Friday, December 22, 2006


That’s essentially what Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz is doing in this Boston Globe op-ed about Jimmy Carter’s unwillingness to debate Dershowitz about Carter’s most recent book “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.” Here’s the opening paragraph of Professor Dershowitz’s op-ed:

YOU CAN ALWAYS tell when a public figure has written an indefensible book: when he refuses to debate it in the court of public opinion. And you can always tell when he’s a hypocrite to boot: when he says he wrote a book in order to stimulate a debate, and then he refuses to participate in any such debate. I’m talking about former president Jimmy Carter and his new book “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.”

Carter has been exposed repeatedly by both liberal Jews and by conservative Christians but few have flayed him as thoroughly as has Professor Dershowitz. Carter’s fear of debating Dershowitz is understandable considering the indefensible statements that he made in his book, not to mention having to defend those statements against a debater of Professor Dershowitz’s caliber.

Dershowitz continues, saying:

The next week Carter wrote a series of op-eds bemoaning the reception his book had received.

He wrote that his “most troubling experience” had been “the rejection of [his] offers to speak” at “university campuses with high Jewish enrollment.” The fact is that Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz had invited Carter to come to Brandeis to debate me, and Carter refused. The reason Carter gave was this: “There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine.”

As Carter knows, I’ve been to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, many times, certainly more times than Carter has been there, and I’ve written three books dealing with the subject of Middle Eastern history, politics, and the peace process. The real reason Carter won’t debate me is that I would correct his factual errors. It’s not that I know too little; it’s that I know too much.

While it’s true that Carter wants nothing to do with debating anyone about this book, the bigger truth is that he doesn’t want his lies to be exposed to the public because it will be a public humiliation that will forever sink what little is left of his presidential legacy. Carter tried making provocative statements with hopes of them just being accepted as fact. When that didn’t happen, he started backpedaling and obfuscating about what he wanted the book to be.

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