By Alan Hart
I must begin with a clarification. “The world” of my headline is inhabited only by our so-called leaders and their governments, not the civil societies of nations. And the complicity of our so-called leaders and their governments in Zionism’s crimes is in my view more by default out of fear of offending Zionism than design. But that doesn’t make the complicity any less real in effect.
The fear Western leaders and their foreign policy advisers have of offending Zionism is more complex than even some of the most informed and perceptive critics of Israel’s policies and actions seem to appreciate.
Yes, one part of the reason for the refusal of Western governments (the one in Washington D.C. especially) to use the leverage they have to try to cause Israel to end its defiance of international law and denial of justice for the Palestinians is fear of losing election campaign funding and votes and fear of being overwhelmed by false charges of anti-Semitism.
But the other, and in my view the biggest part of the reason, is fear of what Zionism’s nuclear-armed monster child might do if it was pushed further than its deluded leaders were prepared to go for the sake of peace based on an acceptable amount of justice for the Palestinians and security for all.
The leader who alerted me to this fear was President Jimmy Carter in a private conversation my wife and I had with him and Rosalynn after they were denied a second term in the White House. (Carter invited me to meet with him to brief him on my experience when in 1980 I accepted the challenge of being the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between Arafat and Shimon Peres. At the time Peres was Israel’s main opposition leader and believed that he would win Israel’s next election and deny Begin a second term by becoming prime minister himself. When Carter invited me to meet with him he asked me to bring my wife because, he said, he and Rosalynn worked as a team).
In this conversation, which has its context in CONFLICT WITHOUT END?, the sub-title of Volume Three of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy Of The Jews, I took Carter back to the early months of his first and only term in 1977 and his real determination then to construct and push forward a plan for a comprehensive and lasting Middle East peace.
I was aware that when on 20 May 1977 it became clear that against all expectations Menachem Begin (the most successful terrorist leader of modern times) would win a second term as Israel’s prime minister, Carter, who had privately welcomed my unofficial shuttle diplomacy, was in despair. He understood that he had no chance of overcoming the inevitable opposition from a Begin-led Israel and the Zionist lobby in America to his plan for a comprehensive peace and, first of all, the construction of a framework for negotiations.
And that was why Carter instructed Cyrus Vance, his cool and admirable secretary of state, to work with the Soviet Union on the production of a joint US-Soviet Declaration of Principles on which a comprehensive peace was to be based. Carter allowed himself to believe, or perhaps only to hope, that Zionism’s stooges in Congress, the Senate especially, would not dare to try to block a joint superpower initiative.
The joint US-Soviet Declaration of Principles was published on 1 October 1977. It was American and Soviet diplomacy at its best on paper. It was an outline plan for a comprehensive settlement of what was then called the Arab-Israeli conflict which not only contained all the necessary ingredients for peace. It presented them in a way that was calculated to prevent a knee-jerk rejection by any of the parties. The PLO was not mentioned by name – this was to make it easier for Israel to accept the declaration as a discussion document; and there was no reference to UN Security Council Resolution 242 – this to make it easier for Arafat’s PLO to give its seal of approval.
Essentially the joint US-Soviet Declaration required the Arab states and the Palestinians to make peace with Israel, and therefore to formally recognise and legitimize it at the end at the end of the negotiating process. This was to be in return for an Israeli withdrawal “from territories occupied in the 1967 conflict.” In addition to real peace Israel was to be offered a joint superpower guarantee of its existence; and the Israelis were required to recognize “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.” The obvious implication was that after an Israeli withdrawal, a Palestinian mini-state would be created on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The idea was that “the representatives of all the parties involved including the Palestinians” would assemble in Geneva to talk their way to an end to the conflict based on the principles set down in the joint US-Soviet Declaration.
It was hailed by most mainstream media institutions throughout the Western world (and beyond) as a real breakthrough offering real hope for real peace.
The Arab states and the PLO welcomed and accepted the joint US-Soviet Declaration as a basis for negotiations leading to peace with Israel. Because the PLO had not been mentioned by name, and because there was no specific commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian mini-state, a minority of Palestinian leaders (not the mainstream) were unhappy and made their usual rejectionist noises, but Arafat had no trouble in getting his mainstream (and majority) leadership colleagues to accept the declaration as the basis for negotiations with Israel.
Some years later I asked Arafat if he had truly believed that the Americans and the Soviets had opened the door to peace. And I told Carter exactly what Arafat said to me in reply.
Yes, yes, yes. I was very happy. Very excited. It was an historic moment. For the first time the two superpowers were committed to doing something for us Palestinians. Truly I believed there would be peace with some justice for my people. I was more optimistic than at any time in my life.
Israel rejected the US-Soviet Declaration
General Moshe Dayan, Israel’s one-eyed warlord and former defence minister, had crossed the Knesset floor to become foreign minister in Begin’s second-term coalition government, and he, Prime Minister Begin, sent Dayan to Washington to bully and blackmail President Carter into tearing up the joint US-Soviet Declaration and substitute for it a joint US-Israel memorandum of understanding, the terms of which Dayan more or less dictated to Carter and Vance. (Dayan had long been of the view that Israel’s task was not to explore the prospects for peace but to create settlement facts on the ground. According to a report in Time, Dayan was on the record just before the 1973 war with this statement. “There is no more Palestine. It’s finished!”)
The joint US-Israel memorandum of was, in effect, the list of Israel’s conditions for its attendance at a Geneva conference. Palestine was back to being a “problem of refugees”, in other words the Palestinians had no right to self-determination; 242 was back on the agenda, which meant that the PLO could not involve itself; and Israel would “discuss”, not negotiate about, the West Bank. Dayan also announced that Israel would walk out of any Geneva conference if the question of a Palestinian state was brought up.
The question I wanted to explore in depth with Carter was why, really, he had surrendered to Dayan and his new political master, Menachem Begin.
The conversation took place in the Oval Office equivalent at the Carter Center in Atlanta where, in partnership with Emory University. Jimmy and Rosalynn had set up a non-profit foundation which was driven by their true commitment to human rights, the alleviation of human suffering, the prevention and resolution of conflicts and advancing the prospects for freedom and democracy and improving health.
From the outset I knew I was going to have a very honest conversation with Carter and here’s why.
My wife and I were taken to meet the Carters by one of their Zionist lobby minders. When he closed the doors behind the five of us he was clearly assuming that he would sitting with us and would be able to report back to his masters what had been said. Jimmy raised his left hand in a stop gesture and said to the minder: “Please leave us. Rosalynn and I want to be alone with Alan and Nicole.”
When I zeroed in on why Carter had surrendered to Dayan and Begin and torn up the joint US-Soviet Declaration, I said there was speculation at the time that he had been told he could forget about being re-elected for a second term if he required Israel to make what its leaders would regard as unacceptable moves for peace.
I then said to Carter that I didn’t buy the notion that the threat to withdraw Jewish campaign funds and votes would have been sufficient to cause him to back down. He was, I went on, less than 10 months into his first term, had probably factored the traditional Zionist blackmail threat into his own equation, and concluded that the peace he was confident he could deliver, with Soviet assistance, would win him the support of most Jewish Americans, enabling him to put the Zionist lobby out of business.
I rounded off by saying with a smile, “Mr. President, if you had been allowed to deliver peace, the constitution might have been changed to give you a third term in office!”
Carter smiled and said my speculation that a threat to deny him a second term would not have been enough to blow him off course was essentially correct. He then went on to tell me the essence of the threat that Dayan had actually presented to him.
If he pushed Israel too far, Begin would let the IDF off the leash in the region and it would, among other things, invade Lebanon with two objectives – liquidating the PLO and taking for keeps Lebanese territory south of the Litani River.
Carter was, of course, fully aware that such a demonstration of Israel’s arrogance of power would de-stabilize the region and might well put a comprehensive peace beyond reach for all time.
As told to me by Carter, Dayan’s final flourish was this.
Mr. President you must know that my prime minister is mad. He could even bomb the Gulf oil wells.
Another truth Carter revealed to me was that any American president has only two windows of opportunity to confront the Zionist lobby – the first nine months of his first term because after that the fund raising for the mid-term elections begins, and the last year of his second term if he has one. (In the last year of his second term President Obama has washed his hands of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel and walked away from it).
Reinforcing the fear that all Western (and other) leaders have of confronting the Zionist (not Jewish) state is their knowledge, which they will never admit to having, of why, really, Israel possesses nuclear weapons. They know that Israel’s leaders were driven to acquire them not for defence but the need to have a nuclear blackmail card, to enable them to say to any American president, “Don’t push us too far or we’ll use these things!”
In my book I quote Dayan admitting this to me by obvious implication in a conversation I had with him in 1969.
When I add to that what Prime Minister Golda Meir said to me in an interview for the BBC’s Panorama programme – in a doomsday situation Israel would be prepared “to take the region and the world down with it” – I think that only one conclusion is invited.
The complicity by default of Western (and other) leaders in Zionism’s crimes will be never ending because Israel is, as it has long been, a nuclear-armed monster beyond control.
The above will be my last but one post for several months. As things are and look like going there will be nothing new to say until Hillary Clinton has won the race to the White House. My last post before I take a break will be the text of a presentation I’ll shortly be making in Italy in support of the publication of the Italian version of my book. (As expected the Zionist lobby put great effort into trying to prevent publication but its threats have been counter-productive). The title of my Italian presentation is Palestine and Zionism: The Whole Truth.
During my break from commenting on events in Israel-Palestine I’ll be working on a book I am writing about my own global learning experiences and what they’ve taught me about why our world is in such a dangerous mess and what must be done if our children and grandchildren are to have a future worth having. The working title I have assigned to the book is Our Children Will Not Forgive Us.