Carter: Correct Thesis, With Some Pieces Missing

Gershom Gorenberg

My review of Jimmy Carter’s new book, “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land,” is now up at the New York Times Book Review:

“You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste,” the new White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has said, exuberantly defining the economic meltdown as an opportunity for grand new domestic policies. The war in Gaza raises the question of whether Emanuel’s boss will apply the same approach overseas. Will President Obama regard the latest Israeli-Palestinian bleeding as a symptom of an untreatable chronic disease, or as an acute crisis that proves the need for a dramatic American diplomatic initiative?

Jimmy Carter’s advice on answering that question is clear from his title, even if he dashed this book off before the most recent war. In fact, “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land” is really a short op-ed article disguised as a book. The argument, which might easily have been put in 900 words, is that Obama should follow ­Carter’s own example, defy political calculations and throw himself into Arab-Israeli peacemaking.

The goal, Carter says, should be reaching a two-state solution, with the borders between Israel and the Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 armistice lines, along with minor territorial exchanges. Obama should get to work at the start of his term, put his own peace proposals on the table and persuade both parties to accept them. Carter implies that Obama must separate support for Israel from support for Israel’s policies. In short, he should do what Carter says he did to bring peace between Israel and Egypt.

Read the rest here, and come back to South Jerusalem to comment.

4 thoughts on “Carter: Correct Thesis, With Some Pieces Missing”

  1. Carer is the father of the Iranian revolution. Given how successful Carter was in promoting opposition to the US in the form of a militant Iran, do we need Carter’s efforts in creating a militant Palestine? Carter should worry about Salmonella in peanut butter

  2. Helpful review, thank you. I am particularly interested in your comments that Obama needs to build support for US involvement in pursing a two-state, peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Mideast.

    I think there is a constituency of support for peace in the Mideast. Plenty of people want peace in the Mideast, much as plenty of people want peace in Darfur. However, if I understand correctly, the problem is that constituency needs to be clearer on what it means by ‘peace in the Mideast’ so we can push for an actual solution. I had never thought of this, and while I agree with you about the need for this constituency for a particular strategy, I wonder what such a constituency would be like. This constituency would likely comprise a motley crew of strange bedfellows. People like me, progressive and hopeful for a Jewish state at peace with a Palestinian state, would be competing for the blankets with friends of John Hagee, yearning to see the conclusion of history. It’s hard to imagine this collection of people making any progress on anything — sleep-deprived, grouchy, and bordering on delusional.

    So I wonder how this would work and how I can help it come about.

  3. Mr. Kaine :you sir, are an ignoramus and not a very good sudent of history. The Iranian Revolution was ground in the overthrow of the elected government of Iran by the British and American CIA along with Anglo-American oil interests and the installation of the tyrannical regime of the Shah. The Islamic fervor was not there in 1953 but it became the unifier of an oppressed people ( read ALL SHAH’S MEN) under the Shah. The Iranian people have a legitmate bitch with us not so with Israel . Israel is just convenient to advertize pan islamic noise.

    James Earle Carter may go down in history as one of the storied heros of peace. His legacy is yet to be written. Don’t demean the humble peanut . It’s African origin and it”s relationship to the development of it as a agricutural staple in the South are to be lauded. As you know the 5th Amendment taking CEO of the Salmonella producing peanut butter company made big contributions to GWB.

    Israel needs all the help it can get especially in dealing with it”s over-the-top militant illegal settlers.I think militant is an overused term which seems to have less meaning as time goes by.

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