Excursions on the Middle East, politics, the Levant, Islam in politics, civil society, and courage in the face of unbridled, otherwise unchecked power.
How can one define the ramblings of an obsolete senile windbag as "pithy"? And then "pithy" and "long"? Isn't pithy supposed to be concise, short, and to the point?
Dr. Norton, before getting into substantive stuff, I just wanted to copy the Oxford definition of "pithy" (it certainly agrees with yours, but pithy is mainly used to mean "terse, concise, and vigorously expressive language." So, again, qualifying Carter's ramblings as both "pithy" and "long" is oxymoronic) First, Human Rights are/were paramount to the Carter Weltanschauung (in his administration and his private life) But the guy lives in a fantasy, and that’s what I meant by him being an obsolete senile windbag. In the end, I think he’s also a clueless, opinionated, stubborn, and misguided old man (perhaps even a racist too, judging by his advocacy for certain Middle Eastern groups.) The totalitarian whack-jobs that Carter favors and defends in the name of Peace and Human Rights (such as the Mugabes, Assads, Arafats, Nassrallahs, Ayatollahs, and the other region’s misfits) could care less about his Peace and Human Rights. And if Peace and Human Rights were truly Carter’s concern here, one must ask “what about the Peace and Human Rights for millions of Middle Eastern minorities being persecuted and stripped of their political and cultural profiles for the benefit of a totalitarian Arabs and Muslims?” (and please don’t come back to me with the traditional whipping-boy, Israel. The exodus and persecution of non-Muslim non-Arab Middle Easterners has been going on for 13, count them, 13 centuries; that is, 13 centuries during which there was no Israel to blame...) In the end, Carter’s approach and language are those of a naive, clueless novice at best; at worst, he is foolhardy, if not reckless and dangerous. Comparing Israel to Apartheid South Africa for instance is hypocritical, vicious, and false. Both Palestinians and Israelis, in my humble opinion, deserve better, more dignifying language than what Carter and his epigones are normalizing. For the rest, do you honestly believe Arabs and Muslims would go for a 2-state solution? Weren’t they offered just that in 1947, and time and again subsequent to that? And didn’t they spit at and squander those opportunities at building a Palestinian state repeatedly? Do you not believe that accepting Israel and retaining ideological and theological “purity” is at great odds with the ultimate Arabist and Islamist expectations and traditions of rejecting independent non-Muslim polities in their midst? Short of a formal, genuine, serious Palestinian commitment to Peace, Israel (and any Middle Eastern minority for that matter) CANNOT be expected BUT to pursue its own ways of defining and protecting its own security and its continued dignified existence. That is unless you and Carter and the rest of them clueless bleeding hearts would prescribe Israel go the way of the rest of silenced, oppressed, dispossessed and de-politicized dhimmi-fied Middle Eastern peoples; erasing their historical memory, and relegating them to dhimmi status (in the manner of Iraq’s Chaldaeans, Egypt’s Copts, Lebanon’s Maronites, and Arabized Greek-Orthodox court-jesters throughout the Middle East.) If lessons cannot be drawn from 13-14 centuries of Arab-Muslim imperialism and colonization of the Middle East (and if academics like yourself persist in shirking their duty to inform, rather than engage in ideological advocacy), then for sure, Israelis are doomed to go the way of Assyrians, Copts, Greek-Orthodox, Maronites, and other indigenous pre-Arab, pre-Muslim Middle Easterners, systematically dispossessed of their history and historical memory. The Levant and the Middle East are NOT Stockholm or Paris (or the Georgia peanut farm), Dr. Norton! Obsolete Marxist paradigms (upon which academics like you have built venerable careers) might apply to places like Stockholm, Paris, but NOT the Middle East, sir. Get to know the Middle East (dispassionately and without bias) before pontificating and brandishing archaic and outmoded “solutions” benefitting your chosen “victims” du jour to the detriment of other (real or potential) victims.
Pithy usually means full of meaning. Carter's "Peace not Apartheid" has reached legions of readers, and helped to educate people around the world on the need for a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel. His election-monitoring efforts have been felt around the globe, and he continues to be a voice of conscience on a number of issues. His views are hardly obsolete, and his mental acuity and command of facts would be impressive for a man or woman of far fewer than his 84 years.
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