Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Questions for Jimmy Carter

1. Question: Passage on p. 213: Could you please explain your now infamous passage on page 213 of your book where you condone acts of terror up until the point of Palestinian sovereignty?

Follow up: If you are sorry you wrote this passage how do you explain your subsequent comments to Al Jazeera on January 14th 2007 where you said “I wasn't equating the Palestinian missiles with terrorism,"


2. Question: Camp David 2: You stated on your interview with Larry King on CNN in November that Israel never accepted the Clinton plans for peace that were drafted at Camp David. Do you stand by that comment?

KING: Mr. President, didn't President Clinton have that all worked out and wasn't it Arafat that backed off?

CARTER: No. As a matter of fact, Clinton -- President Clinton did a great job the last term, the last part of his term in trying to bring peace to Israel. He made some very interesting proposals, none of which were accepted either by the Israelis or the Palestinians.

I describe that in my book and what President Clinton proposed was not acceptable to either Israel or the Palestinians but was the best effort he could make in the time that he had left in his term.


Follow up: If you do stand by that comment how do you explain then the Israeli cabinet, lead by then Prime Minister Ehud Barak, accepting the Camp David proposal on December 27 2000 and that President Clinton, Ambassador Dennis Ross [both of whom were there] and Nabil Amr, a former minister in the Palestinian Authority held Arafat responsible for the failure?

1. Wikipedia: Clinton later stated "I regret that in 2000 Arafat missed the opportunity to bring that nation into being and pray for the day when the dreams of the Palestinian people for a state and a better life will be realized in a just and lasting peace." [3] Arafat was also accused of scuttling the talks by Nabil Amr, a former minister in the Palestinian Authority. [4]

2. Mother Jones interview with Ambassador Dennis Ross: In your opinion, Arafat squandered his chance at Camp David in 2000. How so?

Dennis Ross: In the book what I’ve done is I laid out not only verbally what we offered, but I’ve also produced a map that compares what Arafat says he was offered -- and continues to suggest he was offered -- with what he was actually offered. So I am making it clear that if what we offered was so bad, why lie about it? Why misrepresent it? Why say you were offered cantons when you weren’t? Why say that you didn’t have a border with Jordan when you did? Why say you weren’t even offered 90 percent when you were offered 97 percent? Why say that you did not get any of East Jerusalem when you were offered all of Arab East Jerusalem? What did Arafat object to at the time?

DR: Well, he never gave us a good answer. Part of the problem with Arafat was that when we were at Camp David, he would just say no. He wouldn’t come with counters and he wouldn’t come back with specifics.


3. Question: Critics of book: On Al Jazeera television you stated that most of the critics of your book have been representatives of Jewish organizations. Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers, and Tom Teepen--liberals all--are not Jewish but have criticized your book severely. Other critics include Ambassador Dennis Ross, Professors Deborah Lipstadt, Kenneth Stein, and Michael Oren; New York Times editor Ethan Bronner, Slate editor Michael Kinsley, New Yorker writer, Jeffrey Goldberg, and many other scholars, journalists and statesmen who have expertise in this area.

None of them is a representative of a Jewish organization. Why did you make this false statement on Al Jazeera? Do you consider Jews who criticize your book to, ipso facto, be “representatives of Jewish organizations?

Source: Al-Jazeera TV on January 14, 2007:
Jimmy Carter: Most of the condemnations of my book came from Jewish American organizations….

4. Question: Use of Apartheid: Veteran congressman John Conyers, a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Carter’s “apartheid” libel "does not serve the cause of peace, and the use of it against the Jewish people in particular, who have been victims of the worst kind of discrimination, discrimination resulting in death, is offensive and wrong."

Irshad Manji, the courageous Muslim-Canadian columnist and respected critic of terrorists, has said almost the same thing. Why do you persist in using this word to slander Israel?

Absurd to Call Israel an Apartheid State - Irshad Manji
I respectfully challenge Jimmy Carter's recent critique of Israel as an apartheid state. Would an apartheid state have several Arab political parties, as Israel does? Would the vast majority of Arab Israeli citizens turn out to vote in national elections, as they've usually done? Would an apartheid state extend voting rights to women and the poor in local elections, which Israel did for the first time in the history of Palestinian Arabs? Would an apartheid state award its top literary prize to an Arab? Israel honored Emile Habibi in 1986. Would an apartheid state encourage Hebrew-speaking schoolchildren to learn Arabic? Would an apartheid state be home to universities where Arabs and Jews mingle at will, or apartment blocks where they live side by side? Would an apartheid state ensure conditions for the freest Arabic press in the Middle East?

The writer is the author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith. (Australian)

Follow-up: If by use of the term Apartheid you did not mean Israel’s “racial” policies and you were only talking about land on the West Bank, do you feel that was unnecessarily inflammatory and do you understand why critics have accused you of engaging in “bait and switch”?

5. Question: Rwanda: You stated on MSNBC Hardball in a December interview that described conditions for Palestinians as "one of the worst examples of human rights deprivation" in the world. You didn’t want to compare this to the suffering of the Rwandans 12 years ago. Where would you rank the conditions of the Palestinians?
CARTER: So the persecution of the Palestinians now, under the occupying territories—under the occupation forces—is one of the worst examples of human rights deprivation that I know. And I think it‘s—
SHUSTER: Even worse, though, than a place like Rwanda?
CARTER: Yes. I think—yes. You mean, now?
SHUSTER: The oppression now of the Israelis—of the Palestinians by the Israelis is worse than the situation in Africa like the oppression of Rwanda and the civil war?
CARTER: I‘m not going back into ancient history about Rwanda, but right now, the persecution of the Palestinians is one of the worst examples of human rights abuse I know, because the Palestinians—
SHUSTER: You‘re talking about right now, you‘re not talking about say, a few years ago.
CARTER: I‘m not talking about ancient history, no.
SHUSTER: Rwanda wasn‘t ancient history; it was just a few years ago.
CARTER: You can talk about Rwanda if you want to.

Follow up: Would you say that the situation in Darfur is worse?

Follow up #2: How is that the Carter Center has no human rights activities in Saudi Arabia, where women don’t even have the right to drive and non-Muslims cannot worship publicly. Nor for that matter do you have any human rights activities in China or in North Korea, or in Iran, Iraq, the Sudan, or Syria. Do not the human rights abuses there far outweigh those in Israel?

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