Jimmy Carter Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Jag Singh, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Dec 17, 2006 at 8:50 pm
It is troubling that so many letters have recently appeared vilifying Jimmy Carter who had the moral courage to expose the appalling plight of the oppressed Palestinians in his recent book, ‘Peace not Apartheid’. Carter has justly earned the reputation of one of the foremost humanitarians for his tireless work with “Habitats for Humanity’, monitoring elections in newly emerging democracies, and for his efforts in bringing about a peaceful settlement with Israel and Egypt for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Many writers are clearly outraged and stung with the dreaded label ‘apartheid’. Perhaps these same people could offer a more palatable description for Israeli polices which are aimed at destroying the means of survival of the Palestinian people by demolishing their homes, the centuries old olive trees, theft of their land and water, forcing them to stand for hours at check points facing Israeli tanks and guns and imposing an economic blockade .which is driving them to the brink of starvation. It is encouraging that more and more courageous Jews such as Rabbi Michael Lerner are voicing their support for Jimmy Carter. I urge readers to see the searing testimonies of former members of the Israeli Defense Force who confirm the brutal horrors heaped on the Palestinians (see ww.peaceworkmagazine.org/pwork/0410/041008.htm).
Finally, it speaks volumes when another great humanitarian with impeccable credentials, Rev. Desmond Tutu, was denied a visitor’s visa by Israel to conduct a fact finding mission to investigate the recent slaughter of Palestinian children.
This note is to inform you that yesterday, I sent letters to President Jimmy Carter, Emory University President Jim Wagner, and Dr. John Hardman, Executive Director of the Carter Center resigning my position, effectively immediately, as Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University. This ends my 23 year association with an institution that in some small way I helped shape and develop. My joint academic position in Emory College in the History and Political Science Departments, and, as Director of the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel remains unchanged.
Many still believe that I have an active association with the Center and, act as an adviser to President Carter, neither is the case. President Carter has intermittently continued to come to the Arab-Israeli Conflict class I teach in Emory College. He gives undergraduate students a fine first hand recollection of the Begin-Sadat negotiations of the late 1970s. Since I left the Center physically thirteen years ago, the Middle East program of the Center has waned as has my status as a Carter Center Fellow. For the record, I had nothing to do with the research, preparation, writing, or review of President Carter's recent publication. Any material which he used from the book we did together in 1984, The Blood of Abraham, he used unilaterally.
President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook. Having little access to Arabic and Hebrew sources, I believe, clearly handicapped his understanding and analyses of how history has unfolded over the last decade. Falsehoods, if repeated often enough become meta-truths, and they then can become the erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and for policy-making. The history and interpretation of the Arab-Israeli conflict is already drowning in half-truths, suppositions, and self-serving myths; more are not necessary. In due course, I shall detail these points and reflect on their origins.
The decade I spent at the Carter Center (1983-1993) as the first permanent Executive Director and as the first Fellow were intellectually enriching for Emory as an institution, the general public, the interns who learned with us, and for me professionally. Setting standards for rigorous interchange and careful analyses spilled out to the other programs that shaped the Center's early years. There was mutual respect for all views; we carefully avoided polemics or special pleading. This book does not hold to those standards. My continued association with the Center leaves the impression that I am sanctioning a series of egregious errors and polemical conclusions which appeared in President Carter's book. I can not allow that impression to stand.
Through Emory College, I have continued my professional commitment to inform students and the general public about the history and politics of Israel, the Middle East, and American policies toward the region. I have tried to remain true to a life-time devotion to scholarly excellence based upon unvarnished analyses and intellectual integrity. I hold fast to the notion that academic settings and those in positions of influence must teach and not preach. Through Emory College, in public lectures, and in OPED writings, I have adhered to the strong belief that history must presented in context, and understood the way it was, not the way we wish it to be.
In closing, let me thank you for your friendship, past and continuing support for ISMI, and to Emory College. Let me also wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season, and a healthy and productive new year.
Dr. Kenneth W. Stein,
Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History, Political Science,
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Dec 18, 2006 at 6:02 am
Welcome back, Jag. How was the conferance in Iran?
What do you find troubling--people expressing their free speech rights? Carter wrote a book and some op-eds and people have responded. Or do you find the fact that Carter was justifiably vilified? Once again an example of free speech--a concept probably foreign to you and the dictatorships that you support.
People would probably take some of what you say more seriously if it wasn't for the fact that you are constantly and blatantly anti-semetic andti-jewish. there is no balance or perspective in any of your writings.
You applaud Michael Lerner--yet you hvae no clue as to his real feeling son Israel. While I and others disagree with much of what he syas- at least he is a supporter of Israel--not someone like you Jag, who wants Israel destroyred and Jews murdered in the streets.
FInally, considering his past checkered history, i would hardly call Desmond Tutu a "great humanitariran with impeccable credentials".
BTW, you have once again given us a broken link to some fantasy site on the web.
Posted by A Carter supporter, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2006 at 11:00 pm
The Palo Alto Daily News, Monday, Dec 18 ,Opinion Page 8 has an article by Jay Bookman. Titled " Carter's Proved his point" . This article tells how the debates in Israeli is more open than in the USA. Debates about the plight of the Palestinens. It is essential to hear both sides. My comment is that much more info. on how Israel came to be created in the first place. Were the people of Palestine and the surrounding Arab countries allowed to vote? on creating Israel in this area? I would like to learn more on the history of this area and not by a "one-sided" point of view. I read many letters to the editor that sound like Palestinens came and tried to take over a Jewish country that has been there for hundreds of years.?? Just as the history of Germany in the 30's and 40's is important to understand the history of the Palestine area is important to learn about.
Posted by Wolf, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Dec 19, 2006 at 11:40 pm
It's going to be a bit more that an hour of reading to get just the basics, but you may as well start with the Wikipedia Web Link . It glosses over tons of background and details, but the key events are there.
However, maybe you don't need it. If you already declare yourself -- without the facts -- as "A Carter Supporter", all this may well be lost on you :-)
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2006 at 8:39 am
I don't recall ANY former presidents vilifying Carter. It's actually been the other way around. Carter and Clinton are the only ex-presidents in history to publicly attack a current president. I don't even remember Nixon criticizing Carter, Reagan, Bush 41 or Clinton (though tricky dick died in 1994, only 2 years into Clinton's presidency). I can't recall Ford, Reagan or Eisenhower criticizing any sitting president either. If you can bring up an instance (give me specifics like the date and your source), I'll stand corrected. But I think this idea of ex-presidents slamming current presidents is something unique to Carter and Clinton.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Dec 30, 2006 at 4:05 pm
Absolutely correct. The dishonor of former Presidents Carter and Clinton daring to disparage a sitting President is nauseating. The first time I heard Clinton do this, all I could think of was how even I, who detested him, would have bet a year's salary that even he would never stoop this low. Of course, he topped it by threatening the TV stations with lawsuits and his party helped by threatening to shut down the license for anyone who showed Path to 9/11.
I see both of these guys as part of the continuing disintegration of civility in our country. No other former president has ever criticized a sitting president.
They disgust me.
I hope that they are the last 2 to do this, and that we return to some semblance of honor in our country, but my fear is that the barn door has been open too long...
Posted by Free speech, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Jan 1, 2007 at 8:14 am
Isn;t that part of our right to free speech--to disparge a sitting president. Have you forgotten what the republicans were doing on a daily basis during the Clinton years--disparging a sitting president.
Oh and by the way, it looks like Ford did it also--but he didn't have the guts to come out while he was alive to do it.