Jimmy Carter, Israel and Apartheid

Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, 2006.

I was astonished to hear Jimmy Carter talking on an American network television in such a way when he gave an interview about his last book on the NewsHour (PBS). Ok, its PBS, but still, his critics of Israel are coming from an ex US President. You should hear the mp3 that add more humanity to the whole thing. But I tend to disagree with his assessment, when he put the onus of the occupation only on the settler and seems to separate them from the state apparatus.

And let me get to the word « apartheid. » Apartheid doesn’t apply at all, as I made plain in my book, anything that relates to Israel to the nation. It doesn’t imply anything as it relates to racism. This apartheid, which is prevalent throughout the occupied territories, the subjection of the Palestinians to horrible abuse, is caused by a minority of Israelis — we’re not talking about racism, but talking about their desire to acquire, to occupy, to confiscate, and then to colonize Palestinian land.

So the whole system is designed to separate through a ferocious system Israelis who live on Palestine territory and Palestinians who want to live on their own territory.

Jimmy Carter, Former President Jimmy Carter Examines Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Online NewsHour, (mp3)

Helena Cobban point to the flaws of the argumentation of Jimmy Carter.

If I were Jimmy Carter, which I’m not, I would have noted that there are indeed many many things that Israel’s projects in the occupied West Bank and Golan have in common with South African apartheid, and very few if any of them have to do with skin color. (US citizens have this hang-up about skin color issues, which goes back deep in their collective past, obviously. Their common understanding of the word ‘racism’, for example, completely limits it to discrimination based on skin color, unlike just about everywhere else in the world where ‘racism’ has a far broader meaning.)

If I were Jimmy Carter I’d have noted that in both South Africa and the Israeli-occupied territories, the central project of a ruling government constituted by the settler immigrant community is the expropriation of the land and other natural resources of the indigenous people, involving the systematic expulsion of the indigenes from their ancestral lands and their relocation into economically quite unsustainable territorial holding pens.

The term « Bantustans » is generally appropriate in both cases.

Helena Cobban, If I Were Jimmy Carter…, Just World News

What Helena Cobban is saying is that this form of discrimination is deeply rooted in the state apparatus of Israel, even, if, following the pools in Israel, the majority of the civil society is against this occupation (and there is numerous Israeli groups that works against this occupation).

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