Jimmy Carter has an op-ed in today’s Los Angeles Times in which he responds (sort of) to critics of his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The op-ed shows Carter at his over-the-top worst.
He retails the same myth that John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt peddle: you can’t have an honest discussion of the Middle East here in the United States because the Jewish Lobby is too strong. Carter writes:
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.
Thus, Carter postures himself as the lone, courageous voice of truth on this issue (although, actually, doesn’t it seem that there are an awful lot of lone, courageous voices attacking Israel these days?). He implies that criticisms of his book are just another reflection of the power of the Jewish Lobby:
Book reviews in the mainstream media have been written mostly by representatives of Jewish organizations….
The problem with Carter’s writing on the Middle East, though, isn’t that it has run afoul of some nefarious lobby. The problem is that it is so bizarrely out of touch with reality that it is hard to interpret except as a manifestation of some kind of animus. Carter writes:
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.
Note that just a few paragraphs earlier, Carter called for “a balanced position between Israel and Palestine.” Is this what he meant by “balanced?” Why is it that Israel has been forced to impose a “rigid system of passes and strict segregation beetween Palestine’s citizens and Jewish settlers…”? This was done in self-defense to stop Palestinian mass murderers from blowing up Israelis. But Carter calls self-defense “abominable oppression and persecution.” He continues:
An enormous imprisonment wall is now under construction, snaking through what is left of Palestine to encompass more and more land for Israeli settlers.
“Imprisonment wall”? This is simply demented. How are the Palestinians “imprisoned”? The wall keeps them from infiltrating Israel in order to blow up its citizens. Other than that, they can go wherever they want. Some “imprisonment”! Notice, too, how the wall “snakes” through “what is left of Palestine.” In fact, what is “left” of Palestine includes 93% of the West Bank; the fence cuts off a mere 7%. If the Palestinians want that 7% back, all they have to do is stop trying to massacre Israelis. More Carter:
In many ways, this is more oppressive than what blacks lived under in South Africa during apartheid.
Really? What ways are those? The comparison is so inapt that it is hard to know where to begin. The comparison itself is revealing, however, as Israel=South Africa is a staple of the far left, much like Bush=Hitler. And, finally:
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.
“Choice sites in Palestine”? There aren’t any. “Displaced citizens”? I guess that means Carter doesn’t like the settlements. But Jews have as much right to live in the West Bank as Arabs. More fundamentally, Carter’s obsessive focus on the settlements–as though they were the reason why the Palestinians and other Arabs have been trying to exterminate the Jews since 1948!–reveals a mind that is, to say the least, unbalanced. In his hate-fueled last years, Jimmy Carter has come to inhabit a world in which reality is optional.
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UPDATE: Dafydd ab Hugh adds these provocative observations:
Am I alone in seeing the “hate-fueled last years” of Jimmy Carter — the embittered, increasingly hysterical, Jew-hating, conspiracy-mongering, resentful, delusional (of grandeur and of persecution), and obsessed with his legacy years — as paralleling the last years of another famous person from history?
Namely, the “prophet” Mohammed.
I think it was Rabbi Joseph Telushkin who opined that the real problem with Islam was that its primary prophet, Mohammed, lived too long: in his dotage, he became increasingly Jimmy Carter-like… and he dictated ever more antisemitic, violent, and furious diatribes into the Koran… where they remain, a legacy of hate and rage the fuels the endless jihad to this day. (The other problem is that Islam is the only one of the world’s major religions that was founded by a warlord.)
Jimmy Carter: the mirror of Mohammed. Maybe he’ll be the center of a religion one day.