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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Andy Martin suggests President Jimmy Carter is owed an apology by the American Jewish Community

Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct”


(CHICAGO)(December 2, 2007) Last year former President Jimmy Carter published a book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Carter was excoriated by large segments of the American Jewish community. Former colleagues debated and denounced him; associates deserted him and his Carter Center. Carter was accused of being an anti-Semite, and worse.

Carter’s sin was to use the term “apartheid” in connection with the occupation of Palestine by the State of Israel.

After President Richard Nixon, who has neither been recognized nor appreciated by Israelis, Carter did more to ensure the safety and security of Israel than any president. Carter brought peace between Egypt and Israel. That peace has endured for three decades. The Egyptians and Israelis may not be kissing cousins, but they are not killing each other and they have civilized channels for discourse. That’s an accomplishment that no other president can match.

And yet when Carter described the unspeakably horrible Israeli occupation of Palestine, and compared it to the apartheid system in South Africa, which was also boycotted, discredited and collapsed, sadly he became the target of incredible hostility and denunciation from Jewish leaders.

Well, perhaps, President Carter is owed an apology. A big apology.

This week the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, in an interview with Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, described Israel’s future as a “South African-style struggle,” if peace is not agreed to by the parties. Haaretz followed up with an editorial using the “A” word, Apartheid.

Now Mr. Olmert is not a popular leader anywhere, not in Israel and not in the American Jewish community. And he speaks the truth not because he wants to, but because he has to. He is derided as a “politician.” There are times when politicians are despicable creatures. And there are times when politicians are the only people who can see and speak unpleasant truths to their peoples. Olmert is not mouthing apartheid scenarios because he wants to. He is warning of a dismal future if present trends continue. In other words, he acknowledges that the world will impose a solution on Israel, the solution that many Palestine-based Jews and all of the Arabs wanted in 1948: a unitary state.

Indeed, I used “present trends” in 2000 as a basis for proposing my own Andy Martin Middle East Peace Plan. Like Olmert, I saw that Israel could not endure as a brutal occupying power while seeking to be welcomed into the community of nations as a democracy. Like Carter, I was also called an anti-Semite. The charge was untrue. As for Olmert, when is he going to be called an anti-Semite? The day is coming when his remarks will prompt attacks on him as well, and cries that he is making anti-Semitic pronouncements.

Olmert’s warnings may also be a warning to the United States and to us. Olmert sees that a decline in American power and a rise in the power of Russia, China, India and other nations, may tip the scales against Israel in the near future.

Unless the U. S. Congress also faces reality, and stops marching in lockstep with the extreme right in Israel, we are in for yet another Middle East foreign policy disaster in the future. The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy by professors Mearsheimer and Walt details how at the snap of a finger, the Israel Lobby can produce 75 U. S. Senate votes for virtually any action demanded by the Lobby. When will they ever learn?

And so, at the end of the day, perhaps both Carter and Olmert are both owed apologies. Jimmy Carter was not a great president, but he was a decent man. He brought a partial peace to the Middle East, and he has pointed the way to future peace as well.

Likewise, Ehud Olmert is a dismal leader, disliked by virtually everyone, but on him has fallen the burden of speaking truth to power. Olmert may believe he can manipulate and control the process he is setting in motion. Most politicians do. But he should look to the “South African” model he has himself described.

South Africa, after all, despite overwhelming white military power, eventually fell to majority rule. The world demanded it. And South Africans, white and black, live in peace with each other. South Africa is not a perfect state, far from perfect. But power was transferred peacefully, and people live in relative peace and prosperity with a brighter future than they had before. There are worse ways to live.

Just ask Jimmy Carter and Ehud Olmert.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world events with forty years of experience. He has almost forty years of experience in the Middle East, and is America’s most respected independent foreign policy and intelligence analyst. Andy is currently a candidate for U. S. Senator from Illinois. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:


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