I wrote a post about Jimmy Carter’s speech at the signing of the Geneva Accords last month. The NY Times story quotes him as saying:
had I been elected to a second term, with the prestige and authority and influence and reputation I had in the region, we could have moved to a final solution
Don’t know about you but I thought nothing of this quote when I read it; and I am a well-educated, well-read Jew who is deeply sensitive to the issues surrounding the Holocaust.
So imagine my shock when I received a remarkably paranoid comment from a reader claiming that Carter’s comment meant that he DID support THE Final Solution (as in Hitler’s Holocaust)! My ‘friend’ also called the Green Line, the “Auschwitz Line.” Ouch! While I love my race or people or whatever…some of them can at times be a tad off the deep end. And the Holocaust tends to bring this tendency out even stronger.
So what can one say about Carter’s comment? An infelicitous turn of phrase? Poorly thought out utterance? Sure all of things and perhaps a bit more. But for those of my people who really despise Jimmy Carter (and also a serious Mideast peace process), please remember that Jimmy Carter is no Adolf Hitler and Jimmy Carter speaks plain English (sometimes poorly, but English nevertheless) not German. He certainly didn’t mean “Final Solution” in the sense of the abominable German euphemism. Rather, he meant that he could have reached a final resolution of the conflict. Resolution–not extermination. Get it?? If you don’t know this or refuse to believe this then you are worse than uncharitable, you are off the deep end like my ‘friend.’
Yes, many Jews are still so very sensitive to Holocaust issues. And yes, many Jews don’t like Jimmy Carter very much. Combine these two factors and this is what you get. Pretty ridiculous, I agree.
Gerhard Falk says
Carter did not use German, nor did he mean to gas the Jewish population of the world. However, Carter and his supo
supporters know that Israel would be destroyed at once
on returning to the so called Green Line, since the
country would then be too small to be defended against
an onslaught from 20 Arab countries with armies at least
thirty times the size of Israel’s army. Since Carter
also seeks to withdraw all military and economic support
from Israel, his policies as promoted by Howard Dean
would have to lead to the destruction of Israel and the
death of its entire population at the hands of the Arab
killers. It is not necessary to mean “gas overns”. The
meaning of “final solution” is nevertheless the death
of another 5 million Jews, intended or not.
Gerhard, I understand your concerns but I am a bit complexed at how you can come to a logical conclusion based solely on extermination of the Jewish people by the term “final soulution,” reduction/eradication of US funding, and Carter’s desire to return to the Green Line?
If was an arbitrator of two groups squabbling over who was going to get the concert tickets, and one group happened to be friends of mine could I make a decision based solely on the facts, disparate to friendly ties? May be, but if I made a decision on the side of my friends would the other group have justification to complain that I was biased? I believe they would. If I chose the other group would my friends not have justification for declaring I acted out of self-interest with respects to appearing impartial as opposed to actuall being impartial? Yes they would. Therefore, which ever decision I make is, at the very least appearing to be influenced, at the most actually influenced by my relations.
Now, bring this back to America and Israel. If America as the superpower, and still to a large extent the only country able to be accepted by the Palestinians, Arab world, and Israelis (the former two to an increasingly lesser degree because of its relationships) to arbitrate the conflict, wants to arbitrate the conflict should it not release its ‘support’ of Israel for the purposes of conflict resolution? Israel will lose a net inputter into the economy but it will increase by X amount by having a stable environment for foreign investment (including Arab investment) that will increase/expand the economy.
On the other hand if America/Israel want to remain on similar relations as they do now then America has to forsake its role in the Roadmap/ peace effort full stop. But at what expense is this to a peaceful resolution? Who could replace the role the US kinda provides? Well, unfortunately, as an Englishman it cannot be Europe because of the opinion by some Israelis that Europe although not necessarily anti-Israel are certainly against what they deem as reppression of Palestinians. (and yes I know we can counter that with but what about Palestinian terrorism, but that kinda level of argument doesn’t really help does it?) Consequently, Europe will not appear to, or to some extent actually act independently of this.
The two roles understandably cannot co-exist. The questions thus begged are: Can we provide an arbitrator that will be and appear to be independent of all groups concerned? If not will the status-quo continue unabated with no resolution ever?
I live in England devoid of any true personal connection with the Middle East, except for my studies. What frightens me is that there are so many attempts to bring peace to Palestine/Israel that so many potentail peace narratives are being created and in effect competing for the hearts and minds of all those involved. The consequence is that this is a breeding ground for continued disillusionment.