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Carter & The Jews



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A friend of mine sent this the other day about Carter’s book. I thought it was interesting:

Hey Jonah,
I’m reading Carter’s book right now. I’m shocked by how Christian it
is. A running theme is that not only are the Muslims being oppressed
by the Jews, but so are the Christians. I know Rich and others have
mentioned that odd line about the treatment of the Samaritans in the
age of the Pharisees, but I’m still astonished that it’s not being
talked about more. Carter’s book, at least to me, seems like a pretty
obvious attempt to turn Christian America against Israel, and I think
the wink-and-nod line about the Samaritans makes that clear. Sure,
Carter couches his words in his typical “all I care about is peace and
justice” rhetorical cloth (particularly in the first half of the book,
where he assures us he really does accept the idea that Israel might
be, you know, a democracy), but it’s hard to conclude a third of the
way in any thing other than the fact that Carter shares a
constitutional aversion to the Jewish state, well on par with the
likes of Buchanan, et al. In some ways, Carter’s distaste for Israel
is even more conspicuous than Buchanan’s. After all, the editor of The
American Conservative hardly claims to be a liberal. But one has to
wonder why someone as putatively liberal as Carter is so so willing to
the give the benefit of the doubt, on virtually every controversial
issue or accusation inhered in the conflict, to the illiberal party
(that being the party of theocracy, cultural conformism, terror,
etc.).

Putting Carter’s Jew problem aside for the moment, I think his book
also points to a broader contradiction within left/liberal circles, a
problem of sensibilities really. Why is it that a group of people who
espouse all kinds of “live, let live” attitudes are so frequently
giving the benefit of the doubt to the most rancid illiberalisms
across the globe — I can include a long list here of dictators,
regimes, etc. that so-and-so liberal/leftist has said something kind
about, but I won’t. The far left, the University left that is, has
somewhat of an excuse. A good chunk of them aren’t liberals any way
and, in fact, are quite serious in their belief that our liberal
notions of free government and justice and universal human rights
norms, etc. are really just top-down oppressive
ideas/tools/justifications handed down to us by the most flagrant
historical violators of free governance, justice and human rights –
you know, guys like Bush, Cheney, John Ashcroft, George Washington. I
know the argument ends up defeating itself the moment it begins, but
at least it doesn’t admit to being “liberal.” Then, of course, there’s
just the large swath of useful idiots who’ve spent their entire life
in pampered bubbles, thus enjoying the luxury of never having to be
confronted with real injustice, oppression, poverty and horror, the
kind of stuff they’re now in the business of excusing or ignoring for
the sake of bigger, badder horrors like an affirmative-action-free
campus or a non-bisexually-friendly neighborhood street party. I know
their ignorance doesn’t excuse them, but at least you can understand
where they’re coming from. (I could have ended up in similar shoes.)

But what of men like Carter, a man who’s worked in government, knows
how jacked-up (Marine word, btw) it is, how far away from the
conventional liberal-left understanding of participatory politics it
really is, a man who’s seen the world, worked with the tyrants
face-to-face, spoken with the dissidents, set up meetings with
virtually all competing sides of all major conflicts, monitored their
elections on the ground? How does a man like that keep on sympathizing
with the bad guys at the end of the day? Is it really just pragmatic
politics on his part, another realism? Or is there a real, active
sympathy there (with Castro, Chavez, Arafat, Assad, you name it)? I
think the latter gets more at the truth, which is to say Carter really
isn’t the kind of liberal he makes himself out to be. And all the
intelligent, informed self-avowed liberals like him aren’t really the
liberals they say they are either.



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