Monday, December 11, 2006

CARTER EMBATTLED

Jimmy Carter, who among other things is a visiting honorary professor at Emory University, has come under fire for his views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his new book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. Everything from the title of the book has become a subject of hot debate. Emory professor Kenneth Stein, a widely quoted expert on the issue and longtime associate of Carter, has dissociated himself from the book. His opinion about it is critical to say the least, when he says that is is "replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments".

I haven't read the book, but from the point of view of dissent, it is amusing and commendable that a former US president has written a book that is critical of the Israelis, charitable to the Palestinians, and condemns the lack of criticism of Israel that is a regular feature of a lot of mainstream media in the US. Chomsky and others have been saying this for a long time. The US has a very powerful Jewish community, in terms of wealth and knowledge, and I can imagine that the US would always be hesitant in general to unequivocally and regularly condemn Israel's actions. Irrespective of the factual accuracy of the book, I think Carter should be praised for firmly taking such a non party line stance.

Carter's views about the book and about the allegations can be found in this interview recorded by the Emory paper, The Emory Wheel. Carter is of course famous for being a claimant to the title of "Best Ex-President of the USA".

One of my friend's college professors once told her, "Between Carter and Clinton, I would trust Clinton with the government, but Carter with my daughter". Now which one is more important?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Krishna said...

Yes, it is refreshing to see a former president writing critically of Israel. Of course, there will be hell rised in the media against him. As Carter says quite correctly in the interview, the US is the only country in the world where there is blind and uncritical reporting of Israel-Palestine conflict. Even in Israel there is a lot more serious debate.

In this context it is interesting to read Norman Finkelstein's view on the media's response to Carter's book.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

Thanks for the link! Hopefully books like this may force the US to take a look at its pro-Israel policy. That situation surely must be the most messed-up political situation in the world!

12:16 PM  

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