FREAKquel: Jimmy Carter and Israeli “Apartheid”

I posted here yesterday about the controversy over Jimmy Carter’s new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. I thought about, but did not comment upon, the book’s title. Rendered as it is, without any punctuation, it is an odd title. My eye very much wants to put a colon after “Palestine” and/or a comma after “Peace.” But it is what it is, right?

Well, not necessarily. In the Wall Street Journal‘s list of best-selling books, published today and each Friday morning, the Carter book is listed as simply “Palestine.” This is strange. It struck me that there are a few possible explanations for this.

1. Maybe the Journal list simply got it right. That is, maybe “Palestine” is the book’s real title and “Peace Not Apartheid” is only the subtitle. (Like most best-seller lists, the Journal‘s does not include subtitles.) You can certainly get that idea by looking at the book’s cover — and note that Amazon.com has indeed inserted a colon after “Palestine,” as has BarnesandNoble.com. But the New York Times treats all four words as the title — and, most tellingly to my mind, so does the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster. Which leads me to believe that S&S very much wanted the word “Apartheid” in the title and not just the subtitle. (This is to say nothing of the political implications of calling the book “Palestine,” of course, as opposed to “Israel” — but that is a different and larger kettle of fish.)

2. Maybe, I thought, the Journal list simply didn’t have space for the entire title — but it did have space for “Mr. and Mrs. Happy Handbook,” so that explanation doesn’t make sense.

3. Maybe, I thought, whoever compiled the list simply erred in omitting “Peace Not Apartheid.” If I could, I’d compare this week’s Journal list to past lists, but I can’t find the list online and I didn’t happen to snip last week’s list out of the paper.

4. Or maybe, I thought, someone at the Journal has an editorial objection to Carter’s use of the word “apartheid.” The Journal‘s editorial page is quite famously pro-Israel, and although the editorial page is not meant to represent the paper’s other sections (particularly, I would think, Personal Journal, where the book list appears), I wondered if perhaps an editorial view had indeed seeped into the makings of the book list.

Other thoughts?


Luke Collins

Ring them up and ask them! It's crazy, but it might just work...

quetranza

> Other thoughts?

Worst ex-President ever. He is an embarrassment.

saulweiner

Simply put - this was a cheap ploy to sell a few extra copies of a book while sounding controversial. Pathetic. Had a read of it and factually very weak.

ftelegdy

Graphically speaking, the "Palestine" part is separated, quite distinctly, from the "Peace Not Apartheid" part. Because I'm graphically inclined, I'd say it's "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," in which case the Journal was okay in dropping the "Peace Not Apartheid" part, whether they needed to or not for space reasons.

That said, it also shows up at ISBNdb.com (http://isbndb.com/d/book/palestine_peace_not_apartheid.html) as "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."

Personally, I think this is an issue between the title of the book and the book cover design. They clearly don't mesh (if the book is indeed titled without a colon) and I think it's caused the resulting mix-up more than anything else.

egretman

Well, it seems that whatever you believe, Carter has succeeded in being relevant again. Or at least controversial.

Maybe that is all that he wanted.

jag

Personally, absent punctuation, I read the title like a newspaper headline. In the interests of brevity and maximum font point size, Newspapers often eliminate instances of "to be" in headlines and replace "and" with a comma. Think of The Onion's farcical: "Clinton Feels Nation's Pain, Breasts"

In that case, it would suggest that "Palestinian Peace is Not Apartheid," which is the antithesis of the book's intent. *shrug*

-jag

Mango

Amazon.com lists the title as "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid".

Did the colon get added in the 4 and a half hours since this entry was posted, or did nobody else click on that link?

Mango

Or else maybe I'm illiterate and therefore unable to read that SJD already made that exact point in the original post. :(

strictures

After WWII, the surviving Jews went to Palestine, not Israel.

Growing up in Chicago, we always bought meat at Palestine Kosher Sausage on Roosevelt Rd. on the West Side.

It's criminal that the Israeli's allowed the word Palestine to be expropriated by the Arabs of the west bank!

Words & names do mean something, but I fear that Israeli's don't understand this.

Carter's use of the word "apartheid" however reeks of anti-Semitism!
He's probably been hanging out with Mad Mel Gibson!

Judith_S

If look at the cover (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/0743285026/ref=dp_image_text_0/002-5332386-6592027?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books) you see that it looks like a subtitle, it is visually separate from the remainder of the title.

Carter's book clearly lays all the blame for the conflict on Israel, so the title is appropriately anti-Israel. I'm disappointed in him. His past works for Habitat for Humanity and other organizations are diminished by the polemical tone of this book, and title.

pkimelma

strictures, I am not sure that any Jews or Israelis feel special about that name. The name Palestine was imposed by the Romans to punish the jews after a revolt (it was named "Syria Palestine"). The name derives from a small non-Jewish tribe nearby (that may have died out by that time) that I think we translate as Philistine. So, I do not think many jews have any special affinity for that name.

blink

It seems the "search engine" hypothesis – that Carter (or his publisher) wanted “apartheid” in the title – explains the most. But if this case, it seems that new title would have been clearer. Perhaps the book ought to be some variant of “Peace Not Apartheid: The Case for Palestine.”

cemmcs

quetranza

Worst President ever? Nobody more recent comes to mind?

tcarson

Carter, himself, in interviews has defended the term apartheid as useful in explaining the impasse. It is telling that the outcry and editorial policy of such biased journals (is it bias or merely a corporate vested interest?) as the WSJ, is so shrill when Carter is simply stating what all reasonable people who have thought about the conflict believe: that Israel won't settle for the '67 borders, they want the resources of the West Bank (water) and have no intention of accepting any of the UN resolutions that censor the country and, once accepted, would settle the conflict. Carter has done a really useful service with this book.

uncle leo strauss

Yes, this comment is late, but I just found this blog and thought I'd weigh in more on the substance discussion than the issue of title (although this blog entry argues that perhaps the one has to do with the other). I've actually read the book, and contrary to saulweiner's observations, I thought the title of the book was indicative of the theme of the book. Given the fact that many of the facts presented are easily cross checked against history books as well as the United Nations website, and the fact that so much of the book involves Carter's recounting of personal conversations and meetings with high level officials on many sides of the conflict (the support for which he says are found in his copious notes), it is odd to read that saulweiner actually found the book "factually very weak." Judith S was also wrong in stating that Carter "clearly lays all the blame for the conflict on Israel." Carter actually parcels out blame on both sides, giving a healthy dose to Israel for acting against international law and describing the negative and destructive ramifications of such defiance. Carter actually confesses his fondness for Israel and its people and notes his distress that Israel is acting in its own worst interest.

Such honest and inclusive evaluation of the underlying issues is very rarely seen in America -- instead, we like to think in terms of absolute good against absolute evil. These distortions are proffered by the many who cannot reasonably debate the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because they are unable or unwilling to accept that Israel has any culpability. Thank you Mr. Carter for the highly open and thoughtful insights into a sad and costly conflict.

Read more...

Luke Collins

Ring them up and ask them! It's crazy, but it might just work...

quetranza

> Other thoughts?

Worst ex-President ever. He is an embarrassment.

saulweiner

Simply put - this was a cheap ploy to sell a few extra copies of a book while sounding controversial. Pathetic. Had a read of it and factually very weak.

ftelegdy

Graphically speaking, the "Palestine" part is separated, quite distinctly, from the "Peace Not Apartheid" part. Because I'm graphically inclined, I'd say it's "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," in which case the Journal was okay in dropping the "Peace Not Apartheid" part, whether they needed to or not for space reasons.

That said, it also shows up at ISBNdb.com (http://isbndb.com/d/book/palestine_peace_not_apartheid.html) as "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."

Personally, I think this is an issue between the title of the book and the book cover design. They clearly don't mesh (if the book is indeed titled without a colon) and I think it's caused the resulting mix-up more than anything else.

egretman

Well, it seems that whatever you believe, Carter has succeeded in being relevant again. Or at least controversial.

Maybe that is all that he wanted.