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Alan Dershowitz Confronts Jimmy Carter’s Cowardice

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Alan Dershowitz asks Why won’t Carter debate his book? in his column today in the Boston Globe. In my December 17th post Palestinian Authority Near Civil War — Jimmy Carter Still Blames Israel I said that if Carter were man enough to debate then “Dershowitz would have blown holes in Carter’s argument!”

Alan DeshowitzWell here’s what Mr. Dershowitz had to say, in it’s entirety in The Boston Globe, December 21, 2006. Dershowitz would not only have blown holes in Carter’s argument — he would have destroyed the wimp completely.

Why won’t Carter debate his book?

By Alan Dershowitz | December 21, 2006

YOU CAN ALWAYS tell when a public figure has written an indefensible book: when he refuses to debate it in the court of public opinion. And you can always tell when he’s a hypocrite to boot: when he says he wrote a book in order to stimulate a debate, and then he refuses to participate in any such debate. I’m talking about former president Jimmy Carter and his new book “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.”Carter’s book has been condemned as “moronic” (Slate), “anti-historical” (The Washington Post), “laughable” (San Francisco Chronicle), and riddled with errors and bias in reviews across the country. Many of the reviews have been written by non-Jewish as well as Jewish critics, and not by “representatives of Jewish organizations” as Carter has claimed. Carter has gone even beyond the errors of his book in interviews, in which he has said that the situation in Israel is worse than the crimes committed in Apartheid South Africa. When asked whether he believed that Israel’s “persecution” of Palestinians was “[e]ven worse . . . than a place like Rwanda,” Carter answered, “Yes. I think — yes.”

When Larry King referred to my review several times to challenge Carter, Carter first said I hadn’t read the book and then blustered, “You know, I think it’s a waste of my time and yours to quote professor Dershowitz. He’s so obviously biased, Larry, and it’s not worth my time to waste it on commenting on him.” (He never did answer King’s questions.)

The next week Carter wrote a series of op-eds bemoaning the reception his book had received. He wrote that his “most troubling experience” had been “the rejection of [his] offers to speak” at “university campuses with high Jewish enrollment.” The fact is that Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz had invited Carter to come to Brandeis to debate me, and Carter refused. The reason Carter gave was this: “There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine.”

As Carter knows, I’ve been to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, many times — certainly more times than Carter has been there — and I’ve written three books dealing with the subject of Middle Eastern history, politics, and the peace process. The real reason Carter won’t debate me is that I would correct his factual errors. It’s not that I know too little; it’s that I know too much.

Nor is Carter the unbiased observer of the Middle East that he claims to be. He has accepted money and an award from Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan , saying in 2001: “This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan.” This is the same Zayed, the long-time ruler of the United Arab Emirates, whose $2.5 million gift to the Harvard Divinity School was returned in 2004 due to Zayed’s rampant Jew-hatred. Zayed’s personal foundation, the Zayed Center, claims that it was Zionists, rather than Nazis, who “were the people who killed the Jews in Europe” during the Holocaust. It has held lectures on the blood libel and conspiracy theories about Jews and America perpetrating Sept. 11. Carter’s acceptance of money from this biased group casts real doubt on his objectivity and creates an obvious conflict of interest.

Carter’s refusal to debate wouldn’t be so strange if it weren’t for the fact that he claims that he wrote the book precisely so as to start debate over the issue of the Israel-Palestine peace process. If that were really true, Carter would be thrilled to have the opportunity to debate. Authors should be accountable for their ideas and their facts. Books shouldn’t be like chapel, delivered from on high and believed on faith.

What most rankles is Carter’s insistence that he is somehow brave for attacking Israel and highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people. No other conflict in the world — not even the genocides in Rwanda and Sudan — evokes more hand-wringing in the media, universities, and human rights organizations than the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Jimmy Carter isn’t brave for beating up on Israel. He’s a bully. And like all school-yard bullies, underneath the tough talk and bravado, there’s a nagging insecurity and a fear that one day he’ll have to answer for himself in a fair fight.

When Jimmy Carter’s ready to speak at Brandeis, or anywhere else, I’ll be there. If he refuses to debate, I will still be there — ready and willing to answer falsity with truth in the court of public opinion.

Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at HarvardUniversity. His most recent book is “Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways.”
© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.

Alan Dershowitz is absolutely right, unfortunately it will not stop Jimmy Carter from being stupid and a disgrace as a former President.

You can also view my previous post: Jimmy Carter — Jew Hater

Posted: 15:00PST 12/21/06


11 Comments leave one →
  1. jainphx permalink
    Thursday, December 21, 2006 6:09 pm

    You know whats really scary about all this? Carter was elected after a Republican melt down,are times repeating themselves.I hope not this country can’t afford another Dem like Carter,but then again their all like Carter.

  2. Helloworld permalink
    Friday, December 22, 2006 10:29 pm

    Carter maintains his dignity in the face of pro-iz smear machine.
    The labels are now becoming badges of honor.
    The power of the media is broken, leaving iz without a friend in the world.
    Real, honest debate is happening without mediation and distortion and nothing short of un-wiring the ‘net will stop it.
    Pretty soon iz-firsters will be judged by the same yardstick they bash others with.

  3. jainphx permalink
    Saturday, December 23, 2006 9:15 am

    Helloworld-thats hog wash.

  4. Helloworld permalink
    Saturday, December 23, 2006 7:04 pm

    See here:

    “The most ignorant and incompetent of these came from David Horowitz, who writes for a right-wing website. He saw fit to libel Carter as a Jew-hater, genocide enabler and a liar. Throughout his tirade, Horowitz collectively libeled Palestinians as racists and Jew haters, but saw nothing wrong with condemning Carter for having committed a “blood libel” on Jews.”

  5. Sunday, December 31, 2006 2:38 pm

    It’s nie to see someone else (Jimmy Carter, I mean) recognize that Israel also does a modern form of apartheid. They trat anyone who is of Palestinian birth (or anyone Arab-looking) like dogs. Um, Israelis…didn’t Hitler do this to a good deal of your parents and grandparents?!?!?

  6. Izzy permalink
    Sunday, December 31, 2006 4:41 pm

    I probably wouldn’t talk with him either in a debate or otherwise.

  7. jorgen arnsdorff permalink
    Monday, January 1, 2007 5:07 pm

    where did I hear this “The oppressed have become the oppressors”

  8. Rev. Wade Holbrook permalink
    Sunday, May 20, 2007 6:13 pm

    Why do people listen to Jimmy (the peanut) Carter. He is nothing more than a Jew hating, Christian hating, Killer Rabbit fearing, unashamed descendent of slave owners, bigoted, IDIOT. The first time I ever saw him was on “Face the Nation’ when he was running for the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. After watching him successfully avoid answering a single question for 60 minutes I said this to my wife, “There is no way that this IDIOT can even get the Democratic nomination.” I just did not realize how stupid the Democrats were and I did not realize how stupid Americans had become. We would have been better off with Nixon the crook in office than Jimmy the buffoon.

  9. Kathleen permalink
    Tuesday, October 7, 2008 9:06 am

    Carter will not debate Dershowitz is a raving lunatic.

    Why do individuals like Dershowitz and Daniel Pipes keep blocking real debates about the Israeli Palestinian issue on college campuses?


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