Book Review: Palestine Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter starts off by talking about the promises in the Camp David Peace Accords.  Egypt has fulfilled it’s promise; Israel, however, has not fulfilled it’s promise toward Palestine as was stated by the Camp David Accords.  From here, Israel gets the blame and Carter shows that from the 1980 to the current times, Israel has taken advantage of the Palestinian people.

What is fascinating is that he talks about events behind the scenes.  I found it interesting about his talks with various leaders on both sides to see what they had to say.  Going throughout history, Carter lays out various plans, wars, and strategies that both sides (and us) have offered.  At each moment, the Palestinians are portrayed as the good guys and the Israelis have faulted.

The book ends with Israel building a wall that’s within the West Bank which Carter considers and apartheid because it’s confining the Palestinians in their own territory without basic human rights.

The tone of the book was awkward.  I felt like I was reading a book at a seventh grade reading level.  However, the book also assumes that one is familiar with the conflict in the Middle East.  In some places, Carter is right.  The Israeli world has been unfair to the Palestinians.  For example, the Oslo Accords seemed to have an unfair advantage to Israel because they kept a lot of the land, and Clinton blamed Arafat for that.  However, there are a lot of things where Carter is naive about.  For example, the Israelis are building a wall.  Carter claims it’s because of apartheid purposes.  However, I think the answer is obvious: the Israelis are looking for security.  By building a wall, you impede Palestinian suicide bombers from entering into Palestine.  To be fair, Carter does admit that, but he thinks that the main motivation for building the wall was to gain more land.  This is too naive!  It’s about security!  I know that Carter wants to play the peacemaker here, but he must realize that security is the main issue in these dealings, not land.  Sure, Israel would give up land in exchange for security.  But for the Israelis, they want a guarantee that security will happen first.  They’re not going to give up land because having that land is a buffer zone for security.  Even the Golan Heights, which Carter says belongs to Syria, is a place of security.  There are too many things here that Carter ignores in his history and it’s a shame that he does so.

Many people have commented that since it was Israel’s fault, Carter is considered an anti-Semite.  I think that’s a silly remark.  Carter is not an anti-Semite.  He deeply cares about the people involved in the Middle East.  I think he is right when he says that the animosity is because of our outlook on Israel.  But when it comes to history, Carter is ignoring the facts.  I would still recommend to reading it, however.

To get a glimpse of what he’s saying, check it out:

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
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4 Responses to Book Review: Palestine Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter

  1. jonolan says:

    No, sorry, Carter is an anti-Semite. He’s also a traitor, though he will never be prosecuted and hanged for it.

    You can call that “silly” if you want to, but you’re wrong.

  2. shaunmiller says:

    You’re going to have to give me more than just “you’re wrong.” There’s this thing in philosophy called justification. Give me an argument or else your comment will be deleted.

  3. jonolan says:

    Alright – in his books, Carter has always focused on the “evils” of Israel as a Jewish state and has willfully chosen the most prejudicial terms to describe their actions.

    Rarely if ever has he addressed the ongoing terrorism by Palestinians – except in the manner of an apologist where he tacitly approves of their goals for the destruction of Israel and blames Israel for the nature of their crimes.

    It’s quite similar to blaming the rape victim for her own rape.

    Sounds anti-Semite to me.

    As for his being a traitor, he met with Hamas leaders against the standing orders of the US government. He also, while doing so, tried to affect US foreign policy. That does fall within the current applied US legal definition of treason as well as a few other specific federal charges that you could look up if care to do so, though I warn you that sifting through the U.S. Code is tedious.

    But then, I’m not speaking of philosophy; I’m speaking of empirical facts and pragmatic interpretations of them without a particular philosophical viewpoint attached to them.

  4. shaunmiller says:

    Jonolan said:

    Alright – in his books, Carter has always focused on the “evils” of Israel as a Jewish state and has willfully chosen the most prejudicial terms to describe their actions.

    Can you give me specific quotes? With the book I just mentioned, he doesn’t condone Israel because they happen to be Jewish, but because of certain actions they’ve done.

    Along with this, he reads not as an apologist, but as a naive view of Hamas and various terrorist groups within Palestine. Not all Palestinians are terrorists. I’ll admit he blames Israel causing all the trouble, but again, it’s because he’s naive, not because he hates the Jews.

    As for the traitor aspect, the US said that it doesn’t go with US policy, but it doesn’t stand to go for reason. Since you made the charge, the burden of proof is on you. So you show me the codes and such if you’d like.

    Along with this, this post wasn’t talking about whether Carter is a good guy or not. In all truth, I’m not interested in that. I was simply reviewing his book.

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