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Virtual Talmud

In response to Rabbi Eliyahu Stern’s blog post criticizing former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” “God’s Politics” guest blogger Jeff Halper, an Israeli peace activist, defended Carter’s perspective on Israeli policies toward Palestinians and his use of the term “apartheid.”

Virtual Talmud’s Rabbis Rabbi Joshua Waxman and Rabbi Susan Grossman
answered Halper. Now Rabbi Stern replies to Halper:

Mr. Halper: Enough with the lies and rhetoric.

Will you and your ilk once and for all respond to facts? Before you begin another rant, do your readers a favor: Just answer the questions raised in Alan Dershowitz’s review. Since it seems you have not read the review, I will include it below. So before you answer me or Rabbi Waxman’s and Rabbi Grossman’s excellent responses to your post, please just try–I know it might be hard, it actaully was so hard that Jimmy Carter himself has been unable to do it–but try to read and respond to the following:

“Mr. Carter emphasizes that ‘Christian and Muslim Arabs had continued to live in this same land since Roman times,’ but he ignores the fact that Jews have lived in Hebron, Tzfat, Jerusalem, and other cities for even longer. Nor does he discuss the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries since 1948.

“Mr. Carter repeatedly claims that the Palestinian Arabs have long supported a two-state solution and the Israelis have always opposed it. Yet he makes no mention of the fact that in 1938 the Peel Commission proposed a two-state solution, with Israel receiving a mere sliver of its ancient homeland and the Palestinians receiving the bulk of the land. The Jews accepted and the Palestinians rejected this proposal because Arab leaders cared more about there being no Jewish state on Muslim holy land than about having a Palestinian state of their own.

“He barely mentions Israel’s acceptance, and the Palestinian rejection, of the United Nation’s division of the mandate in 1948.

“He claims that in 1967 Israel launched a preemptive attack against Jordan. The fact is that Jordan attacked Israel first, Israel tried desperately to persuade Jordan to remain out of the war, and Israel counterattacked after the Jordanian army surrounded Jerusalem, firing missiles into the center of the city. Only then did Israel capture the West Bank, which it was willing to return in exchange for peace and recognition from Jordan.

“Mr. Carter repeatedly mentions Security Council Resolution 242, which called for return of captured territories in exchange for peace, recognition, and secure boundaries, but he ignores that Israel accepted and all the Arab nations and the Palestinians rejected this resolution. The Arabs met in Khartum and issued their three famous ‘no’s’: ‘No peace, no recognition, no negotiation.’ But you wouldn’t know that from reading the history according to Mr. Carter.
Mr. Carter faults Israel for its ‘air strike that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor’ without mentioning that Iraq had threatened to attack Israel with nuclear weapons if Iraq succeeded in building a bomb.

“Mr. Carter faults Israel for its administration of Christian and Muslim religious sites, when in fact Israel is scrupulous about ensuring those of every religion the right to worship as they please—consistent, of course, with security needs. He fails to mention that between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Hashemites destroyed and desecrated Jewish religious sites and prevented Jews from praying at the Western Wall. He also never mentions Egypt‘s brutal occupation of Gaza between 1949 and 1967.

“Mr. Carter blames Israel, and exonerates Arafat, for the Palestinian refusal to accept statehood on 95% of the West Bank and all of Gaza pursuant to the Clinton-Barak offers at Camp David and Taba in 2000–2001. He accepts the Palestinian revisionist history, rejects the eyewitness accounts of President Clinton and Dennis Ross, and ignores Saudi Prince Bandar’s accusation that Arafat’s rejection of the proposal was “a crime” and that Arafat’s account ‘was not truthful’ —except, apparently, to Mr. Carter. The fact that Mr. Carter chooses to believe Arafat over Mr. Clinton speaks volumes.”

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