Jimmy Carter - Anti-Semite of the Year?

Anti-Semite, anti-Semite, anti-Semite.

Say anything critical of Israel, and some immediately seek to label you as either an anti-Semite, or a "self hating Jew". (See here) where blogger (and an Arutz Sheva radio show host) Tamar Yonah, who's blog is hosted on the Arutz Sheva website, seeks to honor Jimmy Carter with the designation as "2006 Anti-Semite of the Year".

On what does Tamar base her decision that Jimmy Carter should earn this distinction? Well, evidently one reason is that back when Jimmy served as President of the United States, he dared insist that gentiles must serve as more then 20% of the members of the Holocaust Memorial Council. Egads, how scandalous. The memorial was built on land donated by the federal government, and today about two thirds of the museum's operating budget is provided by the federal government, however for some reason it was wrong that for Jimmy to insist on increased gentile representation on the council. All American taxpayers, whether Jew or gentile are expected to pony up, however Jimmy insisting that gentile representation should be something more then 20% is just awful.

However I think the real reason for the "award" is a little more obvious. Jimmy is too willing to criticize Israel in general and the Israeli right wing in particular. Jimmy dared to write a book that implied, even in its title, that Israeli activity in the Occupied Territories could be something akin to apartheid.

Now in her criticism of Jimmy Carter on his book, how does Tamar go about it? She starts off by quoting from my own favorite online dictionary, Merriam-Webster, where the definition of "apartheid" is:

1 : racial segregation; specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa
2 : Separation, Segregation -cultural apartheid- -gender apartheid-

(Please note Merriam-Webster includes "cultural apartheid" and "gender apartheid" as examples of practices meeting the definition, none of which were practiced in South Africa.)

Tamar then comments:
None of these are true for Israel. There is no racial segregation in Israel. Arabs who are CITIZENS of the State of Israel not only live together with us, but serve as teachers, doctors, lawyers, and judges in Israeli courts. They are elected and serve in the Knesset, Israel's parliament. Arabs who are citizens of Israel enjoy more freedoms here, than in their own Arab countries where dictatorships and oppressive Islamic laws abound.
Now, WITHIN the "green line" of Israel, Tamar is not going to get a whole lot of argument from me. Perhaps there is some "discrimination" against Arab-Israeli's within Israel proper (try being an Arab-Israeli and getting a building permit for example) however this discrimination does not meet the definition of apartheid. What the heck, Israelis even "discriminate" against Jews who do not happen to be Orthodox Jews! What then is the harm of a little discrimination against a few Arabs that just happen to inconveniently be Israeli citizens?

Now, I heard Jimmy Carter state during an interview that his label of "apartheid" only describes what is going on in the "occupied territories" not what was going on within the green line. I am not exactly sure why Tamar felt the need to defend Israel's treatment of Arab-Israeli citizens. Perhaps she is only displaying a small tinge of guilt or something. However, since Jimmy says the description was about what was going on in the occupied territories, and not within the green line, let's stick to examining that area.

Let's ask Tamar a few questions. In the occupied territories, do there exist roadways that only Israeli citizens are allowed to travel while this right is withheld from Palestinians? Do there exist in the occupied territories "settlements" or "outposts" where Jews are welcomed with open arms and it would be difficult if not impossible for an Arab to live?

I wonder if Tamar is familiar with something called the "Elon Peace Plan". I wonder if Tamar would agree with me that this plan might accurately be described by opponents as the "Elon Apartheid Plan".

If you are unfamiliar with this plan, you can read a description of it (here) at the WorldNetDaily website. Please note the WorldNetDaily piece appeared back in 2002, and the piece states that, at least back then:
Polls show between 20 and 30 percent of Israelis ready to back such a plan.
Now, perhaps Tamar will object to the description of the plan contained at the WorldNetDaily as not being authoritative, so I will not quote from it again (although I still encourage you, dear reader, to read it) so I will quote from the description contained at a site Tamar would have to agree with. (See here) a piece that describes the plan that was published on 05/02/03 on the ArutzSheva website. This site states one of the points of the plan would be that:

Israel will become sovereign over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and the Arabs living there will be Jordanian citizens living under a form of autonomy to-be-determined
Doesn't this sound at least just a little bit like "apartheid"? Jews living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would be Israeli citizens, but Arabs living there would be citizens of Jordan. Doesn't this plan sound ominously like things that did happen under apartheid in South Africa? I wonder if Tamar is familiar with the South African "Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970" which:
Compelled all black people to become a citizen of the homeland that responded to their ethnic group, regardless of whether they'd ever lived there or not, and removed their South African citizenship.
The above description of the act was lifted from a piece on the about.com website which you can see (here).

Now, Tamar can seek to designate one of America's most beloved citizens (my own description only, I can not back this up with a poll) as an anti-Semite, but I see this as just another example of the Jewish right wing trying to label anyone critical of even the most outrageous actions of Israel as being an "anti-Semite" (or a "self hating Jew").

What the heck, perhaps in my defense of Jimmy Carter, I too might be considered worthy of the title of "Anti-Semite of the Year" when it comes time for Tamar to give the award for 2007. I would consider it to indeed be a great honor to receive the award. After all, Jimmy Carter would have preceded me as recipient for 2006. I would be in "good company" indeed.

In my opinion, overuse of the label "anti-Semite" tends to cause the label to lose its power. Attempts to label those such as Jimmy Carter with the term could lead to the term being worn as a badge of honor.


Blogger Michael said...

Thank you for this great post.

I fully agree that the "anti-Semite" label has been bandied around with such abandon that it has lost all meaning, and, it will be in the long term in the detriment of the Jewish people.

As per your article, it is hard not to make the conclusion that the nation of Israel is engaging in policies that can be described as "apartheid" in the Occupied Territories. If Israel does not want to have such a label, it needs to "clean up its act".


2/22/2007 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

John Duggard, UN special rapporteur seems to agree: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6390755.stm


2/24/2007 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Little David said...


Thanks for the link to the article. It is a great piece of reporting.

However I am not sure I am completely in agreement with John Duggard's opinion. I think Israel does have the right to defend against rocket attacks coming from Gaza. Is it possible the actions taken go too far? Perhaps, maybe.... Nope.

Why nope? Because for Israeli incursions into Gaza to stop, the only thing that needs to happen is for the attacks coming from there to stop.

AFTER the rocket attacks stop, we could start talking about the steps necessary to make life easier for those Palestinians who are willing to live in peace. However as long as a state of war exists, I am going to hold the Palestinians engaged in war accountable to the same standards I put on "them damn Jews".

2/27/2007 05:06:00 PM  

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