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PuPP's Theories Forum > WAR and POLITICS > Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine

Posted by: Ganesh2005 Dec 10 2006, 07:40 AM
Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine
By Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States.
December 8, 2006
Jimmy Carter says his recent book is drawing knee-jerk accusations of anti-Israel bias. His newest book is "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," published last month. He is scheduled to sign books Monday at Vroman's in Pasadena.
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I signed a contract with Simon & Schuster two years ago to write a book about the Middle East, based on my personal observations as the Carter Center monitored three elections in Palestine and on my consultations with Israeli political leaders and peace activists.

We covered every Palestinian community in 1996, 2005 and 2006, when Yasser Arafat and later Mahmoud Abbas were elected president and members of parliament were chosen. The elections were almost flawless, and turnout was very high — except in East Jerusalem, where, under severe Israeli restraints, only about 2% of registered voters managed to cast ballots.

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, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to 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.

With some degree of reluctance and some uncertainty about the reception my book would receive, I used maps, text and documents to describe the situation accurately and to analyze the only possible path to peace: Israelis and Palestinians living side by side within their own internationally recognized boundaries. These options are consistent with key U.N. resolutions supported by the U.S. and Israel, official American policy since 1967, agreements consummated by Israeli leaders and their governments in 1978 and 1993 (for which they earned Nobel Peace Prizes), the Arab League's offer to recognize Israel in 2002 and the International Quartet's "Roadmap for Peace," which has been accepted by the PLO and largely rejected by Israel.

The book is devoted to circumstances and events in Palestine and not in Israel, where democracy prevails and citizens live together and are legally guaranteed equal status.

Although I have spent only a week or so on a book tour so far, it is already possible to judge public and media reaction. Sales are brisk, and I have had interesting interviews on TV, including "Larry King Live," "Hardball," "Meet the Press," "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," the "Charlie Rose" show, C-SPAN and others. But I have seen few news stories in major newspapers about what I have written.

Book reviews 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." Some reviews posted on call me "anti-Semitic," and others accuse the book of "lies" and "distortions." A former Carter Center fellow has taken issue with it, and Alan Dershowitz called the book's title "indecent."

Out in the real world, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I've signed books in five stores, with more than 1,000 buyers at each site. I've had one negative remark — that I should be tried for treason — and one caller on C-SPAN said that I was an anti-Semite. 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 and to answer questions from students and professors. I have been most encouraged by prominent Jewish citizens and members of Congress who have thanked me privately for presenting the facts and some new ideas.

The book describes the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between Palestine's citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank. An enormous imprisonment wall is now under construction, snaking through what is left of Palestine to encompass more and more land for Israeli settlers. In many ways, this is more oppressive than what blacks lived under in South Africa during apartheid.

I have made it clear that the motivation is not racism but the desire of a minority of Israelis to confiscate and colonize choice sites in Palestine, and then to forcefully suppress any objections from the displaced citizens. Obviously, I condemn any acts of terrorism or violence against innocent civilians, and I present information about the terrible casualties on both sides.

The ultimate purpose of my book is to present facts about the Middle East that are largely unknown in America, to precipitate discussion and to help restart peace talks (now absent for six years) that can lead to permanent peace for Israel and its neighbors. Another hope is that Jews and other Americans who share this same goal might be motivated to express their views, even publicly, and perhaps in concert. I would be glad to help with that effort.


Posted by: Mark Dec 10 2006, 02:32 PM
The book describes the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between Palestine's citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank. An enormous imprisonment wall is now under construction, snaking through what is left of Palestine to encompass more and more land for Israeli settlers. In many ways, this is more oppressive than what blacks lived under in South Africa during apartheid.

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Posted by: Mark Dec 10 2006, 04:09 PM
While some people receive a lot of greeting cards at Xmas, I only get a couple. However, one greeting card that I have received every year for a few years is from Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter.

IMO, Nancy Pelosi should be deported to Israel


"Two members of Congress have been publicly critical [of President Carter and his new book]. 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."

She also recently claimed all Americans agreed with her unquestioning support of Israel.

Where does she get off claiming to speak for a vast majority of Americans on the issue of Israel? She sure doesn't speak for me.

She doesn't speak for me either!

Posted by: Mark Dec 13 2006, 04:12 AM
Here's a related article....

'Israel Is A Rabid State'
By William Hughes
©By the author - All rights reserved
Israel and the Apartheid-era South Africa regime have a lot in common, said William Fletcher. They are both "settler states," who created myths that God had given them "the land," and that the land "was unoccupied upon arrival."

They also both portrayed themselves as "victims" and their aggressions as a "defensive act." Fletcher said: "Israel is a rabid state," which is capable of a maniacal act, like "unleashing a nuclear weapon."

"'Imprisonment Wall' is more descriptive than 'Security Fence.'" - Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President, in writing about Israel's notorious Apartheid Wall. (1)

WASHINGTON, DC -- "The logic of both Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa can be found in their common origins as settler states," said Professor William Fletcher. On Dec. 1, 2006, he gave a talk at the Palestine Center, entitled, "Two Walled Cities: Jerusalem and Johannesburg, Apartheid and Palestine." Fletcher emphasized: "In both cases the settlers created myths, semi-religious or explicitly religious, including that God had provided the land for them and that the land was unoccupied upon arrival...In both cases, the settlers portrayed themselves to be victims against the natives, who were described as semi-barbaric and/or intolerant. Given the permanent state of siege, every settler state's aggression came to be described as a defensive act." (2)

Fletcher, a native of New York City, was a former assistant to President John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO and the ex-CEO of the TransAfrica Forum. He is presently the Belle Zeller Visiting Professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. A graduate of Harvard, in 1976, with a B.A. degree in Government, he now lives in Maryland with his family. In his youth, Fletcher dabbled in the politics of the Black Panther Party and helped to form a "Black Student Alliance" on his high school campus. (3)

Continuing, Fletcher said: "For the settler state, [Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa], there is a zero sum calculation when it comes to the natives. This does not necessarily mean that the natives necessarily must be annihilated, but it does mean the natives can never be allowed to prevail. In this context, one can look at Jerusalem and Apartheid-era Johannesburg as emblematic of settlers' strategy and of the settler state as a whole. Though there are significant differences between Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa, e. g. the religious significance of Jerusalem, the settlers' approach in both cases in these cities shares much in common. In the case of Jerusalem, the entire city has been seized by the settlers, who have no intention of sharing it with the Palestinians. The settler plan is one of driving out the Palestinians through a combination of intimidation and inconvenience, otherwise known as psychological warfare. That is the painful difficulty encountered by Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem. Johannesburg, however, was constructed to be for whites only." (2)

More tie-ins between the duo regimes: While Nelson Mandela, later the first President of a free South Africa, languished in a prison cell for close to 27 years, mostly on Robben Island, the Apartheid-era South African clique and the government of Zionist Israel were in bed together. The authors, Edward Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan, experts on state terrorism, wrote: "[They] had a de facto military alliance for many years, and Israel had given support to all of South Africa's terrorist clients, including UNITA and RENAMO." (4) In 1979, there was even media speculation that Israel-South Africa had jointly tested "a nuclear weapon" in the Indian Ocean. Both governments denied that charge. (5)

Fletcher underscored: "Each settler state has handled its indigenous population somewhat differently...In South Africa...the premium was placed on the removal of the natives from the land and their sociopolitical marginalization. In the case of Palestine, I would argue a bit of both seems to be underway. Though the emphasis seems to be on the removal from land. In both the Occupied Territories and Apartheid-era South Africa, the settler state wishes to make the situation so inhospitable that the indigenous people leave on their own. It combines violent coercion with what can be described as...psychological warfare...Just as the Apartheid-era South African regime presented itself to the world as visonary...creating those fictitious Homelands...with limited resources...[for the natives] too, do the Israelis when it comes to their vision of a Palestinian state or statelet." (2)

A question was raised by an audience member about ex-President Jimmy Carter's new book and about Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) criticism of the use of the word "Apartheid" in its title. (1) Fletcher responded: "I think [Conyers] should have just kept his mouth shut...I was very troubled by that. And, I have to say to some extent, I was surprised...He needs to hear from his friends...This was really off-the-wall. This was wrong."

Relevant to Fletcher's theme, former President Jimmy Carter put the nub of the Israel-Palestine question this way in his latest best selling book: "The overriding problem is that, for more than a quarter century, the actions of some Israeli leaders have been in direct conflict with the official policies of the United States, the international community, and their own negotiated agreements. Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land. In order to perpetuate the occupation, Israeli forces have deprived their unwilling subjects of basic human rights. No objective person could personally observe existing conditions in the West Bank and dispute these statements." (1)

If the above didn't hit home hard enough, President Carter added this mega zinger: "The 'Wall' ravages many places along its devious route that are important to Christians. In addition to enclosing Bethlehem in one of its most notable intrusions, an especially heartbreaking division is on the southern slope of the Mount of Olives, a favorite place for Jesus and his disciples, and very near Bethany, where they often visited Mary, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. There is a church named for one of the sisters, Santa Marta Monastery, where Israel's thirty-foot concrete wall cuts through the property. The house of worship is now on the Jerusalem side, and its parishioners are separated from it because they cannot get permits to enter Jerusalem. Its priest, Father Claudio Ghilardi, says, 'For nine hundred years we have lived here under Turkish, British, Jordanian, and Israeli governments, and no one has ever stopped people coming to pray. It is scandalous. This is not about a barrier. It is a border. Why don't they speak the truth?' Countering Israeli arguments that the wall is to keep Palestinian suicide bombers from Israel, Father Claudio adds a comment that describes the path of the entire barrier: 'The Wall is not separating Palestinians from Jews; rather Palestinians from Palestinians.' Nearby are three convents that will also be cut off from the people they serve. The 2,000 Palestinian Christians have lost their place of worship and their spiritual center." (1)

Getting back to Fletcher. He said: "The Carter's book offers a really great opportunity for people to say, 'The guy is right.' Even if that is all we say, it starts to have an impact. I'm convinced, particularly that when I look at the poll numbers in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon...that we actually can shift opinion." Throughout his talk, Fletcher also gave vivid examples of the evils of colonialism, with regard to the massive crimes of the British in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and in Ireland. (6)

Fletcher mentioned, too, the defeat in the Democratic Primary of Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) in the last election and how she was targeted by the Zionists for daring to speak out for human rights for the Palestinians. He said, "Zionist elements wanted her out!" Fletcher said she was an "apparition that floated behind every member of the Congressional Black Caucus." He added, people who support a free and democratic Palestine need to learn how to organize and "to mobilize" politically around that issue. That can mean, he argued, giving candidates who are under attack, like McKinney, money for their campaign and volunteers. "There is no room for lethargy. Wishful thinking," the idea that if a candidate does the right thing, people will rush in to support the politico, "is the problem."

Finally, Fletcher made this chilling statement, with regard to Israel-Palestine, he said: "Clearly, there are economic objectives that are there in terms of seizing the land-getting the best land...But, the Israeli state is a rabid state. And, I don't think that we should ever assume that they wouldn't do something maniacal. You know, like unleashing a nuclear weapon, if they felt that they had to, regardless of the consequences. And, I think that they would do so with the assumption that the U.S. would support them."


1. "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" by Jimmy Carter.
See also,
4. "The Terrorism Industry: The Experts and Institutions that Shape our View of Terrorism" by Edward Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan.

© William Hughes 2006.

William Hughes is the author of "Saying 'No' to the War Party" ( He can be reached at

Posted by: uggliozzi Dec 13 2006, 03:05 PM
Every side in the ME is wrong. Every side has committed atrocities. Every side needs to take a good look at itself. Every side needs to identify those who committed humanitarian offences and punish them severely, without mercy and without deference to rank or status.

The immigration of people aligned by religion and not genetics clouds the issue but the fact is that the bulk of the people involved in ME conflict are really cousins. Genetics show that the peoples of the ME are the same sub-race - they are ALL semites! There is no case of one race invading the space of another - they are all the one people! The current conflict is the continuance of tribal clashes that have raged, on and off, for six thousand years. Biblical "evidence" of enslavement, escape, wandering in the wilderness and conquest of promised land is just an allegory to spice up the story of the conquest of one tribe and its eviction from its home range and the subsequent return of that tribe to its home range after it spent some time rebuilding itself in harsh lands.

The only solution is for every side to declare the slate clean and start again but when we have one religion which preaches revenge by murder and charges every family member to blood crimes and another which believes that it commits no sin because they are God's chosen people there is no chance of that. Then there is the capitalist factor - conflict is a major source of income for capitalism - there is no way capitalism will allow peace.

Peace provides prosperity for ordinary people - war makes prosperity for those without conscience ie. the rich.

Take a look at war throughout human history. The poor never make war because they are too busy surviving. War can only exist when wealth exists.

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