Jimmy Carter on Israel's apartheid policy & the Israel Lobby

For more information on this issue read: 'The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy' by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

In this paper, John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science and Stephen M.Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government contend that the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is its intimate relationship with Israel. The authors argue that although often justified as reflecting shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, the U.S. commitment to Israel is due primarily to the activities of the "Israel Lobby." This paper goes on to describe the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.

http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011
gwaansays...

For more information on this issue read: 'The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy' by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

In this paper, John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science and Stephen M.Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government contend that the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is its intimate relationship with Israel. The authors argue that although often justified as reflecting shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, the U.S. commitment to Israel is due primarily to the activities of the “Israel Lobby." This paper goes on to describe the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.

http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011

DudeMansays...

He wasn't the best president, but he's been a fantastic 'post-president'. It's a shame we don't have more people like him actively participating in our democratic process.

relnsays...

This is a load of BS!!Its amazing how people become so stupid when it comes to Israeli politics.

Accoding to Wikipedia, Apartheid "is a system of racial segregation...designed to form a legal framework for continued economic and political dominance"

Its a system used against a countries own citizens. If Israel were to mistreat Israeli Arabs and christians and prevent them from certain rights, not allow them on certain roads for racial reasons then that would be apartheid. Palestinians are not Israeli and for security reasons are not allowed on certain Israeli roads or in Israeli cities whereas Israeli Arabs (muslim or christian) would be permitted.

In fact, palestinian christians are not given the same rights as palestinian muslims.
In Saudi Arabia and other arab countries Jewish and Christian citizens are not allowed on certain roads or allowed the same rights as muslims.

joedirtsays...

If Israel were to mistreat Israeli Arabs and christians and prevent them from certain rights, not allow them on certain roads for racial reasons then that would be apartheid.


Wow, game, set and match. You've proven why you are wrong in one sentence. Sounds like apartheid to me. Anyways, how are Palestinians not Israelis? What are they then? Are they Palestinians? Sorry, there is no nation or nationality for Palestine. When a group occupies a country and treats former residents as inhuman.. well, was South Africa an apartheid country? How is Israel any different?

dagsays...

I tend to agree with JD - though I'm not sure if apartheid strictly applies to race. Pardon my ignorance, but aren't many Israelis and Palestenians "semitic" and genetically of the same race?

macsays...

Uh... am I the only one aware that Hamas, a terrorist organization, happens to be the majority party of the Palestinian "government" ? The Palestinian "government" is every bit as much to blame, if not more, as Israel for the violent situation between the two.

joedirtsays...

mac, are you the only one to realize this was about Israeli gov't treatment of people living within their borders and fences?

How can you be a government when you own no land, but regardless, who do you expect to be the elected leaders for a people living in a fenced in ghetto / deathcamp? Is Hamas different from IRA, Tamil rebels?

couplandsays...

I am constantly amazed by the man that Jimmy Carter has become. The current state in the middle east isn't about Israel being all wrong or the Palestinians being all right or vice versa. But the western media who suggest that the Israelis are "good" because they attack with tanks and jets and missiles as opposed to the Palestinians who are "terrorists" because their only weapons are bombs and mortars, are feeding us a line. Nobody is innocent in the middle east, not the Israelis or the Iranians or the Iraqis or the USA.

ghostcakesays...

Read up on the history of "Palestine" before Israel became a state and you'll see why Israel is so weary of Palestinians. They've had ample opportunities to form a Palestinian state.

relnsays...

"You've proven why you are wrong in one sentence. Sounds like apartheid to me. Anyways, how are Palestinians not Israelis?"

You know what, i cant even begin to argue with you when modern history gets so distorted. So I am not going to try. Its so easy to argue against Israel. Just make up tons of accusations, throw in human rights violations, compare them to the nazis, justify terrorism, distort history, and you've won every argument.

If you want to argue that Israel is an apartheid nation then prove it by showing how it discriminates and racially segregates its OWN citizens. And if you want to argue that palestinians are victims of apartheid then you have to convince me that Israelis don't have any security threat to fear from them. Segregation for security reasons is not Apartheid especially when its an entity that is known for unleashing endless terror.

So far according to the definition of Apartheid Israel is no more guilty than any other nation especially the arab ones including palestinians themselves.

I'm not sure how anyone can accuse israel of apartheid while palestinian christians, homosexuals and women are either tortured, abused, or mistreated on a daily basis.

What I see here is typical anti-Israel bias.


relnsays...

Very insightful comment. Thanks Theo.

Let me guess, you're anti-american, anti-Israel, you believe Bush is one of the worlds worst villians, Iran, Iraq, and Palestine are peaceful entities suffering endless aggression from the real terrorists i.e. Israel and the west and ofcourse how can I forget this one, Israel is the largest obstacle to world peace.

Thank god I'm the stupid one.

gwaansays...

In response to rein's ill-informed comments: "If you want to argue that Israel is an apartheid nation then prove it by showing how it discriminates and racially segregates its OWN citizens."

It always annoys me when people say that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Firstly, this is just factually wrong, for example Kuwait is a democracy. Secondly, democracy does not simply mean the rule of the majority. A democracy is also measured by the way the majority treat the minorities - how they protect minority rights.

Israel is well known for treating its Arab population as second class citizens. In fact during the recent invasion of Lebanon, the majority of people killed by Hezbollah rockets in northern Israel were Arabs who were not given access to bomb shelters. Assad Ghanem, senior lecturer in political science at Israel's Haifa University has argued that "This is not a democracy, it is an ethnocracy...We are not full citizens, this country is only for the Jews." Arab Israelis now make up 20 percent of Israel's six million-plus population, but until very recently there was not a single Arab minister (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6254691.stm). The appointment of the first Arab minister is an important step, and one which should be applauded - but the backlash from many areas of the Israeli public shows what a divisive issue this is in Israel.

Formally, Israeli law guarantees equality to Israeli Arabs, but in reality Israeli Arabs experience discrimination in many aspects of life. A report by an Israeli judge (Theodor Or) who wrote 'The Report by the State Commission of Inquiry into the Events of October 2000', stated that:

"The Arab citizens of Israel live in a reality in which they experience discrimination as Arabs. This inequality has been documented in a large number of professional surveys and studies, has been confirmed in court judgments and government resolutions, and has also found expression in reports by the state comptroller and in other official documents. Although the Jewish majority’s awareness of this discrimination is often quite low, it plays a central role in the sensibilities and attitudes of Arab citizens. This discrimination is widely accepted, both within the Arab sector and outside it, and by official assessments, as a chief cause of agitation." Furthermore, the Orr Commission of Inquiry's report stated that the "Government handling of the Arab sector has been primarily neglectful and discriminatory", that the Government "did not show sufficient sensitivity to the needs of the Arab population, and did not take enough action to allocate state resources in an equal manner." As a result, "serious distress prevailed in the Arab sector in various areas. Evidence of distress included poverty, unemployment, a shortage of land, serious problems in the education system, and substantially defective infrastructure.'"

The National Committee for the Heads of the Arab Local Authorities in Israel addressed the unequal treatment of Israeli Arabs in a document produced in December 2006. They argued that: "The Israeli legal system includes a number of core laws that produce and reinforce inequality between the Arabs and the Jews in Israel (de jure) ... The official bias is not restricted to symbols such as the Israeli flag, but also to deeper legal issues concerning all Palestinian Arabs ... [t]he official definition of Israel as a Jewish state created a fortified ideological barrier in the face of obtaining full equality for the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel ... We, the Palestinians in Israel, are an integral part of this place ... Israel has tried over the past decades to disengage us from this place, not through physical transfer but through intellectual emotional transfer. Israel has tried to create a new identity on the basis of 'loyalty to the state' ... The State has not determined a position acceptable to us yet in terms of nurturing our Arab culture."

rickegeesays...

In the interest of further nuance, I attach the Alan Dershowitz response to the Israel Lobby paper:

http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/research/working_papers/dershowitzreply.pdf

I am particularly wary of Zionist conspiracy theories, whether they are advanced by Palestinians, anti-AIPAC people like the Harvard guys, Edward Said, or Jimmy Carter. This line of reasoning draws upon a history of thought that is mostly unsavory and based solely on a fear of the imaginary 'Judeofascist'.

However, there are a lot of truths in this thread, and in the Carter book, about the untenable state of affairs in the Palestinian ghettos of Israel.

I would be interested to know what Jimmy Carter thinks about the Israeli/Palestinian negotiations of the 1990s. I do love how Jimmy Carter takes on human rights issues and acts as an extra-governmental moral gadfly.

However, I also marvel at his cynicism. He uses the word 'apartheid' to sell books and to get on TV. He knows well that the word has racialist overtones and that American media will cover race. The situation in Israel is far, far, far more complicated than South African-style apartheid.


gwaansays...

rickegee

Thanks for posting the Dershowitz paper - although I can't stand Dershowitz it is always good to hear both sides of an argument!

I think it's a little unfair to accuse Jimmy Carter of cynicism. I think he used the word apartheid to illustrate the appalling treatment of the Palestinians and the obvious, although not perfect, similarities with the situation in South Africa. The vast majority of Americans were opposed to apartheid in South Africa - and I think Carter believes that if they knew more about the situation in Israel/Palestine they would be opposed to what is going on there too.

He may also have used the term 'apartheid' for exactly the reason you say - 'that American media will cover race'. It is far more difficult getting any media or political forum in the States to fairly cover the issue of Israel/Palestine without incredible pro-Israeli government policy bias - as Carter is arguing.

rickegeesays...

http://www.adl.org/Israel/apartheid/confronting_the_apartheid_analogy.pdf

And here is the ADL on the apartheid analogy. I can't stand Dersh either, but the sourcing of the AIPAC paper does appear to be thin.

'Apartheid' like 'Holocaust' is one of those words that have a tendency to be overused when an advocate wants to draw attention to an issue. The word is an Afrikaans word for 'apartness' and it seems to me to describe a very specific system of division and deprivation based solely upon race.

That said, I couldn't disagree more with the ADL's position on the West Bank and Gaza. In those areas, I think that there is clearly a political movement of division, deprivation, and dominion based solely upon national origin. Until Israel comes to terms with the problems in these areas, the apartheid charge (however else unsupported) will stick.

gwaansays...

The reason they are 'belligerent' - and if by 'belligerent' you mean not completely passive and submissive in the face of overwhelming acts of hostility, suppression, and terror being committed on a daily basis by the Israeli state - is that there have been over fifty years of violations of Palestinian rights - beginning with their expulsion in 1947-8 mainly as the result of attacks by the official Jewish army, the Haganah, and the Irgun, a terrorist organisation. If you treat a people so badly for so long they will turn into extremists. Israel can only carry on the way it does because of the unquestioning support of America - due in a large part to the power of the Israel lobby in the States (particularly AIPAC)..

ghostcakesays...

"The reason they are 'belligerent' - and if by 'belligerent' you mean not completely passive and submissive in the face of overwhelming acts of hostility, suppression, and terror being committed on a daily basis by the Israeli state - is that there have been over fifty years of violations of Palestinian rights - beginning with their expulsion in 1947-8 mainly as the result of attacks by the official Jewish army, the Haganah, and the Irgun, a terrorist organisation. If you treat a people so badly for so long they will turn into extremists. Israel can only carry on the way it does because of the unquestioning support of America - due in a large part to the power of the Israel lobby in the States (particularly AIPAC).."

Dude, Arabs were harassing Jews long before the Irgun and Haganah were formed. The reason they were formed is because of the ever increasing violence against Jews by Arabs in "Palestine". The Arab world wasn't ready to give the Jews a homeland in the Middle-East. Also, Jews were being expelled from tons of Arab countries, where's the outrage there? The Palestinians could have had their own state long ago, but they decided that the partition plan was unfair and rejected it. 5 Arab countries attack Israel and lose, they still haven't gotten over it it would seem.

Funny how you label the Irgun and the Haganah as terrorists, yet you seem sympathetic towards the Palestinian extremists. Sad.

gwaansays...

Firstly, I'm not denying the fact that the Jewish people have been persecuted throughout history in many different states - not just Arab or Islamic countries. I'm simply pointing out that the people who condemn the 'terrorist' activities of the Palestinians in their attempt to establish their own state are the same people who forget or deny that the state of Israel was also created in part due to the 'terrorist' activities of the Irgun and Haganah. Similarly, today the Israeli government often use 'terror' activities - including the direct targetting of civilians - to suppress the Palestinians, yet condemn them when they are used against Israel. The same charges could also be levied at Palestinian extremists. However, I do not think that the extremists on either side are acting in the best interest of either peoples.

AIPAC and organisations like it paint the issue as black and white - Israelis are good persecuted champions of democracy, Palestinians are fanatical cold-blooded terrorists. Unfortunately this simplistic black and white myth dominates American politics and media.

I'm not saying this is a black and white issue - I'm fighting to regain the grey!

relnsays...

Ok I'm back from my mini vacation with my kids. Damn there are so many comments here and I dont have time to deal with all of them. I hate when these things come up when I'm on vacation.

Farhad, Joedirt and others, Palestinians are not Israeli citizens. If you want to argue that Israel is praticing apartheid then be prepared to criticise every arab country in the region. While Israel is not perfect it is a secular pluralistic society that accepts all religions. In contrast to many Arab countries that have declared Islam to be the state religion. Anyone in the world can become Israeli. Jordon has a law barring only Jews from becoming citizens and Jews and christians are descriminated against and are not provided with the same rights as muslims in every Arab country.

In 2002 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the government of Israel is not allowed to allocate land based on religion or race. Here is a quote from Israels Chief jusstice Aharon Barak "The principle of equality prohibts the state from distinquishing between its citizens on the basis of religion or nationality...The Jewish character of the state does not permit Israel to discriminate between its citizens"

Critisizing Israel is one thing, singling out Israel is anti-semitic


relnsays...

"Israel is well known for treating its Arab population as second class citizens."

Gwaa, no one said Israel is perfect. Ofcourse there will be some level of discrimination against arabs. That may never change. It just so happens that Israeli settlers and a lot of orthodox israelis are discriminted against as well. I've heard first hand from Israelis that many of them dont like first Arabs, second orthodox jews. In fact one secular Israeli who was removed from Gaza as part of the disengagement was declined housing in a secular settlement inside Israel because he was classified as a gaza settler and they didnt want his type around.

So there's discrimination. It doesnt mean its apartheid.

gwaansays...

Article III(2) of Jordanian Law No. 6 of 1954 on Nationality (last amended 1987) states that: "Any person who, not being Jewish, possessed Palestinian nationality before 15 May 1948 and was a regular resident in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 20 December 1949 and 16 February 1954."

There is no provision in the Jordanian citizenship laws that discriminates against Jews - simply for being Jewish. Jordan was flooded by Palestinian refugees after they were forced off their own land by the Jewish army, Irgun and Haganah. This huge influx of refugees left Jordan with a difficult situation. It gave citizenship to non-Jews because otherwise they would have been stateless. However, Jewish people who possessed Palestinian citizenship before 1948 were not stateless and had citizenship of a new country - Israel.

siftbotsays...

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