Sunday, February 18, 2007

Critics of my Carter stand don't seem to get it....

I have received numerous emails such as this one from Ben Brackley:

Dear Dr. Lipstadt,

I have long been an admirer of your aggressive efforts to take on Holocaust deniers such as David Irving. I remember when you quite rightly rejected the effort by C-SPAN Book TV to "balance" your appearance with one by Irving.

In my admiration, though, I erred in thinking you shared a consistent commitment to principles of truth and justice. The Deborah Lipstadt I thought I knew would be condemning Marty Peretz, the publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic, for writing that Jimmy Carter "will go down in history as a Jew hater" and not joining in sophistic attacks on Carter for minor errors in his book or insisting that an 82 year old Nobel Prize winning former President debate his book at Emory. Do you hold the same standards for every speaker at Emory?

If published in Israel, Carter's book would be relatively non-controversial as one can finds scores of commentary agreeing with his position. Why are you so threatened by having these views expressed in unfiltered forums in the US?....

Ben Brackley

While I am really sorry that Ben Brackley is disappointed in me, let me reiterate my point. President Carter wrote this book, he says, to stimulate debate and dialogue. However, everytime he has been offered the chance to enter in dialogue he has refused and presented himself as the victim of unfair attacks. He can't have it both ways.

Secondly, to Ben, my former admirer, let me say that if you review the criticism you will see that it is far more than "minor" mistakes. It is substantial and very much affects his arguments.

Finally, you are right, Ben, about finding these kinds of books in Israel but you would not find them with such blatant errors because Israelis [including those who agree with Carter] would pick up on them so fast and they would pull the rug out from under Carter's bottom line.

Oh, one last point, please note you would never find a book taking the opposite side of the argument in any Arab country... certainly not one written with the author's true name... Just a thought.

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