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Did Jimmy Carter Endorse Palestinian Terrorism So Long as

Israel Doesn't Accept "The Ultimate Goals of the Roadmap for Peace"? Lawprof Steve Lubet pointed to a letter by Emory Prof. Melvin Konner:

I ... call your attention to a sentence on p. 213 that had not stood out for me the first time I read it: "It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel."

As someone who has lived his life as a professional reader and writer, I cannot find any way to read this sentence that does not condone the murder of Jews until such time as Israel unilaterally follows President Carter's prescription for peace. This sentence, simply put, makes President Carter an apologist for terrorists and places my children, along with all Jews everywhere, in greater danger.

The chapter in which the sentence appears is available here, and I too find it hard to read the sentence other than how Prof. Konner does. In context, it doesn't just seem as an objective political description of the "terrorism will go on until this-and-such happens, so Israel should do this-and-such because of this practical reality." Nor does it seem to be a call on Arabs and Palestinians of the "acts of terrorism should stop now, but since I realize that you won't do it now, at least you might insist that they stop when this important step is accomplished."

Rather, it seems to be a statement of what the Arab and Palestinian community have a moral obligation to do: Make clear not that they will end terrorism, but that they will end terrorism when Israel makes certain concessions. Are Prof. Konner and I mistaken here?

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. President Carter Apologizes for a Heavily Criticized Item from His Book:
  2. Did Jimmy Carter Endorse Palestinian Terrorism So Long as
matthew (mail):
He certainly doesn't "endorse" or "condone" Palestinian terrorism. He fails to condemn it. Perhaps this failure is morally culpable but he does not advocate it.

And, "imperative" might not mean moral imperative. He is saying, "the following must happen or there will be no peace: you (palestinians) agree to stop doing evil if Israel withdraws to 1967 borders."

I suppose you could say that, by failing to condemn murder when a normal person would do so, he has tacitly affirmed it. But I don't think that's fair to the Pres.
1.11.2007 1:59pm
Bpbatista (mail):
What's the big shock? Carter has been blatantly anti-Israeli -- in not outright anti-Semitic -- for some time now. Marry that to his obsequious overtures to the Soviets during the 1980 election and his creeping anti-Americanism and the man is a complete disgrace. The sooner he passes from the scene, the better.
1.11.2007 1:59pm
randal (mail):
Yes, you are mistaken.

I don't know the context of the quote. But it doesn't necessarily mean that the author endorses acts of terrorism.

The context could (and likely does) take the present situation, including acts of terrorism, as a given. That doesn't mean it's endorsed. Just understood to be. And given the present situation, "It is imperative blah blah blah." It may also be desirable that the Palestinian groups voluntarily stop... perhaps that even goes without saying. But it is "imperative" that they at least sound credible when they say they'll stop if Israel makes concessions.
1.11.2007 2:03pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
... and places my children, along with all Jews everywhere, in greater danger.

Since innocent people are also put in danger by terrorism -- both in living in close proximity to where such hatred and danger explodes, plus in the disproportionate numbers killed in retailatory actions -- I suspect you may want to acknowledte that such a statement places not just Jewish children in danger.

Maybe once we can realize that it's not just the Jews and their children -- in fact, Palestinian death counts in the conflict are always higher and I hope no body is saying they are all "terrorists" killed -- but a whole lot of innocent humans killed, then both sides will take responsibility for the loss of lives.

And maybe, just maybe, take concrete steps toward living in peace, without having to slaughter the "other side" completely.
1.11.2007 2:06pm
AF:
You are mistaken. As you recognize, it is possible to read the passage as meaning "since I realize that you won't [stop terrorism] now, at least you might insist that they stop when this important step is accomplished." You reject that reading based on "context." I think it is the correct reading.

I would be interested to know what it is about the context that makes you think President Carter condones terrorism. To me, it is clear that he does not. For example, he writes:


There are two interrelated obstacles to permanent peace in the Middle East:

(1) Some Israelis believe they have the right to confiscate and colonize Palestinian land and try to justify the sustained subjugation and persecution of increasingly hopeless and aggravated Palestinians; and

(2) Some Palestinians react by honoring suicide bombers as martyrs to be rewarded in heaven and consider the killing of Israelis as victories.


Isn't calling something an "obstacle to peace" different from condoning it?
1.11.2007 2:07pm
Rattan (mail):
Yes. You are mistaken. The actions taken by Israel cost far more lives for far smaller reasons-- and they terrify the targets. Indeed, they are intended to terrify. Such inflictions of terror has been the backbone of Israeli policy as was made clear in the most recent action in Lebanon, in which much was made of Arabs not taking Israel to be sufficently ruthless and invincible. Hence, the barrage of cluster bombs as peace was being negotiated to make sure the Lebanese again remembered who did they tangle with.
President Carter, still a favorite for pinning needles into, could have said both sides will cease terror operations, but for some reason he left out Israel. Thus, it appears as if only Arabs and Palestinians are engaging in terror and Israelis in-- at best harmless lawlessness in their behavior, mere bawdiness at best that happens to kill thousands in reality.
If Israel agrees to allow return of Palestinians to their original homes and works to integrate them as it has done with Russina and other immigrants, then it would have a case as a proper democracy. Right now it is teetering at the edge with a delusional democracy for some-- sort of like the good old Roman times when citizens voted and slaves served.
1.11.2007 2:10pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:


I know the Palestinians love their children too.

IN fact, you might say they sometimes love them so much that they are unwilling to raise them in the conditions of near poverty of body and spirit that Israel is asking them too.

Justice for everybody, I suspect as a Christian that is what President Carter is advising. Only considering the Jewish children, and people, and not the Palestinians who are being denied the taxes they have paid for their own welfare, is not going to work. That's what he's advising as a politician, for those who can retain some semblance of impartiality in this conflict. I suspect that those who are ethnically and religiously Jewish -- or those who strongly support the creation and subsidation of the state of Israel at any cost -- are not.

Time will tell whether President Carter or his critics are true friends to the Jewish people.
1.11.2007 2:11pm
pcrh (mail):
It isn't necessarily an endorsement of suicide bombing. He seems to be taking the fact of suicide bombing for granted and working from there.

However, one would expect him (as a peacemaker) to actually call for an end to the violence rather than implore the Palestinians to end their part of the violence only once they get certain concessions. If he's saying the violence must stop, why say it only has to stop after they get what they want?

Note too that he implicitly accuses Israel of violating international law (whatever that is). Are suicide bombings not a violation too? Either he thinks suicide bombing is not a violation of international law (while Israel's actions are), or else he's accepting that the Palestinians can violate international law until the Israelis stop violating it.
1.11.2007 2:15pm
anonVCfan:
Nor does it seem to be a call on Arabs and Palestinians of the "acts of terrorism should stop now, but since I realize that you won't do it now, at least you might insist that they stop when this important step is accomplished."

This is how I read it out of context.
1.11.2007 2:15pm
randal (mail):
Ok, I read the quote in context, and I still think you are mistaken.

There's nothing in the context to indicate that the author prefers or condones a continuation of terrorism. In fact, there's every indication that he does not - he is discussing the mechanisms for its most expedient end. The presumption, as I guessed above, is that it will continue until it can be ended, and the best chance for ending it is a negotiated settlement as described in the quoted sentence.
1.11.2007 2:15pm
Bpbatista (mail):
Ah, yes. Isrealis are terrorists for defending themselves. While Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad who are sending -- and glorifying -- teenage suicide bombers into Sbarro pizzerias are valiant freedom fighters. You are worthy accolytes of Jimmy Carter.
1.11.2007 2:16pm
OK Lawyer:
I don't think you are mistaken. Taking the entire book publishing into account, first it's written, then proofread, and edited, then changes are made, before final printing. This sentence went through numerous hands prior to publishing. someone along the way would have had to have noticed the clear implication. Once it is pointed out, it becomes very difficult to see it any other way, although it is possible. Having seen it as a potential condoning of terrorism, why not simply reword the sentence to more clearly articulate the possible alternative point that other comments have noted?
1.11.2007 2:20pm
Santiago:
It says they should stop when "..." is accepted by Israel. That does not mean, as a matter of logic, that they shoudln't stop before.
A>B does not mean ~A>~B
1.11.2007 2:21pm
GMS (mail):
Saying "It is imperative that you do x" is the equivalent of giving advice on what someone should do. And the advice that Carter gives the Arabs and Palestinians is this: "Tell the world that you'll stop terrorism when Israel accepts international laws and the ultimate goals of the roadmap." If this advice is followed, terrorism will continue until Israel complies with the conditions (which Carter manifestly thinks it has not yet done). And the terrorists can claim that they are acting pursuant to the advice of a former president of the U.S. If that isn't "condoning" terrorism, I don't know what is.
1.11.2007 2:22pm
randal (mail):
For what it's worth (since this thread is sure to devolve here shortly anyway), please be aware that the entire rest of the world thinks Israel is substantially in the wrong. Only elements of American society (Christians) and Israeli Jews are substantially in favor of Israel over Palestine.

If you have no emotional connection to either population, and no strategic entanglements in the situation, then objectively, Israel comes across as pretty shitty, and Palestine as the victim.
1.11.2007 2:23pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Isrealis are terrorists for defending themselves.

Define "defending themselves".

Also, if all the actions undertaken by Israel in the past 10 years are solely for defense, when will they be secure enough to live in peace and stop the aggressive offensive actions?

Just askin' because either your definition of "defense" is a bit off, or else Israel appears to be failing miserably at "defending" herself.

Just like this summer's adventure in Lebanon, your definition of "defense" might include a bit of overkill. Perhaps if you are non-biased, you might be able to acknowledge that.
1.11.2007 2:24pm
Anon Y. Mous:
I hate to be in the position of defending Carter, but, I have seen commentary that it is a widely held belief in Israel that even if they were to retreat to the 1967 borders and allowed a full Palestinian state, that the war against Israel would continue. That is, that there would be no end to the fight until the goal of driving the Jews into the sea war realized.

Therefore, it would be reasonable to tell the Palestinians that they must assuage Israel's fear in that regard if peace is truly desired.
1.11.2007 2:35pm
wm13:
randal, I'm interested in your claim that only American Christians and Israeli Jews support Israel. I think most American Jews (including, without limitation, Prof. Volokh) support Israel. Do you disagree?
1.11.2007 2:39pm
trotsky (mail):
In the book, Carter condemns Palestinian terrorism uneqivocally and repeatedly.

He also understands the Palestinian perspective, which is not all the same as "condoning the murder of Jews."
1.11.2007 2:42pm
frankcross (mail):
I've written and published books and sometimes they still contain actual mistakes. This is poorly worded and creates a questionable inference, but I don't think you can take a sentence from page 213 of a book and examine its implications and draw conclusions about the author condoning terrorism. Maybe the rest of the book in context suggests this, but close parsing of just one sentence is an unreliable guide to authorial intent.
1.11.2007 2:45pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:

Thanks Trotsky.

I know a lot of people are "boycotting" the book. So perhaps they are not the leading ones to rely on characterizing President Carter. The best critics read the entire book, especially if they are coming in with pre-conceived biases.
1.11.2007 2:46pm
Vovan:

This sentence, simply put, makes President Carter an apologist for terrorists and places my children, along with all Jews everywhere, in greater danger


Heh, undoubtedly the next palestinian to blow himself up, would do it, because Carter told him that he could...
Carter is irrelevant in the conflict now, and has been irrelevant for quite some time.

As for the sentence, I guess he has the common sense to realize that the terror act will not stop anytime soon anyway, but thinking that 1978 was just around the corner, he hopes to persuade the palestinians, and the arabs in general to stop shooting themselves in the foot, once Israel throws them a bone.
1.11.2007 2:47pm
Houston Lawyer:
As per usual, those who see the Palestinians as the "victim" will claim that the victim can do no wrong. Carter has to fall into the category of worst former president ever.
1.11.2007 2:48pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I dunno, folks:

It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.

I am far from supportive of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, but there's no good way to read this sentence. Legitimate resistance is one thing, but "suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism" should be ended *now*, by definition -- not as a quid pro quo.

The sentence obviously treats terrorism as a legitimate tactic. None of the comments has been helpful to me as to any other way of reading it. Count me with EV on this one.
1.11.2007 2:48pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
The sentence obviously treats terrorism as a legitimate tactic.

And the terrorists obviously see Israel as a legitimate target.
1.11.2007 2:52pm
Nathan_M (mail):
I believe you are mistaken, and that a more plausible reading is that President Carter believes there is no realistic possibility of all Palestinian groups unilaterally ending terrorist attacks against Israel without an Israel commitment to working towards an acceptable peace, and that there is also no possibility the general Arab community will call on them to do so.

Carter doesn't say "acts of terrorism should stop now, but since I realize that you won't do it now, at least you might insist that they stop when this important step is accomplished", but I fail to see why a failure to condemn terrorism is an endorsement of it.

Instead, I think the key to reading this passage is to see that it is an proposal for a practical solution (as is demonstrated by the use of the work "imperative"), not an evaluation of whether that solution is morally justified.

No doubt Carter could have fill his book with various condemnations of Palestinian atrocities, just as he could have filled it with accounts of Israeli misdeeds. But what good would that do? Israelis often won't accept that they have acted wrongly -- they are defending themselves against Palestinian terrorists. Palestinians won't accept their terrorism is wrong -- they are a legitimate defence against Israeli aggression. We tend to think both sides are, at times, in the wrong, but what good does pointing that out do? All it accomplishes is convincing whichever group we criticize we are biased against them.

I don't question that suicide bombings are illegal and immoral, and I haven't seen anything to suggest Carter does either. But recognizing that does not promote peace. We need a negotiated settlement, and that won't be accomplished by starting negotiations off with various condemnations, however justified they are.
1.11.2007 2:54pm
Ken B:
No, you are not mistaken. He is saying, "You must make it clear you will stop the terror when you get what you (and I) want." How can that be anything but an endorsement? He explicitly does not say "You must stop the terror." He is saying "they must believe you will stop or they have no incentive to give in."

It is like a how-to guide for terror. First prove you will do it. But then it is imperative to make it clear you will stop the terrorism if you get what you want. Otherwise they won't give in.
1.11.2007 2:55pm
Ken B:
"It is imperative to make it clear you will stop the terrorism if you get what you want. Otherwise they won't give in."

This is the second half of the syllogism of extortion isn't it? First you prove you can carry out your threat. But your victim has to believe you will stop if he pays you off, or he won't pay you off.
1.11.2007 3:03pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
Between the illeistic young ones and the dissembling teenagers comes the spoiled brats.

"Daddy, Izzy's hitting me. Make him stop."
"Pally hit me first and keeps hitting me. Make him stop first."
"No, make Pally stop first."


"I don't care who started it, stop hitting each other now."
"I get one more hit to make it even, and he hits harder."
"Izzy, if Pally stops hitting will you go to your corner. And Pally, if Izzy goes to his corner then will you stop hitting him."
"On the count of three -- one, two, ..."
"Ow."
"That's for hitting me last. Now were even. Let's not fight."
"No, not until I get you for the last hit."

A bratty misread it was.
1.11.2007 3:07pm
Goober (mail):
Ah, another right-of-center writer insisting that a left-of-center writer affirm that he's against terrorism, and accusing him of endorsing terrorism when the affirmation doesn't come out the way the first guy woulda wrote it.

Color me yawning. This is really inane.
1.11.2007 3:16pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
Anderson: The sentence obviously treats terrorism as a legitimate tactic.
ReVonna LaSchatze: And the terrorists obviously see Israel as a legitimate target.


That's exactly Anderson's point. The terrorists see Israel as a legitimate target, and in not condemning this viewpoint your assertion is implicitly that terrorism is acceptable against Israel. This is the problem with Carter's statement as well...it treats terrorism as something regrettable but not in need of immediate cessation, but rather to be stopped when Israel ends the occupation or fulfills some other objective to be named later.
One one level this is extening Clauswitz's overused maxim to "terrorism is the extension of diplomacy by other means." And you can take that view. Indeed, much of the world seems to have. But that view has not been taken by America or Israel, and pontificating that a Europe with a long history of anti-semitism and an extended mideast with tremendous direct interest in the conflict are somehow more objective for having taken this position regarding Israel and Iraq is borderline nonsensical.
Perhaps Carter is not directly advocating "murdering Jews" (I always hate it when that overheated rhetoric is pushed, with its clearly emotional substance). But he is certainly accepting terrorism against the civilian population of the Jewish state as a necessary response to Israel's actions. And many people whose biases are less pronounced (no-one is bias free) see that as unconscionable.
Of course, some slogan-swinging soul will insist that Israel is engaging in terrorism too, but that is patent balderdash. Israel is engaging in military occupation of disputed territory. While that is messy and legally problematic, it is not terrorism.
1.11.2007 3:17pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
And the terrorists obviously see Israel as a legitimate target.

Uh, no ReVonna, that's not the point. Is Israel a legitimate *target*, in the eyes of some Palestinians? Sure. I'm not going to argue with 'em on that.

Is terror a legitimate *method*? Absolutely not.

The U.S. has cheerfully used terror when it liked (Tokyo, Hiroshima, etc.), but that doesn't excuse it. Terror attacks on civilians are w-r-o-n-g.

I don't think Israel can afford to hang a peace plan upon the cessation of terror attacks, but they can certainly expect Fatah and Hamas to renounce 'em.
1.11.2007 3:19pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Ah, Ubertrout -- great fish think alike.
1.11.2007 3:20pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
"I don't care who started it, stop hitting each other now."
"I get one more hit to make it even, and he hits harder."
"Izzy, if Pally stops hitting will you go to your corner. And Pally, if Izzy goes to his corner then will you stop hitting him."
"On the count of three -- one, two, ..."
"Ow."
"That's for hitting me last. Now were even. Let's not fight."
"No, not until I get you for the last hit."


And this scenario only ends when the "teens" either:

1)grow up and start acting their age;

2)move out of the house and begin supporting themselves independently;

3) one or the other dies.
1.11.2007 3:23pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Is terror a legitimate *method*? Absolutely not.

The U.S. has cheerfully used terror when it liked (Tokyo, Hiroshima, etc.), but that doesn't excuse it. Terror attacks on civilians are w-r-o-n-g.


And can we agree also that each "side" only controls, or best controls its own actions ?

Thus, when Israel adopts terror tactics against civilians in the name of "defense", the most effective condemnation of these actions is going to come from her own "side" rather than from outsiders (like President Carter).

Unfortunately, as we see in the moderate Muslim world, there are just not enough unbiased voices or moderate Jews calling for Israel to curtail her own "terror" actions that kill innocent civilians, also choosing to call these tactics "defensive".
1.11.2007 3:26pm
Jeff S.:
It is imperative that Izzy makes it clear that he will have no need to defend himself with violence when Pally stops the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism. Then they can talk about international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace.
1.11.2007 3:27pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
It is imperative that Izzy makes it clear that he will have no need to defend himself with violence when Pally stops the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism.

And a person on the "other side" might ask Izzy:

Will you also return the stolen land and compensate for the mistakes in killing innocents? Actions speak louder than words to many.
1.11.2007 3:30pm
Bpbatista (mail):
The rest of the world thinks Isreal is in the wrong? So what? I'm not persuaded simply because Jacques Chirac, Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Mullah Omar, Hosni Mubarek, Vladmir Putin, King Fahd, Turkmenbashi, George Galloway, Kofi Annan and Pervez Musharaf think Israel is in the wrong. The fact is, there would be peace tomorrow if the Palestinians agreed that Israel has a right to exist and ended their quest to finish the Holocaust. There would be a Palestinian state today if Arafat and his followers were not homicidal anti-Semites to the core. This conflict continues because the Palestinians -- and only the Palestinians -- are fanatically committed to the utter extermination of the other side in this dispute.

And no, I am not Jewish.
1.11.2007 3:31pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Okay, ReVonna, but I see that you're quietly stepping away from the question posed by EV's post.

And for good reason, since the sentence clearly treats terrorism as a legitimate quid pro quo.

(Taken by itself, &I don't know the context -- the only book by a president I've ever read is Grant's memoirs, &I have no reason to think I'm missing anything.)
1.11.2007 3:33pm
Jeff S.:
ReVonna,

Even in a world unfortunately dominated by shades of gray, I think you just have a higher regard for terrorism than I do.
1.11.2007 3:34pm
steve lubet (mail):
Frankcross says, and others seem to agree:


This is poorly worded and creates a questionable inference, but I don't think you can take a sentence from page 213 of a book and examine its implications and draw conclusions about the author condoning terrorism. Maybe the rest of the book in context suggests this, but close parsing of just one sentence is an unreliable guide to authorial intent.


Here is another quote from the book (and before anyone says that I've taken it out of context, please note that it is included in the summary posted on the publisher's website, presumably approved by Carter):


"Two other interrelated factors have contributed to the perpetuation of violence and regional upheaval: the condoning of illegal Israeli actions from a submissive White House and U.S. Congress during recent years, and the deference with which other international leaders permit this unofficial U.S. policy in the Middle East to prevail. " (emphasis added.)


Note Carter's choice of ajective. The White House is "submissive" to Israel. Not indulgent, or unwise, or misguided, but submissive. Does that trope remind you of a disreputable historical phenomenon? Why would someone as smart as Jimmy Carter adopt such disgraceful language?
1.11.2007 3:34pm
Steve:
Nor does it seem to be a call on Arabs and Palestinians of the "acts of terrorism should stop now, but since I realize that you won't do it now, at least you might insist that they stop when this important step is accomplished."

That is, in fact, exactly how I read it.

The important part of the sentence is "make it clear." In other words: "Hey Palestinians, Israel thinks you're going to keep committing terrorism no matter what they do. So you need to show them that if, in fact, they take these two steps, you're going to take tangible steps of your own."

I'm surprised you would give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who claims that "this sentence places all Jews everywhere in greater danger."
1.11.2007 3:38pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Even in a world unfortunately dominated by shades of gray, I think you just have a higher regard for terrorism than I do.

Apologies for so many comments, but I have to respond here:

It's not a "higher regard" that I see.

It's more an admission of "what is" over "what should be".

I suspect if you were less biased, you might admit that is President Carter's position too.



----------------

since the sentence clearly treats terrorism as a legitimate quid pro quo.

Ah, but if it truly were so "clear" to everyone without a vested interest, I suspect the question would not be asked, nor answered affirmatively by so many (especially those who have read the book and are familiar with President Carter's work).

Again, it's seeing perhaps "what is" not what you wish to see as true. Hence the honest disagreement on display.
1.11.2007 3:41pm
Ken B:
I guess the funniest part of reading the VC is watching posters head off in tangents rather than answer the question. The question is pretty simple: does that passage implicitly endorse terror? If EV had asked for a cup of tea I think some of you would debate whether to boil the ocean.
1.11.2007 3:44pm
Steve:
The White House is "submissive" to Israel. Not indulgent, or unwise, or misguided, but submissive. Does that trope remind you of a disreputable historical phenomenon?

As a Jew, I'm getting a little embarassed here. Must we strive to identify echoes of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in literally everything we hear? Are we not the least bit concerned about ending up as laughable as these people?

There's way too much real anti-semitism in the world to dilute it by playing adjective police, and that's true no matter how much you may hate Jimmy Carter.
1.11.2007 3:47pm
Nathan_M (mail):
Note Carter's choice of ajective. The White House is "submissive" to Israel. Not indulgent, or unwise, or misguided, but submissive. Does that trope remind you of a disreputable historical phenomenon? Why would someone as smart as Jimmy Carter adopt such disgraceful language?

I don't get this reference, but then I was one of those slow people who didn't see anything wrong with ads Corker ran in the Tennessee senate race. What's disgraceful about saying the White House was submissive?
1.11.2007 3:53pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Ah, but if it truly were so "clear" to everyone without a vested interest, I suspect the question would not be asked, nor answered affirmatively by so many (especially those who have read the book and are familiar with President Carter's work).

Pooh. The idea that "debate exists &thus we really cannot say" is an old tactic of a now-discredited German political party that I have recently been criticized for mentioning.

It's also a tactic used by the Reagan administration to talk around the fact of the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador, as Mark Danner and Joan Didion have noted.

I see no reason why the same critical faculties I rely on to cut through Republican b.s. should be turned off when Jimmy Carter is the subject. If that sentence had said that the U.S. should quit torturing prisoners when the insurgents lay down their arms in Iraq, I don't think anyone would have a terribly hard time understanding what was wrong with it. Well, besides JYLD, that is.
1.11.2007 3:55pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
ReVonna, your obsession with legitimating your viewpoint as being "less biased" is interesting. Do you truly feel that your own viewpoints are the products of less bias? I'll go further...do you even feel it is free of bias? What are your biases?

The left wing has developed sympathy for the Palestinian cause because of a combination of Marxist and human-rights driven disdain for imperialism/colonialism, and that the tactics of the Palestinians are lifted directly from the radical leftist playbook from time immemorial. This is coupled with the fact that many leftist movements shared a disdain for religion/cultural identity in general, and Judaism in specific (much of this coming from Jews themselves). The right wing has its own reasons for sympathizing with Israel, not nearly as simple or sinister as some people on the left think. Jews themselves are often pulled between cultural identification on one hand and leftist identification on the other. No-one is bias-free.

Thus, in short, I think you're deluded in thinking that your viewpoint is more free of bias and thus more meritorious than those of others who you assume are more biased, and thus less worthy. We're all intelligent here (and most of us are a bit arrogant also). Let's not take the superficial high ground.
1.11.2007 3:58pm
rbj:
Ken B., it depends upon which ocean.

Personally, I think it was an awkward phrasing of Carter's view of a realistic scenario: that only when Israel accepts certain conditions will the Palestinian terrorists stop.

IMO, that is wrong though, as Hamas' continued stated goal is the destruction of Israel; not a "Izzy stops first, then I'll stop" but rather a "Izzy needs to stop, and I'll keep punching."
1.11.2007 3:59pm
Steve:
If that sentence had said that the U.S. should quit torturing prisoners when the insurgents lay down their arms in Iraq, I don't think anyone would have a terribly hard time understanding what was wrong with it.

Well, but a lot of people, like myself, believe the sentence didn't say the Palestinians should stop terrorism when Israel agrees to the roadmap. Your analogy assumes its own conclusion.
1.11.2007 4:00pm
Redman:
Read in a vacuum, the quoted passage is possibly ambiguous. However, knowing that it was written by Jimmy Carter, whose loathing for the Jews is so well known, I think the meaning is clear.
1.11.2007 4:02pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
The idea that "debate exists &thus we really cannot say" is an old tactic of a now-discredited German political party that I have recently been criticized for mentioning.

It appears to me that you are the one cutting off "debate" Anderson.

If you are so "clear" in your understanding, why not address the substance of many posters upthread who disagree with Professors Volokh, Lubet and Konner?

Or should we bow to authority and unquestioningly accept their views as "correct" here? Funny but I also remember a people who did that, remaining unquestioning to all that was happening around them. It didn't turn out well.
1.11.2007 4:03pm
Specast:
You folks are being remarkably unfair to Carter by your cribbed reading of that passage. He may be anti-Semitic, terrorist-loving, etc., but this excerpt doesn't show it.

Just look earlier in the chapter, where Carter lists the "key requirements" necessary to "revitaliz[e] the peace process." The very first requirement is that "Arabs must acknowledge openly and specifically that ... Israel has a right to exist in peace ... and a firm Arab pledge to terminate any further acts of violence against the legally constituted nation of Israel."

Be fair, folks.
1.11.2007 4:03pm
Steve:
However, knowing that it was written by Jimmy Carter, whose loathing for the Jews is so well known, I think the meaning is clear.

Well, there's the anti-Carter argument in a nutshell, pretty much. And as it happens, the previously-documented instances of Carter's loathing for the Jews always seem to be based upon that same argument. It's a fun little runaround.
1.11.2007 4:06pm
John Armstrong (mail):
Come on, you're usually so good at mathematics. This is a classic inverse error. Israel accepting the Roadmap implies terrorist acts should end. That most certainly does not mean that Israel not accepting means they should not end.
1.11.2007 4:07pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
ReVonna, your obsession with legitimating your viewpoint as being "less biased" is interesting.

Not less biased.
Rational, considering "both" viewpoints.
Can you say the same?

I recognize that many of those posting on this issue have an inherent bias in favor of Israel. When we begin to see more questioning of Israeli actions/mistakes and calls for correction, then you might convince me that the bias is overriden by clear thought and rationality.

Here, Profs. Volokh, Lubet and Konner have not convinced me of the correctness of their interpretation that President Carter is "an apologist for terrorists and places my children, along with all Jews everywhere, in greater danger."
1.11.2007 4:08pm
Cato (mail):
"You might say they sometimes love them so much that they are unwilling to raise them in the conditions of near poverty of body and spirit that Israel is asking them too."


ReVonna LaSchatze, how do you know this? They are unwilling to raise them in such conditions? Then why do they HAVE SO MANY? If you are unwilling to raise them, don't have them!

They love them so much that they tell them to put on explosive belts while yelling "ALLAH AKBAR"? I love my kids, and I view it a crime if they want to go into advertising as a career rather than something serious.

Do you know who hates the Palestinians more than anyone? The Chinese. I have spoken with the highest levels of Chinese politicians. The one child policy has caused them to REALLY LOVE THEIR KIDS. The revulsion they feel at Palestinian values is palpable.
1.11.2007 4:09pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Be fair, folks.

Hey, I'm expressly not judging what Carter's actual opinion is. I'm very suspicious of cherry-picking (see "Cheney, WMD intel and").

But if Carter's really condemning terrorism per se, then that contradicts the sentence, and it should be corrected in future editions. You cannot write that terror is a bargaining chip if you really mean that terror should be renounced no matter what.
1.11.2007 4:19pm
Steve:
You cannot write that terror is a bargaining chip if you really mean that terror should be renounced no matter what.

Yes, and if we were all in agreement that he wrote that terror is a bargaining chip, there wouldn't be a discussion.
1.11.2007 4:23pm
Mahlon:
Endorse? Not exactly, but it's close. He does seem to say that terrorism is acceptable for the time being. Let's re-write the passage very slightly as a corollary to see what I mean. Added words in caps:

"It is NOT imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism BEFORE international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel."

Now, of course, there is another explanation. Perhaps Jimmy Carter is incapable of expressing his thoughts clearly. Along those lines, comments about editors and proofreaders catching such subtle issues are simply wrong. An editor's job is not to question a former president about foreign affairs. Most have a hard enough time with grammar.
1.11.2007 4:27pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
Rational? Yes, I can. Absolutely. If you deny the rationality of those who hold opposing viewpoints, why are you wasting your breath (or fingers, as the case may be)?
Criticising both sides evenly bears no relationship to rationality. Indeed, it is rather divorced from it. Nothing is ever truly even or equal. We take different positions as to which side's actions are more worthy of condemnation. Your assertion is that the only rational belief is yours. That's not only asinine, it's dangerous. Denying the rationality of your intellectual antagonists is a sure path to an echo chamber. And that's a large part of the reason for the atrophying of the intellectual left.
1.11.2007 4:28pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
If you deny the rationality of those who hold opposing viewpoints, why are you wasting your breath (or fingers, as the case may be)?

You're twisting again. Putting words in my mouth. Just like people are doing with President Carter.

I never said that those holding opposing viewpoints are irrational. You did. I said I am not convinced that the 3 professors are interpreting correctly. I suspect bias might contribute to this faulty rational thinking spelled out above in mathematical formula.

Your assertion is that the only rational belief is yours. Again, this is you talking to yourself.

Reread the above thread and tell me whose intellect is atrophying, my friend. Who is talking to others as if this were an "echo chamber"? I don't need to respond in adjectives ("asinine") either; I'm enough confident that rational formula.

Why not convince us of the soundness of your position through rationality, not emotion?
1.11.2007 4:33pm
Mark Field (mail):

Are Prof. Konner and I mistaken here?
\

I don't know if you're mistaken or not; only Pres. Carter can answer that. I can say that I don't read the passage the way you do (I agree with Steve). As someone suggested above, it's likely that previous attitudes toward Carter play a substantial role in the interpretation of this specific passage.
1.11.2007 4:34pm
Federal Dog:
"For what it's worth (since this thread is sure to devolve here shortly anyway), please be aware that the entire rest of the world thinks Israel is substantially in the wrong."


For what it's worth? Popular opinion per se is worth precisely nothing.
1.11.2007 4:36pm
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
Note too that he implicitly accuses Israel of violating international law (whatever that is). Are suicide bombings not a violation too? Either he thinks suicide bombing is not a violation of international law (while Israel's actions are), or else he's accepting that the Palestinians can violate international law until the Israelis stop violating it.

Third possible reading (leaving aside whether Carter's words were artful, or artfully edited; if someone wants to start a "Carterisms" page, I'm guessing it won't be as funny as the "Bushisms", which EV doesn't think is all that funny):

"The Palestinians argue that they are justified in continuing to do X, (which they characterize as a war against occupation) until the Israeli government does certain things Y. If we take their own argument at face value, that means that they must acknowledge that if and when Israel does Y, they are no longer justified in doing X, and in fact intend to immediately stop X upon Y occurring."


r gould-saltman
1.11.2007 4:42pm
W.D.:
John Armstrong has it. One of the first things taught in Logic 101 is that "if" is not the same as "only if." (Consider "the president will leave office if impeached," compared to "the president will leave office only if impeached".) To interpret Carter's words as described above is to commit the basic fallacy of denying the antecedent.

It's surprising, but perhaps telling, that profs. Konner and Volokh not only propose this fallacious interpretation of Carter's sentence, but insist that it is the only possible or reasonable one. Better is expected of college freshmen; why not expect better of tenured professors?
1.11.2007 4:44pm
Michael B (mail):
Jimmy Carter (also Simon &Schuster, as publisher/promoter), in this volume and elsewhere, represents a decided moral and intellectual mephitic, both conceptually and instrumentally (e.g., apologist for terror and a broad range of blatant and more subtle ahistorical falsehoods which serve to support and propagate yet additional falsehoods and yet additional militant forays that certainly include terrorism). As such the volume as a whole is an apologia in the same vein, it very much muddies the conceptual framework from which Israel's position can and must be viewed if better moral/juridical foundations are to be conceived and worked toward.

Ref.

WSJ, Carter Center Board Members Resign Over Palestine Book, excerpt, emphases added:

"Fourteen members of an advisory board at the Carter Center resigned today, concluding they could "no longer in good conscience continue to serve" following publication of former President Jimmy Carter's controversial book, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."

""It seems that you have turned to a world of advocacy, including even malicious advocacy," the board members wrote in a letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. "We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support. Therefore it is with ...""

Dershowitz, Ex-President for Sale, excerpt, emphasis added:

"It now turns out that the shoe is precisely on the other foot. Recent disclosures prove that it is Carter who has been bought and paid for by anti-Israel Arab and Islamic money.

"Journalist Jacob Laksin has documented the tens of millions of dollars that the Carter Center has accepted from Saudi Arabian royalty and assorted other Middle Eastern sultans, who, in return, Carter dutifully praised as peaceful and tolerant (no matter how despotic the regime). And these are only the confirmed, public donations."

Another Academic Shuns Carter and His Center

And again, to inform some of the most basic, 20th century historical issues that undergird the entire Arab refugee (aka "Palestinian") issue, Big Lies: Demolishing The Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel (small pdf).

H/t various blogs
1.11.2007 4:49pm
Elliot Reed:
It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.
Isn't Carter most likely proposing what he sees as a practical solution? Calling for a unilateral end to Palestinian terrorism is effectively asking them to surrender on Israel's terms. Obviously they aren't going to do that any more than Israel is about to end their occupation, tear down their fencewall and give the Palestinians the right of return.
1.11.2007 4:54pm
Memphian:
W.D. is right. It is incorrect to read the sentence as if it said "...when and only when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel."
1.11.2007 4:54pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
Actually, I never said that either. In fact, I implied strongly that there are rational people on both sides of the debate. But then again, you seem to like tap-dancing on ether with a game popular with 5-year-olds: "I didn't say that, you did." So: I think there are rational people on both sides of this issue.

And you said far more than that you think the professors at issue are not interpreting correctly (a reasonable thing to say). You said that with less bias, they'd be more rational. I continue to maintain that this and the rest of your statements clearly more than imply the assertions I credited to you, even if you did not use the exact same words I did. Perhaps others disagree. It's an open forum, others are free to correct my analysis.

And really, I've put up several unemotional posts. I don't have any particular animus towards you, I just think you're terribly lazy. Plenty of rational, intelligent, people have made the same case you have, but when challenged they don't immediately call their opponents irrational and emotional.
1.11.2007 4:59pm
Memphian:
Ubertrout has you cold.
1.11.2007 5:03pm
Hattio (mail):
To jump on the minority bandwagon, I think Professors Volokh and Lubet are rather badly misinterpreting. As others have pointed out, in that very chapter he calls for an end to Palestinian violence, this is a section of the chapter talking about finding the way forward, and it seems to be clear that he is talking about what the Palestinians need to do to get the peace process moving forward.
That being said, he could have condemned terrorism more forcefully and clearly (other commentators are saying he did in other chapters of the book, I don't know because I haven't read it), as he clearly condemned various Israeli actions.
What's interesting to me is that this very debate will be used by those who support one side or the other to entrench their positions even more. Those who are pro-Israeli will point to the fact that Professor Volokh is usually fair and dispassionate when analyzing issues in general and text (whether statutes or cases) in specific. I can hear it now "Even Professor Volokh recognizes that Carter is endorsing violence." On the other hand, those who sympathize with the Palestinians will say "You can't criticize Israel without being called an anti-Semite, even when Carter made clear that violence was wrong, they called him a supporter of terrorists acts against Jews."
Unfortunately, they'd both be wrong, but not wrong enough for your average person to notice. And each side will preach to his/her own choir regarding the intellectual dishonesty (and sheer immorality) of the other side. What each side is doing to the other in the middle East is horrible. What each side's advocates are willing to overlook in the middle East is mindboggling.
1.11.2007 5:06pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
You said that with less bias, they'd be more rational.

In my opinion, this is true. Clearly, you are welcome to disagree.

I just think you're terribly lazy.

Please don't respond to me again using your adjectives in this emotional manner. It doesn't advance your argument, and I continue to wonder why you're addressing me, rather than responding logically with substance.
1.11.2007 5:07pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
To jump on the minority bandwagon, I think Professors Volokh and Lubet are rather badly misinterpreting.

From what I read in this thread Hattio, the Professors hold the minority viewpoint on this one. Unless one gives their argument more weight based on professsorial authority.
1.11.2007 5:09pm
Bertram (mail):
a mediator writes
"It is imperative that protest group p make it clear they will stop their protests if the protest target does y." I don't take it mean that the mediator condones the protest activity. I take it to mean that the mediator is trying to resolve the issue in that if protest target does y it will no longer be subject to protest regardless of whether the protests were peaceful or not.
1.11.2007 5:09pm
Elliot Reed:
Memphian - I actually can't buy the argument you and others have been making. It's quite common for people to indicate meaning by omission. Why would you say "if X, then Y" if what you really believe is "Y whether or not X"? I don't think Carter is claiming that terrorism is a legitimate tactic, but not for the reason you give.
1.11.2007 5:09pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Second Mr. Reed, &note that logic-class "if" is not the same animal as ordinary-language "if."
1.11.2007 5:17pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
(Why *does* the VC's comment program delete the space after an ampersand?)
1.11.2007 5:17pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
Thanks Memphian (and Anderson, way back up there).
1.11.2007 5:19pm
Memphian:
He doesn't mean to say "Y whether or not X"; nor does he exclude that statement by not making it in this particular sentence. He merely says "if X, then Y". The question is re: the statement itself.

I actually think Carter is the archetypal "useful idiot," but on this one it's myopic to interpret his one sentence as a position statement. He's a peaceful man, to a fault, not a proponent of terrorism. The sentence should be reworded in a new edition. If I'm right it will be.
1.11.2007 5:21pm
BobNSF (mail):
An inference from one sentence in a book, an inference contradicted by other sentences in that same book. Here we sit with the entire Middle East on the path to war thanks to the policies and actions of people other than Jimmy Carter and this is the discussion so many want to have?
1.11.2007 5:28pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
It bears repeating:

Only time will tell in the end whether listening to President Carter now -- even when it pains you a bit, and perhaps conflicts with deeply held biases -- might actually help protect children in the future, Jewish children included.

The stakes, I hope we can all agree, are enormous.
1.11.2007 5:32pm
Michael B (mail):
Too, recall Kenneth W. Stein's explanation of his own disassociation from the Carter Center, emphases added:

"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."

Ken Stein's area of expertise lies in the Arab/Israeli set of conflicts, he was also the first Director of the Carter Center.
1.11.2007 5:38pm
Gonzo:
I've got no dog in this hunt. I've voted Dem; I've voted Republican. I'm not Jewish, Atheist or Evangelical Christian.

That said, there has been no evidence that the Arabs have any intention of stopping their terrorist attacks on civilians of their enemy, regardless of what their enemy does. There is little or no cry from their supporters in the West for them to do so prior to or after the Israelis accept anything. As I recall, Arafat has done more to kill prior agreements than any Israeli; many Israeli leftist government leaders have practically begged for peace while in power.

Everyone talks about how the Israelis have to give back all the territory they 'stole'. Who did they steal it from? Who had it first? Which 'stealer' has to give it back to who? The West set up a free for all after WWII, the Israelis held their own, set up an economy and have made things work since in less than an ideal situation (as have the Chinese Communists, incidentally). The Arabs have mostly been content to threaten war, try to kill Israelis and take aid from the West. The Israelis seem to acknowledge (at least a majority of the population) the right for the Arabs to exist in Palestine; the Arabs are the ones who seem to have the hard time living alongside their Jewish neighbors.

Things are a mess there. They have been for centuries. No one really wants peace, especially leaders whose power is based on continuing conflict.

Carter seems to get this, and for the most part blame the Israelis for being successful defenders much more than the Arabs for being lousy attackers and not being able to accept that Israel is not going away. Walls/Fences generally make good neighbors; maybe the one their building will help. It certainly will save more lives than Carter's inept peacemaking.
1.11.2007 5:50pm
Memphian:
ReVonna, your bias is showing.
1.11.2007 5:54pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Memphian:
Snark doesn't win arguments, or wars.
Nor does accepting "authority" over logic.

Hope this helps!
1.11.2007 5:57pm
Michael B (mail):
"An inference from one sentence in a book, an inference contradicted by other sentences in that same book." BobNSF

To the contrary - and decidedly to the contrary. If not entirely daft, you'd need to be a very credulous or self-blinded redactor of Carter's anti-factual, anti-historical account in order to come to such a conclusion, assuming sincerity and intellectual integrity are not to be abandoned. True, the massively multi-layered and multifarious forays of propaganda (variously forwarded by the MSM, by a range of politicos and advocates, from within the Arab and by their proxies in the U.S. and the West in general, etc.), all endlessly repeated and additionally repeated with a range of variations on the same theme - all that serves to confuse at basic levels, but that's precisely what needs to be countered with better accounts.

Again, Carter's account in this volume and elsewhere, and without the least bit of exaggeration, is a moral and intellectual mephitic. That such is not roundly recognized is itself a solid, a reliable measure of the success of the multifarious propaganda that has won hearts and minds by endlessly repeating falsehoods, half-truths, misrepresentations, subtly and more blatantly plied and propagated. Many do recognized this elemental quality in what Carter is forwarding, but far too many do not, far too many are - willingly, willfully, wantonly and otherwise - allowing themselves to be fooled.
1.11.2007 6:12pm
Hans Gruber:
I don't read it that way at all (the alternatives you reject seem the fairer choices) . I don't think the context particularly supports that interpretation, either. Maybe you can elaborate and change my mind.
1.11.2007 6:12pm
Lev:
In looking at the excerpt linked to in the intro, several comments:


There are two interrelated obstacles to permanent peace in the Middle East:

Some Israelis believe they have the right to they have the right to confiscate and colonize Palestinian land and try to justify the sustained subjugation and persecution of increasingly hopeless and aggravated Palestinians

Some Palestinians react by honoring suicide bombers as martyrs to be rewarded in heaven and consider the killing of Israelis as victories.


Maybe its just me, but it seems to me Carter has set up a false equivalence, even a silly equivalence. No doubt "some Palestinians believe" Israelis eat Palestinian babies for dinner. No doubt "some Israelis react" by beating dogs. "Some say" is an extremely illogical, nonfactual way of stating outrageous things, or of saying nonoutrageous things are equivalent to outrageous things.

Perhaps I missed it, but when have Palestinians as a whole

not
reacted that way? On the other hand, haven't the Israelis as a whole supported and insisted on giving territory to the Palestinians, and forcibly moving settlers back into Israel proper to do it?


There is little doubt that accommodation with Palestinians can bring full Arab recognition of Israel and its right to live in peace, with an Arab commitment to restrain further violence initiated by extremist Palestinians.


What basis is there for this statement? Hamas' and Fatah's
accomodation is what? The end of Israel? What Arab nations will not, do not, support that already? This shows a belief in the benign intentions of the Palestinians and Moslem Arabs that, I have to say, seems rather contrary to recent history, Egypt aside, who has received billions in US Aid to stay peaceful.


Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned, voices from Jerusalem dominate in our media,


What media is he referring to I wonder? I suppose all of it, since everyone knows Jews control the media and the country.

]A new factor in the region is that the Palestinian election of January 2006 gave Hamas members control of the parliament and a cabinet headed by the prime minister. Israel and the United States reacted by announcing a policy of isolating and destabilizing the new government.

Could it possibly be that Hamas is a certified terrorist organization? It appears Carter approves of full recognition to a gov't headed by a certified terrorist organization. Should anyone else?

An important fact to remember is that President Mahmoud

Abbas retains all presidential authority that was exercised by Yasir Arafat when he negotiated the Oslo Agreement, and the Hamas prime minister has stated that his government supports peace talks between Israel and Abbas. He added that Hamas would modify its rejection of Israel if there is a negotiated agreement that Palestinians can approve (as specified in the Camp David Accords). It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.


Did Arafat comply with Oslo's requirements? Did Arafat reject the Wye Plantation deal? What is "a negotiated agreement that Palestinians can agree to"?

This page from the book is really a mess. So why would this be any different:


It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.


Does he mean that when Israel accepts "international laws", whatever they are, and "the Roadmap", has Israel not accepted it, Arab and Palestinian terrorism against Israel will end? And the Arabs and Palestinians should commit to that? (And how would they do that in a believable manner. And since Iran is not Arab, does this cover them too.)

Or

Does he mean that the Arabs and Palestinians must make it clear that they are going to terrorize and suicide bomb Israel unless and until they surrender?

"Some people" think Carter means the latter not the former, and supports it.
1.11.2007 6:25pm
Stating the Obvious:
Houston Lawyer: As per usual, those who see the Palestinians as the "victim" will claim that the victim can do no wrong. Carter has to fall into the category of worst former president ever.

--

Yes, but only until January 20, 2009...
1.11.2007 6:27pm
Carleton Wu (mail) (www):
Eugene,
Some bad guys take some people hostage in a grocery store. They demand money and a helicopter. Someone says "the hostage-takers should promise to release the hostages when the money and transport are delivered."

And you would read that as a moral endorsement of hostage-taking? As opposed to a practical statement of negotiation?
If so, you are dumber than any lawyer ought to be. Where in that entire document did you dredge up your chimerical "moral obligation"?
1.11.2007 6:40pm
Anon Y. Mous:

Why *does* the VC's comment program delete the space after an ampersand?


Good question, Anderson. However, if you put in two spaces after the '&', it only deletes one of them:

clause one & clause two
1.11.2007 6:42pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
And you would read that as a moral endorsement of hostage-taking? As opposed to a practical statement of negotiation?

Does Carter mean that "the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups" are *criminals*?

Because that would be a problem with your analogy, otherwise.
1.11.2007 6:46pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Oops - thanks, Mous.
1.11.2007 6:47pm
Carleton Wu (mail) (www):
Mahlon,
Do you really think you can take a sentence about imperatives, add NOT and change AFTER to BEFORE, and it keeps the same meaning?

Let's try it:
It is imperative that, after applying the bandages, you continue to monitor the accident victim's vital signs.
It is NOT imperative BEFORE applying the bandages to monitor the accident victim's vital signs.

Oops, looks like the new sentence is *completely different*. Now, why would an unbiased, intelligent person assume that they could do something so obviously contrary to logic? Hmm...
1.11.2007 6:49pm
Michael B (mail):
The best treatment (i.e. "best" in terms of positive and potentially fruitful) to accord this propagandistic broadside from Carter and Simon&Schuster is to recognize it, metaphorically, for what it is: a 9/11 type of experience which, with a properly conceived set of aggressive and determined counter-offensives, can serve to open the eyes of broader publics to the layers upon layers of distortionist propaganda and can additionally serve as correctives to that wide ranging and widely propagated set of historic and more contemporary deceits.

First and foremost it's an ideological war, a war of ideas, and needs to be approached, strategically and tactically, as such.
1.11.2007 7:00pm
laShondelle26:
Folks, let's acknowledge that Jimmy Carter is a fool. Please contrast his impressions of Yassir Arafat (gleaned during circular hand-holding spiritual sessions--the same tactic that he used with various rabbis in his latest controversy) with those of Oriana Fallaci.

As America's answer to Nixon, like Pat Boone in place of Little Richard, he is inauthentic. Unlike Pat Boone, he is demonstrably an evil frick.

No ad hominem attacks here: the man is possibly, with his background and current agenda, the biggest jaggoff on the planet.

Oopsy, I forgot, Musselmen follow the religion of peace; Jews and their thralls in western civilization are dirty dogs.
1.11.2007 7:00pm
Spartacus (www):
randal (mail):
"For what it's worth (since this thread is sure to devolve here shortly anyway), please be aware that the entire rest of the world thinks Israel is substantially in the wrong. Only elements of American society (Christians) and Israeli Jews are substantially in favor of Israel over Palestine.

If you have no emotional connection to either population, and no strategic entanglements in the situation, then objectively, Israel comes across as pretty shitty, and Palestine as the victim."

I am so glad that you think you can speak for "the entire rest of the world." I know many non-American, non-Israelis who support Israel.
1.11.2007 7:03pm
Steve:
No ad hominem attacks here: the man is possibly, with his background and current agenda, the biggest jaggoff on the planet.

And here I bet Matt Groening thought he was making a joke when he labelled a statute of Jimmy Carter as "History's Greatest Monster."

Many well-respected folks have been critical of Carter's book. I wonder if they know they keep company with people who believe Jimmy Carter is a worse human being than Osama bin Laden.
1.11.2007 7:11pm
Michael B (mail):
Most credulous, by far, are those who are imagining the inheritors and epigones of Arafat's ethos and lineage are conscientiously attuned to precise, deductive, logical ratiocinations. As if Hamas, the P.A., etc. will approach Carter's locutions with the finest and most conscientious exegesis, not wanting to commit the slightest of errors.

A risible comedy of errors, certainly, but what is a comedy of errors for some, in the West, is a paroxysm of misanthropy and blood soaked terror for Israelis. Israel is not perfect nor are Israelis, but to imagine there is some type of justly conceived equivocal quality between a viable, operating democracy together with a vibrant, positive economy vs. the thuggery represented in Hamas, the history of the PLO, the PA, etc. - such that they didn't even have a single, viable hospital Arafat could be taken to to die (despite the billions in funds from E.U., American and a few other sources, funds in large part intended for infrastruture), is to engage in pure fantasy, a fantasy that serves, whether intentionally and consciously or otherwise, to actively promote terror and to do so on the basis of manifest and multilayered historical deceits.
1.11.2007 7:21pm
laShondelle26:
Many well-respected folks have been critical of Carter's book. I wonder if they know they keep company with people who believe Jimmy Carter is a worse human being than Osama bin Laden.

Umm, what's more damaging, or makes more of an impression on stupid people: an identical anti-Semitic statement from a known terrorist or from a former American president?
1.11.2007 7:30pm
BigTex:
I'm a little surprised to see people pushing Ken Stein's statements as credible...
1.11.2007 10:41pm
Colin (mail):
The best treatment (i.e. "best" in terms of positive and potentially fruitful) to accord this propagandistic broadside from Carter and Simon&Schuster is to recognize it, metaphorically, for what it is: a 9/11 type of experience which, with a properly conceived set of aggressive and determined counter-offensives, can serve to open the eyes of broader publics to the layers upon layers of distortionist propaganda and can additionally serve as correctives to that wide ranging and widely propagated set of historic and more contemporary deceits.

First and foremost it's an ideological war, a war of ideas, and needs to be approached, strategically and tactically, as such.


You've clearly chosen your weapon in that war: rhetorical buckshot. Your first sentence, for instance (there are only two in that post!) is heavy, leaden, poorly aimed and composed of a random cloud of indigestible nuggets.

I don't understand EV's concern. The sentence can be phrased this way: "It is imperative that [A] make it clear that [it will do X] when [Y is done] by [B]." I do not see any logical reason to read into that "A should not do X if B does not do Y." This seems very simple, like an LSAT question. As others have posted, it seems much more logical to read that sentence as criticism of Palestinian terrorism for not having a clearly defined and morally acceptable purpose. Is there something else in the chapter that supports the reading EV attributes to it? (I don't own the book, or I'd read it for myself.)

What I've read here seems like a lot of partisan hand-wringing and bitterness, but little or no substance.
1.12.2007 12:52am
Colin (mail):
I think I should clarify: "What I've read here [from some of this post's commentors] seems like a lot of partisan hand-wringing and bitterness." See, i.e., "No ad hominem attacks here: the man is possibly, with his background and current agenda, the biggest jaggoff on the planet." I don't agree with E. Volokh's reasoning here, but his initial request for comments doesn't strike me as knee-jerk Carter bashing.
1.12.2007 1:13am
NicholasV (mail) (www):
Well, at this point it's probably irrelevant, but I'll throw in my 2c.

I don't read the sentence as condoning terrorism explicitly. Rather, it is not explicitly condemning it. That is a problem, but not as much of a problem as actually condoning it.

I'd like to say this, though: I would have infinitely more sympathy for the Palestinians if they did not behave so badly. The acts of terrorism are abominable and barbaric, and the attempts to justify them on the basis of victimhood only make matters worse. I find it very hard to sympathise with someone who uses these type of tactics. Perhaps they would be more likely to get what they wanted if they stopped acting in this way, and actually tried to make peace rather than war?

It is my understanding that since the founding of Israel there has been more than one opportunity where concessions were offered by the Israelis, and the Palestinians rejected them (esp. under Arafat). They can't really complain about opportunities they lost because they refused to co-operate and compromise. This situation will ONLY be solvable with compromise on both sides. I read that recently, the head of Hamas decided to recognise the existence of Israel. Good, perhaps that really is the beginning of a proper peace process.
1.12.2007 1:57am
Colin (mail):
I don't read the sentence as condoning terrorism explicitly. Rather, it is not explicitly condemning it. That is a problem, but not as much of a problem as actually condoning it.

That seems exactly right to me. But as I understand it, Carter has explicitly condemned terrorism. I think the critics here want to deride him for not condemning it openly in this excerpt, which is ludicrous--surely he's not required to set out a moral basis for every sentence. That's another reason why it's so strange to me that Konner would single out this sentence and say that he "cannot find any way to read this sentence that does not condone the murder of Jews until such time as Israel unilaterally follows President Carter's prescription for peace." I cannot find any way to read the sentence that does condone murder. Having read the chapter (I somehow missed the fact that EV linked to it), I'm not very impressed by it. But I don't see anything in there "condon[ing] the murder of Jews."
1.12.2007 3:20am
Michael B (mail):
Dateline, Gaza, 1/6/07, excerpt:

"Assailants gunned down a Muslim preacher known for his anti-Hamas views yesterday, witnesses said, moments after he exited a mosque where he delivered a sermon criticizing the Islamic group's role in a wave of Palestinian violence."

In the same vein, Sheik Fayyadh Al-Akhdhar, Hamas leader, excerpt:

"The Hamas of the Revolution of the Mosques, of the War of the Knives, of the car bombs, of the great martyrdom-seekers, of the Al-Qassam missiles, of the Zionists' death tunnels, of the kidnapping of the soldiers and the setters is the same Hamas of the government, of the Legislative Council, and of the ministries. It has not changed, and it will not change, and it will continue to march along the path of the martyrs, and to follow in their footsteps, until the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the aggressive oppressors."

And all this has an exceedingly long lineage, for example via Haj Amin el-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, working accomplice with Himmler/Hitler during WWII and counselor and guide to none other than Yassar Arafat. Amin el-Husseini, in addition to importing Hitler/Himmler forms of anti-Semitism into the M.E., was also instrumental in beginning to set the standard of assassinating political opposition and using murder and mayhem as a primary political weapon of enforcement.

More directly addressing Carter again, this ad placed in the NYT (small pdf) notes that any genuinely conceived peace cannot be built upon foundational lies. The ad additionally reflects upon a very small sample of the deceits Carter attempts to forward.
1.12.2007 3:44am
Michael B (mail):
There are various roundups, around the 'sphere, of lengthy lists of simple and not so simple factual errors in Carter's latest release. Here is one such roundup (with all the supportive links), which begins with a brief list of half-a-dozen or more CAMERA articles, then provides a lengthier list of book reviews and editorials on Carter's published volume. Some excerpts, emphases added:

"It is a tendentious, dishonest and stupid book." Marty Peretz, TNR

"The anti-Israel bias is so clear, the credulous description of Arab positions so cringe-producing, the key 'facts' on which Carter relies so easily refuted by public documents, that the book is an embarrassment to Carter, the Democrats, the presidency and Americans." Rich Richman, The American Thinker

"To understand what feeds former president Jimmy Carter's anti-Israeli frenzy, look at his early links to Arab business." Rachel Ehrenfeld, The Washington Times

"Carter and his comrades use "Apartheid" as shorthand to condemn some of the security measures improvised recently, ... Israel built a security fence to protect its citizens and separate Palestinian enclaves from Israeli cities. ...

"Applying the Apartheid label tries to ostracize Israel by misrepresenting some of the difficult decisions Israel has felt forced to make in fighting Palestinian terror. ..." Gil Troy, Professor of History, McGill University
1.12.2007 4:12am
randal (mail):
Popular opinion per se is worth precisely nothing.

I wonder if Mr. Dog is a Communist, or a Fascist?
1.12.2007 5:37am
randal (mail):
At the risk of being tagged as a terrorist sympathizer, I've yet to hear a reasonable alternative to terrorist tactics. Yes, they are despicable tactics. But everybody uses them, including the US. And for some, they are the only tactics available.

Do the Palestineans have reason to believe that they have anything to gain by unilaterally standing down? Is the US doing anything to make them believe that they might? I mean, you can make moralistic arguments until the Age of Aquarius. But if we all believe here in America that there's an invisible hand of self-interest, it's hard for me to see how that hand isn't encouraging terrorism in the middle east.






ReVonna, I hate you.
1.12.2007 5:56am
NicholasV (mail) (www):
Randal, as long as the Palestinians continue their terrorism, it's highly unlikely that they will get what they want. It would be stupid for Israel to make concessions when they have no reason to believe the terrorism will stop if they do. These people have shown that they will not follow through with any verbal commitments. Therefore the Israelis (and others) don't trust them. After all, you can make a deal with them, but what's to hold them to it? Plus they can always claim that it's some kind of "splinter group" that fails to adhere to the ceasefire or what have you.

So given that they're unlikely to achieve their aims until they give up their terrorism, how exactly is continuing it in their self interest?

Can you give an example of the US committing terrorist acts since 1945? I'm curious what it might be...
1.12.2007 6:48am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
ReVonna, I hate you.

Your life. Eh.
Make it a shorter one, then.
1.12.2007 7:43am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
The 1967 borders are provisional.

Had the Arabs agreed to end their war with Israel they could have been permanent.

As it is they will be adjusted in Israel's favor. Which is the usual way these things are done. Lose a war. Fail to make peace. You lose territory or whatever else the victor decides is just. i.e. the ethnic cleansing of Germans from some territories post WW2.

As long as the Plais and Arabs continue the war the Pali territories will shrink. Think of it as an incentive plan.
1.12.2007 8:48am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
M.Simon:
What bothers me most are the people who get cocky in the midst of war. You sound mighty secure. I've heard that tone previously. ("used" is implied here for proper grammah pairing the verb and adverb.)
1.12.2007 8:54am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
The Palestinians have a will for life. However, they have a funny way of expressing it.

Will For Life.

*
1.12.2007 8:55am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
If you aren't cocky in the midst of a war you will certainly lose. Because the moral is to the material as 3 is to one. - Some famous military theorist.
1.12.2007 8:57am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
randal 5:56AM,

I see you and the Palestinians have bought into the Israeli incentive plan.

Excellent.
1.12.2007 9:03am
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
"[The Palestinians must] end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel."

Hmmm, unless you read "only when" where the language actually just says "when," the rather simple answer to the question is pretty much no.

I'd agree that the sentence is unfortunately phrased--leaving open as it does (at least stripped of context) the possibility the author sanctions terrorism. Critical remarks about this sort of amateurish lack of clarity are perhaps in order. Attempts to find in the quoted statement positive endorsement of terrorism, I think, are not.
1.12.2007 9:19am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
If you aren't cocky in the midst of a war you will certainly lose.

If you aren't "rational" in the midst of a defensive war you will certainly not win. ~Book knowledge ... plus. :)
---------------
I see you and the Palestinians have bought into the Israeli incentive plan.

Lol... I'm sure we'll be seeing the promised results any day now. Peace and security for all, instead of a constant state of war. Who wants to live like that?
1.12.2007 9:20am
PubliusFL:
ReVonna LaSchatze: "Since innocent people are also put in danger by terrorism -- both in living in close proximity to where such hatred and danger explodes, plus in the disproportionate numbers killed in retailatory actions -- I suspect you may want to acknowledte that such a statement places not just Jewish children in danger."

I found this interesting - "innocent people are ALSO put in danger by terrorism . . . not JUST Jewish children." The corollary, I suppose, would be that Jewish children are not innocent people. Consider how phrasing things like this may appear to others to reveal a certain degree of bias.
1.12.2007 11:01am
Pantapon Rose (mail):
Part of the problem that many Americans have with the Palestinians is the death cult their society has nurtured with their calls for their children to die as martyrs, as their leaders like Arafat were revered while stealing billions of aid money.

Palestinian TV often runs calls for children to die in the war against Israel. "How pleasant is the smell of the earth whose thirst is quenched by blood pouring out of young bodies," http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/733742.html
1.12.2007 11:03am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
I found this interesting - "innocent people are ALSO put in danger by terrorism . . . not JUST Jewish children." The corollary, I suppose, would be that Jewish children are not innocent people. Consider how phrasing things like this may appear to others to reveal a certain degree of bias.

Let me clarify right away then, to correct any misapprehension or miscommunication that might make my intent seem ambiguous. "Innocent people (such as non terrorist Palestinians including children) are also put in danger (in addition to Israeli civilians killed) ... and not just (innocent) Jewish children (and civilians).

David Bernstein recently posted a wonderful example of that. The Palestinian children (and civilians, including non terrorist men and women, old people) pay the ultimate price because of living (in hell basically) ... "in close proximity both in living in close proximity to where such hatred and danger explodes, plus in the disproportionate numbers killed in retailatory actions."

This isn't a call to kill more Jewish children or non involved civilians. It was a wondering aloud (" I suspect you may want to acknowledge that such a statement places not just Jewish children in danger.") whether the biases (my opinion) exhibited in the interpretation of President Carter's statement could be overcome to acknowledge that it is not just Jewish people or their children that have a stake in thinking rationally here.
1.12.2007 11:22am
s:
Jimmy Carter -- worst President ever. He is a stain on America and the sooner he passes the better. His ties to Arab money and those with extremist views are stunning. The FBI needs to investigate the funding sources of Carter's organizations. Some may have clear ties to terrorism.
1.12.2007 11:43am
Phillip Bannowsky (mail):
Folks,
A common definition of "when" is "in view of the fact that." See http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/when?view=uk
1.12.2007 12:52pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Publius 1.12.2007 11:01am,

It won't be quick. So far it has taken 40 years to get to where we are today. It will be slow and methodical. A squeeze.

After all Israel must concern itself with international opinion, being a small trading country.
1.12.2007 1:51pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Pantapon Rose,

Another Burroughs fan I see. Me too!
1.12.2007 1:53pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Perhaps we should ask Carter what he means?
1.12.2007 3:28pm
Michael B (mail):
Ask Carter? Yes, and we could ask the used-car salesman about that little old lady who only drove the '71 426 Hemi Cuda to and from church on Sundays, never exceeding the 25 mph speed limit. (V. Webster on terms such as "credulous," "naive," etc.)

Too, as adjunct to the more relevant discussion, Why Europe Abandoned Israel where some key indicators are articulated.
1.15.2007 6:41pm