Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Letter of Mine in the Jerusalem Post

Kimche's errors

Sir, - David Kimche's apologetics for hosting Jimmy Carter are rife with error ("Why we hosted Carter," April 24). He admits that he and colleagues of the Israel Council for Foreign Relations were engaged in "much soul-searching" over whether to invite Carter to address that forum. Claiming that the council is "an independent apolitical body," however, Kimche makes his first error. As anyone who has access to the Web can read, it is actually a "non-governmental body headquartered in Jerusalem under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress."

Kimche makes his second error when he justifies Carter's criticism of what Kimche terms "Israel's behavior in the occupied territories" by referring to the behavior of "the settlers in Hebron." Setting aside the gross generalization in the use of "the settlers," by accepting the term "occupation" Kimche is making a very political statement. A more apolitical text should have been employed such as "administered." Another error of Kimche is his claim that Carter "tried to be more even-handed." But when the former US president stated that "despair causes both sides to resort to violence," was that truly even-handed or, more appropriately, was it another example of Carter's moral inequivalency as applied to Israel?

Another error of Kimche is his assertion that "the large audience that heard his speech... were impressed by his sincerity and appreciative of his efforts." I was present and I would insist that the audience was a "home court side." There were diplomats, many Arabs from the disputed territories, Israeli peaceniks, representatives of the Christian Peace Team and many journalists. It was a stacked deck.

Although I raised my hand, time ran out for my question but it was phrased thus: Mr. Carter, you have met with Hamas, persons you call terrorists but you ignore the Jewish communities in the areas of Samaria and Judea. You were sent several invitations over the years to come see how we have developed since the time you demanded the destruction of a renewed Jewish village that in fact has recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. In not coming, do you think us as worse than the Hamas?

Having heard Carter, thanks to and despite Kimche, I now realize that it probably would not have been worthwhile to have invited him.


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