Wednesday, January 24, 2007

At Brandeis, Carter Responds to Critics

Most of you have probably heard about Jimmy Carter and his book, so you can probably see why I am posting this. I do not have a terribly complex deconstruction, just a few comments. If you don't understand at any point in the article what the big deal is, just ask me and I'll try to elaborate.

WALTHAM, Mass., Jan. 23 — In his first major public speech about his controversial book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” former President Jimmy Carter told an audience at Brandeis University on Tuesday that he stood by the book and its title, that he apologized for what he called an “improper and stupid” sentence in the book and that he had been disturbed by accusations that he was anti-Semitic. well, everyone knows that if you don't support Israel 100% then you must hate Jews! My mother, who is not religious in any sense (never even had her bat mitzvah) accused me of the same thing when i stated that Israel was out of line. how stereotypical of me, a self hating Jew.

Mr. Carter’s book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” drew protesters to Brandeis on Tuesday. Critics have said the book contains errors and misrepresentations of the roles of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. funny how you don't hear complaints like that when someone writes something denouncing Palestinians

Although controversy had preceded his visit here, Mr. Carter was greeted with a standing ovation and treated with obvious respect by the audience, even as students asked questions that were critical of his assertions.

“This is the first time that I’ve ever been called a liar and a bigot and an anti-Semite and a coward and a plagiarist,” Mr. Carter told the crowd of about 1,700 at Brandeis, a nonsectarian university founded by American Jews, where about half the students are Jewish. “This is hurting me.”

He added, “The fact that they deteriorate into ad hominem attacks on my character has probably been a greater barrier to progress than the fact that I chose a particular word in the title.” the fact that they deteriorate to ad hominem attacks on your character Mr. Carter, is because they have no other way to refute what you have said. Thats what happens when you try to force people to see the injustices that are committed in their names or that they are brainwashed.

Mr. Carter said he realized his use of the word “apartheid” “has caused great concern in the Jewish community.” He said he had used it “knowing that it would be provocative.” He said he had intended to describe conditions not in Israel but in the occupied Palestinian territories, and had not meant to “equate Zionism with racism,” but to point out “that this cruel oppression is contrary to the tenets of the Jewish religious faith and contrary to the basic principles of the state of Israel.” A-freakin'-men

But he said a sentence in which he seemed to suggest that Palestinians would not have to end their suicide bombings and acts of terrorism until Israel withdraws from the territories “was worded in a completely improper and stupid way,” adding: “I have written my publisher to change that sentence immediately. I apologize to you personally, to everyone here.” except that according to international law, that is a very correct assertion. The Palestinians have the right to resist an occupying power, and to counter it with force. I do not support that as an effective action simply because historical precedent in this situation alone has shown us that these actions only contribute to an escalating cycle of violence, but i am not going to deny that their actions are, according to international law, justified.

While many students and professors said they disagreed with elements of the book, they said they welcomed the opportunity to hear Mr. Carter.

“I’m happy to have a contrary viewpoint, I’m happy to have a former president, I’m happy to have controversy,” said Daniele Kohn, 21, a fine arts major, who asked Mr. Carter why, in a television interview, he had seemed to suggest that the Palestinian condition was worse than the Rwandan genocide. (Mr. Carter responded that he had not meant to suggest that.) “I think this school hasn’t gotten publicly upset in far too long.”

Mr. Carter’s book has prompted criticism from many American Jews and some Middle East experts, who say it contains factual errors and misrepresents the role of both the Israelis and the Palestinians.proof? In addition to the word apartheid, with its implication that Israel’s actions resemble the racist policies of South Africa, these critics object to Mr. Carter’s assertion that Israel has committed human rights abuses against the Palestinians, that pro-Israel lobbyists have stifled debate in the United States and that American newspaper editorials are overwhelmingly pro-Israel. EXCEPT THAT THEY ARE! theres plenty of proof and a good portion of it comes from ISRAELI reporters!

The book prompted the resignations of 14 of Atlanta’s business and civic leaders from the Carter Center’s advisory board. Kenneth W. Stein, a professor at Emory University who was the first executive director at the Carter Center, resigned his position as a fellow there in December. And Dennis Ross, a former envoy to the Middle East who is now a news analyst, has accused Mr. Carter of using maps that Mr. Ross created without his permission, and mislabeling them in the book, accusations Mr. Carter has denied.

Mr. Carter initially rejected an invitation to speak at Brandeis because it suggested that he debate Alan M. Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor who has sharply criticized the book. Wanting the university to welcome contrary views, more than 100 students and faculty members signed a petition contending that Mr. Carter should be invited without conditions. Questions were preselected by the committee that invited Mr. Carter, and the questioners included an Israeli student and a Palestinian student.

After Mr. Carter left, Mr. Dershowitz spoke in the same gymnasium, saying that the former president oversimplified the situation and that his conciliatory and sensible-sounding speech at Brandeis belied his words in some other interviews.

“There are two different Jimmy Carters,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “You heard the Brandeis Jimmy Carter today, and he was terrific. I support almost everything he said. But if you listen to the Al Jazeera Jimmy Carter, you’ll hear a very different perspective.” duh dipshit. thats how politics works. just because he presents things differently to different people does not mean he is changing his facts or lying. the facts that are presented are still the same. lets put this in perspective, shall we? would you talk to your grandmother the same way you would talk to your best friend? probably not, but you can tell them both the same information without changing the facts

Mr. Carter started his Brandeis speech by calling it “the most exciting invitation” he had received since his inaugural address 30 years ago, and enumerating his years of pro-Israel stances and involvement in the Middle East peace process.

Responding to one of the criticisms of him, he said: “I have never claimed or believed that American Jews control the news media. That is ridiculous to claim.” He said “a lot of support for Israel comes from Christians like me who have been taught since they were 3 years old to honor and protect God’s chosen people from whom came people like our Christian Savior, Jesus Christ.”

But he said he believed there was too little willingness in Congress and elsewhere to debate or accept his premise that “Israel will never find peace until it is willing to withdraw from its neighbors’ land and permit the Palestinians to exercise their basic human and political rights.”

Despite the warm and dignified welcome, several students said they were disturbed by the book and Mr. Carter’s conclusions.

“He did some great work in the past,” said David Kuperstein, a junior, but “it has made me a little bit angry, the unfounded skew and bias that he specifically shows in his book toward Israel.” hardly unfounded, in fact it is quite supported by, oh i don't know, the international community via the UN? Or maybe the Peace movement against the occupation in Israel? or maybe just with some common fucking sense and an objective view of historical fact? Why is it that every time someone tries to say that Israel has or is doing something wrong, people pull out the "thats biased against Jews!" argument? The state of Israel and the Zionist agenda are not indicative of an entire group of people based on genetics or religion. In fact the basis for Zionism was atheist and socialist! HEADS OUT OF ASSES PEOPLE! MOUTHS CLOSED, EARS TO BE OPEN! Just because Israel was founded on the concept of a home for people who were being rejected by almost the rest of the world does not make it infallible or any less capable of corruption.