarantee its existence.
I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land;
it reminded me so much of what happened to us blacks in South Africa.
I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks,
suffering like us
when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.
They seemed to derive so much joy from our humiliation.

We know of the horrific attacks on
refugee camps, towns, villages, and Palestinian institutions.
We don’t know the exact truth because Israelis won’t let the media in.
What are they hiding?

Perhaps more sinister is why is there no outcry in the United States
about the Israeli siege in the West Bank?
You see the harrowing images of what suicide bombers have done,
something we all condemn,
but we see no scenes
of what the tanks are doing to Palestinian homes and people.

On one of my visits to the Holy Land
I drove to a church with the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem.
I could hear tears in his voice as he pointed to Jewish settlements.
I thought of the desire of Israelis for security.
But what of the Palestinians who have lost their land and their homes?

I have experienced Palestinians pointing to what were their homes,
now occupied by Israeli Jews.
I was walking with Canon Naim Ateek (the head of the Sabeel Ecumenical Center)
in Jerusalem.
He pointed and said:
“Our home was over there.
We were driven out of our home; it is now occupied by Israeli Jews.”

My heart aches. I say, why are our memories so short?
Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation?
Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions,
in their own history so soon?
Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions?
Have they forgotten that God cares deeply about the downtrodden?

Israel will never get true security and safety
through oppressing another people.
A true peace can ultimately be built only on justice.
We condemn the violence of suicide bombers,
and we condemn the corruption of young minds taught hatred;
but we also condemn the violence of military incursions in the occupied lands,
and the inhumanity that won’t let ambulances reach the injured.

The military action of recent days, I predict with certainty,
will not provide the security and peace Israelis want;
it will only intensify the hatred.

Israel has three options:
revert to the previous stalemated situation;
exterminate all Palestinians; or—and I hope this will be the road taken—
to strive for peace based on justice,
based on withdrawal from all the occupied territories,
and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state on those territories
side by side with Israel, both with secure borders.

We in South Africa had a relatively peaceful transition.
If our madness could end as it did,
it must be possible to do the same everywhere else in the world.
South Africa is a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.
If peace could come to South Africa,
surely it can come to the Holy Land.

My brother Naim Ateek has said what we used to say:
“I am not pro- this people or that.
I am pro-justice, pro-freedom.
I am anti-injustice, anti-oppression.”

But you know as well as I do that, somehow,
the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal [in the U.S.],
to criticize it is to be immediately dubbed anti-Semitic [cf.],
as if the Palestinians were not Semitic.
I am not even anti-white, despite the madness of that group.
And how did it come about that
Israel was collaborating with the apartheid government
on security measures

People are scared in this country [the U.S.] to say wrong is wrong
because the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful.

Well, so what? This is God’s world.
For goodness sake, this is God’s world!
We live in a moral universe.
The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.
Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosovic, and Idi Amin were all powerful,
but in the end they bit the dust.

Injustice and oppression will never prevail.
Those who are powerful have to remember
the litmus test that God gives to the powerful:
What is your treatment of the poor, the hungry, the voiceless?
And on the basis of that, God passes judgment.

We should put out a clarion call
to the government of the people of Israel,
to the Palestinian people and say:
peace is possible, peace based on justice is possible.
We will do all we can to assist you to achieve this peace,
because it is God’s dream,
and you will be able to live amicably together as sisters and brothers.

Tutu Compares Israel To Hitler, Blasts "Jewish Lobby";
ZOA Urges Tutu's Jewish Allies To Protest Slurs

Zionist Organization of America, 2002-04-29

[An excerpt from this press release.]

Morton A. Klein,
National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA),
“As a child of Holocaust survivors,
I am deeply offended by Archbishop Tutu’s vicious libel that
Israel is comparable to Hitler.
He should be speaking out against Yasir Arafat,
who has murdered more Jews than anyone since Hitler;
who has fostered a culture of anti-Jewish hatred
in his schools, speeches, summer camps, religious sermons, and media—
media that have been described as ‘neo-Nazi’
by the leading Reform rabbi in the United States, Eric Yoffee,
and as ‘worse than the Nazis’ propaganda’
by Israeli government spokesman Ranaan Gissin.
Archbishop Tutu has remained silent as leading sheikhs,
his religious counterparts in the Islam world,
have openly called for the murder of Jews.”


“Israel is an apartheid state”
An open letter from Willie Madisha,
President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

As someone who lived in apartheid South Africa and who has visited Palestine
I say with confidence that
Israel is an apartheid state.
In fact, I believe that some of Israel’s actions
make the actions of South Africa’s apartheid regime
appear pale by comparison.

In Hebron, a South African Compares Israeli Occupation to Apartheid
by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss.com, 2006-08-08

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Every now and then in life, and maybe just when you want it,
god throws down a thunderbolt.
It happened to me on Friday in Hebron, in the Occupied Territories.
A group of seven Israelis and I were sitting in an Arab man’s house,
discussing the harassment and denial of movement
to Palestinians in the center of that city—
the second largest city in the West Bank—
when I wondered for the 100th or thousandth time
how the conditions I was seeing for myself in the occupation compared to
apartheid in South Africa,
which Americans rose up against 20 years ago.

Then the door opened and a group of international volunteers came in.
I heard European accents,
and a tall black man with a tan haversack walked across the room
and took the seat right beside me.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“South Africa,” he said.

“Do you know about apartheid?”

“I lived through apartheid.”

“How does this compare to apartheid?”

“In Johannesburg we had access to all the roads; they do not have that here,”
he said.
“There were times we couldn’t use the roads
but those were exceptional occasions.
We did not have these checkpoints.
We carried papers but we were not constantly having to produce our papers
as I have seen happens here.
Our schools were inferior, but at least we could go to school.
Many of these children are harassed on their way to school
or are not allowed to get to schools.
I have been here only three and a half weeks--
but in my opinion, it is worse than apartheid.”

“Worse than apartheid:” the words of Gosiame Choabi,
an official of the South African Council of Churches.

Rachel Corrie, and Jimmy Carter, on Apartheid
by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss.com, 2006-10-20

As I went downtown to see the play “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” last night, I read the Forward's coverage of Jimmy Carter's much-awaited book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Forthcoming from Simon & God bless them Schuster.. The article said that supporters of Israel are most upset by the characterization in the title, apartheid. That characterization used to upset me too, as being tendentious and emotional, till I went to Hebron last summer, the second largest city in the West Bank, where Arabs cannot set foot in large portions of the city center, and met a South African church worker who had lived through apartheid and who said that the conditions of the Israeli occupation were worse than apartheid. The people in the occupied territories have lived under Israeli administration for 40 years and had two elections in that time, yet we call Israel a democracy.

[This is the only really relevant part of Weiss’s article.]

Progressive Israelis Are Agonized. Can the U.S. Help Them?
by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss.com, 2006-11-03

The (secular) Israel lobby will kneecap anyone in our politics, like Jimmy Carter,
who dares to criticize the Israeli government,
no matter what it does.

[This is the only really relevant part of Weiss’s article.]

Palestine Peace Not Apartheid
by Jimmy Carter
Simon and Schuster, published 2006-11-14

[An excerpt from the last few pages; all emphasis is added.]

[pages 209–210]

Two other interrelated factors have contributed to
the perpetuation of violence and regional upheaval:
  • the condoning of illegal Israeli actions
    from a submissive White House and U.S. Congress

    during recent years, and

  • the deference with which other international leaders
    permit this unofficial U.S. policy in the Middle East to prevail.
There are constant and vehement political and media debates in Israel
concerning its policies in the West Bank, but
because of
powerful political, economic, and religious forces
in the United States,
  • Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned,

  • voices from Jerusalem dominate in our media, and

  • most American citizens are unaware of
    circumstances in the occupied territories.
At the same time, political leaders and news media in Europe
are highly critical of Israeli policies,
affecting public attitudes.
Americans were surprised and angered by an opinion poll,
published by the International Herald Tribune in October 2003,
of 7,500 citizens in fifteen European nations,
indicating that Israel was considered the top threat to world peace,
ahead of North Korea, Iran, or Afghanistan.

The United Sates has used its U.N. Security Council veto more than forty times
to block resolutions critical of Israel.
Some of these vetoes have brought international discredit on the United States,
and there is little doubt that
the lack of a persistent effort to resolve the Palestinian issue
is a major source of anti-American sentiment and terrorist activity
throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world.

A new factor in the region is that the Palestinian election of January 2006
gave Hamas members control of the parliament
and a cabinet headed by the prime minister [Ismail Haniyeh].
Israel and the United States reacted by announcing
a policy of isolating and destabilizing the new government.
Elected officials are denied travel permits
to participate in parliamentary affairs,
Gaza is effectively isolated, and
every effort is made
to block humanitarian funds to Palestinians,
to prevent their right to employment or commercial trade, and
to deny them access to Israel and the outside world.

In order to achieve its goals,
Israel has decided to avoid any peace negotiations
and to escape even the mild restraints of the United States
by taking unilateral action, called “convergence” or “realignment,”
to carve out for itself the choice portions of the West Bank,
leaving Palestinians destitute within
a small and fragmented remnant of their own land.

[The next paragraph contains the sentence (the final one)
that has attracted so much unfavorable attention
from forces that support Israel’s current policies.]

[page 213]

An important fact to remember is that President Mahmoud Abbas
retains all presidential authority that was exercised by Yasir Arafat
when he negotiated the Oslo Agreement,
and the Hamas prime minister has stated that
his government supports peace talks between Israel and Abbas.
He added that
Hamas would modify its rejection of Israel
if there is a negotiated agreement that Palestinians can approve

(as specified in the Camp David Accords).
It is imperative that
the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups
make it clear that
they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism
when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace
are accepted by Israel.

[pages 214–216]

[Carter’s final words:]

Although a clear majority of Israelis are persistently willing to accept
terms that are tolerable to most of their Arab neighbors,
[if that were really true,
then why have Israelis spent the last forty years electing governments
that refuse to negotiate peace on those supposedly acceptable terms?]

it is clear that none of the options is attractive for all Israelis:
  1. A forcible annexation of Palestine and its legal absorption into Israel,
    which could give large numbers of non-Jewish citizens
    the right to vote and live as equals under the law.

    This would directly violate
    international standards and the Camp David Accords,
    which are the basis for peace with Egypt.
    At the same time,
    non-Jewish citizens would make up a powerful swing vote
    if other Israelis were divided and
    would ultimately constitute an outright majority in the new Greater Israel.
    Israel would be further isolated and condemned
    by the international community,
    with no remaining chance
    to end hostilities with any appreciable part of the Arab world.

  2. A system of apartheid,
    with two peoples occupying the same land
    but completely separated from each other,
    with Israelis totally dominant and
    suppressing violence
    by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights.

    This is the policy now being followed,
    although many citizens of Israel deride the racist connotation of
    prescribing permanent second-class status for the Palestinians.
    As one prominent Israeli stated,
    “I am afraid that we are moving toward
    a government like that of South Africa,
    with a dual society of Jewish rulers and
    Arab subjects with few rights of citizenship.
    The West Bank is not worth it.”
    An unacceptable medication of this choice, now being proposed,
    is the taking of substantial portions of the occupied territory,
    with the remaining Palestinians
    completely surrounded by walls, fences, and Israeli checkpoints,
    living as prisoners within the small portion of land left to them.

  3. Withdrawal to the 1967 border
    as specified in U.N. Resolution 242 and
    as promised in the Camp David Accords and the Oslo Agreement and
    as prescribed in the Roadmap of the International Quartet.

    This is the most attractive option and the only one
    that can ultimately be acceptable as a basis for peace.
    Good-faith negotiations can lead to mutually agreeable exchanges of land,
    perhaps permitting a significant number of Israeli settlers
    to remain in their present homes near Jerusalem.
    One version of this choice was spelled out in the Geneva Initiative.

The bottom line is this:
Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East
only when the Israeli government is willing to comply
with international law,
with the Roadmap for Peace,
with official American policy,
with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens—
and honor its own previous commitments—
by accepting its legal borders.

All Arab neighbors must pledge to honor
Israel’s right to live in peace under these conditions.
The United States is
squandering international prestige and goodwill and
intensifying global anti-American terrorism
unofficially condoning or abetting
the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories.

It will be a tragedy—for the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the world—
if peace is rejected and
a system of oppression, apartheid, and sustained violence
permitted to prevail.

There are two remarkable things about Carter’s words:
  • No other political leader of Carter’s stature
    has had the courage to say that
    Israel is as much to blame for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    as the Palestinians are.

  • No other political leader
    has had the courage to so clearly
    link anti-American terrorism to
    America’s support for Israel’s expansionist and oppressive policies.

Carter’s Legacy
by Martin Peretz
The New Republic Blog, 2006-11-28

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

I believe [Carter] feels deep rancor towards the Jews
and deeper rancor towards Israel.
And those feelings give him all the knowledge he thinks he needs....
[W]herever it comes from, it is now a part of his life and his legacy.
That’s how he will go down in history: as a Jew hater.

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid...Jimmy Carter In His Own Words
Jimmy Carter
Democracy Now!, 2006-11-30

Today on Democracy Now we are going to hear Jimmy Carter in his own words.
On [2006-11-28] he discussed his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
at an event in Virginia.

Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President, speaking November 28th, 2006.

Standing Up for Jimmy Carter’s Use of the Word ‘Apartheid’
by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss.com, 2006-12-07

Jimmy Carter Can't Say What Jewish Critics of Israel Are Free to Say
by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss.com, 2006-12-08

[An excerpt: emphasis is added.]

The paddling Jimmy Carter is receiving
for making criticisms of Israel that are common in Israel
demonstrates a law of the Israel conversation:
It is one thing for Jews to criticize Israel,
but it’s not O.K. for non-Jews to do so.


Abba Eban, the famously eloquent Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. ...
describes as absolutely key to Israel’s emergence
the very thing that the Times recently dismissed as an antisemitic delusion
Jewish influence on Harry Truman.

[So characteristic of the Jews: lying through their teeth to gentiles
(e.g., Dershowitz).
Which points out how Jews could fight anti-Semitism:
stop their double standards and deceit about their actions and influence.]


Eban is merely describing the workings of part of the Israel lobby.
For statements less emphatic than Eban’s,
Walt and Mearsheimer have been described in the press as antisemites.

Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine
Jimmy Carter says his recent book is drawing
knee-jerk accusations of anti-Israel bias.

By Jimmy Carter
Los Angeles Times, 2006-12-08

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The many controversial issues
concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel
are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations —
but not in the United States.
For the last 30 years,
I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints
on any free and balanced discussion of the facts.

This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government
is because of
the extraordinary lobbying efforts
of the American-Israel Political Action Committee

and the absence of any significant contrary voices.

It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to
  • espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine,

  • suggest that Israel comply with international law or

  • speak in defense of justice or human rights for Palestinians.
Very few would ever deign
to visit the Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City
or even Bethlehem
and talk to the beleaguered residents.
What is even more difficult to comprehend is
why the editorial pages
of the major newspapers and magazines in the United States
exercise similar self-restraint,

quite contrary to private assessments expressed quite forcefully
by their correspondents in the Holy Land.

[I think Carter is avoiding giving the obvious reason for this situation:
The combination of Jewish ownership of (much of) the media
and Jewish control of the advertising dollars on which the media is so dependent.
For an explanation along those lines, with examples, see, for example,
Paul Findley’s They Dare to Speak Out.]


Book reviews [of the book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid]
in the mainstream media
have been written mostly by representatives of Jewish organizations
who would be unlikely to visit the occupied territories,
and their primary criticism is that the book is anti-Israel.
Two members of Congress have been publicly critical.
Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for instance,
issued a statement (before the book was published) saying that
“he does not speak for the Democratic Party on Israel.”

[As another profile in cowardice,
note the outspoken desire of John McCain to expand our involvement in Iraq.
Can his hunger for the big dollars required to support his coming presidential campaign,
combined with his desire to continue being a media darling,
have anything to do with the fact that this strategy exactly dovetails
with what much of the rich and powerful Jewish community demands?]

What Would Jimmy Do?
A former president puts the onus for resolving the Mideast conflict
on the Israelis.
Jeffrey Goldberg’s review of Palestine Peace Not Apartheid
Washington Post Book World, 2006-12-10

[An excerpt from Goldberg’s review:]

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.
[The situation in the occupied territories seems to fit quite closely
the definition of apartheid,
except that
the distinction between Palestinians and Jews may not be viewed as racial.
But Jews often consider themselves as members of a distinct ethnic group,
and sometimes as a nation, tribe, or even race:
see the remarks of J.J. (not Jeffrey) Goldberg quoted here.
So even if Israel is not really an apartheid state by the strictest definition,
by a slightly looser definition it surely is.]

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.
[Yes, we often hear that argument.
But if that is “the actual raison d’etre for the fence,”
then why did the Israelis not build it along the 1967 boundary,
or something close to that,
perhaps even along a boundary negotiated with the Palestinian Authority?
If they had done so,
they would still have obtained the protective benefits of the fence,
and avoided the international opprobrium
that comes with their using it as what inescapably is a land grab.]

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 Conflict of Interest Issue
Carter’s book is critical of Israel, and to a certain extent of American Jews.
If the Washington Post wants to assign an American Jew to review it,
that is their privilege,
but would it not have been appropriate journalistic ethics
to inform the review’s readers that the reviewer was a Jew?
Put the shoe on another foot.
Many books critical of Islam have come out.
Should one be reviewed by a Muslim, and
should that review attempt to refute the anti-Muslim allegations in the book,
would it be ethical for the reviewing journal
to fail to inform its readers that the reviewer was a Muslim?
I think not.

But the situation is even worse than that.
Jeffrey Goldberg‘s connections to Israel do not stop with his Jewishness.
He has lived in Israel and served in the Israeli army.
I do not know how unbiased this is, but here is what Philip Weiss,
who is also Jewish, has said about Mr. Goldberg (emphasis is added):
Goldberg works for The New Yorker in Washington and because
he thought America was dangerous for Jews,
he moved to Israel and served in their army,
then he moved back here and pushed America to go to war in Iraq.
How can the WP consider it ethical to not inform its readers
that Goldberg has such close ties
to the subject of the book that he is reviewing?
Do ethical rules mean nothing when it comes to Jews?

Carter Book Stirs Furor With Its View of Israelis’ ‘Apartheid’
New York Times, 2006-12-14

‘How Many Bubbles in a Bar of Soap?’
Jimmy Carter Fails the Literacy Test

by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss.com, 2006-12-15

[A good article.]

Jimmy Carter Can Come,
If He Does a Dog-and-Pony With Dershowitz

by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss.com, 2006-12-19

Jimmy Carter, on Mission
by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss.com, 2006-12-23

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The venom he is encountering on the Jewish right is staggering.
Even I'm surprised.
Marty Peretz has called him a Jew-hater.
Shmuel Rosner, the Haaretz correspondent who not long ago
rated American presidential candidates
on the degree to which they ignored the Palestinian issue,
with obliviousness being a positive,
has branded him a likely antisemite.
And in doing so, subscribed to the most parochial formulations
offered by neoconservative Iraq-warrior Eliot Cohen.


Again the real journalistic responsibility here is
not to repeat the smears of the Rosners and Peretzes,
but to examine the simple question:
Is what Carter is saying of the Occupied Territories true?
Having been there, I say it is.

The Ludicrous Attacks on Jimmy Carter’s Book
Carter’s Real Sin is Cutting to the Heart of the Problem
by Norman Finkelstein
CounterPunch.com, 2006-12-28

[Note: Both this and the next Finkelstein article
may be read in a combined version at Finkelstein’s web site.]

As Jimmy Carter’s new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid climbs the bestseller list,
the reaction of Israel’s apologists scales new peaks of lunacy.
I will examine a pair of typical examples
and then look at the latest weapon to silence Carter.

Apartheid Analogy

No aspect of Carter's book has evoked more outrage than its identification of Israeli policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with apartheid. Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post called it "foolish and unfair," the Boston Globe editorialized that it was "irresponsibly provocative," while the New York Times reported that Jewish groups condemned it as "dangerous and anti-Semitic." (1)

In fact the comparison is a commonplace among informed commentators....

Partial or full withdrawal?

In order to discredit Carter the media keep citing the inflammatory rhetoric of his former collaborator at the Carter Center, Kenneth Stein.
On inspection, however, Stein's claims prove to be devoid of content....

[Continued in the next article.]

The Dershowitz Treatment
Slime Throwing as “Debate”
by Norman Finkelstein
CounterPunch.com, 2006-12-29

Jimmy Carter's book plainly threatens to ignite
a serious mainstream discussion of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
To avert such a disaster he just as plainly must be reduced to ridicule
and the debate turned into a circus.
Enter Alan Dershowitz.


Finkelstein vs. Gil Troy
On Jimmy Carter’s Controversial Book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”

Democracy Now!, 2007-01-08

Finkelstein debates Carter’s Book on Democracy Now!

A debate on the book with two leading scholars:

Jimmy Carter Speaks Truth to Propaganda
by Paul Craig Roberts
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-11

[This is an outstanding and vitally needed article.]

In Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,
Jimmy Carter takes the risk of speaking truth to propaganda.
Predictably, the Israel Lobby and its shills ranging from
the “conservative” National Review to “liberal” media and commentators
have attempted to banish Carter by labeling him an “anti-Semite.”

We must not let the Israel Lobby get away with demonizing
an American president who dares to stand up to their lies.


Zionists and American neoconservatives could care less
about what the world community thinks.
They are concerned only with Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

They realize that this goal can only be obtained with military coercion
and have discarded any reliance on negotiation and compromise.
Bush, for example,
has refused the unanimous recommendation of the Iraq Study Group
to talk with Iran and Syria.
The US and Israeli electorates have proven to be powerless,
while a handful of neoconservatives and Zionist settlers
drive Middle East policy.

Carter is well aware that the “Roadmap for Peace”
has been turned into a propaganda device.
Carter writes that Israel uses the roadmap
“as a delaying tactic
with an endless series of preconditions that can never be met
while proceeding with plans to implement its unilateral goals”....

The Israel Lobby and its bought-and-paid-for minions
tried to demonize Carter for using the word “apartheid”
to describe the Palestinian ghettos that Israel has created.
The word calls to mind
the former South African government’s policy of racial separation,
which was mild compared to the restrictions and dispossessions
Israel has imposed on Palestinians.
A number of commentators have come to Carter’s defense,
including Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein
and former Israeli Minister of Education Shulamit Aloni....
They point out that
within Israel itself Israel’s policy is commonly called apartheid.

If Americans could read the frank discussion in the Israeli press
about Israel’s inhuman treatment of Palestinians
they would wonder how they, as Americans with a “free press,”
became so totally brainwashed.

In an act of honest statesmanship that is rarely witnessed,
Carter concludes his book:

“The bottom line is this:
Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East
only when the Israeli government is willing to comply
with international law,
with the Roadmap for Peace,
with official American policy,
with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens –
and honor its own previous commitments –
by accepting its legal borders.
All Arab neighbors
must pledge to honor Israel’s right to live in peace under these conditions.
The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill
and intensifying global anti-American terrorism
by unofficially condoning or abetting
the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories.
It will be a tragedy – for the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the world –
peace is rejected and
a system of oppression, apartheid and sustained violence
is permitted to prevail.”

One can add to Carter’s bottom line that
the Bush administration,
American neoconservatives, and
the Olmert Israeli government
believe that the solution lies in the use of military force
to smash Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah and
to inflict cultural genocide on Muslims by deracinating Islam.
This is the path on which Bush with deceit and treachery is leading America.

Carter Center Advisers Quit to Protest Book
New York Times, 2007-01-12

Carter Center Advisers Resign Over New Book
By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post, 2007-01-12

When They Sandbag Jimmy Carter, Jewish Leaders Deny the Facts
by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss.com, 2007-01-12

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The campaign by the U.S. Jewish leadership to smear Jimmy Carter
will one day be taught in history books,
as an effort by a privileged elite to suppress the truth.
Slavery and segregation also had
powerful defenders who misrepresented those conditions.

The Case for Carter
by Yossi Beilin
Forward, 2007-01-16

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

[W]hat Carter says in his book about the Israeli occupation
and our treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories —
and perhaps no less important, how he says it —
is entirely harmonious with the kind of criticism
that Israelis themselves voice about their own country.

There is nothing in the criticism that Carter has for Israel
that has not been said by Israelis themselves.


I have read his book, and I could not help but agree — however agonizingly so —
with most if its contents.
Where I disagreed was mostly with the choice of language,
including his choice of the word “apartheid.”

But if we are to be fair, and as any reading of the book makes clear,
Carter’s use of the word “apartheid” is first and foremost metaphorical.
Underlying Israel’s policy in the West Bank, he argues, is not a racist ideology
but rather a nationalist drive for the acquisition of land.
The resulting violence,
and the segregationist policies that shape life in the West Bank,
are the ill-intended consequences of that drive.

Of course, there is no appropriate term in the political lexicon
for what we in Israel are doing in the occupied territories.
“Occupation” is too antiseptic a term,
and does not capture the social, cultural and humanitarian dimensions
of our actions.
Given the Palestinians’ role in the impasse at which we have arrived,
to say nothing of Arab states and, historically speaking,
of the superpowers themselves,
I would describe the reality of occupation as a march of folly —
an Israeli one, certainly, but not exclusively so.

But if we are to read Carter’s book for what it is,
I think we would find in it
an impassioned personal narrative of an American former president
who is reflecting on the direction in which Israel and Palestine may be going
if they fail to reach agreement soon.
Somewhere down the line — and symbolically speaking,
that line may be crossed the day that a minority of Jews will rule
a majority of Palestinians west of the Jordan River —
the destructive nature of occupation will turn Israel into a pariah state,
not unlike South Africa under apartheid.

A New Chance for Peace?
By Jimmy Carter
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2007-01-18

I am concerned that public discussion of my book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid
has been diverted from the book’s basic proposals:
that peace talks be resumed after six years of delay and
that the tragic persecution of Palestinians be ended.
Although most critics have not seriously disputed or even mentioned
the facts and suggestions about these two issues,
an apparently concerted campaign has been focused on the book’s title,
combined with allegations that I am anti-Israel.
This is not good for any of us who are committed to
Israel’s status as a peaceful nation
living in harmony with its neighbors.

Jimmy Carter's Jewish Problem
By Deborah Lipstadt
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2007-01-20

Hurricane Carter
by Henry Siegman
The Nation, 2007-01-22

Jimmy Carter's ‘Peace’ Mission To Brandeis
Ex-President Still Stands by His Controversial Palestine Book
By Michael Powell
Washington Post, 2007-01-24

Carter enters lions’ den
Despite criticism, his book is work of a true patriot
By Paul Findley
Chicago Tribune, 2007-02-07

Occupied Gaza like apartheid South Africa, says UN report
by Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
The Guardian, 2007-02-23

A UN human rights investigator has
likened Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories
to apartheid South Africa

and says there should be “serious consideration”
over bringing the occupation to the international court of justice.

The report by John Dugard,
a South African law professor who is the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories,
represents some of the most forceful criticism yet of Israel’s 40-year occupation.

Prof Dugard said although Israel and apartheid South Africa were different regimes,
“Israel’s laws and practices in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories]
certainly resemble aspects of apartheid.”
His comments are in an advance version of a report on the UN Human Rights Council’s website ahead of its session next month.

After describing the situation for Palestinians in the West Bank, with
closed zones, demolitions and preference given to settlers on roads, with building rights and by the army,
he said:
“Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action
is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians)
and systematically oppressing them?
Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose.
But such an intention or purpose may be inferred
from the actions described in this report.”

Apartheid Looks Like This
Another small indignity at an Israeli checkpoint
by Jonathan Cook
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-24

Honest Broker
Jimmy Carter’s book stirs a critical debate.
by Philip Weiss
American Conservative, 2007-02-26

Since the publication last November of Jimmy Carter’s book,
Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,
his critics have pretty much held the floor.
In fact, days before the book was available, its argument that
Palestinians suffer
“abominable oppression and persecution” at the hands of the Israelis
was dismissed outright
by Democratic Party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean,
as though it might harm their party in the midterm elections.
Their disavowals gave way to
the kind of vituperative feeling in pro-Israel quarters
that is usually saved for Holocaust deniers and Nazis:
Carter will go down in history as “a Jew-hater,”
according to The New Republic’s Martin Peretz;
the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Goldberg called him un-Christian
[Weiss makes that accusation here, referencing this review];
and Commentary published a long attack on Carter as
the very worst ex-President,”
a would be “prince of peace”
who was in fact a busybody with a martyr-wish,
embittered by his 1980 re-election defeat.

In January came news that
Carter’s views had cost him among his own former adherents.
Saying that
Carter had abandoned an honorable role as honest broker between two sides,
15 Jewish members of the Carter Center advisory board resigned en masse—
the sort of thrilling moral stand I hoped for, and never got,
during much bigger presidential flaps like
Clinton’s sexual harassment saga and Bush’s descent into Iraq.

The conventional wisdom seemed to be that Carter had damaged himself,
and badly.


‘Apartheid’ Book Exposes Carter-Clinton Rift
Clinton: ‘I Don’t Know Where His Information Came From’
by Jennifer Siegel
Jewish Daily Forward, 2007-03-30

Pass the Piñata, Please:
A Former President Regards the Current One

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post, 2007-04-05

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The 82-year-old Carter --
he twice referred to his presidency as “ancient” --
had two items on the agenda
as he accepted the Ridenhour “Courage Prize” [at the National Press Club]:
rehabilitating his image after a book of his
appeared to justify suicide bombings;

and adding whatever blemishes he could to the current president’s image.


Still, he [Carter] had problems of his own to address.
Demonstrators distributed leaflets at the press club
describing Carter as anti-Israel.
C-SPAN, in its broadcast,
labeled him not as the former president
but as “Author, ‘Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.’”
Of particular trouble for Carter:
a single sentence, later disavowed by the author,
proposing that Palestinians
“make it clear that
they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism
when international laws and the ultimate goals of the road map for peace
are accepted by Israel.”

Carter lamented the “ugly names” he has been called
and he listed his pro-Jewish and pro-Israel credentials.
“I was taught by my father every Sunday
about the special status of the Jewish people,”
he said at the awards luncheon.
“I visited Yad Vashem three times,” he added,
referring to Israel’s Holocaust memorial.

The defense continued during his subsequent news conference.
“In January, I received 6,100 letters,” he said.
“My staff tabulated them.
Seventy-nine percent were in favor of the book.”

Carter was studiously evenhanded yesterday, describing the
“half-century of suffering, of death, of persecution and of fear
experienced by the people of Israel and Palestine.”
He seemed angry as he closed his luncheon speech by asking lawmakers to
“do what is necessary to return America
to its honored position as a peacemaker.”

He walked away from the microphone after those words
without the customary “thank you” or “God bless.”


Imposing Middle East Peace
By Henry Siegman
The Nation, 2010-01-15

Israel’s relentless drive
to establish “facts on the ground” in the occupied West Bank,
a drive that continues in violation of even the limited settlement freeze
to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed himself,
seems finally to have succeeded in
locking in the irreversibility of its colonial project.
As a result of that “achievement,”
one that successive Israeli governments have long sought
in order to preclude the possibility of a two-state solution,
Israel has crossed the threshold from
“the only democracy in the Middle East” to
the only apartheid regime in the Western world.

The apartheid will end when Israelis have to face its cost
by Tony Karon
The National (UAE), 2010-02-07
(also available at tonykaron.com)

The former US president Jimmy Carter set off a firestorm in 2006
when he said that Israel would have to choose between
maintaining an apartheid occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and
a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians.
That Mr Carter brokered Israel’s most important peace treaty with an Arab country was immaterial;
he was branded an enemy of Israel, an anti-Semite and even a Holocaust-denier.

Israel’s friends in the US reacted out of instinct,
knowing that an association with apartheid –
South Africa’s erstwhile system of racial oppression –
would bring international condemnation and isolation.
But there was no word of protest from that quarter last week
when Israel’s defence minister said what Mr Carter had.
“If, and as long as between the Jordan (River) and the (Mediterranean) Sea
there is only one political entity, named Israel,
it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic,” warned Ehud Barak,
speaking at Israel’s annual Herzliya security conference.

“If the Palestinians vote in elections it is a binational state
and if they don’t vote it is an apartheid state.”

Which, of course, is exactly what Mr Carter was arguing.
The former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert warned in November 2007
that without a two-state solution,
Israel would “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights”,
which it would be unable to win
because American Jews would not support a state
that denies voting rights to all of its subjects.

Mr Olmert and Mr Barak, of course, raised the spectre of “apartheid”
to remind Israelis that they could face international isolation
if they remain indifferent to the fate of the Palestinians.
such warnings from Israelis come as if attached to a demographic time-bomb –
the idea that once Palestinians become
a majority of the population between the Jordan River and the sea,
Israel will be left in an apartheid situation.
But apartheid is a qualitative, not a quantitative notion:
it’s the denial of basic democratic rights to a whole category of people,
regardless of their numerical strength, that defines apartheid.

While it may have been couched as a warning about the future,
Mr Barak’s statement was actually a confession of the present state of affairs:
one state has controlled the territory between the Jordan and the Mediterranean since 1967, and
that state denies the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza
the right to vote for the government that rules them.

That is the essence of apartheid.

The rubric of “occupation” actually serves as a convenient fiction for Israel
because it suggests a temporary condition.
But at home, the Israelis have stopped pretending that
their presence in the West Bank is temporary.
They plan to keep major settlement blocs,
illegal under the rules of occupation as defined by the Geneva Convention,
in the Jordan Valley, East Jerusalem and so on.
For Israelis, there is no distinction in lifestyle or access
between living in the West Bank and living inside Israel’s 1967 borders –
the settlements are now little more than an extension of Israeli suburbia.

Equally fictitious is the notion that
there is a “peace” in the works that will change the situation.

Israel’s leaders are not prepared to offer a credible Palestinian state,
they are under no pressure, domestically or internationally, to do so.

[You can “thank” not only overt Zionists,
but also the PC liberal Protestant churches of America for that lack of pressure.
I recall a conversation I had with some Episcopalians back in 2006,
when Israel was destroying much of Lebanon, about that.
I asked if the members of a certain very politically correct Episcopal church
were concerned about the plight of the Palestinians.
In what I believe was a clear attempt to answer that question,
one of the lay leaders of that church
informed me that
the people in that church thought that
the Palestinians brought on their own problems.
She specifically cited the fact that
some West Bank churches had been fire-bombed
in response to a remark of Pope Benedict.
I asked her if she was equally concerned about
the destruction of mosques by Israel as part of its territorial expansion.
She (a retired CIA analyst!) said she knew nothing about that.
I guess empathy, American PC style, has its limits.]

Israeli public opinion has soured on the need for peace with the Palestinians, bottled up in Gaza and behind a security wall in the West Bank.
Why risk provoking a civil war with militant settlers
who are the backbone of the Israeli army
and threaten violence to hang onto the West Bank?
[Answer: Because it’s the right and just thing to do.
So much for the supposed Jewish interest in justice (evidently situational at best).]

In the old days, Yitzhak Rabin would say that Israel would
“pursue peace as if terror did not exist
and fight terror as if peace did not exist”.
For today’s Israelis, why pursue peace if terror has been contained?

By opening the peace process (but never concluding it)
Israel found itself increasingly integrated in a global society
with Europe and the US.
It’s football teams play in European leagues;
its supermodels grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition;
its hi-tech entrepreneurs are key players in the digital marketplace.
[Hmmmm.... Think I’d better not pursue that subject :-)]
Most Israelis never see Palestinians, except during stints in the military.
The “demographic” threat is an abstraction.

It should come as little surprise
that Israelis are cool towards Mr Obama’s peace effort:
Israel’s cost-benefit analysis weighs against
pursuing a peace agreement that carries risk.
There are no consequences for maintaining the status quo.
Unless Mr Obama and others can change that cost-benefit analysis,
they’re wasting their time.

It wasn’t a moral epiphany
that prompted Rabin to embrace the Oslo peace process;
it was his reading of the geopolitical situation at the end of the Gulf War,
and the assumption that Israel could not rely on unconditional US support.
But Mr Sharon and Mr Netanyahu subsequently proved that
Israel can, in fact, count on US support without concluding a two-state peace –
it simply must go through the motions of a “peace process”.

The apartheid fear for Israeli leaders
is not of the moral turpitude of maintaining such a system –
which they already do –
it’s a fear of this being recognised for what it is.

Mr Barak’s recent confession came in the same week
that South Africa celebrated the 20th anniversary of
its former president FW de Klerk’s announcement that
he would free Nelson Mandela and negotiate a political settlement.
Like Rabin, de Klerk was motivated by a strategic calculus.
Sanctions were beginning to bite, and with the Cold War all but over
the US government made clear that they would not come to de Klerk’s aid.
Maintaining apartheid
would leave the regime isolated and increasingly impoverished.
The cost of maintaining the status quo offset
the risks of heading down the uncertain road of peace.

The Israelis are not going to dismantle
what Mr Barak has essentially admitted is an apartheid system
unless the consequences of maintaining it become prohibitive.
As long as they can count on unconditional support in the West,
the Israelis will go through the motions but maintain the status quo.

The optimist might even read Mr Barak’s “apartheid” admission as a cry for help:
certainly, those Israeli leaders serious about a two-state solution
are unlikely to make any headway
unless they can demonstrate to their own people that
the cost of maintaining the status quo have become too high.
But they can only do this if Mr Obama shows Israelis the consequences.

[Just a thought about the American political scene:
It sure looks to me like
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is way too in bed with her Jewish pals (e.g.)
to ever stand up for justice for Palestinians and
the American national interest in supporting such justice.
So, by her appeasement of Israel and its American friends,
she, and the American political system,
keeps giving Muslims more well-justified reason to hate America.

For a possible response to this column
(at least an opposing view on the subject),
see the 2010-03-02 Richard Cohen Washington Post column,
which in turn was answered by Glenn Greenwald on the same day.]

Dredging up the Israel/apartheid question
By Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2010-03-02

With seemingly no trigger,
Richard Cohen woke up today and decided to write about
a long-standing though not particularly relevant (and largely semantic) controversy:
whether the word “apartheid” is properly applied to Israel
due to its control of the West Bank and Gaza,
whose non-Jewish residents have no democratic rights
in the country that rules over their land.

[I also noted that Cohen op-ed, and made the supposition that
what had put apartheid in Cohen’s mind
was the four-week earlier Tony Karon column.]

This time apartheid has western complicity
by Chas Freeman
Mondoweiss.net, 2010-03-03

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