Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Carter Can't

Against the wishes of his own government, former President Jimmy Carter flew to the Middle East to meet with Hamas, Palestine's terrorist regime du jour.

During his visit, Carter saw the sights, laying a wreath on the grave of Yassir Arafat and delivering letters to the families of Israelis held hostage. Let's stop to consider the fact that Jimmy Carter can, at any given time, simply head to Palestine and receive the royal treatment from terrorists. Any time he wants. It's like having the world's most awesome timeshare.

Ah, but all the wining and dining paid off. Carter was able to negotiate a peace agreement! Israel cedes land (re-instating the much-vaunted 1967 boundary) and Palestine offers peace. Peace! Everything is wonderful!

For ten years, that is. After that point, Hamas may resume murdering innocent civilians and leveraging their various public relations arms (BBC, al Jazeera) to paint any retaliation as an act of aggressive warfare.

Now, imagine if you will, America at war with Mexico. Only, it's not really a war, because that would be an hasta la vista, if you're Mexico. Rather, the Mexican government is sending immigrants, bombs strapped underneath their sombreros, to bomb BBQ shacks and Carrie Underwood concerts in Texas.

Imagine, then, Jacque Chirac, the incompetent former leader of France, negotiating a deal wherein we agree to reinstate the 1835 borders in exchange for ten years of burrito-bomber-free existence. How would you feel about that?

This is precisely what Carter proposes. Israel could easily annihilate the Palestinian people (and would be well within their rights to do so) en masse. As such, they hold the diplomatic cards here, so to craft an agreement requiring permanent concessions in exchange for temporary (and tenuous) "peace" is unreasonable.

But such is the political climate in America that many herald Carter as having made a major stride. In this narrative, Carter is helping to shed light on so many of the gray areas in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You see, Palestinians are angry about stuff, and they don't consider themselves terrorists, so there are two sides to everything.

American liberals, in their relentless quest to find nuanced distinctions in the most lopsided of atrocities, buy into the Carter method. Ask any Democrat (who is less than 50% Jewish) what they think, and you'll get some pragmatic-sounding piffle about the 1967 border. It has become a catch-all for a utopian vision of harmony between Palestine and it's oppressor, so it is understandable that Carter would endeavor to arrive at it by any means necessary.

But, as any real pragmatist (or American who is more than 50% Jewish) will tell you, the 1967 border is fools gold, a mere leap toward the ultimate Palestinian goal of eradicating the Jewish people from "their" land (and, according to Allah, Earth is their land). If this weren't so, an expiration date for a truce would be irrelevant.

But since it is impolitic to publicly advocate the destruction of Israel, unless you are in a dorm of a Private East Coast University (not named Brandeis), we are subjected to equivocal chatter about how someone is finally breaking through the stalemate. I have a better idea for breaking the stalemate, but I'm afraid it would be quite a bit more impolitic.

But, as the passive-aggressive pose of the American left toward Israel is becoming increasingly untenable, so Carter's overtures to peace become more laughable. We can only parse so many shades of gray before we must conclude that one side shines a bit lighter than the other. Palestine has officially promised war in exchange for peace.

Jimmy Carter is not a peacemaker, as he has never been responsible for alleviating armed conflict. To pretend as much is to pretend that Israel has no legitimate right to escape bloodshed. By continuing to ask Israel to compromise, we come perilously close to questioning their right to exist.

The phrase "for or against" may ring abrasive to progressives, but the time has come for them to swallow their anathema. There is a right and wrong here, and it is not uncouth to so. We should unequivocally condemn Carter and his vainglorious pilgrimages to the windmill that has deluded him for decades.


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