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Israel Redux

November 30, 2006

I received a strong reaction–both positive and negative–to my show last week criticizing the terrorist tactics of the Palestinian Arabs who focus most of their ire (strapping bombs on their children and in ambulances, raining missiles, etc.) on Israeli civilians while protecting terrorists with “human shields” to force Israel to shoot women and children in order to capture bloodthirsty killers. Now, of course, there is a cease fire.
While the cease fire can only be considered a good thing, we still have an elected Palestinian Government dedicated to “wiping Israel off the map” and Palestinian citizens voting for Israel’s destruction over their own well-being including an independent state and a permanent peace. Why would people vote for hopelessness, despair, war and destruction over a better life for them and their children? I’ve never understood this.
Critics of Israel claim Israel alone, unlike all the other nations of the earth, has no right to self defense when attacked. They usually argue, as a listener “Joe” Singh on my blog did, that Israel has an “illegal military occupation of palestinian land.” But what does this mean? Why is conquering territory in a defensive war considered “illegal” by Israel and legal by France over Alsace-Lorraine and the USA over California and Texas? How are Jewish settlements on formerly empty hills Palestinian any more than Israeli? How is Israel any less “legitimate” than the United States of America whose early settlers killed, by force or disease, 90% of the native inhabitants? Isn’t the Jewish claim to the land–which is older than the Arab claim–superior to the white man’s claim to American soil?
And how can Israel possibly reach out its hand and allow free movement of people that are sworn to the destruction of the Jewish State? It is really a good idea to hand one’s children over to a group of people that has killed some of them and swears they will do so again until all are gone? Why should Israel give ANY concessions to a bloodthirsty Palestinian Government until it shows it wants peace and can actually control the violence?
In essence, while I support an independent Kurdistan and an independent Jewish State (the Kurds and Jews have been persecuted for millennia and have no other refuge) and I have no problem with even an independent Basque State, the need for another independent Arab State — the 23rd or 24th in a region that already has land encompassing 600(!) times the State of Israel–is less clear to me. So while I do support yet another independent Arab State in Gaza and much of the West Bank, I DO not support its creation at the cost of sacrificing Israel to it.
“Joe” Singh strongly disagrees with me, as you can see from our discussion posted on the November 21 blog. I’ve invited Mr. Singh on the show with me today to discuss these matters further. All of you are welcome, of course, to join in the lively debate, whether you agree with me, Mr. Singh, or you have your own views on the matter.

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  • Some things aren't about money December 26, 2006 9:35 am

    Perhaps Carter realizes the role of the peacemaker is not to be a part of the battlefield–but to be apart from the battlefield

  • Why Does Jimmy Carter Refuse to Debate the Lies in His Book? Arab Money, Perhaps? December 25, 2006 9:28 pm

    By Jacob Laksin | December 18, 2006
    Nothing demonstrates more clearly the defects of Jimmy Carter?s latest brief against Israel, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, than the ex-president?s reluctance to defend the book on its merits. Rather than take up that unenviable task, Carter has sought to shift the focus away from the criticism — especially as it concerns the book?s serial distortions and outright falsehoods — and onto the critics.
    In particular, Carter claims that critics are compromised by their support for Israel, their ties to pro-Israel lobbying organizations, and — a more pernicious charge — their Jewish background. In interviews about his book, Carter has seldom missed an opportunity to invoke what he calls the ?powerful influence of AIPAC,? with the subtext that it is the lobbying group, and not his slanderous charges about Israel, that is mainly responsible for mobilizing popular outrage over Palestine. In a related line of defense, Carter has singled out ?representatives of Jewish organizations? in the media as the prime culprits behind his poor reviews and ?university campuses with high Jewish enrollment? as the main obstacle to forthright debate about his book on American universities. (Ironically, when challenged last week by Alan Dershowitz to a debate about his book at Brandeis University, which has a large Jewish student body, Carter rejected the invitation.)
    Bluster aside, Carter?s chief complaint seems to be that anyone who identifies with Israel, whether in the form of individual support or in a more organized capacity, is incapable of grappling honestly with the issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict. But Carter is poorly placed to make this claim. If such connections alone are sufficient to discredit his critics, then by his own logic Carter is undeserving of a hearing. After all, the Carter Center, the combination research and activist project he founded at Emory University in 1982, has for years prospered from the largesse of assorted Arab financiers.
    Especially lucrative have been Carter?s ties to Saudi Arabia. Before his death in 2005, King Fahd was a longtime contributor to the Carter Center and on more than one occasion contributed million-dollar donations. In 1993 alone, the king presented Carter with a gift of $7.6 million. And the king was not the only Saudi royal to commit funds to Carter?s cause. As of 2005, the king?s high-living nephew, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, has donated at least $5 million to the Carter Center.
    Meanwhile the Saudi Fund for Development, the kingdom?s leading loan organization, turns up repeatedly on the center?s list of supporters. Carter has also found moneyed allies in the Bin Laden family, and in 2000 he secured a promise from ten of Osama bin Laden’s brothers for a $1 million contribution to his center. To be sure, there is no evidence that the Bin Ladens maintain any contact with their terrorist relation. But applying Carter?s own standard, his extensive contacts with the Saudi elite must make his views on the Middle East suspect.
    High praise for Carter?s work — and not inconsiderable financial support — also comes from the United Arab Emirates. In 2001, Carter even traveled to the country to accept the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, named for Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, the late UAE potentate and former president-for-life. Having claimed his $500,000 purse, Carter enthused that the ?award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan al-Nahyan.? Carter also hailed the UAE as an ?almost completely open and free society? — a surreal depiction of a rigidly authoritarian country where the government handpicks a select group of citizens to vote and strictly controls the editorial content of the newspapers and where Islamic Shari?a courts judge ?sodomy? punishable by death. (To appreciate the depth of Carter?s cynicism, one need only compare his gushing encomia to the emirates with his likening of Israel, the most modern and democratic country in the entire Middle East, with the racist ?apartheid? of South Africa.)
    On top of these official honors, Carter was offered a forum at the Abu Dhabi-based Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow Up, the country?s official ?think-tank.? For his part, Carter declared his intention to forge a ?partnership? with the center; in a 2002 letter, Carter praised its efforts to ?promote peace, health, and human rights around the world.? Inconveniently for Carter, the center has since become famous for a different reason: It has repeatedly played host to anti-Semitic speakers who have denied the Holocaust, supported terrorism, and alleged an international conspiracy of Jews and Zionists to dominate the world. (Harvard University, in contrast to Carter?s enthusiasm for Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, rejected a $2.5 million from the ruler in 2004 due to his ties to the Zayed Center.)
    Nor does this exhaust the list of Carter?s backers in the Arab world. Still other supporters include Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who sits atop Oman?s absolute monarchy. An occasional host to Carter, the sultan has also made generous contributions to his center. Prior to inviting Carter for a ?personal visit? in 1998, the sultan pledged $1 million to the Carter Center, promising additional support in the future. Similarly, Morocco?s Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdallah, the second in line to the kingdom?s throne, has in the past partnered with Carter on the center?s initiatives.
    On its face, there is nothing objectionable about these contacts. What has raised critics? eyebrows is Carter?s immense chutzpah: In securing the financial support of assorted Arab leaders, Carter has gradually come to parrot their anti-Israel political agenda — even as he styles himself as a dispassionate mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    This was nowhere more evident than in Carter?s credulous support for the late Yasir Arafat. Although Carter had championed Araft as a committed peacemaker since his presidency, in the face of ample evidence to the contrary, his apologies for the terrorist chieftain became particularly shameless in the 1990s. When Arafat and his PLO backed Saddam Hussein?s invasion of Kuwait, thereby loosing the support and — more important for the corrupt Arafat — the funding of neighboring Sunni Arab powers, Carter embarked on a Middle East publicity tour to revive Arafat?s diminishing fortunes. As recorded by Carter biographer Douglas Brinkley, ?together [Carter and Arafat] strategized on how to recover the PLO?s standing in the United States.? In desperation, Carter turned up in Saudi Arabia on what Brinkley called ?essentially a fund-raising mission for the PLO,? pleading with King Fahd to restore Arafat to the Saudi dole.
    Now that Arafat?s Fatah has been replaced with Hamas, Carter has again proven himself a reliable ally of Palestinian extremism. Scarcely had the terrorist group ascended to power last January than Carter launched a media blitz urging the United States to circumvent its own laws against financing terrorism in order to fund Hamas. As the New York Times put with exquisite finesse, Carter called on Western nations to “redirect their relief aid to United Nations organizations and nongovernmental organizations to skirt legal restrictions? — that is, to launder money to a terrorist group. When American policymakers declined to heed his advice, and Israel proved unwilling to bankroll the enemy seeking its destruction, Carter promptly denounced the both countries for their ?common commitment to eviscerate the government of elected Hamas.?
    With its relentless disparagement of Israel and its reckless abuse of the historical record, Carter?s latest book may fairly be seen as the logical culmination of his many years of anti-Israel incitement. There was of course no shortage of clues about Carter?s sympathies in his earlier books. In his 2004 memoir Sharing Good Times, for instance, Carter recalled the trips he has taken over the years to Arab dictatorships in Syria and Saudi Arabia and noted with evident satisfaction that he was ?always greeted with smiles and friendship.?
    Readers may be forgiven for finding nothing shocking in this admission. Carter may still harbor illusions of grandeur, seeing himself as an instrument of peace in the Middle East. But an altogether different element explains his enduring popularity in Arab capitals: Not for all the millions they have sunk into the Carter Center over the years could Arab elites have hoped to purchase such a prominent and willing propaganda tool.

  • No one said it would be easy December 22, 2006 7:25 pm

    The Jewish problem is not Jimmy Carter but Jewish inability to come to grips with their own defensiveness, subjugation of the Palestinians, and paranoid hatred of their persecuted past that they project on themselves into the future by not being able to offer an olive branch to their fears
    The test of the Holocaust will remain with them as long as they seek a solution with the spear–the force of their own violence will keep them in the recurring cycle of their pain that can only be broken with the wisdom of atonement
    Jews don’t blame Jimmy Carter–blame your own inability to find a way to the altar through the forgiveness of your hearts–try to see as God sees–that quest is its own reward

  • Jimmy Carter's Jewish Problem December 21, 2006 12:31 pm

    Jimmy Carter’s Jewish Problem
    By Jason Maoz | November 30, 2006
    For those with eyes to see, there were hints as far back as the 1976
    presidential campaign of the trouble to come. Early that year, Harper’s
    magazine published “Jimmy Carter’s Pathetic Lies,” a devastating exposé
    of Carter’s record in Georgia by a then little-known journalist named
    Steven Brill.
    Reg Murphy, who as editor of the Atlanta Constitution had kept a close
    eye on Carter’s rise in state politics, declared, “Jimmy Carter is one
    of the three or four phoniest men I ever met.”
    Speechwriter Bob Shrum quit the Carter campaign after just a few weeks,
    disgusted with what he described as Carter’s penchant for fudging the
    truth. He also related that Carter, convinced the Jewish vote in the
    Democratic primaries would go to Senator Henry (“Scoop”) Jackson, had
    instructed his staff not to issue any more statements on the Middle East.
    “Jackson has all the Jews anyway,” Shrum quoted Carter as saying. “We
    get the Christians.”
    Relations between Carter and Israel were tense from the outset of the
    Carter presidency. Carter’s hostility was evident to Israeli foreign
    minister Moshe Dayan, who in his memoir Breakthrough described a July
    1977 White House meeting between Carter and Israeli officials. “You are
    more stubborn than the Arabs, and you put obstacles on the path to
    peace,’’ an angry Carter scolded Dayan and his colleagues.
    “Our talk,” Dayan wrote, “lasted more than an hour and was most
    unpleasant. President Carter…launched charge after charge against
    On October 1, 1977, the U.S. and the Soviet Union unexpectedly issued a
    joint statement on the Middle East calling for an Arab-Israeli peace
    conference in Geneva, with the participation of Palestinian
    representatives. The communiqué marked the first time the U.S.
    officially employed the phrase “legitimate rights of the Palestinian
    Reaction in the U.S. was immediate and furious. “[A] political
    firestorm erupted,” wrote historian Steven Spiegel. “After American
    officials had worked successfully for years to reduce Russian influence
    over the Mideast peace process and in the area as whole, critics could
    not understand why the administration had suddenly invited Moscow to
    Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who five years earlier had expelled
    thousands of Soviet military advisers from Egypt, neither liked nor
    trusted the Russians, and decided to kill the U.S.-Soviet initiative in
    the womb. His decision to go to Jerusalem to address the Knesset
    electrified the world and caught the Carter administration completely
    off guard.
    Eventually the U.S. would broker what became known as the Camp David
    Accords and oversee the signing of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace
    treaty. But Carter was far from a dispassionate third party. His
    disdain for Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and near hero-worship
    of Sadat were clearly reflected in his demeanor and has informed nearly
    everything he’s written on the Middle East since leaving office.
    In The Unfinished Presidency, his book about Carter’s post-White House
    activities, the liberal historian Douglas Brinkley provides a detailed
    account of the former president’s obsession with helping Palestinian
    terror chief Yasir Arafat polish his image. Carter, according to
    Brinkley, regularly advised Arafat on how to shape his message for
    Western journalists and even wrote some speeches for him.
    Carter was also a vocal critic of Israeli policies and “view[ed] the
    unarmed young Palestinians who stood up against thousands of Israel
    soldiers as ‘instant heroes,’” wrote Brinkley. “Buoyed by the intifada,
    Carter passed on to the Palestinians, through Arafat, his congratulations.”
    Former New York mayor Ed Koch, in his 1984 bestseller Mayor, recounted
    a conversation he had shortly before the 1980 election with Cyrus
    Vance, who’d recently resigned as Carter’s secretary of state. Koch
    told Vance that many Jews would not be voting for Carter because they
    feared “that if he is reelected he will sell them out.”
    “Vance,” recalled Koch, “nodded and said, ‘He will.’ ”
    In Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert
    Relationship, Andrew and Leslie Cockburn revealed that during a March
    1980 meeting with his senior political advisers, Carter, discussing his
    fading reelection prospects and his sinking approval rating in the
    Jewish community, snapped, “If I get back in, I’m going to [expletive]
    the Jews.”
    Carter – such was the country’s good fortune – did not get back in. But
    as evidenced by his years of pro-Palestinian advocacy, reams of
    anti-Israel op-ed articles, and the release last week of his latest
    book/screed, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, he’s been trying to
    [expletive] the Jews ever since.