Professor Kenneth Stein of Emory University has terminated his relationship with the Carter Center, where he was once Director. The cause of Stein’s departure is his opinion of Carter’s new book Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid.
Power Line obtained an email Stein sent that contained this rather harsh assesment of Carter’s book:
President Carter’s book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook. Having little access to Arabic and Hebrew sources, I believe, clearly handicapped his understanding and analyses of how history has unfolded over the last decade. Falsehoods, if repeated often enough become meta-truths, and they then can become the erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and for policy-making. The history and interpretation of the Arab-Israeli conflict is already drowning in half-truths, suppositions, and self-serving myths; more are not necessary. In due course, I shall detail these points and reflect on their origins.
Nevertheless, 700 people lined up to get a copy of the book yesterday in Duluth. Carter told the AJC this:
Carter, who earlier attended a memorial in Roswell for his aunt who died Saturday, said the intent of the book was to provoke discussion and debate about what is going on in the Middle East and to promote renewed efforts to bring peace to Israel, a discussion that he says hasn’t taken place since President Bush came into office.
“The book is not about Israel at all,” Carter said.
“The book is about Palestine and what is happening to Palestinian people. Which is a terrible affliction and oppression of these people,” Carter said before his signing. “There is no doubt that in Palestine, the people are treated with, in many cases, much more harsh treatment than existed in South Africa, even in the apartheid years.”
Some Jewish groups have blasted Carter for this book:
“The deep concern for this book begins on the front cover. The title itself is an outrage,” said David Harris, executive director of the New York-based American Jewish Committee.
“The effort to introduce the word apartheid, which was a racially motivated policy in South Africa, and try to superimpose it on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is flat out wrong and mischievous. This is a political conflict over borders and competing national claims. It has nothing to do with race.”
Update: Good Will Hinton has a post on this as well.