- The Washington Times - Monday, December 25, 2006

Carter’s distortions

Thank you for Mona Charen’s Wednesday Commentary column, “Brave Jimmy Carter?” which revealed the former U.S. president’s recent anti-Israel book to be nothing more than baseless propaganda. Indeed, it is telling that Mr. Carter, who has insisted that there is “no debate in America about anything that would be critical of Israel,” has repeatedly refused opportunities to debate Alan Dershowitz and other critics who have savaged his book for its errors, omissions and lies, because he knows he cannot defend his own words.

For instance, Mr. Carter ignores that in 1948, the Arabs practiced real apartheid by ethnically cleansing all Jews from eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, including rendering the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem “judenrein” and destroying nearly all of its ancient synagogues and grave markers. Recall, too, that after the war, Jordan, in violation of the terms of its cease-fire with Israel, barred all Jews from visiting the Western Wall or Temple Mount for the next 19 years.

In fact, more than 900,000 Jews were expelled forcibly from their homes in Arab lands from Morocco to Iraq in the years after 1948, and many Arab nations, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, still have laws that bar Jews from becoming citizens. By contrast, those Arabs who stayed in Israel after 1948 (and did not heed Arab countries’ calls to leave and facilitate Israel’s destruction) are full citizens of Israel with full rights in the region’s only true democracy.

Mr. Carter’s book also deliberately obscures the fact that the 1967 Six-Day War was triggered by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who besieged Israel and blockaded its port of Eilat, declaring: “Our basic objective will be to destroy Israel.” Mr. Carter falsely states that Israel attacked Jordan, when in fact, it was Jordan that opened the Jerusalem/West Bank front by attacking Israel, as Mrs. Charen correctly notes. Also, Mr. Carter’s emphasis on blaming Israel for a land grab apparently prevents him from acknowledging that in the immediate aftermath of Israel’s stunning victory in the Six-Day War, Israel offered to return captured territories for peace, but the Arabs responded with the infamous Khartoum, Sudan, “Three Noes” resolution: “No negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no peace for Israel.”

Perhaps most egregious of all, Mr. Carter assails Israel’s security barrier as “apartheid” supposedly motivated by a desire to seize Arab land. However, he fails to mention that the barrier was constructed in response to incessant Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel that already had killed nearly 900 Israeli civilians — one-third of whom were women and children. In striking contrast to Syria’s response in 1982 to an Islamist uprising (the Soviet-backed Hafez al-Assad regime massacred nearly 20,000 people in the city of Hama) Israel’s response to terror was restrained and humane. It also was remarkably successful, bringing the Palestinians’ suicide-bomb terror campaign against Israeli civilians to a virtual halt, saving hundreds if not thousands of lives on both sides. For Israel, the barrier was not about “apartheid” — it was about survival.

STEPHEN A. SILVER

Walnut Creek, Calif.

A scare for higher taxes

I believe the continuing issue of saving Social Security is the scare tactic of the century. The issue is not about saving Social Security. It’s about saving the federal budget. That isn’t going to happen, either, because our lawmakers will continue to rake off the yearly excess Social Security money and spend more on other, or new, programs (“Stop raids on Social Security,” Commentary, Dec. 15).

There is no Social Security “trust fund.” The money does not exist in any fund. It all flows through and is coming out of the U.S. Treasury. The scare tactics fit right in with the plan to tax higher-income earners. It raises the chances this plan will happen. It still will not save Social Security. It’s a all myth.

RON LEMKE

Santa Maria, Calif.

Compulsory unionism and intimidation

I could not agree more with the editorial about unions and intimidation (“The Democrats and Big Labor,” Thursday). Card checks as a method of voting in a union definitely would lead to strong-arm tactics and widespread intimidation. On the other side of the fence, they are a way for people who are forced into union shops to regain a measure of control.

In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case Harry E. Beck v. Communications Workers of America that all members of closed-shop unions or people in agency shops (one where membership isn’t forced, but an equivalent of dues are paid to the union and the union has to provide the same services to nonmembers as they do members in regard to arbitration and grievances) can have funds returned to them that the union would have paid for engaging in nonarbitration activities. All that is needed is to write to the union annually and provide its coordinator with the requisite information, such as the union local with which the employee is affiliated and the name, address and Social Security number of the agency member.

Many unions, when called, avoid trying to give the information about this program, as it has the potential to drain them of the money they would use to try to elect socialist, left-wing Democrats. Agency members just need to make sure that if they get the runaround from their union, that they contact the authorities to report the union for obstructing them. People have a right not to support political agendas with which they disagree, and this is one way to keep unions from forcing their agenda down the throats of those opposed.

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie

Technology and our energy problems

Paul Driessen points to the tremendous technological change that occurred between 1900 and 2000 and asks that we put our faith in technology to address the problem of global climate change (“Climate ideology control,” Commentary, Wednesday). However, most of the changes that occurred during the last century were based on technology that already had been invented in the 1800s. Electricity, turbines, gasoline engines and cars were invented by 1900. Except for photovoltaic and nuclear energy, the major energy sources we use today were already being used. Our move away from the country was driven by farm mechanization well underway by 1900. Our move out to the suburbs was driven by the automobile, locking in wasteful long-distance commutes and our current “drive everywhere” transportation system. The 1900s were largely just the rollout of the technology invented in the previous century.

This rollout wasn’t without its problems. We took tons of fossil fuels and put them into the atmosphere. Most atmospheric scientists fear this will destabilize the climate. Most geologists fear that oil and natural gas will enter decline before we have put workable replacements into practice.

Now Mr. Driessen wants new technology to solve the problem — but maybe, as at the beginning of the last century, we already have the answer in our hands. If a century of hard work by scientists hasn’t developed any more energy miracles than photovoltaics and nuclear, perhaps we should look harder at what we have in hand already.

Indeed, much of the answer was available in 1900, let alone 2000. We need more rail, not more superhighways and airports. We need balanced, localized agriculture rather than huge monocrop fields in one state, huge concentrated animal feeding operations in other states and endless streams of trucks in between. Clearly, too, our climate and energy problems would be easier with a lower population like we had toward the beginning of the last century. We need to think through our energy and climate problems and use the appropriate technologies and policies rather than just place all our hopes on some unknown future invention.

CARL HENN

Rockville

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