Shahira Samy (PhD) is a lecturer in Political Science at the British University in Egypt. She specializes in the field of reparations and historical injustice, Palestinian refugees, displacement and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Jimmy Carter, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, Simon & Schuster 2006, 264pp, $27,00.
“One of the major goals of my life, while in political office and since I
was retired from the White House by the 1980 election, has been
to help ensure a lasting peace for Israelis and others in the Middle East.” If such was Jimmy Carter’s opening statement of his latest book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, why would the Israel-sympathetic words cause uproar among US Jews and elsewhere? And why would the former US president be accused by many Jewish groups of being a liar, a bigot, an anti-Semite, a coward and a plagiarist? And why would staunch protest to the book come from none other than 14 members of the advisory board of the twenty-five year old Atlantabased Carter Center, resigning en masse, stating that ‘we can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position.’ The letter of resignation addressed to Carter went on attacking the book as being ‘unfairly critical of Israel and riddled with inaccuracies’. In effect, the most vociferous of protestations were geared against the comparison of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with South Africa’s gruesome apartheid system of racial segregation.
In his first direct address to Jewish Americans on his book at Brandeis University last month, Carter said the word ‘apartheid’ was intended to provoke debate about the rights of Palestinians, unfairly treated by Israel.