Thursday, December 28, 2006



Jimmy & the Yokels

If you really try to add up my political views and put a label on them, you’d probably eventually describe me more in accord with the European political spectrum than the (far narrower) American spectrum, as a “civil libertarian social democrat”. Even that doesn’t do it justice; I have a philosophical anarchistic streak a mile wide, and, to make the matter more complicated, feel that national (tribal, ethnic, et al) self-identity is very, very important to people, and is often defined for people by others with their own agendas. Such agendas have included dated ideas of imperialism and colonialism, to idealistic “flat world” misguided globalism, sometimes disguised as internationalism. Thus you would find me supporting the breakdown of the Soviet Union into its more natural constituent republics, likewise “Yugoslavia”, likewise “Iraq” (which I’ll save for another time – big topic), but you’ll find me in there pitching for Tibetan self-identity, Basque national aspirations, Kurdish nationalism (not really part of the Iraq story at all), and Irish nationalism. I’d probably favor separating Darfur from the Sudan, if the inhabitants seemed to be inclined that way. I even have a weakness for Quebec’s independence from Canada. This doesn’t mean that I in any way sanction intolerance or bigotry or condemn multi-ethnic societies that work; Switzerland and for that matter the United States are living proof that societies can be, or become, multi-ethnic without either collapsing into either the extremes of intolerance or some kind of boring melting pot of homogenized people.

But, before all the liberal-types get all excited about my “advocacy of the just national aspirations of oppressed peoples,” I should say it isn’t automatically true. Some “national identities” are phony, and mask something evil under their exterior. The rise of the Confederacy in America is an example of an elaborate sham of a national cause swiftly manufactured out of a glitch not settled at the founding of the American Republic, which allowed chattel slavery to continue to exist long after the European colonialists who had foisted it upon Africa and the Americas had been thrown out of the New World, and a more-or-less deliberate misreading of the check on central authority embodied in the ‘sovereign rights of the several states’ by the slave-holding class in the South which led to succession under the banner of “states rights” concealing a desire to hold onto the inhuman involuntary servitude they found so lucrative. Even they called it “the peculiar institution” and any claim to national identity the South may have had was thoroughly eclipsed by the necessity of abolishing that institution. That it was done ineptly, leading from America’s bloodiest War (so far), on to another century of barbaric Jim Crow laws and hideous racism is yet another story I’ll save for another time. I’ll say merely that we are still feeling the effects of frustrated Southern ‘Nationalism’ and, while the story of non slave-holding southern whites (the vast majority, who bore the brunt of the Civil War carnage) is little understood, even of parts of the South that resisted either the institution of slavery, or secession, or both, in the end I don’t support a cause merely because it is couched in terms of a purported ‘national identity’.

Which brings me to our friends the Palestinians, an increasingly popular cause among liberals, especially those too young to have the stench of the ovens at Auschwitz fresh in their nostrils, not remembering the desperate struggle against the Armies of Five Arab countries to realize Jewish national aspirations in their historic homeland in 1947, and utterly and abysmally ignorant of Middle Eastern history. I do not support the Palestinian cause, not one bit. The collective p.c. police now gasp. Why not? What’s different?

I could take the “easy route” and tell you, in the interest of candor, that I am Jewish, ethnically, religiously (albeit liberal and offbeat) and a lifelong ardent Zionist, meaning, I am consistent with my views on the Kurds, Armenians, Irish, Basques, Tibetans et al, I can remember when it was only the tiny knot of ‘hard leftists’ in the shadow world of tiny Marxist parties who supported *most* nationalist causes, except the State of Israel, leading me to write the little ditty: “We support all Third World nationalist coups/Unless, of course, they’re nationalist Jews”. They hated that one. Back then, much of the hard right (then out of power since Mr. Hoover’s depression) was anti-Zionist and suspected to be (gulp) (maybe) secretly anti-Semitic. Why, even National Review was pretty down on Israel. Then, along came the evangelical right’s current (and very suspect) love affair with Israel, under the leadership of St. George Bush the Younger, leader of our noble Crusade (his word, not mine) against the, uh, “axis of evil” that well known combine of Iran, Iraq and North Korea that suddenly appeared after 9/11, though the occasional skeptic pointed out that there do not appear to have been any demented Iraqis, Iranians or – good grief – Koreans (the image borders on the humorous) aboard those hijacked doomed airplanes, turned bombs.

Whoops, I’m talking about Iraq. Back to Israel.

For years, the Israel Lobby, so-called, in an effort to endear the tiny Jewish State to a skeptical gentile world would invoke the image of ‘tiny Israel’ always on the verge of oblivion at the hands of their Arab neighbors who, at the time, were largely secular and in the deep pockets of the Soviets. Well-meaning, the Anti Defamation League invoked this image along with the Nazi Holocaust, to good effect, until the short term memory of gentile America and post-war (now entirely, courtesy of Hitler) gentile Europe anesthetized the holocaust collective guilt-trip, and Israel committed the Ultimate Sin in the ‘tiny Israel’ argument-rather than having to get saved by the U.N. or NATO or something, they *won every war they got into*. Each time the Arab countries surrounding sent classical armies into battle to –quote- drive the Jews into the Sea –unquote- tiny bits of land were lost, a bit of Egypt (the Gaza Strip) and a bit of Jordan (the West Bank) and a hill in Syria (the Golan Heights) and, for awhile, the Sinai Peninsula (which nobody wants, except a few monks, a few Bedouin) WHICH Israel returned to Egypt for a peace treaty.

Now, friends, you need to look at the map of this region for a minute from my perspective. There is this little sliver of land named “Israel” now and, except when in the hands of various uninvited Empires (British, Ottoman Turk, Byzantine, Roman, Greek, Babylonian, Assyrian and Egyptian, in reverse order, was the home land of the Jewish people, Judeans, Jews, Israelites, a little nation of Hebrew-speaking monotheistic people who are, really, the only national group ever to self-govern this land. Some truly extinct aboriginal peoples, Canaanites, Philistines, et al, long ago lived here, but that was the age of city-states with kinship affiliations rather than national identity, and even here, they were usually if not always vassals to one or another of the Empires to the North or the South. So, we have this sliver of land that map-makers have to put the name of out in the Mediterranean, called “Israel” and this great, big Arab-speaking, Islamic extension of Arabia, taken (one might mention) at sword point, stretching from the Atlantic in North Africa to the borders of Iran, the home of the “other Islam”. It has also worked itself up, for yet another historical round of Jihad, Holy War, which happens ever few hundred years. They are – essentially – one nation – one might call it “Greater Arabia” but it is the Islamic Empire, and the truth about its relationship with Israel is that this huge conglomerate simply doesn’t want the Jews in their historic homeland, any more than they want largely Christian Darfur or non-Arab Kurds to be independent. The Arabs of the West Bank were self-identified either as “Arabs” or “Jordanian Arabs” until they lost a couple of wars, got this neat idea that they were, in a shadow-parody of Zionism, an oppressed nation-state called “Palestine” and, as the Islamist medievalist religious revival swept through the Arab World (aided and abetted by U.S. foreign policy geared to Cold War with godless communism, not hot war with religious fanatics), moved from secular, more or less pro-Soviet “Pan Arab Nationalism” to a bogus con game called “Palestinian Nationalism”.

This brings us, however jerkily, to my former State Governor, the Honorable Nobel Lauriat James Earl Carter, one-term governor of Georgia and one term President of the United States. Now, we must understand that Jimmah wasn’t “the Democratic Governor of Georgia” before becoming president (in those days, there was only one party in Georgia, the Democrats. Remember, in a long-ago time, there was that unpleasantness with Lincoln, the first Republican President), any more than the “nuclear scientist” he once professed to be. He was a man of his time, the first Georgia Governor who was not a segregationist (we’ll ignore New Dealer Ellis Arnall, a brilliant anomaly in the late 1940s) and who, further, relative to his immediate predecessor, Lester Maddox, the infamous segregationist, Carter was a paragon of liberal democracy. While one could well argue that his failure to prop up the Shah of Iran, an altogether disagreeable fellow who nevertheless lived in the 20th Century and was the last bulwark against the medieval superstitious revival that started on Carter’s watch with the Ayatollah Khomeini ushering Iran back to the middle ages and setting in motion a Jihad that today threatens the whole world of decency and the values of Western Civilization since the Enlightenment of the 18th Century, Jiimah is a fond icon to the current amnesiac liberal left, desperate for heroes of the caliber of FDR or JFK, but finding its eldest statesman to serve as president to be Jiimmih Cracker.

Now, the man has done some good stuff since leaving office – his election watch stuff, his continued contribution to good black-white relations, habitat for humanity, et al. (While back home in Atlanta he was lobbying running a highway through the one alternative community in urban Atlanta’s sprawl, the varied experiments in alternative living in Little Five Points – yet another blog entry; it led to armed resistance. The road in question wasn’t to Mecca, but to the Carter Center.) I understand the need for icons in an age of pale anemic disappointments like Kerry and Gore. In the end, we now see the halcyon days of Bill Clinton as the eye of the storm started by Reagan and jumping, like a tornado, from Bush to Bush. (For the record, I voted for Clinton, Clinton, Gore and Kerry in the last 4 presidential elections.)

But Jimmy Carter was an ineffective governor, with Lester Maddox running rings around him as Lieutenant Governor. As President he ushered in the Age of Reagan by his disgraceful anemia when we could really have stopped this Jihad thing before it got started, just as Eisenhower stopped the pro-Soviet clique from overthrowing the Shah with very little difficulty in the ‘50s. But, most of all, though his civil rights record as a Southern Governor and before that as a State Senator was exemplary for a white southerner of his generation with political aspirations…before it was cool to do so is HIGHLY commendable, but the rumor started when he was running for governor, when no one outside of Georgia would have cared, and no one outside of the Jewish community (larger in the South than many think—over 100,000 in Atlanta alone) would have noticed, but *I* heard it from my mother (a very, very reliable source-besides, she lived next door to some of Carter’s cabinet officials, who seemed to congregate in the same high rise, high security condo she lived in), and then everywhere.

Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semite. Not “anti-Zionist” (he professes a ‘two-state’ solution). Something relatively rare in Georgia politics since the lynching of Leo Frank—a mainstream political figure who is, simply, anti- Semitic. “I don’t need the Jewish vote. I’ve got the Christian vote” he said, brother of an obscure evangelist that he is. More damning was his vow that he would “get the Jews” after he won the election in 1980. He didn’t. Ronald Reagan was probably wrong about…..everything, but he was more Hollywood than Skull & Bones, and one thing he was not was anti-Semitic. Carter didn’t get his chance then, but it is a crying shame that a career built on helping people should, in its twilight, be known for the new book with an old lie – an anti-Semitic tirade disguised as sympathy for the plight of the Arabs, I mean Jordanians, I mean “Palestinians” of Hammas and Al-Fatah who play at being a nation that never was and never should be, Palestine, which is no more than the Arab-Islamist beach head for driving the Jews into the sea. Again.

Jimmy Carter is a yokel.

Jimmy Carter's Jewish Problem

By Jason Maoz | November 30, 2006

For those with eyes to see, there were hints as far back as the 1976 presidential campaign of the trouble to come. Early that year, Harper’s magazine published “Jimmy Carter’s Pathetic Lies,” a devastating exposé of Carter’s record in Georgia by a then little-known journalist named Steven Brill.

Reg Murphy, who as editor of the Atlanta Constitution had kept a close eye on Carter’s rise in state politics, declared, “Jimmy Carter is one of the three or four phoniest men I ever met.”

Speechwriter Bob Shrum quit the Carter campaign after just a few weeks, disgusted with what he described as Carter’s penchant for fudging the truth. He also related that Carter, convinced the Jewish vote in the Democratic primaries would go to Senator Henry (“Scoop”) Jackson, had instructed his staff not to issue any more statements on the Middle East.

Jackson has all the Jews anyway,” Shrum quoted Carter as saying. “We get the Christians.”

Relations between Carter and Israel were tense from the outset of the Carter presidency. Carter’s hostility was evident to Israeli foreign minister Moshe Dayan, who in his memoir Breakthrough described a July 1977 White House meeting between Carter and Israeli officials. “You are more stubborn than the Arabs, and you put obstacles on the path to peace,’’ an angry Carter scolded Dayan and his colleagues.

“Our talk,” Dayan wrote, “lasted more than an hour and was most unpleasant. President Carter...launched charge after charge against Israel.”

On October 1, 1977, the U.S. and the Soviet Union unexpectedly issued a joint statement on the Middle East calling for an Arab-Israeli peace conference in Geneva, with the participation of Palestinian representatives. The communiqué marked the first time the U.S. officially employed the phrase “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

Reaction in the U.S. was immediate and furious. “[A] political firestorm erupted,” wrote historian Steven Spiegel. “After American officials had worked successfully for years to reduce Russian influence over the Mideast peace process and in the area as whole, critics could not understand why the administration had suddenly invited Moscow to return.”

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who five years earlier had expelled thousands of Soviet military advisers from Egypt, neither liked nor trusted the Russians, and decided to kill the U.S.-Soviet initiative in the womb. His decision to go to Jerusalem to address the Knesset electrified the world and caught the Carter administration completely off guard.

Eventually the U.S. would broker what became known as the Camp David Accords and oversee the signing of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. But Carter was far from a dispassionate third party. His disdain for Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and near hero-worship of Sadat were clearly reflected in his demeanor and has informed nearly everything he’s written on the Middle East since leaving office.

In The Unfinished Presidency, his book about Carter’s post-White House activities, the liberal historian Douglas Brinkley provides a detailed account of the former president’s obsession with helping Palestinian terror chief Yasir Arafat polish his image. Carter, according to Brinkley, regularly advised Arafat on how to shape his message for Western journalists and even wrote some speeches for him.

Carter was also a vocal critic of Israeli policies and “view[ed] the unarmed young Palestinians who stood up against thousands of Israel soldiers as ‘instant heroes,’” wrote Brinkley. “Buoyed by the intifada, Carter passed on to the Palestinians, through Arafat, his congratulations.”

Former New York mayor Ed Koch, in his 1984 bestseller Mayor, recounted a conversation he had shortly before the 1980 election with Cyrus Vance, who’d recently resigned as Carter’s secretary of state. Koch told Vance that many Jews would not be voting for Carter because they feared “that if he is reelected he will sell them out.”

“Vance,” recalled Koch, “nodded and said, ‘He will.’ ”

In Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship, Andrew and Leslie Cockburn revealed that during a March 1980 meeting with his senior political advisers, Carter, discussing his fading reelection prospects and his sinking approval rating in the Jewish community, snapped, “If I get back in, I’m going to [expletive] the Jews.”

Carter – such was the country’s good fortune – did not get back in. But as evidenced by his years of pro-Palestinian advocacy, reams of anti-Israel op-ed articles, and the release last week of his latest book/screed, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, he’s been trying to [expletive] the Jews ever since.