Posted by lex, on December 21, 2006
Jimmy Carter – who really should have stuck to building habitats for humanity – stuck his foot in the door recently, when he published the bizarrely titled, “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.” He claimed the book was intended to be deliberately provocative, in order to spur debate. Harvard law prof Alan Dershowitz threw the door wide open to accept the challenge. Carter told him, “No thanks.”
Turns out he really only wanted to debate with people who agreed with him:
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.”
Carter’s book has been condemned as “moronic” (Slate), “anti-historical” (The Washington Post), “laughable” (San Francisco Chronicle), and riddled with errors and bias in reviews across the country. Many of the reviews have been written by non-Jewish as well as Jewish critics, and not by “representatives of Jewish organizations” as Carter has claimed. Carter has gone even beyond the errors of his book in interviews, in which he has said that the situation in Israel is worse than the crimes committed in Apartheid South Africa. When asked whether he believed that Israel’s “persecution” of Palestinians was “[e]ven worse . . . than a place like Rwanda,” Carter answered, “Yes. I think — yes.”
When Larry King referred to my review several times to challenge Carter, Carter first said I hadn’t read the book and then blustered, “You know, I think it’s a waste of my time and yours to quote professor Dershowitz. He’s so obviously biased, Larry, and it’s not worth my time to waste it on commenting on him.”
He’s right of course. Dershowitz is biased. We all are, you, me, Dershowitz. Jimmy Carter.
I’m biased into believing that internationally recognized democratic states ought to have the right to defend themselves from terror attacks. I’m biased into believing that if those states choose to enter into existential negotiations with their neighbors, they have the right to expect that those neighbors are negotiating in good faith. When a state agrees to negotiate the terms of its continued existence with those who have been hostile to that idea, they’ve got the right to ask for up front evidence of that good faith. That’s my bias.
Jimmy Carter’s bias is that he wants to believe he is important, that he’s a player, that he made a difference. The only signal achievement during his one-term presidency was the Camp David peace accords, resulting in the normalization of relations between Israel and Egypt. It was a significant achievement, and re-ordered middle eastern politics forever. It did not however, bring an end to all hostility in the region, as Syria, Iraq, Iran and elements within both the Saudi government and GCC states remained implacably hostile to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state.
The fact remains that the mullacracies, thugocracies and assorted tyrannies in the region are far too wedded to their judenhasse both instinctively and as a ready-made excuse for their own manifest deficiencies to change their public position: That Israel’s existence is illegitimate, and that if the Jews cannot be frightened into leaving by acts of random terror then they should be pushed into the sea. After that, well, we can open discussions on the status of al Andalus.
If the Arab states cannot be moved towards accommodation, then in Carter’s mind the only thing that will cement his peacemaking cred is that Israel seek an accommodation with the forces seeking its demographic destruction. How bitterly he must resent their reluctance to negotiate the terms of their own destruction. It’s his legacy at stake.
If it’s a debate he wants, Professor Dershowitz will give it to him:
When Jimmy Carter’s ready to speak at Brandeis, or anywhere else, I’ll be there. If he refuses to debate, I will still be there — ready and willing to answer falsity with truth in the court of public opinion.
Carter is right, of course, to leave the gauntlet on the ground. There’s no point in trying to defend the indefensible.