Carter's frontal attack
As an ex-president, Jimmy Carter has intervened in some of the world's most troubled hot spots, trying to reduce tensions in North Korea, Cuba, Yugoslavia, Haiti, Africa and Central America. But now he is staging a literary intervention with the publication of "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," a book that strongly criticizes Israel and the United States for blocking serious peace initiatives and exacerbating terrorism in the Middle East.
Carter's new book, which drew fierce criticism on the Internet even before it appeared in stores, pulls no punches: Although he deplores suicide bombings and other violent attacks on Israeli society, he believes the central reasons for a stalled peace settlement is Israel's continuing refusal to give back the West Bank lands it occupied after the 1967 war and America's unflinching political support for Israel.
In his strongest passages, he blasts Israel's construction of a security wall between itself and Palestinians, saying the controversial structure is a brazen land grab by a minority of Israelis - an "imprisonment wall" that has encircled thousands of Palestinians on the West Bank and has become a form of economic apartheid.
"I wrote the book because I wanted to stimulate a debate in this country about what is actually going on in the Middle East," Carter said during an interview at a midtown hotel on the first day of his national book tour. "This is a subject which, in my mind, has rarely if ever been honestly debated or discussed in the United States."
The topic is dear to his heart - and key to his legacy. While Carter's presidency gets mixed reviews from many historians, his high-water mark was the 1978 brokering of a peace treaty between Israel's Menachem Begin and Egypt's Anwar Sadat. Since then, plans for a wider, more permanent peace in the region have been stymied.
At 82, Carter has the same boyish smile, the luminous blue eyes and friendly demeanor that helped him win the presidency in 1976. But he seemed quieter and more subdued, more fragile, as he sank into an overstuffed chair and talked about his reasons for writing this book. He has now published 21 titles, the most by far of any U.S. president, and several have become bestsellers, including last year's "Our Endangered Values." These books have made Carter "quite wealthy," as he told the Los Angeles Times in a 1998 interview; they include poetry, nonfiction, memoirs and even a historical novel. But none has been as controversial as his latest title.
"I wanted to speak out on this issue, because it so urgently affects peace in the region and the whole world," he said. "And it would be presumptuous of me to ask to be on 'Larry King' or to talk to the L.A. Times to promote my ideas about the Middle East. If I write a book about it, however, this gives me a vast array of forums where I can express views and answer questions. The book gives me this opening."
The bottom line
At 247 pages, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" is a brisk read, offering a primer on Middle Eastern history and the roots of the bloody conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. The author, who contracted to write the book two years ago and finished it only recently, assigns responsibility for the conflict to both sides. But his bottom-line sentiments are clear: The so-called road map for peace has failed, he writes, because "Israel has been able to use it as a delaying tactic with an endless series of preconditions that can never be met ... and the United States has been able to give the impression of positive engagement in a 'peace process' which President Bush has announced will not be fulfilled during his time in office."
Carter, who won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, has earned international praise for his post-presidential work; the Carter Center, which he founded after losing the 1980 presidential race to Ronald Reagan, has monitored elections and campaigned against disease in 65 nations. It would be easy for him to simply bask in goodwill, but several of his efforts to negotiate cease-fires have raised the hackles of sitting presidents. And he conceded that his push for a debate on his book tour might be hopelessly quixotic, given Israel's strong support here. It is "almost impossible" for politicians to criticize Israel, Carter noted, adding that media coverage of the issue is "abominable."
Not surprisingly, several prominent critics have attacked Carter's book. Martin Peretz, editor in chief of the New Republic, called it "a tendentious, dishonest and stupid book" in an online commentary; he was critical of the ex-president's "slightly goofy reliance" on his own religious faith as a way of judging Israeli society.
Alan Dershowitz, who said he has admired Carter's post-presidential work, commented online at the Huffington Post.
"This decent man has written such an indecent book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Dershowitz wrote. "I don't know why Jimmy Carter, who is generally a careful man, allowed so many errors and omissions to blemish his book."
Carter has gotten more favorable reviews, however. Booklist said his writing was "grounded in knowledge and wisdom" and "delivers a worthy game plan." Publishers Weekly called the book "informed and readable."
Simon & Schuster "accepts the fact that not everyone will agree with him on this issue," said Alice Mayhew, the veteran editor who worked with Carter.
"But we felt it was a topic that should be publicly addressed."
Josh Getlin is a Times Staff Writer.
Just think...The zionist even DIDN'T let the messenger of God, Jesus (PBUH) walk on earth peacefully and spread the message of one partnerless God peacefully. So, how do you expect you and I to live peacefully. Whomever the zionists hang out with and their destiny is doomed.
They are the reasons for the all war in the world since t = 0 .
I hope the Americans WAKE UP before it TOO LATE...Your "Mission Accomplished Boy" Bush jr is now paying the painful price for associating with the zionists. So please wake up for the children's sake!!!
Surah 2. Al-Baqarah
204. And of mankind there is he whose speech may please you (O Muhammad), in this worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to that which is in his heart, yet he is the most quarrelsome of the opponents.
All I see is deception and Ra'ina with a twist. A man that speaks with a fork tongue. The people of the Scripture, Al-Mushrikun, and Hypocrist will never cease fighting us believers (Muslims) until they turn us back from our religion (Islamic Monotheism)
Surah 2. Al-Baqarah
217. They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred months. Say "Fighting therein is a great (transgression) but a greater (transgression with Allah is to prevent mankind from following the Way of Allah, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to Al-Masjid-Al-Haram (at Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from you religion (Islamic Monotheism) if they can. And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever.
we do not need to read a book that tells us about the problems in the middle east, espacially not from an individually who poked his nose in other countries problems.
Jews have been killing and murdering the Arabs
for years for the land, resources and land without the Arabs.
Carter's 21st book, "Palestine, peace not apartheid," Should be made a obligatory read for any serious student in ME affairs, esp. the toxic Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where so many reasonable people seem to lose their objectivity and flee to the safety of their prejudices.
All peace-loving people should take his book and buy it, and email all of their friends about the "truth about this issue."
If Israel loses its dominance in America then all of the other problems facing the Muslim world including Iraq would substantially be reduced.
It bodes ill for humanity that a person, generally as good, as Carter does not think it possible to get the west to discuss peace on the basis of justice but instead the acceptance of some lesser amount of ethnic cleansing. They have failed miserably in creating foreign relations based on maximally positive sum games with sharing and instead still research and promote competitive zero sum games as if such could exist in an entrophic field. It is one of the instabilities of "elective democracy" that such people can become the major influence.
finish saying Israel.
The US Jews' whether liberal, democrat, repbulican, conservative
or non-conservative, will just not hear any criticisim of Israel.
Even if the GOD Himself comes down and tells them about
Israel's wrondoings they will shun Him too. In America, Israel is
the Holy Cow. They care more about Israel then their own
It is a paradox that within Israel itself, this topic is debatable but
in US, the American Jews will sell their mothers for Israel.
Mr. Jimmy Carter will be called the worst names ever like anti-
semite, Nazi supporter, Arab-lover, traitor and the new
American favorite, the Jihadist.
Good luck, Carter. I appreciate your efforts.
GOD, The Supreme One Bless us all.
AIPAC lobby is after all a bad influence in Washington and does not represent US interests.
Aipac is hurting US more internally and certainly abroad.