Former President Carter is a naive fool, playing into the hands of both a cynical media and an equally cynical antisemitic Arab PR machine.
Jewish leaders protesting Carter’s use of apartheid are self-delusional at best, lying at worst.
Israel has generally treated not only the West Bank and Gaza residents (however they want to refer to themselves) as something a little better than cattle, and something definitely less than human for over thirty years. I’ve seen it, anyone who’s lived or worked in the agricultural, construction, or industrial sector has seen it, and anyone denying it is lying.
Israeli arab towns and cities get less economic, social, cultural, infrastructure, tourism, security and every other support available to their Jewish — and even mixed ethnicity — cities. Go drive up a street in Deir Al Assad, then take a spin in neighboring Karmiel. Check out the practice soccer pitches in Haifa, the drive up to Massadeh on the Golan Heights (officially annexed by Israel years ago).
That’s not to say that there aren’t great people, companies and relationships that transcend these terrible and institutional practices. But the norm is a form of apartheid. Carter’s blunder is to let the media equate the concept of apartheid with the level of apartheid. Israel, at its worst, was far better a master than the South Africans. Just writing that sentence makes me cringe, but it’s a true, qualitative statement.
And Carter using that statement turns a possible discussion about the non-revolutionary ways out of the quagmire that is the Middle East into a firestorm of fury about the players, guilty and innocent, that have to survive it.
President Carter should stick to building houses for the homeless, and American rabbis should stick to helping their constituents. Neither seems qualified to engage in this current discussion.