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Commentary on Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid

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Commentary on Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
Cover showing the author, left, and protesters at the Israeli West Bank barrier, right
Author Jimmy Carter
Cover artist Michael Accordino
Country United States
Language English
Subject Political Science
Genre Non-fiction
Published 2006 (Simon & Schuster)
Media type Print (hardcover), Audiobook (Audio CD)
Pages 264 pp
OCLC 71275670
956.04 22
LC Class DS119.7 .C3583 2006

This article attempts to summarize and illustrate selected notable representative critical reaction to and commentary on the book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006) by former president Jimmy Carter, which has been highly controversial. The reception of the book has itself raised further controversy, occasioning Carter's own subsequent responses to such criticism.


  • Critical reaction and commentary: Brief summary 1
    • Selected notable representative positive reactions to the book 1.1
      • Journalists and other media commentators 1.1.1
      • Representatives of Organizations 1.1.2
      • Academics 1.1.3
    • Selected notable representative negative reactions to the book 1.2
      • Journalists and other media commentators 1.2.1
      • Representatives of organizations 1.2.2
      • Academics 1.2.3
  • Carter's response to criticism of the book 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5

Critical reaction and commentary: Brief summary

Critical response to Palestine Peace Not Apartheid has been mixed. Some journalists and academics have praised what they regard as Carter's courage for speaking honestly about the allegation of Israeli apartheid, which they believe to be inflammatory and unsubstantiated."[3]

Selected notable representative positive reactions to the book

Journalists and other media commentators

In his review published on October 15, 2006, Brad Hooper, editor at Booklist, concludes: "The former president's ideas are expressed with perfect clarity; his book, of course, represents a personal point of view, but one that is certainly grounded in both knowledge and wisdom. His outlook on the problem not only contributes to the literature of debate surrounding it but also, just as importantly, delivers a worthy game plan for clearing up the dilemma."[4] Israeli historian and author Tom Segev believes his principle argument is "well-founded,".[5]

Raja Shehadeh, a lawyer and author, including of Occupier’s Law: Israel and the West Bank, regards Palestine Peace Not Apartheid as a "fresh debate" on Israel's policies in the West Bank. Shehadeh believes that "With his well documented book and its provocative title, Carter is working to achieve 'one of the major goals of [his] life' as he makes clear at the outset of his book: 'to help ensure a lasting peace for Israelis and others in the Middle East.'"[6]

Robert Fisk, declares that the book is "a good, strong read by the only American president approaching sainthood," adding: "Needless to say, the American press and television largely ignored the appearance of this eminently sensible book – until the usual Israeli lobbyists began to scream abuse at poor old Jimmy Carter, albeit that he was the architect of the longest lasting peace treaty between Israel and an Arab neighbour – Egypt – secured with the famous 1978 Camp David accords."[7]

Carl L. Brown in Foreign Affairs,writes: This book offers a historical overview in the form of a personal memoir, tracing developments since the 1970s as Carter experienced and understood them. He may thus be said to be both a source for the historian and himself a historian of the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation. This little book merits a reading on both counts. Carter concludes that "Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land." That statement, so out of line with the way mainstream American political figures (even those retired from public office) frame the issue, ensures that the book will be attacked by many. Perhaps it will be read as well.[8]

Ian Black Middle East editor at The Guardian writes "Controversy about the book flows largely from the word "apartheid" in the title: it is wrong if applied to Israel within its pre-1967 borders, where there is discrimination but not institutionalised racism. In the West Bank, with its confiscated land, unequal allocation of water resources, fortress-like settlements, security fence and segregated roads, it is fitting enough. No one who has seen subjugated Palestinians struggling with everyday life alongside armed Jewish settlers can quarrel with it".[9]

In his blog, Tony Karon, a senior editor at and a former anti-Apartheid activist for the ANC states . "The point being that Jimmy Carter had to write this book precisely because Palestinian life and history is not accorded equal value in American discourse, far from it. And his use of the word apartheid is not only morally valid; it is essential, because it shakes the moral stupor that allows many liberals to rationalize away the daily, grinding horror being inflicted on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza".[10]

Representatives of Organizations

In an article published on the website of the Institute for Middle East Understanding Lena Khalaf Tuffaha finds that Carter's book "eloquently describes the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip" and that "his book challenges Americans to see the conflict with eyes wide open."[11]

Writing in The Nation, Michael F. Brown, a fellow at The Palestine Center of The Jerusalem Fund, characterizes the book's title as "extraordinarily bold—and apt" and suggests: "Perhaps President Carter should send copies of his book to members of Congress. . . . [so that] they might learn a thing or two about the long-festering conflict at the heart of so many of our current troubles in the region."[12]

In The Arab American News, Sherri Muzher, Palestinian-American director of Michigan Media Watch, writes: "Nobody expects instant miracles to come from Carter’s book, but hopefully, it will spark the sort of robust discussions that even Israeli society and media already engage in."[13]

Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun, calls Carter "the only president to have actually delivered for the Jewish people an agreement (the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt) that has stood the test of time." He continues: "We know that critique is often an essential part of love and caring. That is precisely what Jimmy Carter is trying to do for Israel and the Jewish people in his new book". He further stresses that "Carter does not claim that Israel is an apartheid state. What he does claim is that the West Bank will be a de facto apartheid situation if the current dynamics continue."[14]

Canadian labour union leader Sid Ryan writes: "Former U.S. president Carter is just the latest world figure to openly challenge the policies of Israel in Gaza and the West Bank. He joins Rev. Desmond Tutu, another Nobel Prize winner. Each time a trade union or church group or world leader steps forward to break the cone of silence around this issue, the more difficult it becomes for the lobby groups to spew their propaganda."[15]

Ali Abunimah, editor of the Electronic Intifada,writing in the Wall Street Journal concludes,"President Carter has done what few American politicians have dared to do: speak frankly about the Israel-Palestine conflict. He has done this nation, and the cause of peace, an enormous service by focusing attention on what he calls "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." Calling Carter "the most successful Arab-Israeli peace negotiator to date," Abunimah praises him for having "braved a storm of criticism, including the insinuation from the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League that his arguments are anti-Semitic."[16]

Israeli Knesset member Yossi Beilin, the current leader of Meretz-Yachad, writes in The Forward, that, while he "disagreed mostly with the choice of language, including his choice of the word 'apartheid' what 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."[17][18]


South African professor of international law John Dugard, observes that while Carter's book "is igniting controversy for its Israel and the apartheid analogy" he understands the deeper rationale for Carter's analogy as follows: Since 1967 Israel has imposed its control over the Palestinian territories in the manner of a colonizing power, under the guise of occupation. It has permanently seized the territories' most desirable parts — the holy sites in East Jerusalem, Hebron and Bethlehem and the fertile agricultural lands along the western border and in the Jordan Valley — and settled its own Jewish "colonists" throughout the land.Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories has many features of colonization. At the same time it has many of the worst characteristics of apartheid.... Many aspects of Israel's occupation surpass those of the apartheid regime. Israel's large-scale destruction of Palestinian homes, leveling of agricultural lands, military incursions and targeted assassinations of Palestinians far exceed any similar practices in apartheid South Africa. No wall was ever built to separate blacks and whites....[19][20]

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Agency (NSA) advisor to President Carter, agrees with the main thesis of the book: President Carter, in my judgement, is correct in fearing that the absence of a fair and mutually acceptable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely to produce a situation which de facto will resemble apartheid: i.e., two communities living side by side but repressively separated, with one enjoying prosperity and seizing the lands of the other, and the other living in poverty and deprivation. That is an outcome which must be avoided and I interpret his book as a strong plea for accommodation, which needs to be actively promoted by morally responsible engagement especially by America.Brzezinski also condemns the "abusive reactions directed at Carter, including some newspaper ads" for being "objectionable and designed to intimidate an open public discussion."[21]

UCLA professor of English literature Saree Makdisi writes in the San Francisco Chronicle, that "Carter's apartheid charge rings true," observing: "Israel maintains two sets of rules and regulations in the West Bank: one for Jews, one for non-Jews. The only thing wrong with using the word 'apartheid' to describe such a repugnant system is that the South African version of institutionalized discrimination was never as elaborate as its Israeli counterpart—nor did it have such a vocal chorus of defenders among otherwise liberal Americans."[22]

In an essay published in The Nation, Henry Siegman, former executive director of the American Jewish Congress, and visiting professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, begins by observing that the "book's title more than its content" caused an "uproar" even prior to publication, because it "seemed to suggest that the avatar of democracy in the Middle East may be on its way to creating a political order that resembles South Africa's apartheid model of discrimination and repression, albeit on ethnic-religious rather than racial grounds" and provoked such controversy due to "the ignorance of the American political establishment, both Democrat and Republican, on the subject of the Israel-Palestine conflict"; in Siegman's view: "Carter's harsh condemnation of Israeli policies in the occupied territories is not the consequence of ideology or of an anti-Israel bias.[23]

Norman Finkelstein, an assistant professor of political science at DePaul University defends Carter's analysis in Palestine Peace Not Apartheid as both historically accurate and non-controversial outside the United States: "After four decades of Israeli occupation, the infrastructure and superstructure of apartheid have been put in place. Outside the never-never land of mainstream American Jewry and U.S. media[,] this reality is barely disputed."[24][25] In claiming the apartheid comparison "is a commonplace among informed commentators", Finkelstein cited such a comparison[24] by historian Benny Morris, a widely quoted scholar on the Arab-Israeli conflict. To this, Morris responded by saying, "Norman Finkelstein is a notorious distorter of facts and of my work, not a serious or honest historian. . . . Israel is not an apartheid state — rather the opposite, it is easily the most democratic and politically egalitarian state in the Middle East . . . . As to the occupied territories, Israeli policy is fueled by security considerations (whether one agrees with them or not, or with all the specific measures adopted at any given time) rather than racism (though, to be sure, there are Israelis who are motivated by racism in their attitude and actions towards Arabs) — and indeed the Arab population suffers as a result. But Gaza's and the West Bank's population (Arabs) are not Israeli citizens and cannot expect to benefit from the same rights as Israeli citizens so long as the occupation or semi-occupation (more accurately) continues, which itself is a function of the continued state of war between the Hamas-led Palestinians (and their Syrian and other Arab allies) and Israel."[26]

George Bisharat, a professor at the University of California, Hastings College of Law, begins his "Commentary" on the book in The Philadelphia Inquirer of January 2, 2007: "Americans owe a debt to former President Jimmy Carter for speaking long hidden but vital truths. His book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid breaks the taboo barring criticism in the United States of Israel's discriminatory treatment of Palestinians. Our government's tacit acceptance of Israel's unfair policies causes global hostility against us."[27]

Deborah Lipstadt, Jacob Olidort, and Mona Charen as examples of the "American takfiris' attack on President Carter for his book."[28]

Selected notable representative negative reactions to the book

Journalists and other media commentators

In "It's Not Apartheid", published in Washington Post,columnist Michael Kinsley states that Carter "makes no attempt to explain [the use of the word 'apartheid']" which he calls "a foolish and unfair comparison, unworthy of the man who won – and deserved – the Nobel Peace Prize." To start with, no one has yet thought to accuse Israel of creating a phony country in finally acquiescing to the creation of a Palestinian state. Palestine is no Bantustan. Furthermore, Israel has always had Arab citizens. No doubt many Israelis have racist attitudes toward Arabs, but the official philosophy of the government is quite the opposite, and sincere efforts are made to, for example, instill humanitarian and egalitarian attitudes in children.[29][30] Editor of the National Review, Rich Lowry, says that "Carter always finds a way to point a finger at Israel."Yes, there are two sides to every dispute, and heaven knows the Palestinian people have suffered throughout the past six decades, but Carter apes the Palestinian position and calls it evenhandedness. Lowry feels the "book marks Carter’s further disgraceful descent from ineffectual president and international do-gooder to apologist for the worst Arab tendencies", citing a passage from the book.[31] Mona Charen writes in the National Review that "awkward phrasing is found throughout this slapdash work."Charen presents examples of what she regards as "simplistic, naïve, or tendentious" ideas in the book about the Six-Day War, Hezbollah, and Oslo Accords.[32]

In "Jews, Arabs and Jimmy Carter," deputy foreign editor of The New York Times Ethan Bronner, draws attention to what he describes as "the narrowness of Carter’s perspective," and argues that Carter fails to highlight legitimate objections to Israel's current policies in the course of "simply offer[ing] a narrative that is largely unsympathetic to Israel" while engaging in some "misrepresentations . . . [which] are a shame because most of what Carter focuses on is well worth reading about." To Bronner, "Carter's picture feels like yesterday’s story, especially since Israel’s departures from southern Lebanon and Gaza have not stopped anti-Israel violence from those areas. . . . This book has something of a Rip van Winkle feel to it, as if little had changed since Carter diagnosed the problem in the 1970s." Despite his own disagreements with aspects of the book and his acknowledgment that Carter overstates his case in it, Bronner finds that others have criticized the book "unfairly": "Their biggest complaint against the book — a legitimate one — is the word "apartheid" in the title, with its false echo of the racist policies of the old South Africa. But overstatement hardly adds up to anti-Semitism."

The Economist reviewed Palestine Peace Not Apartheid and found it to be "a weak one, simplistic and one-sided ... Israeli expansionism gets the drubbing it deserves; Arab rejectionism gets off much too lightly."[33]

In "What Would Jimmy Do?",published in the Washington Post Book World, Jeffrey Goldberg describes Carter as a "partisan of the Palestinians" who has offered a "notably benign view of Hamas" and who, he alleges, creates "sins to hang around the necks of Jews when no sins have actually been committed" as Carter "blames Israel almost entirely for perpetuating the hundred-year war between Arab and Jew."[34]

In "The Question of Carter's Cash", Claudia Rosett writes, "Even in Carter's long history of post-presidential grandstanding, this book sets fresh standards of irresponsibility. Purporting to give a balanced view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Carter effectively shrugs off such highly germane matters as Palestinian terrorism. The hypocrisies are boundless, and include adoring praise of the deeply oppressive, religiously intolerant Saudi regime side by side with condemnations of democratic Israel.[35][36]

Representatives of organizations

Prior to the book's publication, during the U.S. midterm election campaign period in the third week of October 2006, several prominent Democrats criticized both the book and the author, a fellow Democrat. Specifically, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued a statement: While I have tremendous respect for former President Carter, I fundamentally disagree and do not support his analysis of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On this issue President Carter speaks for himself, the opinions in his book are his own, they are not the views or position of the Democratic Party. I and other Democrats will continue to stand with Israel in its battle against terrorism and for a lasting peace with its neighbors.[37] Then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated: With all due respect to former President Carter, he does not speak for the Democratic Party on Israel. Democrats have been steadfast in their support of Israel from its birth, in part because we recognize that to do so is in the national security interests of the United States. We stand with Israel now and we stand with Israel forever.

In an "Op-Ed" published on December 4 in The Jerusalem Post, David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), says that he finds it "startling that a former president who prides himself on his ongoing contribution to world peace would write a crude polemic that compromises any pretense to objectivity and fairness": "Carter leaves out what any reasonable observer, even those that share his basic views of the conflict, would consider obvious facts, but does include stunning distortions".;[38] Harris "cite[s] just two of the numerous examples" of what he calls "such mendacity."[39] The first of these, Harris says, is that "Carter discounts well-established claims that Israel accepted and Arafat rejected a generous offer to create a Palestinian state." The second "manifest distortion," according to Harris, is that "Carter states that Israel plans to build a security fence 'along the Jordan River, which is now planned as the eastern leg of the encirclement of the Palestinians'"; whereas well-informed observers know that "Israel has modified the projected route of the security fence on numerous occasions (the current route roughly tracks the parameters that Clinton advanced to the parties in negotiations) and that there is no plan to hem the Palestinians in on the eastern border." In omitting "these well-known developments," Harris argues, Carter is "leaving readers to think that a route that was once contemplated in proposed maps but never adopted or acted upon represents current reality."[39]

In an unsolicited handwritten letter replying to Harris, former President Bill Clinton expresses gratitude for Harris' articles on behalf of the American Jewish Committee critiquing the book: Dear David, Thanks so much for your articles about President Carter's book. I don't know where his information (or conclusions) came from, but Dennis Ross has tried to straighten it out, publicly and in two letters to him. At any rate, I'm grateful. Sincerely, Bill Clinton[40][41]

On January 11, 2007, according to the Carter Center, "resigned . . . to protest his new book. . . ." In their "letter of resignation," as reported by the AP, the "departing members of the Center's Board of Councilors told Carter . . . 'You have clearly abandoned your historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side'. . . ."[42][43][44] The Carter Center's Board of Councilors, from which the fourteen members resigned, consists of over 200 members.[45] Prior to those fourteen resignations, Kenneth W. Stein had already resigned from the board in protest against what he states are the book's "errors".[46]

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), canceled a planned visit to Carter’s human rights center, stating that Palestine Peace Not Apartheid unfairly criticizes Israel: "The book contains numerous distortions of history and interpretation and apparently, outright fabrications as well. Its use of the term 'apartheid' to describe conditions in the West Bank serves only to demonize and de-legitimize Israel in the eyes of the world."[47] Representatives of the CCAR assert that President Carter's "attempted rehabilitation of such terrorist groups as Hezbollah and Hamas demonstrated either a clear anti-Israel bias and criticizes him for implying that there has been "a 'Jewish conspiracy' at work to discourage conversation about the Palestinians' plight."[47]

On December 11, 2006, [48]

Steve Sailer wrote that "The Soweto-like conditions imposed by Israel on the West Bank might well remind disinterested observers of the old South African regime. Many Israelis themselves are sick of being drafted to perform, in effect, outdoor prison guard duties in the Occupied Territories,"[49] and that "to his critics, Carter’s actual argument seemed less important than the fact that he would dare make it.[50]


Dennis Ross said in an interview on The Situation Room on CNN, that Carter's interpretation of the maps in Palestine Peace Not Apartheid is "just simply wrong."[51] Whereas in his book Carter presents the maps as an "Israeli interpretation of the Clinton idea," according to Ross, who played a key role in shaping the Clinton administration's efforts to bring peace to the region, the maps in fact represented Clinton's proposals exactly.[51][52] Responding to a question posed by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, Ross stated that Carter was also "wrong" to suggest that Israel had rejected the American proposals at Camp David: "[T]his is a matter of record. This is not a matter of interpretation."[51] Ross concluded: "President Carter made a major contribution to peace in the Middle East. That's the reality. I would like him to meet the same standard that he applied then to what he's doing now."[51]

Alan Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard Law School claims that Carter's book is "riddled with errors and bias."[53] Dershowitz argues that there are factual inaccuracies in Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, including its statement that "Israel launched a preemptive attack on Jordan", observing that, in the 1967 Six-Day War, "Jordan attacked Israel first, Israel tried desperately to persuade Jordan to remain out of the war, and Israel counterattacked after the Jordanian army surrounded Jerusalem, firing missiles into the center of the city."[54]

In an open letter published in The New York Sun, Kenneth W. Stein, Director of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel of Emory University, who was the founder of the Middle East program at the Carter Center and the Center's first director (Feb. 1984–1986), presents strong criticisms of the book as follows: "President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analysis; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments."[55] In his letter sent to President Carter and others, Stein also observes: "Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book." He adds: "Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook. Having little access to Arabic and Hebrew sources, I believe, clearly handicapped his understanding and analyses of how history has unfolded over the last decade."[56] At the end of the first week of December, Karen DeYoung reported that Stein had not yet provided a full outline of such alleged factual errors in the book.[57]

Rebecca Trounson reports in the Los Angeles Times, Stein presented details of the book's perceived errors; among the most serious, Stein says that Carter misrepresented UN Resolution 242 and gave a false account of a meeting held with former Syrian President Hafez Assad in 1990, which Stein attended and has the transcript of.[58]

Gil Troy, professor of history at McGill University opines: "[I]f Carter is so innocent as to be unaware of the resonance that term has [apartheid], [then] he is not the expert on the Middle East or world affairs he purports to be." He elaborates: Sadly, Israelis and Palestinians do not enjoy the kind of harmony the Israeli Declaration of Independence envisioned. Carter and his comrades use "Apartheid" as shorthand to condemn some of the security measures improvised recently. . . . Israel built a security fence to protect its citizens and separate Palestinian enclaves from Israeli cities. Ironically, that barrier marks Israel’s most dramatic recognition of Palestinian aspirations to independence since Israel signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. . . . Applying the Apartheid label tries to ostracize Israel by misrepresenting some of the difficult decisions Israel has felt forced to make in fighting Palestinian terror.[59]

In an article published on January 20, 2007, in The Washington Post, Deborah Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University criticized Jimmy Carter for what she calls his "Jewish Problem", complaining that, now "facing a storm of criticism, he has relied on anti-Semitic stereotypes in defense."[60] In a more-recent public appearance at a rally in London, in the first week of February 2007, Lipstadt charged that, in this book, Carter engages in what she terms "soft-core denial".[61] According to Paul, "She received huge applause when she asked how former US President Jimmy Carter could omit the years 1939–1947 from a chronology in his book"; referring to him and to Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, she said: "'When a former president of the United States writes a book on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and writes a chronology at the beginning of the book in order to help them understand the emergence of the situation and in that chronology lists nothing of importance between 1939 and 1947, that is soft-core denial.'"[61]

Carter's response to criticism of the book

Carter has responded to negative reviews in the mainstream news media in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times (which was excerpted in the British newspaper The Guardian and elsewhere):
Book reviews in the mainstream media have been written mostly by representatives of 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.[62][63]

As Greg Bluestein of the Associated Press observes, Carter replied generally to charges by Ross, Dershowitz, Stein, and others that his book contains errors and inaccuracies by pointing out that the Carter Center staff as well as an "unnamed 'distinguished' reporter" fact-checked it.[64] On Larry King Live in late November 2006, Larry King quoted Alan Dershowitz's saying that Carter's "use of the loaded word 'apartheid'[,] suggesting an analogy to the hated policies of South Africa[,] is especially outrageous" and asked the former president: "What's the analogy? Why use the word apartheid?" Carter replied:

Well, he [Dershowitz] has to go to the first word in the title, which is "Palestine," not "Israel." He should go to the second word in the title, which is "Peace." And then the last two words [are] "Not Apartheid." I never have alleged in the book or otherwise that Israel, as a nation, was guilty of apartheid. But there is a clear distinction between the policies within the nation of Israel and within the occupied territories that Israel controls[,] and the oppression of the Palestinians by Israeli forces in the occupied territories is horrendous. And it's not something that has been acknowledged or even discussed in this country. . . . (Italics added.)[65]

With regard to the criticisms of Kenneth W. Stein, Carter has also pointed out "that Stein hadn't played a role in the Carter Center in 13 years and that his post as a fellow was an honorary title. 'When I decided to write this book, I didn't even think about involving Ken, from ancient times, to come in and help.'"[64] Carter's biographer Douglas Brinkley has observed that Stein and Carter have a "passionate, up-and-down relationship" and that Stein has criticized some of Carter's previous statements about Israel.[66] In response to Professor Stein's current criticism of the book, representatives of its publisher, Simon & Schuster, state: "We haven't seen these allegations, we haven't seen any specifics, and I have no way of assessing anything he [Stein] has said. . . . This is all about nothing. We stand behind the book fully, and the fact that there has been a divided reaction to it is not surprising."[67]

As cited in various news accounts, "Carter has consistently defended his book's accuracy against Stein and other critics"; in a prepared statement, Carter's press secretary Deanna Congileo responds "that Carter had his book reviewed for accuracy throughout the writing process" and that "[a]s with all of President Carter's previous books, any detected errors will be corrected in later editions. . . ."[68]

In response to the Associated Press's request for a comment on the aforementioned resignations of Stein and fourteen other members of the Center's Board of Councilors, speaking on behalf of both Carter and the Carter Center, Ms. Congileo also provided a statement from its executive director John Hardman, who, according to Zelkowitz, "also fact checked Palestine, saying that the members of that board "'are not engaged in implementing the work of the Center.'"[42][68]

After receiving 25,000 petitions against his book presented to him by the Simon Wiesenthal would have resorted to falsehood and slander to raise funds."[69] The Associated Press reports that, "facing continuing controversy over his new book on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," former President Jimmy Carter "issued a letter . . . to American Jews explaining his use of the term 'apartheid' and sympathizing with Israelis who fear terrorism."[70] Jimmy Carter's "A Letter to Jewish Citizens of America" is posted on the website of the Carter Center."[71] Further commentaries based on this letter are quoted by John Kelly in his article "The Middle East: Are Critics of Israel Stifled?" in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of December 17, 2006.

In an op-ed published on December 20, 2006 in the Boston Globe, Carter rejects critics of his book as not actually having addressed the major points contained in it:

Not surprisingly, an examination of the book reviews and published comments reveals that these points have rarely if ever been mentioned by detractors of the book, much less denied or refuted. Instead, there has been a pattern of ad hominem statements, alleging that I am a liar, plagiarist, anti-Semite, racist, bigot, ignorant, etc. There are frequent denunciations of fabricated "straw man" accusations: that I have claimed that apartheid exists within Israel; that the system of apartheid in Palestine is based on racism; and that Jews control and manipulate the news media of America.[72] Carter concludes:As recommended by the Hamilton-Baker report, renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are a prime factor in promoting peace in the region. Although my book concentrates on the Palestinian territories, I noted that the report also recommended peace talks with Syria concerning the Golan Heights. Both recommendations have been rejected by Israel's prime minister. It is practically impossible for bitter antagonists to arrange a time, place, agenda, and procedures that are mutually acceptable, so an outside instigator/promoter is necessary. Successful peace talks were orchestrated by the United States in 1978–79 and by Norway in 1993. If the American government is reluctant to assume such a unilateral responsibility, then an alternative is the International Quartet (United States, Russia, the United Nations, and the European Union) –– still with American leadership.An overwhelming majority of citizens of Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine want peace, with justice for all who live in the Holy Land. It will be a shame if the world community fails to help them reach this goal.[72]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Julie Bosman, "Carter View of Israeli 'Apartheid' Stirs Furor," New York Times December 12, 2006, accessed March 28, 2008.
  3. ^ "Brandeis News: Full coverage of the Historic Jan. 23rd Visit by Former President Jimmy Carter," Brandeis University January 24, 2007, accessed January 27, 2007.
  4. ^ Brad Hooper, Review of Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid, Booklist (American Library Association), October 15, 2006, accessed January 19, 2007.
  5. ^ Tom Segev,"Memoir of a Great Friend," Haaretz December 12, 2006, accessed January 8, 2007.
  6. ^ Raja Shehadeh, "Fresh Debate on Israel's West Bank Policies", California Literary Review December 19, 2006, accessed May 4, 2007.
  7. ^ Robert Fisk, "Banality and Bare Faced Lies," The Independent December 23, 2006, accessed January 3, 2007.
  8. ^ L. Carl Brown, Palestine Peace Not ApartheidBook rev. of , Foreign Affairs (March/April 2007), accessed May 4, 2007.
  9. ^ Divided loyalties, (17 February 2007).accessed 19/09/12
  10. ^ Israel and Apartheid: In Defense of Jimmy Carter(December 22, 2006) retrieved 19/09/12
  11. ^ Lena Khalaf Tuffaha (November 15, 2006). "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, by Jimmy Carter". Institute for Middle East Understanding. 
  12. ^ Michael F. Brown, "Dems Rebut Carter on Israeli 'Apartheid'," The Nation, November 20, 2006, accessed January 8, 2007.
  13. ^ Sherri Muzher, "Reality for Palestinians," The Arab American News December 5, 2006, accessed January 8, 2007. For further information, see About Publisher Osama Siblani and Sherri Muzher, ""Do Israelis practice apartheid against Palestinians? South Africans See the Parallel with Wall, Other Methods Carter Describes," The Detroit News December 27, 2006, Editorials & Opinions, accessed January 8, 2007.
  14. ^ Michael Lerner, "Thank You, Jimmy Carter," December 6, 2006, accessed January 8, 2007.
  15. ^ Sid Ryan, "You'll Get an Earful If You Oppose Israel," The Toronto Sun December 15, 2006, accessed January 8, 2007.
  16. ^ Ali Abunimah, A Palestinian View of Jimmy Carter's Book, Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2006, editorial (Required subscription for online access); rpt. in Z Magazine (part of Z Communications) December 28, 2006, accessed January 3, 2007.
  17. ^ Yossi Beilin, "Carter Is No More Critical of Israel Than Israelis Themselves," The Forward, January 19, 2007, accessed January 20, 2007.
  18. ^ Cf. Shulamit Aloni, "Road is for Jews Only: Yes, There is Apartheid in Israel," CounterPunch, January 8, 2007, accessed February 18, 2007. (Aloni, Israel's former minister for education (1992–1993), serves on the board of Yesh Din, Volunteers for Human Rights.)
  19. ^ John Dugard, "Israelis Adopt What South Africa Dropped," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution November 29, 2006. (Archived; subscription or fee-based access only.) Information Clearing House version (free access), accessed February 17, 2007.
  20. ^ While serving as the Special Rapporteur for the United Nations on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Dugard described the situation in the West Bank as "an apartheid regime . . . worse than the one that existed in South Africa." Cf. Aluf Benn, "UN agent: Apartheid Regime in Territories Worse Than S. Africa", Haaretz, August 24, 2004, accessed January 5, 2007.
  21. ^ Ask the Expert: US policy in the Middle East, Zbigniew Brzezinski, London Financial Times December 4, 2006.
  22. ^ Saree Makdisi, "On the New Book 'Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,'" San Francisco Chronicle December 20, 2006.
  23. ^ Henry Siegman, "Hurricane Carter," online posting, The Nation January 4, 2007 (issue of January 22, 2007), accessed January 5, 2007 (4 pages). Cf. Henry Siegman, "The Issue Is Not Whether Hamas Recognises Israel," London Financial Times June 8, 2006, rpt. Council on Foreign Relations, accessed January 5, 2006 and Henry Siegman, author page at The New York Review of Books.
  24. ^ a b Norman Finkelstein, The Ludicrous Attacks on Jimmy Carter's Book, CounterPunch December 28, 2006, accessed January 3, 2006.
  25. ^ In several subsequent "Speaking engagements" as these are featured on his website (accessed February 13, 2007), Finkelstein has apparently been focusing on the subject of Carter's book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.
  26. ^ Norman Finkelstein, Benny Morris and Peace not Apartheid CAMERA (February 7, 2007)
  27. ^ George Bisharat, Truth At Last, While Breaking a U.S. Taboo of Criticizing Israel, Philadelphia Inquirer January 2, 2007, editorial, accessed January 11, 2007.
  28. ^  
  29. ^ Michael Kinsley. "It's Not Apartheid", Slate December 11, 2006, accessed March 15, 2007.
  30. ^ Michael Kinsley, "It's Not Apartheid", The Washington Post December 12, 2006, accessed March 8, 2007.
  31. ^ Rich Lowry. "Creepy Carter", National Review December 12, 2006
  32. ^ Mona Charen, "Brave Jimmy Carter?" National Review December 15, 2006, accessed May 4, 2007.
  33. ^ "A president remembers", December 2006 The Economist
  34. ^ Jeffrey Goldberg, "What Would Jimmy Do?" Washington Post December 10, 2006.
  35. ^ Claudia Rosett. "The Question of Carter's Cash", National Review January 29, 2007
  36. ^ "The question of Carter's cash: in which our reporter follows the money"
  37. ^ Jennifer Siegel, "Campaign Confidential: Dean and Pelosi: Carter’s Wrong on Israel", Jewish Daily Forward (blog) October 23, 2006, accessed March 16, 2007.
  38. ^ David A. Harris, "Despite Title, Carter's Book Plants Screed of Mideast Discord", Chicago Sun-Times December 7, 2006.
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  40. ^ "Clinton Thanks AJ Committee for Tackling Carter", Jewish Telegraphic Agency, accessed March 26, 2007.
  41. ^ President Clinton Thanks AJC on Carter Book
  42. ^ a b Associated Press, "Atlanta: 14 Carter Center Advisers Resign in Protest Over Book," January 11, 2007, accessed January 11, 2007. (Timeline: 3:45:51 p.m.)
  43. ^ Brenda Goodman, "Carter Center Advisers Quit to Protest Book", New York Times January 12, 2007, accessed January 14, 2007.
  44. ^ Ben Harris, "Jewish Members Leave Carter Board," Baltimore Jewish Times (JTA) January 15, 2007, accessed January 15, 2007.
  45. ^ Carter Center About the Board of Councilors, Carter Center, accessed January 11, 2007.
  46. ^ Tom Zeller, Jr., ""Carter and His Critics: The Skirmishes Continue," New York Times, The Lede (blog), January 12, 2007, assessed January 12, 2007; includes Letter of resignation dated January 11, 2007 PDF (79.4 KiB).
  47. ^ a b Owen Moritz (January 12, 2007). "Rabbis throw book at Jimmy".  
  48. ^ Jackie Northam, "Jimmy Carter's Book Stirs Criticism, Complaint," Day to Day, National Public Radio December 11, 2006, accessed January 13, 2007. (NPR audio for RealPlayer and Windows Media Player).
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^ a b c d Interview, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, CNN December 8, 2006.
  52. ^ Cf. Dennis Ross, "Don't Play with Maps," The New York Times January 9, 2007, op-ed, accessed February 26, 2007.
  53. ^ Alan Dershowitz, "Why Won't Carter Debate His Book?" Boston Globe December 21, 2006.
  54. ^ Alan Dershowitz, "The World According to Carter," New York Sun November 22, 2006.
  55. ^  
  56. ^  
  57. ^ Karen DeYoung, "Carter Book on Israel 'Apartheid' Sparks Bitter Debate," Washington Post December 7, 2006, accessed December 12, 2006.
  58. ^ Rebecca Trounson, "Former Aide Criticizes Carter Over Mideast Book: In L.A., Kenneth Stein Says 'falsehoods' in Book on Mideast Prompted His Resignation," Los Angeles Times January 13, 2007, accessed January 13, 2007.
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  60. ^ "Jimmy Carter's Jewish Problem," Washington Post January 20, 2007, accessed February 13, 2007.
  61. ^ a b Qtd. by Jonny Paul, "Jerusalem Post Holocaust Scholar Warns of New 'soft-core' Denial," The Jerusalem Post February 6, 2007, accessed February 13, 2007.
  62. ^ Jimmy Carter, "Speaking Frankly about Israel and Palestine", Los Angeles Times December 8, 2006, accessed December 24, 2006.
  63. ^ Jimmy Carter, "Israel, Palestine, Peace and Apartheid," London Guardian December 12, 2006.
  64. ^ a b "Carter defends his book's criticism of Israeli policy".  
  65. ^ "Interview with Jimmy Carter," Larry King Live, CNN November 27, 2006.
  66. ^ Christian Boone (December 6, 2006). "Adviser Breaks with Carter on Mideast Book".  
  67. ^ Josh Getlin (December 8, 2006). "Maps in Carter's Book Are Questioned".  
  68. ^ a b Rachel Zelkowitz, "Professor Describes Carter 'Inaccuracies'," The Emory Wheel December 12, 2006, accessed January 12, 2007.
  69. ^ "Update: Your Activism At Work: In Response to 25,000 Petitions, Former President Jimmy Carter Criticizes Wiesenthal Center; Rabbi Hier Responds," press release, Simon Wiesenthal Center January 26, 2007 and February 2, 2007, accessed February 7, 2007.
  70. ^ Associated Press, "Carter Explains Apartheid Reference in Letter to US Jews,", International Herald Tribune, December 15, 2006, accessed March 12, 2007.
  71. ^ "Jimmy Carter Issues Letter to Jewish Community on Palestine Peace Not Apartheid: A Letter to Jewish Citizens of America," press release, Carter Center December 15, 2006, accessed December 24, 2006.
  72. ^ a b Jimmy Carter, "Reiterating the Keys to Peace," Boston Globe December 20, 2006, accessed May 5, 2007.


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