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Carter describes ‘political suicide’ of criticizing Israel

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One effect of Gaza is the greater respect Jimmy Carter is getting on this book tour than he got on Apartheid: It's Apartheid in Apartheidville (I think that was the title). Here's a fine interview by Reza Aslan at dailybeast. Carter is speaking more openly this time about the Israel lobby (and at the very time that Ezra Klein (Reza's anagram) is saying there's no career price to be paid). Carter:

It’s politically impossible, as you know, for any member of Congress to
make a public statement condemning or criticizing the policies of
Israel. It would be political suicidal for them to do so. A lot of the
members of Congress agree with me, some very high up in the Congress.
But if they came out publicly and said it, their seats would be in
danger.

Carter and Aslan agree that things are opening up some since Gaza. I'd add that in Bahrain earlier this week Norman Finkelstein offered his line against the Israel lobby, including the statement that it controls policy in the West Bank but nowhere else. "The ruling elite," Finkelstein says, was responsible for the Iraq war. The idea that policy in the West Bank (the settlements) is somehow local is absurd. It goes to the heart of US policy in the region, and has helped to destroy the American image in the region. Even now, when Obama has spoken out against settlements, they go on expanding. This is a nullification of an important American interest. Real power. Second, Finkelstein does not believe as I do that Jews represent an American elite, and that there are political consequences of our elevation in my generation. He has never reckoned with the simple fact reported in the Washington Post some time ago that Jews contribute most of the money to Democratic Party candidates. One of the lessons of the life of Finkelstein's adversary is that Dershowitz was just a shlepper in the Brooklyn ghetto as a boy and now owns fancy houses and is wealthy. It happened to many Jews in the Jewish century (to quote the great Slezkine). Not reckoning with this sociological reality does not advance understanding.        

(Phil Weiss, thanks to Peter Voskamp)

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