[I am not sufficiently expert on all the historical events leading up to the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians to make a competent judgment as to who has wronged whom when and where. Manifestly, as others have pointed out, there are conflicting narratives. My own concern and the reason that I formed the Israel/Palestine list is that peace — truth and reconciliation — must be achieved there before another WMD holocaust strikes all concerned. I don’t see Iran, incidentally, as the primary threat in that regard — there are so many directions from which a devastating attack could be launched. It is pretty apparent that attack dog tactics are self-defeating in sorting out the details of the conflict and I wish that those involved would concentrate on peace-making rather than personal attacks on critics while there is still time. Needless to say Carter has been a successful peacemaker in the past and is trying his best to take a step forward in that direction in his latest book. I wonder where the remaining 186 members of Carter’s peace advisory board stand on the issues? Ed Kent]

Carter faces revolt over book on Middle East

· Walkout by 14 members of ex-president’s rights group
· Criticism of Israel seen as ‘malicious advocacy’

Ed Pilkington in New York
Friday January 12, 2007
The Guardian

The former US president Jimmy Carter was facing a revolt from some of his own supporters yesterday after 14 members of the advisory board of his human rights organisation resigned in protest at his view on Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr Carter has faced a backlash to the argument in his latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, for a renewed effort to kick-start the Middle East peace process. The book has been denounced by some commentators as anti-Israeli.

The 200-strong advisory board of the Carter Centre is drawn from prominent local figures in Atlanta, Georgia, where it is based. In a letter to Mr Carter explaining their decision to quit, the 14 members accused him of holding a “strident and uncompromising position”. They said the book “portrays the conflict between Israel and her neighbours as a purely one-sided affair with Israel holding all the responsibility for resolving the conflict … It seems that you have turned to a world of advocacy, including even malicious advocacy.”

Mr Carter’s book, which is number five in the New York Times bestseller list for hardback non-fiction, has been the subject of mounting criticism. Last month a fellow of the centre and long-time Carter adviser, Kenneth Stein, became the first to resign.

The book tracks the peace process from Mr Carter’s role as an architect of the 1979 treaty between Egypt and Israel. It blames all sides in the conflict but is especially critical of successive Israeli governments. “Israeli bad faith fills the pages,” wrote the New York Times book reviewer.

The most vociferous attacks on Mr Carter have come from the pro-Israeli Alan Dershowitz, a professor at Harvard law school. In a series of articles published on a Boston website under the title Ex-President For Sale, Prof Dershowitz has accused Mr Carter of having been in hock to Arab leaders in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The spat between the two men led to further controversy within Brandeis, a Massachusetts university founded by the Jewish community in America. Mr Carter declined an invitation to speak there because he would have had to debate with Prof Dershowitz. Yesterday, Mr Carter announced that he would speak at the university this month, but only after the law professor had been taken off the ticket.

His spokeswoman said he would be happy to answer all questions.

Prof Dershowitz said he would be at the event and ask questions from the floor. “I will be the first person to have my hand up. I guarantee they won’t stop me from attending,” he told the Associated Press.

Part of the reason reaction to Mr Carter’s book has been so fervent has been his use of the word apartheid to describe the lot of Palestinians, a comparison with the former racist regime in South African vehemently rejected by Israel.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

Be Sociable, Share!