Jimmy Carter dared write a book tagging Israeli intransigence on settlements as a key detriment to a land settlement in Palestine. Moreover, he likened a rump Palestinian state -- rife with road blocks, checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians, and bounded by a fence -- to apartheid. Both of these positions are common enough in the rough-and-tumble world of Israeli politics. Either would be hard to refute.
Here in the U.S., though, they're beyond the pale and tantamount to anti-semitism. That's insane -- and it doesn't serve the long-term interests of Israel one whit.
Israel's friends are managing to cause it more damage than its foes, I fear -- a tendency I witnessed here when Paul Hue insensibly praised Ariel Sharon's visit to Temple Mount with a a bunch of armed thugs as an act of tolerance. Sharon is a war criminal; Israel's friends do themselves and their cause no credit by throwing their lot with him. Americans would likely react with rage if Osama bin Laden showed up at Ground Zero with a crew of armed henchmen, would they not?
The way of Sharon is the way of the assassins; His activities only pleased and energized the hardline enemies of Israel who want to push it into the sea, and demoralized and marginalized those who want peaceful coexistence. This sad pattern is now playing out in Lebanon, where hundreds of thousands are massed in the streets in support of Hezbolla, enraged by Israel's ham-fisted attempt to demolish Hezbolla by force. (Urged on, we now know, by that great statesperson Condoleeza Rice.)
"Now is the time of the assassins." --Rimbaud
But it doesn't have to be that way. Everyone who supports Israel should support Carter.