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Here's Kinsley on Jimmy Carter's dimwittedly titled new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Kinsley writes on Slate:

It's not clear what he means by using the loaded word apartheid, since the book makes no attempt to explain it, but the only reasonable interpretation is that Carter is comparing Israel to the former white racist government of South Africa. That is a foolish and unfair comparison, unworthy of the man who won—and deserved—the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing Israel and Egypt together in the Camp David Accords, and who has lent such luster to the imaginary office of former president.

I mean, what's the parallel? Apartheid had a philosophical component and a practical one, both quite bizarre. Philosophically, it was committed to the notion of racial superiority. No doubt many Israelis have racist attitudes toward Arabs, but the official philosophy of the government is quite the opposite, and sincere efforts are made to, for example, instill humanitarian and egalitarian attitudes in children. That is not true, of course, in Arab countries, where hatred of Jews is a standard part of the curriculum.

The practical component of apartheid involved the creation of phony nations called "Bantustans." Black South Africans would be stripped of their citizenship and assigned to far-away Bantustans, where often they had never before set foot. The goal was a racially pure white South Africa, though the contradiction with the need for black labor was never resolved. Here might be a parallel with Israel, which needs the labor of the Arabs it is currently trying to keep out.

But in other ways, the implied comparison is backward. To start, no one has yet thought to accuse Israel of creating a phony country in finally acquiescing to the creation of a Palestinian state. Palestine is no Bantustan. Or if it is, it is the creation of Arabs, not Jews. Furthermore, Israel has always had Arab citizens. They are Arabs who were living in what became Israel prior to 1948 and who didn't leave. They are a bit on display, like black conservatives at a Republican convention. Israel is fortunate that, for whatever reason, most of their compatriots fled. No doubt they suffer discrimination. Nevertheless, they are citizens with the right to vote and so on. There used to be Jews living in Arab nations, but they also fled in 1948 and subsequent years—in numbers roughly equivalent to the Arabs who fled Israel. Now there are virtually no Jews in Arab countries—even in a moderate Arab country like Jordan. How many Jews do you think there will be in the new state of Palestine, when its flag flies over a sovereign nation?

And the most tragic difference: Apartheid ended peacefully. This is largely thanks to Nelson Mandela, who turned out to be miraculously forgiving. If Israel is white South Africa and the Palestinians are supposed to be the blacks, where is their Mandela?

Posted by aalkon at December 13, 2006 11:19 AM

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I read someplace that only jews in Israel had the vote and arabs not, is that wrong? Anyone know for sure.

Posted by: x at December 13, 2006 8:44 AM

That is not true. Israeli Arabs have the vote.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 13, 2006 8:48 AM

They have the full rights of any average Israeli, except they cannot serve in the IDF.

Posted by: Joe at December 13, 2006 1:49 PM

>There used to be Jews living in Arab nations

Palestine, to name a relevant one. But yes, apartheid is a strange usage in this context. Apartheid is what was originally imposed on the region by the senile old Brits who partitioned it. Carter surely can't be advocating a de-partition, can he?

Guess I'll have to read the book to find out.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at December 13, 2006 2:07 PM

Palestine was a nation? Wikipedia says no.

Posted by: Crid at December 13, 2006 9:54 PM

It's definitely controversial. This wikipage gives a fairly clear exposition. It also happens to give ammunition to those diplomats who believe that the modern state of Jordan ought to be providing some territory for the new state of Palestine. Good idea, I think.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at December 14, 2006 10:37 AM

Carter is a ex-presidential clown, nothing less. Michael Moore couldn't had done better.

A couple of days ago, Carter came in Canada and called us "Criminals" because we din't support the Hamas! I mean, how dumb it would be to finance a terrorist group who use suicide-bombers? Well, Carter think it's okay...

Canada's withholding funds from Palestinians 'criminal': Carter

Last Updated: Saturday, December 9, 2006 | 12:20 AM ET

CBC News

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter says the decision by Canada and other nations to withhold money from the Hamas-led Palestinian government is "a crime."

Israel and western donors such as Canada have demanded Hamas renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to exist and accept past peace agreements. Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction despite its stated offer of a long-term truce, rejects the conditions.

"It's a crime against the people of Palestine," Carter told CBC News in an exclusive interview from New York.

"For Canada and others to punish the Palestinian people because they voted for their candidates of choice, I think is literally a crime."

What forget Mr. Carter is that Hamas in on the Canadian's "Terrorism Group" list for decades. By Canadian laws, it is illegal to support directly or indirectly terrorism. By ellecting Hamas as government, the Palestinians sealed their fate under Canadian eyes. In fact, Canada was the first country to pull-out their financial aid to the "Palestinian Autority" when Hamas took over, something I am proud of.

As fart as the whole "Apartheid" thing goes, can Mr. Carter point me out an instance when a African blew himself up in a white bus in Pretoria? What about the last time the ANC send rockets in white neighborhoods? Can anyone remember Mandella saying that he will push Afrikaners back into the sea?

Maybe Mr Carter need to chill out, or adopt a puppy because as a "Peace Maker", he's quite lame.

Posted by: Toubrouk at December 15, 2006 9:18 AM

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