The Israel–Egypt negotiations resulting in the Camp David accords in the late 1970s were before my time. My negative perception of former United States President Jimmy Carter came from reading detailed accounts of the negotiations and the bully-boy tactics he used against Israel during that time.
I do not use the term anti-Semite lightly; in fact, I am fundamentally against equating legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. However, Carter’s latest book, “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid” takes my antipathy for the man to an entirely new level, for in my view with this book he has shown himself to be an anti-Semite.
This article is not the place to delve into the details of the book and refute it line by line - this has already been done. However, it is important to consider the general impression a book makes on the reader.
All writers know that, besides the actual words that are written, there are many messages that are conveyed between the lines by use of language, sentence structure and omissions.
Jimmy Carter’s latest offering reeks of anti-Semitism, not primarily because of what he has written but because of how he has written it and what he has left out. By the end of the book the reader will have picked up a number of completely false or partially false assertions or implications, and I will list ten here.
One, he gives the impression that Israel never sincerely sought peace.
Two, he promotes the notion that Israel is interested in inflicting long-term damage and pain on the Palestinians.
Three, he hints that Israel is bad for Christians and Christianity as well.
Four, he implies that the disengagement from Gaza was just a ploy to further inconvenience and inflict suffering upon the Palestinians. Five, he hints that Israel made unsubstantiated accusations against Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and thus treated him unfairly.
Six, he gives the impression that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak never made a reasonable offer to the Palestinians when he negotiated with Arafat at Camp David and it was Barak’s fault that the talks fell apart. Seven, he implies that Israel never keeps to signed agreements and that she torpedoed the Road Map.
Eight, Carter insinuates that Israel purposely and inappropriately interferes with free and fair elections in the Palestinian Authority. Nine, he implies that Hamas is a reasonable organization, which will fall into place the moment Israel becomes more reasonable with the Palestinians. The tenth and most repulsive impression Carter gives is that Israel’s actions are the cause of most of the conflicts in the world.
In fact, Carter’s book reads as if it was written by a Palestinian propagandist, not by a former United States President who has been engaged in the Arab–Israeli conflict for nearly thirty years.
To conclude, as some have, that, rather than being an anti-Semite, Carter is just an ignoramus who has a tendency to “always root for the underdog” is as absurd as the book itself. In an interview, Carter claimed that while writing this book he read almost every book on the subject. If this is indeed the case - and there is no reason to doubt it - then his intentional omissions and insinuations against Israel start to take on a more sinister face.
The fact is that any person who has even an elementary knowledge of history will be able to explain that Carter’s arguments are either completely or partially incorrect. However, Carter wants to push his false premise that if only Israel would pull back from the “occupied territories” and give them back to the Arabs, peace would rain for the entire region and maybe even for the whole world.
But why would an informed person such as Carter want to push Israel to do things that, bearing in mind the facts on the ground, which he almost entirely omits in the book, would be wholly against its national and security interests and tantamount to national suicide?
Furthermore, why would Carter invest so much effort in writing such a completely one-sided and misleading book, which is clearly not a realistic way forward for peace between Israel and its neighbors? I have but one answer.
Being an anti-Semite is not a reasonable state of mind it is pathological. As an anti-Semite Carter cannot stand the fact that Israel is so overwhelmingly supported by the American people and he has therefore published a dishonest and poorly written book in a cynical attempt to change this. In doing so he has not only brought shame upon himself but also, as a former president, profoundly dishonored the presidency of the United States. By extension, he is a disgrace to America.
Rabbi Levi Brackman is executive director of Judaism in the Foothills (www.jitf.org)
and the author of numerous articles on a whole range of topics and issues, many of which can be found on his website (www.levibrackman.com)