Findley: Carter Enters Lions' Den on Israel


FINDLEY: CARTER ENTERS LIONS' DEN

At the age of 82, Jimmy Carter entered the lion's den. With the publication of his latest book, "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid," he did what a patriot would do: rally Americans to vigorous debate of a critical issue that affects our future. He deserves a hero's praise. Instead, he has been attacked and defamed.

I had the honor to serve as the senior Republican on the Middle East Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee throughout the Carter administration. Carter frequently invited me to huddles in the White House; discussions that would ultimately lead to a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt. I know Carter well and consider him a friend.

I also experienced firsthand what Carter now faces. Toward the end of my 22-year tenure in Congress, I spoke in favor of Palestinian rights and was critical of Israeli policies of Palestinian land confiscation and Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian lands. These actions were counter to American policy and values. They dimmed chances for peace.

As a result of my evenhanded position, the pro-Israel lobby poured money into my opponent's campaign. I overcame their challenge in 1980 but lost in 1982 by a narrow margin. Still, the message was heard loudly on Capitol Hill: Criticize Israel and pay with your congressional seat.

In my 1985 book, "They Dare to Speak Out," I detailed the tactics used to silence criticism of Israeli policies. One of the groups employing these tactics is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. On its Web site, AIPAC calls itself "America's pro-Israel lobby" and boasts a New York Times description of it as "the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel."

All citizens have the right to band together and push for policies they believe are right. But AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobby groups do not plead the case for Israel on the stage of public opinion. Instead, they often resort to smear campaigns and intimidation to clear the floor so that only their side is heard.

Carter has dared to call a spade a spade. South African leaders, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and UN Envoy John Dugard, compare Israeli policies to apartheid. The Israeli press uses the term, as do Israeli politicians. Former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni said in a recent commentary, "Indeed apartheid does exist here." Pro-Israel lobby groups have not debated the credence of these claims. Instead, they lob accusations and insults, even insinuating that Carter is anti-Semitic. They do not prove him wrong with facts. They seek to discredit him with innuendo.

FINDLEY: CARTER ENTERS LIONS' DEN - TOP
Despite criticism, his book is work of a true patriot
Paul Findley, Chicago Tribune, 2/7/07
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0702070020feb07,0,5388645.story

At the age of 82, Jimmy Carter entered the lion's den. With the publication of his latest book, "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid," he did what a patriot would do: rally Americans to vigorous debate of a critical issue that affects our future. He deserves a hero's praise. Instead, he has been attacked and defamed.

I had the honor to serve as the senior Republican on the Middle East Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee throughout the Carter administration. Carter frequently invited me to huddles in the White House; discussions that would ultimately lead to a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt. I know Carter well and consider him a friend.

I also experienced firsthand what Carter now faces. Toward the end of my 22-year tenure in Congress, I spoke in favor of Palestinian rights and was critical of Israeli policies of Palestinian land confiscation and Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian lands. These actions were counter to American policy and values. They dimmed chances for peace.

As a result of my evenhanded position, the pro-Israel lobby poured money into my opponent's campaign. I overcame their challenge in 1980 but lost in 1982 by a narrow margin. Still, the message was heard loudly on Capitol Hill: Criticize Israel and pay with your congressional seat.

In my 1985 book, "They Dare to Speak Out," I detailed the tactics used to silence criticism of Israeli policies. One of the groups employing these tactics is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. On its Web site, AIPAC calls itself "America's pro-Israel lobby" and boasts a New York Times description of it as "the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel."

All citizens have the right to band together and push for policies they believe are right. But AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobby groups do not plead the case for Israel on the stage of public opinion. Instead, they often resort to smear campaigns and intimidation to clear the floor so that only their side is heard.

Carter has dared to call a spade a spade. South African leaders, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and UN Envoy John Dugard, compare Israeli policies to apartheid. The Israeli press uses the term, as do Israeli politicians. Former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni said in a recent commentary, "Indeed apartheid does exist here." Pro-Israel lobby groups have not debated the credence of these claims. Instead, they lob accusations and insults, even insinuating that Carter is anti-Semitic. They do not prove him wrong with facts. They seek to discredit him with innuendo. (MORE)

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please take a minute to thank the Chicago Tribune for publishing this. They need to hear from us so they will continue to give voice to this perspective.

Write to ctc-TribLetter@Tribune.com . Letters should be 200 words or less and include your name, address and telephone (for identification purposes only).

 


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.