Former President Jimmy Carter has apologized for his strong criticism of the Israeli occupation. It just shows you that in politics, you criticize Israel at your own risk.
No, Carter is not worried about his own political prospects but those of his grandson, Jason, who is running for the Georgia State Senate.
Carter does not specifically retract anything he has previously said or written. Even love for a grandson will not allow Carter to retract facts. He just apologizes for any hurt he may have caused, although the people he "hurt" can sure use some hurting on this issue.
Ironically, the only warranted apologies would be from the right wing of the pro-Israel community for viciously libeling Carter as an anti-Semite for telling the truth about the occupation. It should also apologize to him for refusing to recognize that the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, which he brokered, was the single most pro-Israel act ever taken by an American President. Thanks to Carter, thousands of Israelis who would have died in wars with Egypt are alive. Thanks to Carter not a single shot has been fired between Israelis and Egyptians since 1979.
As for the peace wing of the pro-Israel community, we owe him our deep appreciation. Over the last few years it was the combination of Jimmy Carter, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer who did more to undermine support for Israel's suicidal policies in the West Bank and Gaza than any one else. Of course, the Gaza war did even more to discredit those policies.
No one need apologize for attacking the occupation. The occupation of the West Bank, the infernal settlements, the siege of Gaza, do not, taken together, constitute "Israel," thank God. They constitute a policy that was established in the late 1960's by religious fanatics and expansionists.
There was a viable, thriving and secure State of Israel before the occupation began. There will again be such a place when, and if, it ends. Those who support the status quo are the ones who should be apologizing because they are the ones who contribute to the situation which could well produce Israel's demise. For them, a smaller Israel without settlements, not under the control of religious fanatics and extremists, is a disaster. For those who really care about Israel, it is the only way to preserve the Zionist enterprise.
Imagine if there had been a secular State of Israel within the pre-'67 lines in 1942. Imagine of its borders were recognized by the entire world. Imagine the lives that would have been saved.
But the status quo lobby and its friends are not interested in that. They are interested in expansion, suppressing the Palestinians, and allowing the rabbinate to maintain a religiously exclusive state. They, not Jimmy Carter, should apologize. They won't. even if the policies they support leads to the denouement they claim to fear.
It is a shame that President Carter feels that he must apologize for telling the truth although the fact that he feels he must for his grandson's sake only demonstrates that Israel remains the "third rail" of American politics. You may debate anything else. You can call an American President a traitor or a moron. You can march in opposition to America's wars. But you may not criticize Israel and, if you do, you will pay a price for if. Even unto the third generation.
Just for the record: if you support the occupation, if you attack those like Carter who try to end it, you are no friend of Israel's. It is that simple.
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