Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another Gap in the News? President Jimmy Carter's Book

There is a story of which I became aware two days ago, thanks to my friend Victor, even though its raison d’etre dates back to November of last year: The furor created by the pro-Israel faction over a book by former president Jimmy Carter, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" .

Either there is something really lacking in my daily survey of the news, or this is another one of those significant stories which is not-so-mysteriously missing from widespread reporting in the U.S.A.

Because the book was apparently published in November of last year, and scarcely got its beak out of the shell before it was blasted with the equivalent of the Israeli air assault on Lebanon, I think it is curious that very few Americans have been made aware of it by our zealous guardians of an “informed public”. Obviously they do not want us thinking about the criticisms of Israel which are in the book. This is the silent treatment I mentioned in a recent post.

Did I miss this news just because I don’t read enough news? Did I overlook what everybody else has seen? Possibly, but I doubt it. I have no intention of devoting my life to the depressing and uninstructive perusal of “the daily news”, but I do watch some television news programming each night, and I look more than once a day at all the headlines of major news services (e.g. AP, New York Times, Reuters, MSNBC, USAToday) so that I can read in depth about anything that interests me. I also go to Google News, which is the only news source where I’ve found a Carter book story, and which generally offers a wider spectrum of coverage than other news services.

So, thanks to Vic, I have learned belatedly that a “controversy” over President Carter’s book has presumably been going on for months, the latest development being resignations by members of a Carter Center advisory board.

The news story is ”Carter Center Resignations” .

“The resignations, announced Thursday, are the latest in a backlash against Carter's book ‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,’ which has drawn fire from Jewish groups, been attacked by fellow Democrats and led to the resignation last month of Kenneth Stein, a Carter Center fellow and a longtime Carter adviser. . . . Steve Berman, an Atlanta real estate developer among those who resigned, said members have ‘watched with great dismay’ as Carter defended the book, especially as he implied that Americans might be afraid to discuss the conflict in fear of a powerful Jewish lobby. . . . Berman said the religious affiliation of the resigning members, which include some prominent Jewish leaders in the Atlanta area, did not influence their decision. “

I want to repeat one thing for emphasis, in view of a recent discussion on this blog: “. . . especially as he implied that Americans might be afraid to discuss the conflict in fear of a powerful Jewish lobby.”

My curiosity aroused by Berman’s last statement, I found a list of the people who resigned.

“The following have announced their resignation from the Board of Councilors:

1. Alan R. Abrams, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Servidyne, Inc2.
2. Steve Berman, managing partner, OA Development, an Atlanta based real estate developer company.
3. Michael Coles, chairman of Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee Co.
4. Doug Hertz, president & CEO, United Distributors.
5. Jonathan Golden, Partner and Chairman, Arnall, Golden, Gregory LLP, an Atlanta law firm.
6. Barbara Babbit Kaufman, author; formerly of Chapter 11 Books as its founder.
7. Liane Levetan, former state senator and DeKalb CEO.
8. Jeff Levy, Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based PrDigital Media and its parent company, Biltmore Communications9. Leon Novak, principal, The Trilogy Group, a full-service provider of commercial real estate services based in Atlanta.
9. Gail Solomon, Georgia Dome executive services manager.
10. Cathey Steinberg, Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Fund, former state Consumers' Insurance Advocate and former state Senator.
11. Steve Selig, President and Chairman of the Board of Selig Enterprises.
12. William B. Schwartz, Jr. was the U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas from 1977-1981 during the Carter Administration.
13. William B. Schwartz III, formerly senior wealth management professional at Offitbank, an arm of Wachovia.”

Regardless of what Berman said, there is a lack of ethnic/religious diversity in the list. To me the fact that so many Jewish people would resign en masse illustrates a “one issue” mentality (which I’ll be writing about at another time) focused on what is perceived as good or not good for Jews as a group – one issue which dwarfs all other issues. It also probably illustrates the power of big organized Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith to pressure individuals who might otherwise not have thought of resigning.

If by now you are wondering what President Carter wrote, join me. I haven’t seen the book yet, and Googling President Carter and his book’s title lands you waist-deep in a flood of pro-Israel, ad hominem, diatribes which are not keen to let us know about the former president’s assertions. As always in such cases, a debate on facts is avoided, and the spears are thrown at the individual who wrote down the facts.

The hard-to-find articles are the ones favorable to President Carter. Here are a few with favorable views:



>The Nation


Here is another article, fairly balanced, but the comments are a free-for-all!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Jimmy carter for speaking the truth regarding Palestine!