Thursday, December 14, 2006

Still more on Carter

Another comment forwarded from Mark on the Carter issue. This should be read in conjunction with the pieces posted below.

December 8, 2006

Words Even an Ex-President Can't Say in America
The Media Lynching of Jimmy Carter

It seems Israel's "supporters" have conscripted me in their lynching of Jimmy Carter. Count me out. True, the historical part of Carter's book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, contains errors in that it repeats standard Israeli propaganda. However, Carter's analysis of the impasse in the "peace process" as well as his description of Israeli policy in the West Bank is accurate - and, frankly, that's all that matters.

A wag once said that there is no Pravda (Truth) in Izvestia (News) and no Izvestia in Pravda. The same can be said of our Pravda (The New York Times) and Izvestia (The Washington Post). Today both party organs ran feature stories trashing Carter using Kenneth Stein's resignation from the Carter Center as the hook. (I was sitting in the airport when this earth-shattering story came on CNN.) But like John Galt, many people must have wondered, Who (the hell) is Kenneth Stein? Stein wrote exactly one scholarly book on the Israel-Palestine conflict more than two decades ago (The Land Question in Palestine, 1984). Even in his heyday, Stein was a nonentity. When Joan Peters's hoax From Time Immemorial was published, I asked his opinion of it. He replied that it had "good points and bad points." Just like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Later Stein wrote a sick essay the main thesis of which was, "the Palestinian Arab community had been significantly prone to dispossession and dislocation before the mass exodus from Palestine began" - so the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 was really no big deal ("One Hundred Years of Social Change: The Creation of the Palestinian Refugee Probem," in Laurence Silberstein (ed.), New Perspectives on Israeli History, 1991).

The Pravda ( NYT) story was written by two reporters who seem to have made a beeline for the newsroom from their bat mitzvahs. They quote Stein to the effect that Carter's book is "replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions and simply invented segments". I doubt there's much to this. Most of the background material is Carter's reminiscences. Maybe he copied from Rosalyn's diary (she was his note taker). Then Pravda reports that "a growing chorus of academics...have taken issue with the book". Who do they name? Alan Dershowitz and David Makovsky. Makovsky is resident hack at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Israel Lobby's "think"-tank.

Pravda saw no irony in citing Dershowitz's expertise for a story on fabrication, falsification and plagiarism regarding a book on the Israel-Palestine conflict. As always, one can only be awed by the party discipline at our Pravda. It makes one positively wistful for the days when commissars quoted Stalin on linguistics.

Norman Finkelstein's most recent book is Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history (University of California Press). His web site is .


Davis said...

Norman Finkelstein has rightly been called the 'Jewish David Irving' in the British press. He denies the scale of the Holocaust (If everybody who is supposed to have died did, why are there so many survivors? - C4 interview last year) and believes in a Jewish conspiracy to run the US.

If he was not Jewish he would be consigend to the antisemitic fringe, but since he has the cover of his Judaism, his 'work' makes him a favourite to wheel out by Israel's enemies, a position he revels in.

Luckily however, since he is such a crank, nobody who is interested in the ME or Jewish issues listens to him. Naturally for Finkelstein this means his thesis of a Jewish conspiracy is confirmed, as he proudly proclaimed when I heard him speak in person.

Particularly interesting in this story, other than that it is from an outlet I've never heard of (which admittedly may not mean much, but then again is unusual) is Finkelstein's swipe at Dershowitz, which he can hardly afford, since he tried to ruin Dershowitz's reputation with unfounded plagiarism accusations and has been sued successfully as a result (yet he still peddles the accusation at his talks)

I have not read Carter's book yet and therefore - unlike many - will refrain from comment until I have done so. However if this passage from his article is any measure, we are talking about an outrageous slander that could be lifted from some Palestinian propaganda fantasy but has absolutely nothing to do with Israeli actions or motivations.

'An enormous imprisonment wall is now under construction, snaking through what is left of Palestine to encompass more and more land for Israeli settlers. In many ways, this is more oppressive than what blacks lived under in South Africa during apartheid. 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.'

Gaza disengagement anyone? West Bank convergence? Olmert's speech?


Oh, I forgot, Israeli citizen's horns attrackt Qassams...

Those who wish to defend Carter's book will need to do better than citing Muslim antisemites (MPAC) or Self-hating Jews (Finkelstein - and yes it's an approprtiate term)

Much better.

William said...

Thanks Davis,

This Carter book is certainly causing a lot of controversy.