Juan Cole reports that President Jimmy Carter was “brutally frank” in a recent interview with England‘s Prospect magazine.
Carter was on a tour for his new book, A Full Life: Reflections at 90, when he told journalist Bronwen Maddox, “all hope for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict has ended. At this moment, there is zero chance of the two-state solution.”
Cole wrote in Truthdig, that while most analysts have agreed that the two-state solution is no long viable, Carter went further with an assertion that the solution died when:
“The Netanyahu government decided early on to adopt a one-state solution … but without giving them [the Palestinians] equal rights.”
Cole adds that Carter “accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of having pursued, upon his election in 2009, a deliberate policy of relentlessly annexing and colonizing the Palestinian West Bank, ensuring that it will end up as part of Israel.”
Since 2009, Carter said:
“Netanyahu conspired to ensure that the 4.2 million Palestinians under Israeli occupation remain stateless and without rights.
As Cole sees it, “Carter is simply stating the obvious”.
The obvious, however, is not the prevailing narrative in “the world of international diplomacy”.
Carter’s “brutally frank” interview violates the conventions of the standard “two sides” political discourse. Carter blames Israel, “the occupying authority, for its illegal actions, rather than [blaming the Palestinians] the helpless, occupied population.”
Far too many secular and religious U.S. leaders have embraced the “two sides” subterfuge by while turning their backs on the harsh occupation reality and ignoring the truth-telling of moral leaders like Carter.
Fortunately there are exceptions. A growing number of religious leaders have abandoned the conventional “two sides” nonsense and joined the BDS movement launched by Palestinian religious and civic leaders.
One notable religious breakthrough came this summer when the United Methodist Kairos Response, co-chaired by Susanne Hoder and the Rev. Michael Yoshi, sent an open letter to United Methodist laywoman Hillary Rodham Clinton, currently the leading candidate for the presidential nomination of her Democratic Party.
The letter begins:
“As a United Methodist, you know that our church has had a long history of defending oppressed people, both at home and abroad. As our founder, John Wesley, famously said, ‘The World is my parish’, and we consider that to be true today.”
In this letter, the UMKR asks Clinton to “acknowledge the moral nature of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement to end the human rights abuses taking place against the Palestinian people by the government of Israel”.
This is not “tea and cookies”, or “can’t we all just get along” talk. Rather, these United Methodists call on Hillary Rodham Clinton to reverse her earlier anti-BDS position expressed in her letter to Haim Saban, the Israeli-American entertainment mogul who has been a longtime major Clinton donor.
Clinton’s letter says BDS “seeks to punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict. This is not the path to peace.”
“I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority,” Clinton wrote. Then she adds, “I am seeking your advice on how we can work together – across party lines and with a diverse array of voices – to reverse this trend with information and advocacy, and fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel.”
Clinton has been around this track before. She knows better than to write that BDS is “punishing” Israel. BDS does not punish; it shames.
Palestinians also use shame against the occupation with art as a major weapon. The example above is one of many available on the Facebook page, The Art of Occupied Palestine.
Clinton’s fawning letter to Saban closes with her hand-written note — “look forward to working with you on this.”
Think about it, the woman who could be this nation’s next president, has promised to work with Israeli-American Haim Saban to further subdue an occupied population.
Enough with the fawning. Clinton must listen to her fellow American United Methodists who have “implored” her to reconsider her opposition to BDS.
As a senator, Clinton was wrong when she supported the 2003 Bush invasion of Iraq. She is wrong again on BDS.
The picture of President Carter at top is an AP Photo by Matt Rourke.