Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 6 Media Critique: "Carters Book: Presidential Pulp"

This is the second consecutive ‘Media Critique’ on Jimmy Carters new book Palestine: Peace or Apartheid?”.

Someone is worried. First it was the Mearsheimer&Walt controversy , and now the ex-US President, Jimmy Carter, weighs in with his strong criticisms of Israel, making allusions to Apartheid. You know things are changing when even someone like Carter gets it. No wonder HonestReporting and all the other pro-Israel zealots are in an uproar. Carter can expect to be relentlessly attacked for daring to break from the consensus. The attacks will be out of all proportion to the perceived crime, because the zealots see cracks appearing in the ‘Israel right or wrong’ position of US elites. If Carter doesn’t get enough grief, others might be emboldened to express similarly frank views, which might lead to the ‘disaster’ of a real, just peace along the lines of UN Resolution 242.

HR repeats its' claim from the previous 'Media Critique' that it has “previously debunked the false comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa”. Of course it’s done no such thing, HR just likes to claim that it has. As some of the targets of its vilification have pointed out, the comparisons with Apartheid are unfair, not for the reasons HR gives, but because Israels' action are worse than South African Apartheid. Here are the thoughts of 2 South Africans who know something about Apartheid. First, John Dugard, now Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian territories,

Many aspects of Israel's occupation surpass those of the apartheid regime.

And Ronnie Kasrils, anti-Apartheid activist, and now Minister in the South African government,
This is much worse than apartheid. The Israeli measures, the brutality, make apartheid look like a picnic. We never had jets attacking our townships. We never had sieges that lasted month after month. We never had tanks destroying houses.
And how about the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem,
By unlawfully discriminating against Palestinians based on their national origin, the Forbidden Roads Regime is reminiscent of the apartheid system that existed in South Africa.

And a group of IDF soldiers got together to make 'Breaking the Silence', which gives just a small taste of the treatment the IDF metes out to Palestinians on a routine basis, just in case human rights groups aren’t your cup of tea.

HR leads its assault on Carter with that professional sophist, Alan Dershowitz, the man who makes Stalinists look like reasonable, open-minded people. Dershowitz attacks Carters most “egregious errors”. As in any book of its kind, errors exist, mostly of the careless or very minor variety, in contrast to the ‘errors’ Dershowitz makes, which are calculated and deliberate attempts at deception. Here are a few examples of what Dershowitz calls errors,
Mr. Carter gives virtually no credit to Israel's superb legal system……Even Israel's most severe critics acknowledge the fairness of the Israeli Supreme Court.
This is straight out of Dershowitz’s propaganda tract, “The Case for Israel”.

So, Israels “most severe critics” think the Supreme Court is fair? After criticising Carter for making claims “without any citation”, he offers not a single scrap of evidence or even one citation to back this extraordinary claim. But let me. Here is David Kretzmer, a law professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who wrote a book about the legal aspects of Israels occupation, giving his opinion on Israels Supreme Court,
The court has rationalized virtually all controversial actions of the Israeli authorities, especially those most problematic under principles of international humanitarian law.
On the question of the new Israeli laws preventing family re-union, several Israeli human rights groups (ACRI, Adalah) took the issue to the Supreme Court which upheld the new law. Adalah issued a press release after the verdict was announced,
the Supreme Court effectively approved the most racist legislation in the State of Israel; legislation which bars the unification of families on the basis of national belonging: Arab-Palestinian. Drawing a comparison, Adalah added that,
In 1980, during Apartheid, a Court in South Africa refused to approve orders similar to the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law, because they contradicted the right to a family.” Adalah’s General Director Attorney Hassan Jabareen emphasized that today, the Supreme Court has instituted three tracks of citizenship on the basis of ethnic background: a direct track for Jews under the Law of Return; a middle track for foreigners according to the graduated procedure; and the harshest track, for Arab citizens.
If that is them acknowledging the Israeli Supreme Courts fairness, their criticisms must be extremely harsh.

I hope HR takes note of the South African parallel, which again demonstrates that the comparisons of Israel with Apartheid SA are unfair – to South Africa!

And for our final Dershowitz example of Carters ‘error’,
He claims that in 1967 Israel launched a preemptive attack against Jordan. The fact is that Jordan attacked Israel first…
In my humble opinion Carter’s only error here is to be too accommodating to the Israeli position that the 1967 war was a case of a pre-emptive strike. But even that is not obsequious enough for Dershowitz who demands total agreement with his perspective - that Israel was completely blameless in 1967.

Most of the other 'errors' are in a similar vein. If these really are the “most egregious errors” in the book, then Carter has done a great job.

I wonder if HR or Alan Dershowitz have ever bothered to gauge how their Pollyanna-ish views on Israel stack up against the experience of IDF soldiers?

The intellectual walls of fortress Israel in the US are beginning to be besieged, and in testimony to their flimsy construction, the cracks are already showing.