Dear President Carter:
I am an American Jew and a member of the Middle East Crisis Response (MECR) of the Hudson Valley of New York (http://www.mideastcrisis.org), a group formed during the summer of 2006 in the wake of Israel's attack on Gaza and its subsequent invasion and massive bombing of Lebanon. Many in the group besides myself are also Jewish and share my feeling that neither the Israeli government nor AIPAC nor the mass Zionist organizations represent us or our beliefs. I am writing to you, however, as an individual who has just read your book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, to express my appreciation of what you have so bravely done to insist that there be honest, open discussion and inquiry in the United States about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the U.S.'s relationship to it.
Crucial questions, too long left untouched or superficially and misleadingly handled by the U.S. media, need to be raised in the public arena. Your book has been significant in enabling a necessary and long-overdue conversation. Even in Israel--particularly in the pages of the leading daily Ha'aretz--there is a debate on occupation and the gradual ethnic cleansing of the West Bank. Unfortunately, much of that debate remains untranslated from the Hebrew and inaccessible to people here. Important Israeli dissident writers such as Israel Shahak have made precisely that point.
There are a few issues I very much wish you had discussed in the book. You did not discuss the institutional racism directed at Palestinians living inside Israel. In fact, you disavow the idea that Israeli "apartheid" has anything to do with racism at all. You also do not include the notion of a secular, democratic state as even one alternative to be considered in resolving the problem.
But overall, you have done something extremely important and have admirably stood your ground amid the onslaught unleashed against you by those who deem sincere attempts to address the reality in Israel-Palestine as "anti-Semitic." Of greatest value is the fact that your voice is one that is hard for people to ignore or dismiss. In Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, your voice is one of "moderation," Christianity, religiosity and spirituality, fairness, kindness, reason, and (not least!) incomparable personal experience. It seems to me just the right, credible voice to get the U.S. public started on a vital conversation. Thank you, President Carter.