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Thread: Carter on Israeli "Apartheid"

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Carter on Israeli "Apartheid"

    While acknowledging that the word "apartheid" refers to the system of legal racial separation once used in South Africa, Carter says in his book that it is an appropriate term for Israeli policies devoted to "the acquisition of land" in Palestinian territories through Jewish settlements and Israel's incorporation of Palestinian land on its side of a separating wall it is erecting.

    He criticizes suicide bombers and those who "consider the killing of Israelis as victories" but also notes that "some Israelis believe they have the right to confiscate and colonize Palestinian land and try to justify the sustained subjugation and persecution of increasingly hopeless and aggravated Palestinians."

    Apparently former President Carter's book is causing a dust up according to the Washington Post.

    It is one of the strengths of the ISG report that they resurfaced this issue as a core element in US foreign policy on the Middle East.

    Best
    Tom

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    It's also interesting to note that one of Carter's longtime associates quit working for him after this book came out. I first saw mention of that at Cox & Forkum, and then checked the story here.

    A longtime adviser to former President Jimmy Carter has resigned his position as a Carter Center fellow for Middle East Affairs in response to Carter's new book.

    "Being president doesn't give one the prerogative to bend the facts to reach a prescribed reality," said Kenneth Stein, the first executive director of the Carter Center.
    From the Atlanta Journal Constitution article.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Roger that

    Roger that, Steve. The WP article hits the same point.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Why won't Jimmy Carter go away?

    SFCW

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Carter's Role

    Having dealt with a Carter visit in Rwanda and seen the effects of a visit to Cairo, I fully agree that he can be a challenge.

    That said, I am glad that he used the words that he did because they are quite accurate and seldom heard from the lips of any American statesman or politician. In this case, Carter enjoys the additional and substantial legitimacy of being the architect of the Camp David accords. Although I believe those accords are more than 10 years past their useful (and costly) shelf life, Carter did play a key role in bringing 2 very hostile sides into an agreement.

    Aside from a flurry of brief reality in the early Reagan years, no US president has done that on the Palestinian issue. Clinto sailed that way; Sharon dismasted the ship and set off the 2nd intifadah. Since then and especially after 9-11, we have allowed the Israelis to call the shots on issues that directly affect our national interests. Gratefully, the ISG report despite all the bashing raised that issue as central to our interests in the region.

    Best
    Tom

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Default

    I wholeheartedly agree with Tom. How we got into the position of considering our national interests to be precisely consonant with those of Israel is a puzzlement. Incidents over the past 40 years ranging from the U.S.S. Liberty to the South African a-bomb program to the latest Chinese fighter looking exactly like the Lavi project to the spectacle of the I.A.F. using American equipment and money to blast apart Lebanon's infrastruture to no good purpose should have taught us otherwise.

    It is in our national interest to lean on Israel rather harder than we have been doing.

    As an aside, I think we have little if anything to learn from the Israelis on the strategic prosecution of a small war. They have had decades to make life under their authority preferable to life in an Arab police state (the only alternative in the neighborhood), and they haven't been able to do it.

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    Default Palestinian apartheid

    So how many Jews serve in the Palestinian equivalent of the Knesset? How many Jews can live in the Palestinian areas outside of a protected compound? The real apartheid comes from the Palestinian death cults that want the destruction of Israel and the export of all Jews that they don't kill. That is what makes Carter's embrace of their propaganda and spin so repugnant. It has to be just a little ironic that death cults made up of religious bigots who openly embrace their ethnic hatred of the Jews complain about apartheid, while Israeli Arabs openly serve in the Knesset and do not have to live in guarded compounds within Israel. The disputed territories are still disputed because the Palestinians having nothing to offer in any negotiation with Israel. Illusory promises of peace while factions continue to plot destruction are not a good faith bargain.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merv Benson View Post
    So how many Jews serve in the Palestinian equivalent of the Knesset? How many Jews can live in the Palestinian areas outside of a protected compound? The real apartheid comes from the Palestinian death cults that want the destruction of Israel and the export of all Jews that they don't kill. That is what makes Carter's embrace of their propaganda and spin so repugnant. It has to be just a little ironic that death cults made up of religious bigots who openly embrace their ethnic hatred of the Jews complain about apartheid, while Israeli Arabs openly serve in the Knesset and do not have to live in guarded compounds within Israel. The disputed territories are still disputed because the Palestinians having nothing to offer in any negotiation with Israel. Illusory promises of peace while factions continue to plot destruction are not a good faith bargain.
    +1

    SFC W

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default reality

    hmmmm

    How many Palestinians are allowed to seize Israeli lands under state sanction, establish government supported housing, and do so in the face of international law and by the way against their principle supporter's foreign policy even as they benefit from continuous funding from that supporter? Answer: none.

    Recent disclosures via Israeli organzations that support working toward an agreement showed that as much as 30% of occupied lands are in fact privately owned by Palestinians--a fact the Israeli government does not willingly admit to.

    It works two ways. Arab members in the Knesset are at best marginalized. Arabs inside Israel carry ID cards that identify them as such--as do the license plates on their cars. As for Israeli settlements needing guards because they are inside occupied territories, give me a break.

    I have been to both South Africa and Israel and lived in the latter country.

    Carter is correct

    Tom

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Default hmmmm part 2

    There's more than enough blame and bad conduct to go around in the Middle East, IMO. I don't think the major players on EITHER side want to reach a settlement, so there won't be one.

    That said, I'm also a firm believer in a Middle East policy that doesn't support Israel no matter what. War guilt only carries them so far, and as far as I'm concerned they have passed that point.

    Carter might have been on better ground if he had used the "A" word to include the entire Middle East, since that sort of segmentation based on both religion and race seems pervasive there.

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    Default No good guys

    Israeli policies have been harmful to U.S. interests for years, and like Tom and SWJED I'm more than a little tired of our death do we part marriage with Israel. Their completely incompentent attack against Lebanon, instead of a semi-surgical attack against the Hezbollah has set the conditions to make Hezbollah much more powerful politically in the region. Of course the same administration that created the fiasco in Iraq quietly cheered them on, once again in a state of denial of the consequences.

    Israel obviously has the right to, and must take harsh actions to protect its people against lunatic killers that not only threaten innocent Israeli civilians, but also have killed any hope of allowing the Palestinian people to live in peace. However, the Israelis need to get their own extremists under control. Using U.S. purchased warplanes to conduct a pre-emptive attack against Iranian nuclear facilities while perhaps not helpful (maybe it is) is understandable. To use those planes to attack Beirut in an attempt to pressure the government of Lebanon to do something they couldn't do if they wanted to was borderline criminal, or more correctly, simply stupid.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Carter - It IS true that a stopped clock is right twice a day.

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    Default question

    What would happen to the US-Israeli relationship if we held firm to a "one man - one vote" solution to continued Israeli-Palestinian problems? What if we asserted that all voters in Israel and the occupied territories (which is another story) were entitled to vote in the same election, in which all votes would be counted/weighed equally? How about that for democracy?

    BTW - Israel needs to give back the Golan Heights. What would that do for US-Syrian relations? And yes, I understand why they took it in the first place; however, I see it as akin to the US taking a huge chunk of Mexico, and explaining it in a national security framework.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Balance

    Adam,

    The one man one vote issue was exactly what drove South African policies for years under apartheid. I would not recommend that as a pressure point for internal Israeli policies. The key focus has to be the territories and those related issues--property and WATER. The latter is critical obviously in the region; Israeli control of the West Bank has control of water as one of its main pillars.

    Golan is another issue and you are correct to hit on it; some would say the attack on the USS Liberty was to allow Israel to take the heights after a UN ceasefire. For that discussion look at the USS Liberty Memorial page

    Again my issue is balance, we cannot put US policy forward in this arena and the greater region while sitting on one end of the seesaw.

    best

    Tom

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    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    "Being president doesn't give one the prerogative to bend the facts to reach a prescribed reality," said Kenneth Stein, the first executive director of the Carter Center.
    Then he proceeded to offer no examples of what he was talking about or evidence to support his opinion, jut pure charter assassination. Carter maybe right or wrong but this guy has nothing.

    I havenít read Carterís book but I think it is worth taking a look at Israeli responsibility for the current situation in Palestine. All to often serious efforts to discuses the subject are meet with list of the evils of the Palestinians or worse allegations of anti-Semitism. Not to say that this is all the fault of Israel but as my mother always told me and my brother it takes two to fight. It is about time we seriously look at both sides if not we will probably see perpetual war.

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    Council Member aktarian's Avatar
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    I wonder how long will it take for people to call him anti-semite.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    I just don't see how the Arabs will allow a solution to happen. It is in their best interests to keep the Palestinians in their camps. Without the Palestinians, they would have nothing to distract the "Arab street" with.

    BTW - Isn't a bunch of supposedly "Palestinian land" in Arab nations? Would an agreement with Israel include that land? Or is it just the "Yids" land we are interested in, here?

    Being seen as wanting to addressing the problem would have important IO ramifications, that could be exploited, but I have to believe that giving an inch to the Palestinians would result in them taking the proverbial mile, resulting in Israeli over-reaction, etc..

    In the end, I think that if they could kill all the Jews, they'd complain that the Jewish bodies were contaminating the ground.

  18. #18
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Definitions

    I just don't see how the Arabs will allow a solution to happen. It is in their best interests to keep the Palestinians in their camps. Without the Palestinians, they would have nothing to distract the "Arab street" with.
    On the contrary, the Arab states surrounding Israel the issues of Palestinian camps, rights, and poiltical/military activism are NOT factors that promote stability or in your terms divert the attention of the "Arab street." Begin with Lebanon as a case study and work south.

    Secondly I would love to have you define "Arab street"; is that a linguistic definition or a quasi-ethnic definition? The "street" in Damascus is not the same as the "street" in Amman or anywhere else. There are common threads however and the issue of the Palestinians is one of them.

    On the issue of Palestinian land in Arab states, depending on the state picked and how you define Palestine, you could make that case--the most common areas would be Jordan (especially the West Bank) and to a lesser degree Gaza. And that goes back to your theory about the Arab states wanting to keep the Palestinian issue bubbling. In the case of Jordan, look at September 1970.

    Best

    Tom

  19. #19
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    I suspect one could argue that there ARE Arab interests who do like to see the Palestinian issue keep smoldering along, so long as it isn't in their backyards (Jordan being a good example). One could also argue that their fellow Arab governments have not done enough for the Palestinians on the whole (aside from funding suicide bombers' families and having discount sales on weapons), but I must admit that my knowledge in this area is somewhat restricted to the earlier days of Palestinian terrorism and doesn't have tons of depth when it comes to more current affairs.

    And Tom, I agree about the "Arab street" thing. I get so tired of the MSM carrying on like there is some sort of mass "Arab street" out there that has the same opinions and needs to be catered to.

  20. #20
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Jordan

    Steve,

    If you use Jordan as a test of Arab interests in sustaining the Palestinian issue, then the defintion of interests becomes critical.

    In 1970, King Hussein after seeing the PLO morph into a state within a state, drove the Palestinian organizations from Jordan--that would be the origin of the phrase "Black September" and later the association of the name with Munich massacre stemmed from that. Hussein took action after the Palestinians blew up several hijacked airliners on the tarmac in Amman. And ultimately, the move of the Palestinians into Lebanon would unhinge that country's confessional political system. It was however in the immediate interest of Hussein to take the step and it was one with large risks for his kingdom.

    In a larger sense and one argued from the Israeli side, that a Palestinian state already exists: Trans-Jordan and now modern day Jordan. It was that pressure point that (I believe) drove Hussein to push the Palestinians out (the organized groups, not all Palestinians). So in the larger sense, sustaining a hope for a Palestinian state is both boon and danger to Jordan. As a boon, it serves as a valve to bleed off tensions toward the kingdom. As a danger, there is the risk that a Palestinian state could undermine the Hashemite kingdom, another creation of the post-WWI era.

    Jordan's actions in the 67 war ultimately are best explained in that light. As the Hashemite kingdom and protector of Jerusalem, Jordan was caught between the bombast of Nasser and the strong likelihhod that Amman had the most to lose in a war with Israel measured against the legitimacy off the throne inside Jordan. Simply stated it was a lose, lose scenario; ultimately Nasser lost Sinai and most of the Egyptian military machine. Sinai itself was largely symbolic to Cairo and the Egyptian military that emerged from the 67 war was far better thanks to the Soviets and Anwar Sadat--plus much smug complacency on the part of the Israelis. Jorsdan lost its hold on Jerusalem and the West Bank. The first was a symbolic loss, one critical to the kingdom and the larger Muslim world. The loss of the West Bank was more practical in its effects: larger Palestinian refugee issue inside Jordan's borders, an absolute radicalization of the Palestinian movement (the Arab governments had failed; the PLO turned to terror), and very serious issues regarding control of water in the Jordan river valley.

    The point of all of this is that the conflicting pressures on Jordan place the Palestinian issue in the kingdom's front yard if not its living room.

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