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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dhimmi Carter's religious problem with Israel

My college classmate Michael Oren has an article in today's Wall Street Journal that pegs the motivation behind Dhimmi Carter's book:
Several prominent scholars have taken issue with Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," cataloguing its historical inaccuracies and lamenting its lack of balance. The journalist Jeffrey Goldberg also critiqued the book's theological purpose, which, he asserted, was to "convince American Evangelicals to reconsider their support for Israel."

Mr. Carter indeed seems to have a religious problem with the Jewish state. His book bewails the fact that Israel is not the reincarnation of ancient Judea but a modern, largely temporal democracy. "I had long taught lessons from the Hebrew Scriptures," he recalls telling Prime Minister Golda Meir during his first tour through the country. "A common historical pattern was that Israel was punished whenever the leaders turned away from devout worship of God. I asked if she was concerned about the secular nature of the Labor government."

He complains about the fact that the kibbutz synagogue he enters is nearly empty on the Sabbath and that the Bibles presented to Israeli soldiers "was one of the few indications of a religious commitment that I observed during our visit." But he also reproves contemporary Israelis for allegedly mistreating the Samaritans--"the same complaint heard by Jesus almost two thousand years earlier"--and for pilfering water from the Jordan River, "where . . . Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist."

Disturbed by secular Laborites, he is further unnerved by religiously minded Israelis who seek to fulfill the biblical injunction to settle the entire Land of Israel. There are "two Israels," Mr. Carter concludes, one which embodies the "the ancient culture of the Jewish people, defined by the Hebrew Scriptures," and the other in "the occupied Palestinian territories," which refuses to "respect the basic human rights of the citizens."

Whether in its secular and/or observant manifestations, Israel clearly discomfits Mr. Carter, a man who, even as president, considered himself in "full-time Christian service." Yet, in revealing his unease with the idea of Jewish statehood, Mr. Carter sets himself apart from many U.S. presidents before and after him, as well as from nearly 400 years of American Christian thought.
What I found most enlightening about this article was Oren's description of the strong American support for Jewish return to Zion in the 19th century. I had no idea.

Read the whole thing.


At 5:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was very well written and devoid of all the typical name calling and uncalled for finger pointing. Haaret'z D.C amateur Rosner is framing the whole issue around antisemitism, a mistake in my opinion. The President is not entirely wrong on some of his assertions, therefore when questioning his shoddy scholarship one has to be a bit more diplomatic and figure the academic angle. Which is what Mr. oren does so well. Maybe it has to do with age or with exposure to the big cajounas. Mr. Oren does it just right,I can suggest to those who did not see Mr. Ehrenfeld's take, Washington Times, and Mr. Laskin's at Front Page, where they detail the list of paymasters, showing Mr. carter has been reduced to a take out personnel for hire.

At 5:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some URL s on the issue:


Jimmy Carter and the Arab Lobby
By Jacob Laksin
FrontPageMagazine.com | December 18, 2006





The Washington Times
Carter's Arab financiers
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Published December 21, 2006

December 1, 2006 by Lee Green

Jimmy Carter Distorts Facts, Demonizes Israel in New Book




Winning the battle of ideas

12.21.2006 | The Examiner
By James Kirchick

James Kirchick is assistant to the editor-in-chief of The New Republic.



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