Carter and the A-word

[Originally Posted on]


First, respected scholars Mearsheimer (whom I noticed today sits with Daniel Pipes on an the advisory council of The National Interest) and Walt were tarred as raving conspiracy theorists for acknowledging the impact of that 800 pound gorilla–the Israeli Lobby spearheaded by AIPAC–on Washington Mideast policy and debate.


Now, President Jimmy Carter is being called an anti-Semite for talking honestly about how Israel’s treatment of Palestinians looks to its critics. His cardinal sin?  Using the A-word, even though by any objective standard the comparison is fair game.


Contrary to the pro-Israeli spin doctors working furiously in the MSM at the moment to convince Americans that this perspective is found exclusively in the fetid fringe inhabited by hate groups and kooks, it’s hardly an unusual comparison to make, whether in academia or the wider world.  It is forbidden only in Washington. 

The characterization in inevitably debatable in some respects, but it is hardly an outrageous slur, given the compelling evidence–"facts on the ground", if you will–that exists for this perspective.

Outside the safe, self-censored confines of the American mainstream media, comparisons of Israeli policy to that of South Africa aren’t unusual.  In fact, the most prominent symbols of the anti-Apartheid movement, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have openly and explicitly noted the parallels:

In a 2002 speech in the United States, Tutu said he saw "the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about." Back in 1999, former South African statesman Nelson Mandela told the Palestinian Assembly: "The histories of our two peoples correspond in such painful and poignant ways that I intensely feel myself at home amongst my compatriots."


Notice that Mandela felt such kinship as a former victim of South African Apartheid with the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli policy that he referred to as his "compatriots".


Now, etymologically Apartheid means separation, and if there’s one hallmark of Israeli social policy, it’s the conscious and legally institutionalized  separation of Palestinians from Jews.  Secondarily, Apartheid means discrimination, which is rampant against Palestinians in Israel proper and within the Occupied Territories.  Finally, there are the miserable, cramped, severedly under provided-for enclaves in the Occupied Territories wherein Arabs are allowed to live, areas commonly referred to as "Bantustans", an infamous term from South African history.


Israel is not guided by the same unabashedly racist philosophical worldview positing the inferiority of non-white races–though it certainly has serious problems with racism, even against other Jews (e.g., the Ethiopian Falashim, the Sephardim)–but the central focus of Apartheid is law, not philosophical or biological speculations.  From a legal standpoint, the Israeli system is kindred to that of South Africa and qualifies as Apartheid.


Is Israel as bad as South Africa?  Of course not.  Does it resort to a form of Apartheid?  Undeniably.   Ergo, there are grounds for a comparison and to do so is neither a mark of insanity nor hatred of Jews.

So how can there be such a shrill and polemical reaction against his book in the MSM?  Because the major media outlets simply don’t believe in open debate on the Middle East.  In his  recent LA Times op-ed, Carter hits the nail on the head:

The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations — but not in the United States. For the last 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts. This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government is because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices.


Some of the reactions from the MSM, as highlighted in The Week,  illustrate Carter’s contentions perfectly.  Rich Lowry in National Review Online ludicrously (but predictably) compares Carter’s blunt but thoughtful analysis to Mel Gibson’s infamous curses against Jews while in a drunken rage, and whines that Carter "apes the Palestinian position and calls it evenhandedness".  Even if the latter contention were true, so what?  Does not much if not most MSM coverage of the Middle East slavishly "ape" the Israeli position and call it "evenhandedness"?!?  How about a little sense of perspective.


Many of Carter’s critics claim that he distorts history but then themselves engage in a particularly offensive (but common) form of revisionism.  It is quite striking how often those seeking to rebut Carter resort to the hoary Myth of the Generous Offer (i.e., that Arafat and the Palestinians turned their backs on peacemaking by walking away from a fair treaty in at Camp David in 2000).   As this article in the National Catholic Reporter and this study by Seth Ackerman of FAIR show, the Palestinian rejection of Barak’s much exagerrated "concessions" was and remains eminently defensible.  Yet time and time again, this canard gets resurrected to prove how perfidious and violent those nasty Arabs are.  The subtext is that Arabs force poor Israel to oppress them by being so darned uncivilized.


In a way, that’s the most galling thing of all, this demand that Israel not only be allowed to resort to discriminatory practices, but that any mention of said practices be banned from polite conversation.  Israel gets to do all sorts of ethically ambiguous things without suffering the normal political consequences, and observers are barred on pain of political death from discussing these things with a modicum of honesty and directness.


People can indiscriminately toss around sensationalistic and prejudicial labels about Muslims like "Islamofascist", "Jihadi" or "pro-terrorist", but it’s beyond the pale of civilization to make an obvious policy comparison between two states that are formally committed to containing the growth and movement of their indigenous populations?  The chutzpah of some people.

I’m sorry this comparison causes some supporters of Israel such pain, but imagine how much pain the reality behind the uncomfortable analogy causes for Palestinians!  Their situation needs to be factually discussed regardless of who this discussion makes uncomfortabe.

What really saddens and shocks me is how oblivious so many of Israel’s self-declared defenders appear to be to how such frivolous accusations of anti-Semitism reinforce the mindset of Jew haters by appearing to confirm their conspiratorial theories.  When politicians and pundits treating disloyalty to Israel as tantamount to treason and when every attempt to openly explore Arab grievances against Israel is met with a firestorm of shrill denunciations and smears, it’s considerably easier for bigots to sell their noxious yarns about Jewish domination of the world.  Crying wolf about anti-Semitism is playing with fire.

Carter really deserves credit, respect and gratitude for his leadership and vision.  He’s using his prominence to singlehandedly, and at a great political price to himself, jumpstart a much needed (and regularly suppressed) debate in American society about our involvement in the Middle East.  His courage is really breathtaking when you judge him by the pedestrian engagement of other ex-presidents.  He’s putting his political neck on the line for the sake of the national interest.   

This quote from his op-ed highlights how courageous and unconventional his actions are in the Beltway, not to mention how biased the whole political establishment is against open debate on this vital topic.

It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to speak in defense of justice or human rights for Palestinians. Very few would ever deign to visit the Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City or even Bethlehem and talk to the beleaguered residents. What is even more difficult to comprehend is why the editorial pages of the major newspapers and magazines in the United States exercise similar self-restraint, quite contrary to private assessments expressed quite forcefully by their correspondents in the Holy Land.

  • Abu Sinan

    Lets not forget the long and very close relationship that Israel had with South Africa under apartheid rule. They shared everything from diamonds to nuclear technology.
    Notice that after white minority rule disappeared, so did the relationship? Why? Because leading figures in the South African fight for freedom, like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu saw the kindred spirit between Israel and apartheid, and called it as such.
    When two men of such moral courage stand up and compare Israel to apartheid, it is owrth noting.
    Robert Fisk does the subject right, here is a clip from his article on the same subject:
    “But in this context, why, I wonder, didn’t The New York Times and the other gutless mainstream newspapers in the United States mention Israel’s cosy relationship with that very racist apartheid regime in South Africa which Carter is not supposed to mention in his book? Didn’t Israel have a wealthy diamond trade with sanctioned, racist South Africa? Didn’t Israel have a fruitful and deep military relationship with that racist regime? Am I dreaming, looking-glass-like, when I recall that in April of 1976, Prime Minister John Vorster of South Africa – one of the architects of this vile Nazi-like system of apartheid – paid a state visit to Israel and was honoured with an official reception from Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, war hero Moshe Dayan and future Nobel prize-winner Yitzhak Rabin? This of course, certainly did not become part of the great American debate on Carter’s book.”

  • Abu Sinan

    “In a 2002 speech in the United States, Tutu said he saw “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.”
    Back in 1999, former South African statesman Nelson Mandela told the Palestinian Assembly: “The histories of our two peoples correspond in such painful and poignant ways that I intensely feel myself at home amongst my compatriots.”
    South African author Breyten Breytenbach, who spent nine years in prison for resisting apartheid, wrote in 2002, “I recently visited the occupied territories for the first time. And yes, I’m afraid they can reasonably be described as resembling Bantustans, reminiscent of the ghettoes and controlled camps of misery one knew in South Africa.”


    MENTOR, Ohio – THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, a genre spy-thriller by Robert Spirko, was fourth on the September best-seller list at Atlasbooks, Inc., a national book distributor.
    “It is time for the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the Camp David Peace Talks, resume where they left off and “freeze in place” the already-agreed-upon negotiating points,” Spirko says.
    “The Iraq Study Group should make this recommendation a top priority before trying to put-in-place a new strategy for Iraq – mainly because ramifications of a peace agreement between both sides will resonate deeply throughout the Muslim world in the way Jews and Muslims interact toward each other. It could have a profound ripple effect including how the United States is perceived by Islamists.” he emphasizes.
    “I have communicated that first step to the James Baker III and Lee Hamilton study group. It is important that both sides in the Middle East region are willing to come to their senses,” Spirko reiterates.
    He uses the following analogy for peace. “The Camp David accords have precedent and continuity through previous agreements. It’s like a marriage where both spouses in an argument storm away mad. They don’t divorce and then try to resume their relationship; rather, they come back together, settle their differences, and resume the marriage where they left off. It must be the same for the Middle East Peace talks.”
    Spirko’s book predicted terrorism against the United States & Israel in his book which takes place in Lebanon. It is eerily similar to the Beirut War which took place last summer between Hezbollah and Israel.
    Spirko says if these issues had been understood and discussed 18 years ago, perhaps two wars in the Persian Gulf, the Sept. 11th catastrophe and the new Beirut War would not have happened.
    “That aside,” he says, “It is never too late for peace.”
    MEDINA, OHIO – The Palestine Conspiracy, a genre spy-thriller by Robert Spirko, was fourth on the September best-seller list from Atlasbooks, Inc., a national book distributor.
    The spy-thriller predicted terrorism against the United States & Israel by Middle East terror groups. The novel takes place in Lebanon and is eerily similar to the Beirut War which took place only last summer between Hezbollah and Israel. The book can be purchased at book stores locally and nationally or through popular book sites like,,, Barnes& and local book sellers. Ingram Books, Baker & Taylor and Atlasbooks are the major distributors.
    Spirko says if these issues had been understood and discussed 18 years ago, perhaps two wars in the Persian Gulf, the Sept. 11th catastrophe and the new Beirut War would not have happened.
    “That aside,” he says, “It is never too late for peace.”
    TO BOOK EDITOR: press release
    We are writing to inform you about a book related to what is happening now in the Middle East released by Olive Grove Books entitled THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY. This book takes place in Beirut.
    Because the region of Palestine and the repercussions it holds for peace in the Middle East between the PLO and Israel are critically important, the issues discussed via this spy-thriller makes it interesting and informative so that people all over the world can understand exactly how both sides think and how that thinking has led to continual violence in the Middle East.
    If these issues had been understood and discussed 18 years ago, perhaps two wars in the Persian Gulf, the Sept. 11th catastrophe and this new Beirut War would not have happened.
    That aside, it is never too late for peace.
    With your consideration, we at Olive Grove Books hope you give THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY its rightful place in history and on your web site and store book shelves.
    It is a book, which has come of age, and is so timely that it is a must read for everyone who wants to understand what is going on in the Middle East.
    With appreciation and gratitude,
    Sincerely, from the publisher,
    Robert Spirko, author
    ISBN: 0-9752508-0-9
    Olive Grove Publishers
    MEDINA, Ohio – When it comes to spy novels and Middle East intrigue, after 16 spell-binding years, the gripping story behind the Middle East quagmire – its issues of nuclear weapons and the quest for a Palestinian State – is finally being told in a ground-breaking new book entitled, THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY.
    Author Robert Spirko created the work in such a way that every reader in the world will understand all the intricate issues in the Middle East and how close the region actually came to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.
    Mr. Spirko has a unique way of holding the reader in his grasp as the plot of THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY unfolds. He literally takes you from your armchair and immerses you into the lifestyle of the Bedouin, the Israeli, the PLO and the mindset of the Middle-Easterner.
    THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY is not just another spy-novel; it is the quintessential spy-thriller because it forces the reader to understand how both sides “think” and why that thinking ultimately led to repeated wars in the Middle East.
    Spirko, a financial and geo-political analyst, turned his attention to the Middle East in 1987, after discovering several common elements related to the Middle East question. In working for peace, and after several frustrating years, he put down his analysis in writing and when he was finished, he not only had a solution to the quagmire, he had a story to tell.
    But, nobody was listening.
    Today, all that has changed, thanks to Olive Grove Publishers who decided to give his book a chance.
    When the Palestinian question came to a festering crisis in 1990, he had already predicted several of the actual events before they occurred. For instance, Spirko predicted the Intifada and Persian Gulf War, missing the actual invasion date of Kuwait by only one week. He did this through spectacular supposition, analysis and prediction based on what he was “seeing” in the region.
    When Spirko typed his manuscript, he set the work to fiction, about what he thought might occur soon in the Middle East involving weapons of mass destruction, nuclear proliferation, the Palestinian uprising before it occurred, and how the Palestinian question begged to be answered, little did he realize that every event he described in the book would eventually transpire.
    His story of what was really happening behind the scenes in the Middle East is truly astounding and remarkable, and his contribution to the Camp David Peace Talks in 2000, formulated a solution to the Jerusalem question. When the BBC got wind of it, they termed it “as nothing short of brilliant” – Jerusalem becoming the simultaneous capitals of both Israel and Palestine in congruous or concentric zones.
    Spirko originally copyrighted his book on October 20, 1987, in the U. S.
    Library of Congress where intelligence agencies reviewed his work.
    Today, finally, somebody is listening.
    Spirko feels that both sides must return to the Camp David Peace Talks and resume where they left off and “freeze in place” the already-agreed-upon negotiating points.
    “It’s like a marriage where both spouses storm away mad in an argument.
    They don’t divorce and then try to resume their relationship, they come back together, settle their differences, and resume their marriage. It must be the same for the Middle East Peace talks,” Spirko says.
    The story begins in Beirut, Lebanon, once a great financial capital of the Middle East, which lay in ruin, having been systematically blasted to rubble during 20 years of inexhaustible civil war and siege by Israel, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah and Lebanese factions. Soon, the quest for a Palestinian State would be framed by these events; namely, the invasion of Kuwait by a neighboring rogue state, Iraq, with Saddam Hussein’s goal of seeking nuclear parity with Israel.
    In Mr. Spirko’s story, Rick Waite, a forgotten UPI correspondent, and Adrienne Waters, a Pulitzer Prize journalist from the London Times, meet-up in Beirut with a PLO operative named Ahmed, who discovers a secret intelligence memo about a secret plan to destroy Israel.
    In the ensuing chase to find the answer to this secret communiqué and what it means, a deadly race against time begins as the unlikely trio tries to halt the launch of a secret weapon from a hidden PLO base camp in the Syrian Desert. U. S. and British intelligence operatives have their own agenda, and attempt to stop whatever is going on to save the entire region from a nuclear holocaust.
    Spirko weaves a tale of chilling duplicity and thrilling action, as the characters evade and devise a method to announce the discovery of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles to the rest of the world – all while United Nations’ delegates bicker endlessly.
    An executive at BookMasters, Inc., says, “The book is absolutely stunning in the manner in which Mr. Spirko, tells his tale. He is truly a master as an analyst, and it’s totally unlike anything else we’ve ever read in a spy-thriller. It keeps you turning pages and won’t let you quit – until the very end. And, what an ending it is! If you crave twisting plots, thrilling spy-action and intriguing characters, then this is the book for you.”
    Spirko, whose own background includes a stint in the U. S. Air Force and has given his advice to the National Security Council in Washington, D. C., has a degree in journalism and knows first-hand about the newsroom and what it takes to be an intelligence field agent. His knowledge of the trade makes the story real, daunting, and strikingly similar to “The Year of Living Dangerously.”
    “THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY drips with reality,” quips a book reviewer from Olive Grove Publishers. “If books were rated by Siskel & Roeper, it would be given a two-thumbs up.”
    Not since, Casablanca, do characters as earthy as Rick Waite, or as beautifully mysterious as London Times reporter, Adrienne Waters, or as desperate as PLO operative, Ahmed, bring fresh characters to a story that will be remembered by readers for a long time.
    The novel is a mass market paperback produced by Olive Grove Publishers, and can be purchased at area bookstores through Ingram Book Group, New Leaf Distribution, and Baker and Taylor, priced at $14.99, ISBN 0-9752508-0-9. THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY can also be ordered on the web at, or email orders from:, or from Barnes & Nobles, Border’s, Dalton’s, & Follett bookstores at colleges and universities, WaldenBooks,,, and other popular retail bookstores. Or, readers and store managers can call 1-800-BOOKLOG, or 800-247-6553 direct, to order.
    For readers who want to know what was really going on in the Middle East prior to the Persian Gulf War, Sept. 11th, and Iraq War, THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, is a must read.
    Warren, Ohio – When both sides walked away from the peace table at Camp David in 2000, Robert Spirko, author of THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY warned negotiators Ehud Barak of Israel and Chairman Yasser Arafat that they would descend into the abyss of hell.
    “And, they did,” Spirko says, “and, so have we.” Spirko is a native of Warren and a former Tribune staff writer.
    That warning came after both sides had already agreed upon Jerusalem as the simultaneous capital of both Israel and Palestine, according to Spirko.
    “When both parties agreed on Jerusalem, an issue they both said they could never agree on, then left the peace table over reparations and the right of return, 8,000 lives were lost in the ensuing four years, including America’s 9/11 catastrophe,” Spirko reveals. “Chairman Arafat should have taken the deal. He had 90% of what he wanted. The Israelis offered to build upon that later if Arafat would stop the suicide bombers.
    Chairman Arafat would take the same deal today if it was offered, but it may be too late.”
    He explains, “The failed talks were a catastrophe for both the Middle East, and the United States, and the only way out is to resurrect the peace talks at Camp David, freeze the already agreed upon points, and resume where both parties left off.”
    Spirko will be the guest author at a book signing, at Borders Books, near Eastwood Mall, on Saturday, Aug. 30, from 1 to 4 p.m.
    Spirko has given his advice to the National Security Council in Washington, D. C. over the years, and is a 1965 graduate of the Kent State University School of Journalism. He studied for his MBA at Kent State University and currently analyzes geo-political trends as an investment advisor.
    He wrote the book as a spy-thriller detailing what and how the quest for a Palestinian State turned into an ongoing disaster predicting Iraq and Iran would seek to develop weapons of mass destruction. The yet-to-be-resolved “right of return” and reparations were ignored by both sides at the 2000 Camp David Peace Talks. Those issues could have been negotiated later. Ideas presented by Mr. Spirko at those peace talks included letting both sides have the right to name Jerusalem as each nation’s capital, an idea that the BBC in Great Britain termed as “brilliant.”.
    “The idea was to create simultaneous capitals for both countries-Palestine and Israel-with Jerusalem as the capital of each using congruous zones and a neutral governing district involving representatives from both sides with God as the central sovereign because they both believe in the same God, whether He is called Allah or Jehovah,” Spirko reiterates.
    “As we speak, Israel’s Ariel Sharon lies in a coma and Yasser Arafat is dead. Israel agreed to a withdrawal from Israeli settlements in Gaza, and a partial withdrawal in the West Bank. That could have been achieved six years ago at Camp David. Now, Hezbollah and Hamas have thrown a monkey-wrench into the scenario which could lead the United States and the world into World War III.”
    Spirko’s book takes place in Beirut, Lebanon. It details what he thought would occur in the Middle East before the actual events; namely, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, the Intifada, and other events leading up to Sept. 11. His analysis, written as a novel in 1987 and copyrighted in the U.S. Library of Congress that year, warned that the Middle East was heading toward nuclear Armageddon if a rogue Arab state, Iraq or Iran, obtained nuclear weapons. For 17 years publishers refused to publish the book because they told Mr. Spirko that the events he described in his book “couldn’t possibly happen.”
    Mr. Spirko will be on hand to autograph books.
    MEDINA, Ohio – “The Middle East is heading toward a new World War if Syria and Iran continue to aid and abet terrorism and try to develop nuclear weapons to threaten both Israel and the United States,” says Robert Spirko, author of THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, a book which predicted both wars in the region.
    He says both Iran and Syria are treading on dangerous ground in their quest to continue the war in Palestine and in attempting to enrich uranium for use in an atomic bomb.
    Spirko, a financial and geo-political analyst, turned his attention to the Middle East in 1987, after discovering several common elements related to the Middle East question. He wrote down his analysis, and when he was finished, he not only had a solution to the quagmire, he had a story to tell.
    THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY predicted many of the events that occurred three years later, even the firing of missiles which hit Israel.
    “The United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, and China will never allow them to obtain enough nuclear technology to construct weapons of mass destruction,” says Spirko.
    Spirko, whose book foreshadowed the Persian Gulf War by three years, and the resultant Iraq War following the Sept. 11 attack, warned the consequences would be catastrophic for those Muslim nations who insist on continuing down that nuclear path.
    “The chief threat in the region I see right now is the threat to Saudi Arabia by Al Quaida. If Al Quaida were to overthrow the present royal family in Saudi Arabia, cutting off the oil supply to the western nations including Japan and China, it would bring down entire world economies.
    France and Germany would be begging us to go to war to retake those oil wells. It would be World War III,” he emphasizes.
    If such a scenario were to occur, France and the European economies could collapse in a matter of weeks.
    “And, it’s all related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which I said back in 1987 that is the crux of my book. It always has been, and always will be until it’s settled. That linkage is exactly what Osama Bin Laden stated in a taped message aired the weekend before the election in November. Whether you believe him or not is beside the point. That’s what’s he told us, and we’d better take that into account.”
    “We are again on the threshold of peace in the Middle East. But, we’re also on the threshold of World War III. We better get it right this time, ” Spirko emphasizes.

  • Irving

    We are all racists of one kind or another, looking down or being frightened of one another for various reasons. If all the people in the world were one color and one religion, humans would still find ways to differentiate to feel superior, by intelligence, locality, family heritage, etc. It part of the patterned way our minds work. Only evolution and education can help. Which one will come first only God knows.
    Ya Haqq!

  • Svend

    Thanks for the citation from the ever insightful Fisk, AS.
    I agree, Irving, but two wrongs don’t make a right, as they say. And the fact that we are all sinners doesn’t change the need for conceptual clarity. There are moral arguments for Israel’s policies against Palestinians–inadequate one, in my view– but there are none for this absurd terminological censorship.
    Olive Grove, that comment is WAY too long. Give me a break here!

  • Robert Hume

    I certainly agree with the general arguments in this column. I would like to make only one point to counter an argument often made the US Citizens are suspect if they pay more attention to the Israeli-Palestinian problem than to other humanitarian crises worldwide, e.g. Congo or Darfur.
    The reason is simple self-interest. The I-P conflict has generated hatred and suicide bombers directed against the US due to our tacit support of the settlements.
    These hatreds have led to 9/11, to Iraq and hence to more suicide bombers, and may lead to nuclear bombs detonated in New York, Washington and … Tel Aviv.
    For the sake of US citizen’s lives we must empty the settlments and create two states living side by side in peace.