Jimmy Carter: Enemy of peace
I don't normally publish material written by others on this blog. I am making an exception here to publicize this article by Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini, which exposes ex-President Jimmy Carter as a phony "peace activist." As an accomplished Israel-basher, Carter continues to feed the Palestinian rejectionism that has prevented the establishment of a genuine and equitable peace in the Middle East.
Are the so-called "peace activists" actually the enemies of peace? The fascinating case of Jimmy Carter requires a special look. Carter recently visited Israel-–one of his many visits here--with a special delegation of "Elders." They are a group of such international personalities as Nelson Mandela, renowned for solving important global problems. There is no doubt that this group has good intentions, and maybe ability. They have considerable gravitas. But the main question is: What are they doing with their moral weight?
Immediately upon his return to the U.S., Carter published an article in the prestigious Washington Post, which was an invective against the State of Israel. Invective cannot rest on foundations of truth. It needs lies.
Carter tells a few, for example, about the Hanoun family, which was, he wrote, "recently evicted from their [Jerusalem] home of 65 years." Really? In fact, the entire compound in which they lived belongs to Jews who were expelled from Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence.
There is no argument about the Jewish ownership, which dates back to 1875. A Star of David is still to be found on one of the old stone structures at the site. The Hanoun family, by contrast, did not reach the place until 1956. If Carter would have checked, he would discover that this is a family of refugees from Haifa.
Haifa's Arabs were not expelled; they left voluntarily. They were moved into the Jerusalem structure, along with another family, by the Jordanian authorities. The Jewish owners of the property sought to exercise their proprietary rights. There is not a word about this in Carter's article.
There are thousands of tenants in Atlanta, Ga., Carter's home state, who were evicted from their homes because they could not make their mortgage payments. The rights of the Smith family, which was thrown onto the street, are much more established than the rights of the Hanoun family.
But Carter is not looking for justice. He is looking for invective. And therefore, he presents his readers with a partial picture, replete with erroneous details, and conceals the fact that the eviction was carried out only after lengthy judicial proceedings in which the proprietary rights were held up to detailed scrutiny.
It is worthwhile to be precise. The Israeli court granted the Arab families living in the compound the status of protected tenants. Moreover, some of the evicted families had the option of generous compensation even though they had no proprietary rights. But the families rejected every offered settlement and every legal defense due to political pressure, and received a political visit from Carter and his friends. Nobody offered compensation to the Smith family in Atlanta, and Carter did not visit them.
The criticism of eviction of the Hanoun family could be justified. Even if the eviction was legally justified, there is room for political criticism. And on the condition that if Carter seeks to deny the Jews' proprietary rights, he should also make it clear that the Palestinians have no right to claim abandoned property.
He has failed to recognize that property expropriated and confiscated from Jews in Arab countries as a result of legislation, pressure, persecution, flight and expulsion is worth more than the property that was expropriated and confiscated from the Palestinians as a result of flight and expulsion.
The Palestinians underwent the experience of flight and expulsion following the declaration of a war of annihilation against the Jewish State, which had barely been created. The Jews in Arab countries underwent a similar experience--of flight, expulsion and property expropriation--even though they had not declared war on the Arab countries. If so, whose rights are greater?
Has Carter ever told the Palestinians this basic truth? The answer is well known. Like other so-called "peace activists," he treats the Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular, like retarded children. They must not be told the truth.
They must not be told that if there are rights, then both the Jews and the Arabs have them. And if not, then neither the Jews nor the Arabs have them. He does not tell them that during the 1940s, tens of millions of people underwent the harsh experience of population exchanges, and there is no reason why only the Palestinians should have "the right of return." He does not tell them that more Jews fled and were expelled from Arab countries than Palestinians who were expelled from or fled Israel.
It is possible and permissible to criticize Israel over the settlements. Occasionally, this criticism is justified. But Carter, like thousands of other "peace activists," does not advance peace. Their demonization of Israel strengthens those who reject peace.
The position of Abu Mazen, the Palestinian leader, also appeared in the Washington Post. The sole significance of his demands is opposition to the existence of the State of Israel. He officially agrees, of course, to a two-state solution, but on the condition that one of them be a Palestinian state and that the second one also be a Palestinian state after the implementation of the right of return.
He admits that he received an amazing compromise offer from Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister, that included the Israeli evacuation of 97% of the West Bank territories. But he rejected it outright because he insisted that masses of Palestinians flood the State of Israel.
Did Carter issue a condemnation of Abu Mazen? Instead, Carter published an article condemning Israel, one of many he has written. Instead of offering fair criticism, Carter has become part of the incitement enterprise against the State of Israel.
Carter is capable of much more. He has succeeded in making achievements in other areas. For some reason, when he touches the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he loses his fairness and his balance. He does not contribute to the advancement of peace. On the contrary. This is Carter's contribution to strengthening Palestinian refusal to compromise and to pushing the chances of peace further away.