The book post for February


My New Year’s Resolution is to read more, and review a book here once a month. For February the book is Jimmy Carter’s Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid.

Carter’s book has angered certain right wing bloggers to the point that they want him censured, primarily for the admittedly incendiary title of the book. I doubt that the particular right wing blogger from whom I discovered the censure movement has read even one word of Carter’s book.

I find it fascinating that there is less tolerance for the “anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism” bullshit in the editorial pages of The Jerusalem Post than there is on certain right-wing blogs coming outta New Jersey. Seriously. But I don’t like to use the term Zionism because that gets into this whole “Israel’s right to exist” mantra which is so NOT the point. Let me state this in as clear a statement as I can: I am not questioning Israel’s right to exist. I am (and Carter is, and a great many letters to the editor of the Jerusalem Post are) questioning Israel’s “right” to kill everyone (a classic CFAV post), “right” to treat non-Jews as third class citizens of the planet, “right” to ignore the UN, etc. etc.

Sigh. And of course that means Carter and I are guilty of

denying the holocaust.

Don’t get me started. (The WTF letters in response to that charge are on point and worth a read.)

This is a good book. (whew. After all that?) I particularly like how readable it is given the subject matter. I could quibble with Carter’s timeline starting the Middle East conflict with Abraham ca 1900 BC, but whatever. Carter will never let us forget he is a Baptist Sunday School teacher. The world will not forget that his place in history has more to do with his peace work than with his lackluster Presidency.

I’m delighted that the attacks on Carter have put this book on the bestseller chart. I don’t believe that this book will instantly change US policy. But it is a large chink in the armor of AIPAC and Lieberman and Pammy. And it’s a start toward fairness.

Carter’s first sentence mentions his career-long goal “has been to help ensure a lasting peace for Israelis and others in the Middle East.” That much of Carter I totally believe. And what I want to know from those who would censure him is, why would peace which honors the dignity of each human being in the region not serve your purpose? Just asking.

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