Saturday, December 6, 2008


Ralph Nader - Now that the season of electoral expediency is over, Barack Obama owes Jimmy Carter an apology. At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, the Party denied Jimmy Carter the traditional invitation to speak that is accorded its former presidents. According to The Jewish Daily Forward, “Carter’s controversial views on Israel cost him a place on the podium at the Democratic Party convention in late August, senior Democratic operatives acknowledged to the Forward.”

Silencing Carter, who negotiated the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement, involved behind the scenes tensions between supporters of the hard-line AIPAC lobby and those Democrats who argued both respect and free speech to let Carter join Bill Clinton on the stage and address a nationwide audience.

First, there was a compromise offer to let Carter speak but only on domestic policy subjects. This would have kept him from mentioning his views on securing peace between the Israelis and Palestinians through a two-state solution essentially back to the 1967 borders. He previously elaborated his analysis and recommendations in his 2006 bestseller titled Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid..

Even this astonishing restriction on the former president was unacceptable to the dictatorial censors. They wanted nothing from the deliberate, candid Georgian short of complete exclusion.

It is false to attribute this shutdown to the opinions of American Jews, a majority of whom polls show support a two-state solution and disagree on other issues with the AIPAC lobby. . .

Clearly, there is more freedom to speak about injustice against Palestinians and be critical of government policy in the Knesset and in the Israeli media than there is in the Congress or at American political conventions. It is a shame of the Democratic Party and its new leader that they forgot about civil liberties for differing viewpoints and covered it up for unknowing television viewers with the video scam.

Jimmy Carter knew fully what the party did to him. But he played the loyal Democrat as a good sport and avoided a ruckus without even a public grumble. Privately, however, he and Rosalynn were very upset, believing that political pandering prevents the United States from playing a key role in peace-making between the powerful Israelis and their Palestinian neighbors.

In a March 2008 poll by the respected Haaretz newspaper, sixty-four percent of Israelis supported “direct negotiations with Hamas”-the elected government of Gaza that now accepts a two-state solution back to the 1967 borders.

Jimmy Carter-the early peacemaker between Israel and Egypt (for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize)-has remained the most steadfast, prominent American friend that the Israeli and Palestinian peoples have in securing a stable peace in that region. The new President Obama should welcome Mr. Carter’s wise and seasoned counsel.


At December 6, 2008 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand why they didn't want him to speak. He has a right to his views, but to most Americans they seem to be blatantly anti-Semitic. Accusing the Israelis of apartheid is kind of bizarre, and certainly without any basis in fact. I guess he's just trying to distract attention from the real apartheid in the Middle East (that separating women and men), and, of course, from the true racism of his own American south. You've got to remember that in his book he openly embraces and supports terrorism, and encourages the Palestinians to engage in attacks on civilians, including women and children. Not exactly the kind of person you would want to be associated with. He's become an embarrassment, and should retire for his own good.

At December 7, 2008 6:23 AM, Anonymous robbie said...

oi vey

At December 7, 2008 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: 6:42
Isolating Palestinians in enclaves whose only egress is blocked by IDF is not apartheid? Then I guess carpet bombing Lebanon was self defense? Torturing teenagers is entertainment? To most Americans, Carter is the only lucid president we've had in decades, but to you dearie, I'm guessing rocks and trees are antisemitic, because they obviously can't kiss your ass.

At December 7, 2008 12:54 PM, Anonymous interesting piece said...

'Bad for the Jews' The Liberal Media
By Eric Alterman
This article appeared in the January 7, 2008 edition of The Nation.

December 20, 2007

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Take Action Web Letters (10)Write a Letter! Subscribe Now Text SizeAAAToday's topic is the paradox--or one of them, anyway--of American Jewish political behavior. No, it's not that hoary old cliché that they "earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans." Rather, it's that they think like enlightened liberals yet allow belligerent right-wingers and neocons who frequently demonize, distort and denounce their values to speak for them in the US political arena.

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Don't take my word for it. According to the American Jewish Committee's 2007 survey of American Jewry, released December 11, a majority of Jews in this country oppose virtually every aspect of the Bush Administration/neocon agenda. Not only do they disapprove of the Administration's handling of its "campaign against terrorism" (59-31 percent), they believe by a 67-to-27 margin that we should never have invaded Iraq. They are unimpressed by the "surge"--68 percent say it has either made no difference or made things worse, and by a 57-to-35 percent majority they oppose an attack on Iran, even if it was undertaken "to prevent [Iran] from developing nuclear weapons."

Jews are also impressively sensible when it comes to Israel/Palestine, all things considered. Though barely more than a third think peace is likely anytime soon, and more than 80 percent believe the goal of the Muslim states is to destroy Israel, a 46-to-43 percent plurality continues to support the creation of a Palestinian state.

This wholesale rejection of the Bush/neocon agenda, moreover, is consistent with the way American Jews describe their overall political identity. Jews are more liberal than conservative (43-25 percent) and far more Democratic than Republican (58-15 percent). This preference, significantly, extends to national security issues, often considered a Republican trump card. By a massive 61-to-21 percent margin, Jews say Democrats, not Republicans, are "more likely to make the right decision about the war in Iraq." Regarding terrorism, Democrats win 53-to-30 percent.

As a Jew who shares most of these beliefs, I am tempted to trumpet these numbers as big news, but it's news only if you haven't been paying attention. An examination of past AJC surveys as well as a number of other polls of American Jews demonstrates that Jews have remained remarkably faithful to the values of liberal humanism. These views, however, have been obscured in our political discourse by an unholy alliance between conservative-dominated professional Jewish organizations and neoconservative Jewish pundits, aided by pliant and frequently clueless mainstream media that empower these right-wingers to speak for a people with values diametrically opposed to theirs.

Take a look at the agendas of some of the most influential Jewish organizations, like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America and the American Jewish Committee itself; each has historically associated itself with the hawkish side of the debate--and some have done so even when Israel took the more dovish side (the Jewish equivalent of being holier than the Pope). Forget for a moment the argument over whether what some call "the Lobby" is good or bad for America. My point is that it's bad for the Jews.

In large part the trouble lies with the antidemocratic structures of these organizations and the apathy of most Jews with regard to organized Jewish life. Major Jewish groups respond to the demands of their top funders and best-organized constituencies. Most American Jews, however, have little or nothing to do with these groups. According to the AJC survey, while 90 percent of Jews say being Jewish is either "very important" (61 percent) or "fairly important" (29 percent) in their lives, exactly half say they belong to a synagogue or temple. A fraction of this number belong to Jewish political organizations, and the number of major funders is but a tiny percentage of that. As with so much of American life, the far-right minority is better funded and better disciplined than the liberal majority.

Fault can also be found with lazy editors, reporters, producers and the like who invite neocon and other unrepresentative people to speak for Jews and Jewish values. Consider the most prominent Jewish voices in the punditocracy who regularly sound off on Israel, Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, etc. My list includes Irving Kristol, William Kristol, Seth Lipsky, Martin Peretz, Norman Podhoretz, John Podhoretz, Richard Perle, Richard Cohen, Mortimer Zuckerman, Alan Dershowitz, Jeffrey Goldberg, Lawrence Kaplan, Charles Krauthammer, David Horowitz, Jonah Goldberg, David Gelernter, Ruth Wisse, David Brooks and David Frum. Most are Bush apologists, most supported the invasion of Iraq and most are sympathetic to the idea of an invasion of Iran. Not infrequently, leading Jewish pundits mock and ridicule the majority Jewish views. Irving Kristol, writing in Azure, attacks the "political stupidity" of American Jews. Gelernter, writing in The Weekly Standard, complains of Jewish political behavior as "a lesson in self-destructive nihilism."

Given the scare tactics the neocons routinely employ--from their frequent deployment of the intellectually vacuous term "Islamofascism," to Perle and Frum's warning that the nation's only choice is "victory or holocaust"--it is a remarkable tribute to the good sense of American Jewry that it remains a bastion of liberal humanism despite such naked attempts to manipulate longstanding fears and insecurities.

These pundits have every right to put forth their views, of course. It's long past time, however, for the mainstream media to recognize just how out of touch they are with the values of the American Jewish mainstream.

If not now, when?

At December 7, 2008 5:23 PM, Blogger ryanshaunkelly said...


gravel kucinich paul nader


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