How Do I Spell Coward? C-A-R-T-E-R
I was probably the only person with strong pro-Israel views to be excited about Jimmy Carter's book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, when I first heard about it in November. The book hadn't come out yet, and its contents were unknown. But based on the title, I thought something important was about to happen: a courageous criticism of the Palestinians from a noted supporter, someone not afraid to challenge the burgeoning apartheid policy in the Palestinian territories and to call for peace moves instead of violence.
I thought The Left finally understood what Hamas' election means for peace, and I thought Carter was going to vent his frustration at the Palestinian failure to respond to Israeli efforts - post-Barak at Camp David, post-disengagement, post-Kadima and realignment.
Obviously, I should have known better.
Carter is not only a coward. He's a a liar as well. He says he wrote the book in order to stir debate in America. Then he rejects Alan Dershowitz's offer for a public debate. Obviously, debate isn't what he wants, at least not with people like Dershowitz, who understand the issues. Carter would rather aim for the ignorant masses and infect them with his highly biased views. Ignorant people don't talk back, and there a lot of them around. Carter's strategy is to aim low and run. It isn't hard to claim the high ground when your audience is a collection of intellectual midgets.
But running away from Dershowitz is only one part of Carter's cowardice. The other is his broadside accusation that Jews have stifled debate in America. I guess he feels that Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, and the rest are actually praising Israel. And when he looks over at Europe, I guess he sees a balanced discussion there, one where both sides are treated with equal respect. Only a mind like that could believe making false accusations against Israel is a good idea. Nothing like spreading a vicious lie in pursuit of a lower truth.
Its too bad, since Carter was perfectly placed to make a real statement to the Palestinians just as the window for a two-state solution is starting to close. But unquestioned support for the Palestinians no matter how far from peace they move is a disease without a cure, and Carter is clearly infected. The best we can do now is to try to limit the spread of the virus.