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December 12 , 2006

Because Jimmy Carter's New Book Gets It So Wrong, We Have to Ask: Is He Evil . . . or Just Crazy?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

Surely you've been as upset as I have by Jimmy Carter's recent book-length diatribe against Israel, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Carter reveals his bias starting with the title itself. He places the onus for Palestinian statehood square on the shoulders of Israel and implies that Israel is committing racism similar to that practiced in South Africa. Carter's book could and more accurately should have been titled, "Palestine: Statehood Not Terrorism."

While the book has received very few favorable reviews, and the Democratic Party has stated that Carter does not speak for it on the subject of Israel, we should note that the website of the Muslim Brotherhood (parent organization of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas) has praised it.

Even Kenneth Stein, a professor of history at Emory University, who has been associated with Jimmy Carter's Carter Center from its founding (he was its first executive director and co-wrote Carter's first book on the Middle East) resigned last week, saying he was "ashamed" that Carter would put his name to a book "based on unvarnished analyses, factual errors, . . . superficialities, glaring omissions and simply invented segments." Stein also charges Carter with plagiarism, maintaining that his book is "replete with copied materials not cited."

Mitchell Bard, a pro-Israel author, reviewed the book and notes that Carter ultimately admits that his inflammatory title is specious and misleading. "Curiously, enough," Bard writes, "if you read through almost the entire book, which persistently accuses Israel of apartheid acts, you arrive at page 189, where he specifically contradicts the entire thesis by stating, ‘The driving purpose for the forced separation of the two peoples is unlike that in South Africa."

Yes, Jimmy, in South Africa, the ruling majority kept the black minority separate and oppressed to exploit them economically. On the other hand, Israel's Arab citizens have full civil rights and enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the Middle East; Israel fortifies its borders from outsiders only to prevent Arab terrorists from coming in to kill its people. Big difference.

Finally, we are reminded of the anecdote related by Andrew and Leslie Cockburn in their book, "Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship," about how Jimmy Carter, discussing his fading re-election prospects and his sinking approval rating in the Jewish community, snapped, "If I get back in, I'm going to [expletive] the Jews."

Is Carter evil or just crazy? That's probably not the right question. His book is clearly biased, his premise is false, and his "facts" are often false. Carter and his book need to be condemned from every quarter. To give you a full analysis of this spiteful tome, we offer Alan Dershowitz's incisive review from This piece will allow you to speak forcefully in any discussion about the Carter book and to answer questions that naïve readers may have about its assertions.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Director, FLAME


Last week the Iranian ambassador to the U.N., Javad Zarif, declared in a speech at Columbia University that Palestinians are suffering because Jews were persecuted in Europe, implying that the state of Israel is a direct result of the Holocaust and denying any greater Jewish connection to the Holy Land. (At least Zarif admits there was a Holocaust---his boss, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied that the Holocaust even occurred.) These are just the kinds of lies that FLAME fights against every day---through its hasbarah messages that tell the truth about Israel and her enemies. FLAME also helps Israel's supporters, like you, spread the word---by supplying an arsenal of articulate position papers on hundreds of critical topics about Israel, the U.S. and the dire threat of Islamist jihad. We invite you to print these messages out and distribute them. Our latest message---"Israel's Right to Exist (II): How could anyone question such a right?"---is now running in media nationally and internationally and will impact more than 5 million people. (Review it at Please remember that all our funding for this work comes from individual contributors. If you can help us now with a modest, tax-deductible donation, you will make it possible to keep this flame burning. To make a quick, easy, online donation of any amount, please go Thanks in advance.

The World According to Carter

By Alan M. Dershowitz,, November 23, 2006

Sometimes you really can tell a book by its cover. Former president Jimmy Carter's decision to title his new anti-Israel screed Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid tells it all. His use of the loaded word "apartheid," suggesting an analogy to the hated policies of South Africa, is especially outrageous, considering his acknowledgement buried near the end of his shallow and superficial book that what is going on in Israel today "is unlike that in South Africa—not racism, but the acquisition of land." Nor does he explain that Israel's motivation for holding on to land it captured in a defensive war is the prevention of terrorism. Israel has tried, on several occasions, to exchange land for peace, and what it got instead was terrorism, rockets and kidnappings launched from the returned land.

In fact, Palestinian terrorism is virtually missing from Carter's entire historical account, which blames nearly everything on Israel and almost nothing on the Palestinians. Incredibly, he asserts that the initial violence in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict occurred when "Jewish militants" attacked Arabs in 1939. The long history of Palestinian terrorism against Jews—which began in 1929 when the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem ordered the slaughter of more than 100 rabbis, students and non-Zionist Sfardim whose families had lived in Hebron and other ancient Jewish cities for millennia—was motivated by religious bigotry. The Jews responded to this racist violence by establishing a defense force. There is no mention of the long history of Palestinian terrorism before the occupation, or of the Munich massacre and others inspired by Arafat. There is not even a reference to the Karine A, the boatful of terrorist weapons ordered by Arafat in January 2002.

The Carter book is so filled with simple mistakes of fact and deliberate omissions that were it a brief filed in a court of law it would be struck and its author sanctioned for misleading the court. Carter too is guilty of misleading the court of public opinion. A mere listing of all of Carter's mistakes and omissions would fill a volume the size of his book. Here are just a few of the most egregious:

  • Carter emphasizes that "Christian and Muslim Arabs had continued to live in this same land since Roman times," but he ignores the fact that Jews have lived in Hebron, Tzfat, Jerusalem, and other cities for even longer. Nor does he discuss the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries since 1948.
  • Carter repeatedly claims that the Palestinians have long supported a two-state solution and the Israelis have always opposed it. Yet he makes no mention of the fact that in 1938 the Peel Commission proposed a two-state solution with Israel receiving a mere sliver of its ancient homeland and the Palestinians receiving the bulk of the land. The Jews accepted and the Palestinians rejected this proposal, because Arab leaders cared more about there being no Jewish state on Muslim holy land than about having a Palestinian state of their own.
  • He barely mentions Israel's acceptance, and the Palestinian rejection, of the U.N.'s division of the mandate in 1948.
  • He claims that in 1967 Israel launched a preemptive attack against Jordan. The fact is that Jordan attacked Israel first, Israel tried desperately to persuade Jordan to remain out of the war, and Israel counterattacked after the Jordanian army surrounded Jerusalem, firing missiles into the center of the city. Only then did Israel capture the West Bank, which it was willing to return in exchange for peace and recognition from Jordan.
  • Carter repeatedly mentions Security Council Resolution 242, which called for return of captured territories in exchange for peace, recognition and secure boundaries, but he ignores the fact that Israel accepted and all the Arab nations and the Palestinians rejected this resolution. The Arabs met in Khartum and issued their three famous "no's": "No peace, no recognition, no negotiation" but you wouldn't know that from reading the history according to Carter.
  • Carter faults Israel for its "air strike that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor" without mentioning that Iraq had threatened to attack Israel with nuclear weapons if they succeeded in building a bomb.
  • Carter faults Israel for its administration of Christian and Muslim religious sites, when in fact Israel is scrupulous about ensuring every religion the right to worship as they please—consistant, of course, with security needs. He fails to mention that between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Hashemites destroyed and desecrated Jewish religious sites and prevented Jews from praying at the Western Wall. He also never mentions Egypt's brutal occupation of Gaza between 1949 and 1967.
  • Carter blames Israel, and exonerates Arafat, for the Palestinian refusal to accept statehood on 95% of the West Bank and all of Gaza pursuant to the Clinton-Barak offers of Camp David and Taba in 2000-2001. He accepts the Palestinian revisionist history, rejects the eye-witness accounts of President Clinton and Dennis Ross and ignores Saudi Prince Bandar's accusation that Arafat's rejection of the proposal was "a crime" and that Arafat's account "was not truthful"—except, apparently, to Carter. The fact that Carter chooses to believe Yasir Arafat over Bill Clinton speaks volumes.
  • Carter's description of the recent Lebanon war is misleading. He begins by asserting that Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. "Captured" suggest a military apprehension subject to the usual prisoner of war status. The soldiers were kidnapped, and have not been heard from—not even a sign of life. The rocket attacks that preceded Israel's invasion are largely ignored, as is the fact that Hezbollah fired its rockets from civilian population centers.
  • Carter gives virtually no credit to Israel's superb legal system, falsely asserting (without any citation) that "confessions extracted through torture are admissible in Israeli courts," that prisoners are "executed" and that the "accusers" act "as judges." Even Israel's most severe critics acknowledge the fairness of the Israeli Supreme Court, but not Carter.
  • Carter even blames Israel for the "exodus of Christians from the Holy Land," totally ignoring the Islamization of the area by Hamas and the comparable exodus of Christian Arabs from Lebanon as a result of the increasing influence of Hezbollah and the repeated assassination of Christian leaders by Syria.
  • Carter also blames every American administration but his own for the Mideast stalemate with particular emphasis on "a submissive White House and U.S. Congress in recent years." He employs hyperbole and overstatement when he says that "dialogue on controversial issues is a privilege to be extended only as a reward for subservient behavior and withheld from those who reject U.S. demands." He confuses terrorist states, such as Iran and Syria to which we do not extend dialogue, with states with whom we strongly disagree, such as France and China, with whom we have constant dialogue.

And it's not just the facts; it's the tone as well. It's obvious that Carter just doesn't like Israel or Israelis. He lectured Golda Meir on Israeli's "secular" nature, warning her that "Israel was punished whenever its leaders turned away from devout worship of God." He admits that he did not like Menachem Begin. He has little good to say about any Israelis—except those few who agree with him. But he apparently got along swimmingly with the very secular Syrian mass-murderer Hafez al-Assad. He and his wife Rosalynn also had a fine time with the equally secular Yasir Arafat—a man who has the blood of hundreds of Americans and Israelis on his hands:

Rosalynn and I met with Yasir Arafat in Gaza City, where he was staying with his wife, Suha, and their little daughter. The baby, dressed in a beautiful pink suit, came readily to sit on my lap, where I practiced the same wiles that had been successful with our children and grandchildren. A lot of photographs were taken, and then the photographers asked that Arafat hold his daughter for a while. When he took her, the child screamed loudly and reached out her hands to me, bringing jovial admonitions to the presidential candidate to stay at home enough to become acquainted with is own child.

There is something quite disturbing about these pictures.
The Carter book is so biased that it inevitably raises the question of what would motivate a decent man like Jimmy Carter to write such an indecent book. Whatever Carter's motives may be, his authorship of this ahistorical, one-sided and simplistic brief against Israel forever disqualifies him from playing any positive role in fairly resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. That is a tragedy because the Carter Center, which has done much good in the world, could have been a force for peace if Jimmy Carter were as generous in spirit to the Israelis as he is to the Palestinians.


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