Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
August 28, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 22     (21 of 23 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 22     (21 of 23 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
August 28, 2009

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

PAGE 22A Federation From page 1A to begin adjusting to a new reality. This year, the Fed- eration closed its campaign with about $700,000 less than it did last year, with many lyrevious pledges still outstanding. This makes the Federation less able to allocate to its agencies: President Ian Robinson told the Heritage that each agency's 2009-10 allocation has been cut significantly, hard choices they're being although all will receive forced to make. about the same proportion Heritage columnist David of the now-dwindling pie Bornstein recently wrote a that they did previously, column called "Downsizing And now the Federation and our dreams," about this new agencies have spoken with- reality. On pages 12, 13 and the Heritage to describe the 23 of this issue, see where HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 28, the challenges are, and what the agencies are doing to try to shore up their services. Every agency head who spoke with us emphasized that they need members of the community to help now more than ever. While the fi- nancial need is great, all said that gifts of time and talent, such as sharing computer skills or technical exper- tise, are welcome. Donate, volunteer or get involved by contacting your favorite agencies individually. AIPAC From page 1A of that is what we call self- determination." "Israel is a place where Jews have congregated that restores their biblical con- nection, but also provides for the present defense of the right to choose." And for Stein personally, "it's not mote complicated with that. It's not overlayered with Jerusalem or settle- ments, or borders or 'Who is a Jew?' It simply has to do with a people who have died in order to say 'I don't mind being different, I like being different.'" "The defense of difference is what Judaism is about. We are the protagonists of pluralism. Why do auto- crats dislike Jews? Because we believe in the rights of the individual, we don't . ~-,~ beheve in the rights of the autocrat." Stein, who accompanied Carter on numerous trips to the Middle East, believes that Jews have the "right to be in a nation-state--and I believe so do the Palestin- ians. Like Americans who tossed tea off the ships in the 1760s, these folks have a right to have a place of their own as long as they're not infringing on somebody else's rights." But that doesn't mean Israel should give up self-defense: "Israe- lis have a right to protect their citizens at all costs and shouldn't do anything in the negotiation process to negate that." Palestinians, said Stein, need "a place where they can govern their own af- long as there are mechanisms in place that will preserve their territo- rial integrity and preserve that of their neighbors." Three years ago, Cart- er's infamously-titled book launched hundreds of op- eds throughout the Jewish community, many sug- gesting that he was an anti-Semite. Stein said that in all his years of working intimately with Carter, there was "never any overt anti-Semitism" in anything Carter said in his presence. But "I knew he had a bias against Israel. I knew that when he was teach- ing at Emory. His bias had to do with a consummate commitment to a process that said, 'I have to have a comprehensive peace, and anyone who stands in the way of a comprehensive peace is not my friend.'" Carter's animus against the late Israeli Prime Minis- ter Menachem Begin is now legendary: The president saw his Israeli peace partner as stalling the negotia- tions that ultimately led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty signed at Camp David in 1978. But people often forget, said Stein, that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat prac- ticed delaying tactics of his own. "Sadat wanted to be sure he got Sinai first before there was a comprehensive peace. When you scratched him under the surface, he was 'Sinai first.'" "Carter's view was that the Israelis were holding back the process. What Carter failed to understand as president is the great dif- ference in our world among Arab states and their priori- ties. King Hussain [the late ruler of Jordan] despised Arafat...There remains in the history of American foreign policy toward the Middle East a lack of nu- anced understanding of how Arab states operate and how they're different." Stein thinks Carter felt that"the Israelis were drag- ging their feet. When Begin would say too often, 'I can't make a decision, I have to take it to the cabinet,' Carter saw it as a delaying tactic. With Sadat, he dealt with an autocrat." "Carter's view of the Is- raeli political system is that there was this stodginess, an unwillingness to move forward. His view was that they didn't want to talk about the West Bank." Stein remembers Carter saying, "'Sadat trusted me too much. Begin didn't trust me enough.'" "In later years, his at- titudes toward Israel didn't change," even when Israel withdrew from occupied territories and halted set- tlement-building. Stein believes that after Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, "felt he could say anything and no one would hold him ac- countable." Stein may be in the best position to see continuity in the trajectory of Carte~,'s in- creasingly anti-Israel public statements. "I've looked at dozens of memoranda I wrote to him. Just yesterday, I started going through a huge volume of memoranda. I have letters, notes, com- ments about op-ed pieces he would put together." Stein finds "consistency" in his advice to Carter over time. He told Carter that if he wanted to be a major player in the peace .process, "You can't come down solely on one side even if you believe it, and even if you believe it, you can't not acknowledge the complexities of the Arab world." Stein expresses some bemusement that many obsercers perceived his break with Carter as a sud- den surprise. "They said, 'Oh my God, how could Ken have done that?'" But "what I said publicly in the spring of 2007 is what I was say- ing in memoranda 20 years before." Since Stein was paid di- rectly by Emory rather than the Carter Center, his salary and academic future weren't dependent upon pleasing Carter: "Thereality is that I have been honest with him as long as I've known him." The day before speaking with the Heritage, Stein had read a memorandum he'd written to Carter in March 1987. (The first document he's found in which he detailed similar concerns dates from 1985.) "I have five or six of them." And these detailed memoranda "aren't just one paragraph." Stein remembers that Carter would "acknowledge that he'd read them" and then not make any modi- fications. Yet "eighty percent of the time, I agreed with him. I agreed with him in the 1980s that there should be a two-state solution"--a time when many in the American Jewish com- munity felt that position was equivalent to "saying rabbis should eat pork." "As a historian, I've come to realize that it was in '37 and in '47 that first the British and then the U.N. said two people should have two states." His current relations with Carter? "They don't exist. I haven't had any communi- cation with him since April of 2007.!' "He's entitled to his point of view," said Stein. But"the things in the book, some of them were just outland- ish. He'd never said some of those things in public. This was an aggregation of inventions and cleverly- woven-together phrases." Carter was once a fre- quent lecturer to Stein's classes, and "more than once he has said in public that 'Ken is one of the best teachers I've ever seen.'" But Carter's own schol- arly standards have been so lacking on the topic of the Mideast that "If a student of mine in my Arab-Israeli con- flict class wrote the things he's written, that student would have a very difficult time breaking a 'C.'" Now that President Barack Obama has made widely publicized overtures to the Muslim world, and pres- sured Israel to stop "natural growth" in the settlements, some pro-Israel activists are worried. How does Stein think Obama is doing? On Obama's speech in Cairo this spring: "Fifty minutes of the 55-minute speech dealt with the Mus- lim and Arab world, and five minutes dealt with Israeli issues. A couple of things I'd disagree with," but he doesn't think those things mean Obama is anti-Israel. He doesn't believe that one speech makes or breaks a president. "I think there's enough reason to be cautious about him, but there's no reason to be concerned that his foreign policy isn't going to evolve. Compared to the last president [George W. Bush], no president could be that close to Israel." Is Obama destined to be "another Jimmy Carter," as some in the pro-Israel com- munity have charged? "Every president has the potential to become a Jimmy Carter or an FDR or a Lyn- don Johnson. Seven months in office does not make or break a president." Stein is "a historical con- text person. I don't get real upset real quickly. There's always umpteen precedents. I understand why people have trepidations [about Obama'a Mideast stance]. I understand why people are fiercely angry at Obama. That doesn't mean I agree with them. We have one president at a time, we don't have two." And after Bush's two terms, ',the Palesinians are more divided than they ever were." While some commenta- tors fear that the possibili- ties for lasting peace are now slim, Stain takes the long view. "'Do you think there's any possibility that an Egyptian leader would ever--after being antagonists in 1967- make peace with Israel?' Suppose you'd asked that question in 1969 or '70?" "I think presidents learn as they're in office. Every president comes to office with an enormous learning curve for foreign affairs." For more information about the AIPAC event, contact Eric Ross at eross@ or954- 382-6110.