Israeli UN ambassador Dan Gillerman has brewed a mini-tempest in a teacup by taking the highly undiplomatic step of smearing the good name of a former U.S. president. I say “mini-tempest” not because Gillerman’s breach isn’t serious–it is very serious. Rather, I say this because Condi Rice doesn’t really care much that Gillerman had a hissy fit against Carter. I’ll bet privately she even approves at least somewhat of Gillerman’s attack. But for the purpose of protocol and diplomatic precedent she’s got to pretend to take umbrage at Gillerman’s backalley brawling tactics.
In addition to saying that Carter had “blood on his hands” for meeting Khaled Meshal, Gillerman also called Carter (keep in mind this is the only U.S. president to actually negotiate a peace treaty between Israel and one of its Arab enemies) an “enemy of Israel.”
The United States registered an official protest with Israel against its ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, for calling former U.S. President Jimmy Carter an “enemy of Israel” prior to Carter’s recent visit to the region.
A senior Foreign Ministry source said Saturday that the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv asked that Gillerman be made aware of the U.S. administration’s dissatisfaction with the disrespectful comments about the former U.S. President.
In addition, the State Department is planning to issue a public statement condemning comments made by Gillerman at a press conference in New York on Thursday, where he called Carter a “bigot.”
In my last post on this incident, I expressed the hope that Gillerman had gone “off the reservation” rather than that he was expressing the official position of the Israeli government regarding Carter. It appears the former explanation may be what happened. If that is the case, then the attack is no less disturbing as it means that Gillerman was making policy on his own in direct contravention of directives from his superiors–that is, Livni herself:
The same [foreign ministry] source said that Gillerman’s attack on Carter “surprised and embarrassed” Jerusalem, which contravened direct instructions from Livni to avoid comments on the former president.
Gillerman is scheduled to leave his post in several months. I wonder whether Livni will call him home early or leave him in place. I also wonder whether Gillerman, knowing full well that his incendiary remarks couldn’t hurt him this late in his UN tenure, is angling, like many of his predecessors, for a political career in the Likud. If that is the case, the Carter smear may be a transparent tactic to curry favor with the Bibi crowd.
Either way, an Israeli diplomat has just mugged a former U.S. president. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Gillerman is a two-bit political thug. Carter is a Nobel laureate.
I agree that what he said was out of order. Having said that, I’m confused as to whether your complaint is against the content of the remarks or the fact that they were directed at a former US President. Which is it?
Richard Silverstein says
Both, they’re pretty inextricably intertwined. If you’re an Israeli diplomat you should be treating a former president w. a bit more respect than you might treat a garden variety critic of Israeli policy.
Where is US’ pain limit when it comes to AIPAC and Likudniks misbehaviour ? How long can these people terrorize political discourse media outlet ?
Jimmy Carters opinion in NYT gives reasons to believe that Hamas is willing to find a solution. Question is: What can Israel possibly lose by negotiating with the party that has support of a majority among the indigenous people in Palestine ?
Im afriad the answer is simple. They might have to freeze the expansion of colonies on the West Bank,and that again would create problems with the extremists within.
1. AIPAC and Likud truly feel Israel’s very existence is at stake, as are the lives of their children or friends (and their children) who serve in Israel’s military, or just live in Israel as normal civilians. While Gillerman’s statement is out of line, it’s understandable given that mindset.
2. How do you see Hamas willing to find a solution? Carter’s description of Hamas’ demands and pre-conditions make a realistic solution highly improbable. Besides, granting Hamas a seat at the bargaining table stabs Abbas in the back.
3.As for freezing expansions, that would have been over in 2000 due to Camp David / Taba, if Arafat hadn’t rejected it out of hand and decided to go to war instead. Besides, Israel gave up the Sinai with its settlements as well as Gaza with its settlements. Israel has proven it will do that for peace.
Richard Silverstein says
I’m completely uninterested in what AIPAC & the Likud “feel.” I’m interested in what is REAL. Israel’s existence is not at stake. Certainly the existence of Palestinians is far more tenuous than that of Israelis. Not to mention that Israel possesses nuclear weapons which could wipe all the Arabs in the region off the face of the earth. So whose lives are truly “at stake” here?
Gillerman is supposed to be a professional diplomat. Diplomats do not say the things he said. Political hatchetmen do. If he wanted to be a hatchetman he should’ve joined the ranks of the Likud pols instead of pretending to be an diplomat. This mindset is NOT “understandable.”
Thanks for the Barak-Hasbara version of Camp David 2000. Unfortunately, actual events were far more complicated than you make out. Come back once you’ve read Aaron David Miller’s account of the talks in The Much Too Promised Land. Till you do, you’re just a propagandist w. as much credibility as Dan Gillerman.
As for “giving up settlements for peace,” you know & I know that Israel didn’t want Gaza & was happy to hand it back. The mistake it made was not negotiating w. the Palestinians before it withdrew. Israel gets absolutely no credit for a unilateral withdrawal.
And it does want to retain W. Bank settlements & therefore will not give them up for peace.
I agree Gillerman royally screwed up.
How complicated could Camp David 2000 be? The PA admits that Intifada II was being planned well before Sharon’s Temple Mount visit…….practically right before and during actual Camp David negotiations, as though the summit had no chance whatsoever. Arafat didn’t even respond with a counter-offer. How difficult is this? Arafat had no intention of making peace in 2000.
As for Gaza, the occupation and settlements (allegedly the 2 biggest obstacles to peace) were finished in Aug 2005. Hamas chose to “resist” in response. Resist to what, exactly? Why did Hamas feel ‘forced’ to keep the battle going and therefore make life more miserable for their own people? All they had to do was get into the business of state-building, pretend to want a peaceful 2 state solution, reap $$$ rewards from the world community and this crisis would be over. No “apartheid”, fuel crises, or “starvation”.
How can Israel get “no credit” for the withdrawal? By stating that, you may as well admit they should have kept the occupation going and kept the settlements there.
Richard Silverstein says
No, one single Palestinian (NOT the PA) claimed that the Intifada was planned before Camp David. That isn’t incontrovertible proof. And in fact, an Israeli general who commanded troops in Gaza claims that the IDF deliberately provoked Palestinian resistance which led to the Intifada. So there you have it: both sides are at fault, not one as you conveniently argue.
Hamas is resisting the ongoing Israeli Occupation both the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Its goal is not to liberate just Gaza. It is to liberate all of the Territories.
As I wrote earlier, Israel should get credit if it negotiated an agreement with the Palestinians regarding its withdrawal. Since it didn’t it gets no credit.
This source cites arab media (that anyone can check for themselves) showing that the intifada was planned in advance of Camp David and ordered from Arafat to begin right after the summit.
The fact that Arafat made no counter-proposals, had his underlings plan for a big confrontation in the months leading to Camp David, and the fact that Fatah demands ever since 2000 have never backed away from their extreme positions (right of return, ’67 borders) goes to show Fatah (as well as Hamas from their beginnings) had no intentions of ever negotiating a settlement (the entire point of any summit is to negotiate, not remain obstinate). Arab leadership wanted and still desires all or nothing (and of course nothing equates to more terrorism). Prince Bandar called Arafat’s decision criminal for crying out loud.
It doesn’t matter what Hamas’ crooked goal is. They blew a great opportunity that would have opened up the strong possibility for Israeli pullout from the W.Bank had Gaza met Israeli withdrawal halfway. In exchange for EXACTLY what they “claim” to desire (no settlements or occupation in Gaza – allegedly THE main reason for their ‘struggle’) Hamas retaliated with even MORE terrorism. How can Israel get “no credit” for actually giving Gazans just what they claim they have always wanted (no settlements, no occupation)? Israel’s intentions or reasoning (whether it worked out well for them by abandoning the settlements) is irrelevant here; the occupation and settlement activity in Gaza ended in Aug 2005. That should have prompted a responsible reaction from Hamas. It looks as if you’re giving Hamas a free pass and condoning their terrorist reaction to the disengagement, as though they had no better choice.
Which is more preferable? The Gaza disengagement of Aug 2005, or continued settlement activity and occupation? If your choice is the former, then Israel must get “credit” for their actions.
Einstein – yr source is partisan pro-Israel crap. It’s run by Dore Gold and peddles the pro-Israel line on everything. If you want to persuade people, why not use a less partisan source, like this one? Oh, but this is a fact-finding mission that looked at things objectively and came to this conclusion:
‘In their submissions, the parties traded allegations about the motivation and degree of control exercised by the other. However, we were provided with no persuasive evidence that the Sharon visit was anything other than an internal political act; neither were we provided with persuasive evidence that the PA planned the uprising.
Accordingly, we have no basis on which to conclude that there was a deliberate plan by the PA to initiate a campaign of violence at the first opportunity; or to conclude that there was a deliberate plan by the GOI to respond with lethal force.’
Is it normal for you to accuse posters you disagree with of condoning terrorism? That’s incredibly lame and unjustified and reflects badly on you…