University Professor Explains Jimmy Carter’s ‘Palestine’ Inaccuracies

Last Wednesday, NewsBuster Tom Blumer reported the resignation of an Emory University professor from that school’s Carter Center due to problems the professor had with former president Jimmy Carter’s new controversial book “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid.” On Tuesday, the university newspaper, the Emory Wheel, published an article outlining Professor Kenneth Stein’s positions on this issue (hat tip to the American Thinker, emphasis mine throughout):  

Although Carter has insisted in several interviews that his book contains no factual errors, Stein said the president misrepresents the wording of key security council resolutions and negotiated documents, including the Camp David Accords, which Carter himself negotiated.

"History gives no refunds, no do overs," Stein said in his class on the Arab-Israeli conflict, where he presented his criticisms of the Carter book. "You have to take what is and build on it. You can't bend the [facts] to suit a need."

Imagine misrepresenting to the public resolutions which you yourself negotiated, and the media giving you a pass. Shocking, no? Alas, the article had just begun:

Stein, who worked closely with Carter in the 1980s, said the former president's first error concerns United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. Signed in November 1967, the agreement has been used as the basis for all subsequent Arab-Israeli negotiations.

In his book, Carter writes that the resolution says, "Israel must withdraw from occupied territories" it acquired by force during the Six-Day War in 1967 between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

But the word "must" never appears in the actual U.N. resolution text.

Stein argued that each word in the resolution was carefully chosen and by inserting the word "must," Carter changed the implications of this key resolution.

There was more:

Stein said Carter makes a second "inexcusable" error in describing the impact of the 1978 Camp David Accords, which details how Egypt and Israel would normalize relations.

Carter writes that the accords called for "the dismantling of [Israeli] settlements on Egyptian land." But the accords never actually refer to the settlements. In fact, the Israeli leader at the time, Menachem Begin, was so opposed to discussing the issue that he wouldn't have signed any document mentioning them, Stein said.

And even more:

Stein's third objection to Carter's book is that the former president de-emphasizes the importance of U.N. Resolution 242, he said.

This resolution called for the "territorial integrity, political sovereignty and independence of all states in the region." By emphasizing subsequent resolutions over 242, Stein said, Carter suggests that a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict could be imposed on the states by an outside party. That would change the central premise of all Arab-Israeli negotiations, Stein said.

And, there were other inaccuracies:

Besides his major concerns, Stein pointed out Carter's use of inaccurate dates. For example, Carter said he met with Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad in Switzerland in June 1977 when he actually met Assad in May. Additionally, Stein said Carter mistakenly wrote that Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir resigned in June 1974 when, in fact, she resigned a month earlier.

Stein also took issue with Carter's account of the now-infamous Egyptian Cement Scandal. Carter wrote that "authorities" intercepted humanitarian aid in 2004 and sold it for profit, but he did not specify that it was the Palestinian authorities who intercepted the aid. This could lead readers to believe the Israeli authorities seized the aid, Stein said.

"If he intentionally didn't put 'Israelis' in there, then that's an error of commission, not omission," Stein said.

Stein was also concerned with a much more recent issue:

Finally, the professor contested Carter's description of the West Bank wall that the Israeli government constructed to prevent terrorist attacks.

In his book, Carter says the wall "separates Palestinians from other Palestinians."

But Stein said the wall separates Israelis from Palestinians in all but a few sections. Any comparison to apartheid - in which the South African government forced blacks to live in disparate "homelands" scattered throughout the country - is unfair, Stein said.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if the fawning media actually did a little research of their own to determine the factual content of books by politicians they revere…or is that asking too much?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.