‘Peace, not Apartheid’ chronicles Carter’s legacy

Seth Roberson

Book discusses Nobel Prize winner’s lifelong drive for peace

Jimmy Carter has a Middle East fetish. Just as S&M aficionados favor a balance of pleasure and pain, I believe Carter has a secret addiction to the sting that always follows whenever anyone attempts peaceful reconciliation between Israel and its neighbors.

The first half of the book is Carter’s recollection of his visits, the region’s history and summaries of United States’ attempts at brokering peace. Carter orchestrated the 1978 Camp David Accords — the longest lasting peace treaty between Israel and Palestine. While a groundbreaking agreement, the world today illustrates just how ineffective agreements can be. Carter places blame on Israel’s leadership and the country’s history of undermining the peace process through the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

Two kinds of peace exist. One is inner tranquility and serenity of soul that evaporates hostility. The other is the absence of war. With Israel and its neighbors we’ve only managed to maintain tenuous periods of non-war. Military and economic might can maintain this type of peace but below the surface animosity and anger still fester, waiting to explode into violence.

But Carter, a devoutly religious man and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, never mentions the difference.

Most of the book’s second half deals with Israel’s wall on the West Bank. Carter sees this as an attempt to claim more Palestinian land. He describes the state of affairs and its potential future with a loaded, provocative word — apartheid.

The press has been harsh to Carter over his seeming bias against Israel and the use of the word apartheid. After reading the book, I believe Carter chose such a powerful word in an attempt to provoke conversation. If that was his intent, it worked.

In the end, all the United States can do is continue on this painful and long road of enforced peace and try to control any skirmishes that may arise. Luckily, we have people like Carter who seem to enjoy this kind of thing.

Contact ALL correspondent Seth Roberson at [email protected].