[Marxism] Carter dares to identify Israel with apartheid

Fred Feldman ffeldman at verizon.net
Sat Nov 18 07:51:00 MST 2006

This highlights the depth of  liberal, Democratic, pro-imperialist and
pro-Zionist censorship  of  criticisms of Israel.  (Would anyone know that
Uri Avnery,   a  Zionist of sorts who would undoubtedly agree with Carter,
even exists unless you read the oppositional left lists?   But Carter
signals the reality that is quite possible for mainstream forces to  begin
recognizing the reality, especially if the registration (perhaps through the
fall of the monarchy in Jordan or Saudi Arabia)  of their losses in the
Middle East  through the adventuristic invasion of Iraq - losses that would
proably have come only more slowly if they had not invaded Iraq.

Carter, of course, is not pretending to have democratic  (i.e,,
bourgeois-democratic)  principles.  He really holds these views, and thinks
they are the American and Christian way to deal with the situation.  The
bourgeoisie couldn't function without  a large dose of  belief in what they
are doing. I always thought the most striking characteristic of  Hitler was
not the "big lies" he "cynically" told the really insane things he was
capable of  believing to the bottom of his heart , regardless of what he
said to cover it at times. Pwehaps I was over-impacted by the misuse of
terms like "cynical" and "hypocritical" in the US=SWP  to describe every
view other than that of the SWP leadership, but I think the role of such
attitudes has been somewhat exaggerated in descriptions of ourgeois

Anyway, Carter should be supportd against the attacks on  him for telling a
piece of  the truth akout "Israel" and Palestine toda.

Fred Feldman 


Jimmy Carter and the "A" Word


President Jimmy Carter's latest book Palestine:
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0743285026/counterpunchmaga>  Peace
Not Apartheid (Simon and Schuster 2006), released yesterday, has been primed
for controversy. Weeks before it hit the bookshelves, election-hungry
Democrats were disavowing it because it used the word "apartheid" to
describe the discrimination against Palestinians living in the Occupied West
Bank and Gaza Strip. House Representative and soon-to-be Majority Leader
Nancy Pelosi wrote: "It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would
support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes
ethnically based oppression, and Democrats reject that allegation
vigorously." But does the President's book really warrant the swift
condemnation leveled against it by his own party?

To put the name "apartheid" to Israeli policies is nothing new. Hendrik
Verwoerd, South African Prime Minister and architect of apartheid did so in
1961. Israeli academic Uri Davis made the claim in 1987, as did Nobel
laureate Desmond Tutu in 1989 and again in 2002. What makes Jimmy Carter
unique is that he is the first U.S. President to make that comparison.
Unlike the others, Carter's description is carefully qualified. He writes:
"The driving purpose of the separation of the two peoples is unlike that in
South Africa - not racism but the acquisition of land" (189-190). What's
more, Carter's assessment of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians
contradicts the observations he catalogues in his own text. He writes that
"There has been a determined and remarkably effective effort to isolate
settlers from Palestinians, so that a Jewish family can commute from
Jerusalem to their highly subsidized home deep in the West Bank on roads
from which others are excluded, without ever coming in contact with any
facet of Arab life" (190).

In his failed effort not to offend, Carter overlooks several critical
aspects of Israeli policy. Since its inception, Israel has striven to
establish a strong Jewish majority within the state, treating the ratio of
Jews to non-Jews as a national security issue. Numerous Israeli policies -
from the expulsion of three quarters of a million Palestinians in Israel's
founding years to the route of Israel's current "security barrier" - are
designed to preserve Jewish demographic predominance. Palestinians citizens
of the state of Israel face a catalogue of over 20 discriminatory laws,
based solely on their identity as non-Jewish citizens, including the Law of
Return, which grants automatic citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in
the world upon request, but denies that same right to native Palestinians.

Carter's book eloquently describes the situation in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip, and it is here that Israel exhibits its strongest parallels to
apartheid. He writes about the extensive road system that crisscrosses the
West Bank but which Palestinians are forbidden to use. Palestinians in the
West Bank often require permission simply to travel from one village to the
next, and pass through numerous Israeli military checkpoints, reminiscent of
South Africa's infamous "pass system" which controlled the movement of
blacks. Carter also levels a strong criticism against "the wall," which
secures Israel's control of confiscated Palestinian lands and separates
Palestinian communities from each other. He quotes Father Claudio Ghiraldi,
the priest of the Santa Marta Monastery in Bethany: "Countering Israeli
arguments that the wall is to keep Palestinian suicide bombers from Israel,
Father Claudio adds...'The Wall is not separating Palestinians from Jews;
rather Palestinians from Palestinians'" (194).

Faced with such overwhelming evidence, it is difficult to imagine how the
label of apartheid has not been used more frequently to describe Israeli
policies, and without any qualifications. But Jimmy Carter, though he
remains the elder statesman of U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East, writes
within the narrow confines of the American policy tradition in the region, a
tradition that has, for decades, favored virtually unconditional financial,
military, diplomatic and emotional support for Israel.

Carter falls short of a full critique of Israel's treatment of non-Jews
under its rule, but his book challenges Americans to see the conflict with
eyes wide open. He places the blame on "Israel's continued control and
colonization of Palestinian land" as "the primary obstacles to a
comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land" and he places equal blame on
the United States for "the condoning of illegal Israeli actions from a
submissive White House and U.S. Congress in recent years."

Americans can only hope that the newly elected Congress, led by Ms. Pelosi
and her fellow Democrats, will read beyond that title page and that one day,
they too, will see the writing on the wall.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha wrote this commentary for the Institute for Middle East
Understanding <http://www.imeu.net/> .


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