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The day Jimmy Carter was reduced to silence [must read - the brilliance of Menachem Begin]
Jerusalem Post ^ | Sep. 11, 2003 | Yehuda Avner

Posted on 09/11/2003 6:24:41 PM PDT by yonif

Jimmy Carter, peanut farmer, ran an austere White House. Consonant with his innate Calvinistic intuitions, he cast himself in the role of citizen-president. He banned Hail to the Chief, slashed the entertainment budget, sold the presidential yacht, pruned the limousine fleet, and generally rid his mansion of foppery, artifice, and pretentiousness. He even carried his own bag.

So when he welcomed prime minister Menachem Begin to the White House in July 1977 with a flamboyant ceremony fit for a king - replete with a 19-gun salute, a march-past of all the armed services, and a choreographed parade of the Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps in the white livery of the Revolutionary War - the media rightly conjectured that this was a token of either high esteem or pure flattery.

US ambassador Samuel Lewis confided that it was a bit of both: "The president was persuaded that in dealing with Begin honey would get him a lot further than vinegar," he said.

And, indeed, the talks did get off to a decent start. The two leaders and their advisers exchanged views on such sensitive topics as an Israel-Arab peace parley in Geneva, the Soviet mischief in the Horn of Africa, and the PLO menace from Southern Lebanon. Then came a pause, and when coffee was served the president and the premier sipped in silence, each sizing the other up as if by mutual consent in preparation for what was next to come.

And what came next was an amazingly detailed presentation of the Likud creed on the inalienable rights of the Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael. This being the first summit between a Likud premier and an American president, Menachem Begin was determined that Jimmy Carter hear firsthand what he stood for.

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, an unruffled man as a rule, became quite agitated upon hearing that Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip were not to be relinquished. He contended that this would put pay to any plan for a Geneva peace conference.

The president thought so, too. Carter wore a mask of politeness as he peered at his notes, written in his neat penmanship on heavy bond White House stationary, but one could tell by his clenched jaw that irritation lurked beneath. He said in his reedy Georgian accent: "Mr. Prime Minister, my impression is that your insistence on your rights over the West Bank and Gaza would be regarded as an indication of bad faith. It would be a signal of your apparent intention to make the military occupation of these areas permanent.

"It will close off all hopes of negotiations. It would be incompatible with my responsibilities as president of the United States if I did not put this to you as bluntly and as candidly as I possibly can. Mr. Begin," Carter railed, exasperation flaring in his steely, pale-blue eyes, "there can be no permanent military occupation of those conquered territories."

We Israeli officials around the conference table in the Cabinet Room, where the meeting was held, eyed each other with sideways squints. But Begin had readied himself for this encounter with this post-Watergate president of moral renewal - Carter the preacher with a penchant for self-righteousness.

So he leaned back and gazed with deceptively mild eyes above the president's head at the old brass chandelier hanging over the grand oak table. He was not going to be rushed.

He knew that he and the president were on vastly different trajectories, a no-exit confrontation on the settlement of the biblical heartland. Carter was as cast iron as himself. He would not bend. Nevertheless, Begin had somehow to persuade this judgmental man, who wanted to be a healer, this energetic doer with the empirical mind of an engineer, that he honestly and truly wanted peace, and that the territories were not only a matter of historic rights but also of vital security.

SO WHEN he returned Carter's stare he did so with a look that was grave and commanding.

"Mr. President," he said, "I wish to tell you something personal - not about me, but about my generation. What you have just heard about the Jewish people's inherent rights to the Land of Israel may seem academic to you, theoretical, even moot. But not to my generation. To my generation of Jews these eternal bonds are indisputable and incontrovertible truths, as old as recorded time. They touch upon the very core of our national being.

"For we are an ancient homecoming nation. Ours is an almost biblical generation of suffering and courage. Ours is the generation of Destruction and Redemption. Ours is the generation that rose up from the bottomless pit of Hell."

His voice was mesmeric, his tone deeply reflective, as if reaching down into generations of memory. The sheer ardor of his language nudged the table to intense attention.

"We were a helpless people, Mr. President. We were bled white, not once, not twice, but century after century, over and over again. We lost a third of our people in one generation - mine. One-and-a-half million of them were children - ours. No one came to our rescue. We suffered and died alone. We could do nothing about it. But now we can. Now we can defend ourselves."

Suddenly he rose to his feet, his face as tough as steel. "I have a map," he said, intrepidly.

An aide snappily unrolled a 3x5 chart between the two men.

"There is nothing remarkable about this map," Begin went on. "It is quite a standard one of our country, displaying the old armistice line as it existed until the 1967 Six Day War, the so-called Green Line."

He ran his finger along the defunct frontier, which meandered down the center of the country.

"And as you see, our military cartographers have simply marked the infinitesimal mileages of defensive depth we had in that war." He leaned across the table and pointed to the deep brown-colored mountainous area which covered the northern sector of the map.

"The Syrians sat on top of these mountains, Mr. President. We were at the bottom." His finger marked the Golan Heights, and then rested on the green panhandle below. "This is the Hula Valley. It is hardly 10 miles wide. They shelled our towns and villages from the tops of those mountains, day and night." Carter gazed, his hands clamped under his chin.

The prime minister's finger now moved southwards, to Haifa: "The armistice line is hardly 20 miles away from our major port city," he said. And then it rested on Netanya: "Our country here was reduced to a narrow waist nine miles wide." The president nodded. "I understand," he said.

But Begin was not sure that he did. His finger trembled and his voice rumbled: "Nine miles, Mr. President. Inconceivable! Indefensible!" Carter made no comment.

The finger now hovered over Tel Aviv, and then it drummed the map: "Here live a million Jews, 12 miles from that indefensible armistice line. And here, between Haifa in the north and Ashkelon in the south" - his finger ran up and down the coastal plain - "live two-thirds of our total population.

"And this coastal plain is so narrow that a surprise thrust by a column of tanks could cut the country in two in a matter of minutes. For whosoever sits in these mountains" - his fingertips tapped the tops of Judea and Samaria - "holds the jugular vein of Israel in his hands."

His dark, watchful eyes swept the stone-faced features of the powerful men sitting opposite him, and with the conviction of one who had fought for everything he had ever gotten, tersely declared:

"Gentlemen, there is no going back to those lines. No nation in our merciless and unforgiving neighborhood can be rendered so vulnerable and survive."

CARTER BENT his head forward, the better to inspect the map, but still said nothing. His eyes were as indecipherable as water.

"Mr. President," continued Begin in a tone that brooked no indifference, "This is our map of national security, and I use that term in its most unembellished sense. It is our map of survival. And the distinction between the past and the present is just that: survival. Today, our menfolk can defend their women and children. In the past they could not. Indeed, they had to deliver them to their Nazi executioners. We were tertiated, Mr. President."

Carter lifted his head. "What was that word, Mr. Prime Minister?"

"Tertiated, not decimated. The origin of the word 'decimation' is one in 10. When a Roman legion was found guilty of insubordination one in 10 was put to the sword. In our case it was one in three - tertiated!"

And now, with moistening eyes, and in a voice that was deliberate, stubborn, his every word weighed, Begin declared, "Sir, I take an oath before you in the name of the Jewish people - this will never ever happen again."

And then he broke down. He compressed his lips, which began to tremble.

Unseeingly, he stared at the map, struggling to blink back the tears. He clenched his fists and pressed them so tightly against the tabletop, his knuckles went white. He stood there, head bent, heart-broken, dignified.

A hush, as silent as a vault, settled on the room. Seized by his private, infernal Shoah reverie, he peered past Carter with a strange reserve in his eyes, a remote stare. It were as if he was looking through this born-again, Southern Baptist president from way inside himself, from that deep, Jewish intimate place of infinite lament and eternal faith - the place of long, long memory. And hidden down there, in that place, he was standing with Moses and the Maccabees.

Carter bowed his head and remained in an attitude of respectful frozen stillness. Others looked away. The tick of the antique clock on the marble mantelpiece suddenly grew audible. An eternity seemed to hang between each tick. The silence was deafening. It was a thunderbolt of national resolve never to go back to those lines.

By degrees, in slow motion, the prime minister raised himself to his full height and the room came back to life. Carter considerately suggested a recess, but Begin said it wasn't necessary. He had made his point.

The writer, a veteran diplomat, was an adviser to four prime ministers, including Menachem Begin. (avner28@netvision.net.il).


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; Israel; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 1967; begin; brilliant; carter; warforsurival
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1 posted on 09/11/2003 6:24:44 PM PDT by yonif
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To: SJackson
Ping.
2 posted on 09/11/2003 6:25:23 PM PDT by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: yonif
Powerful piece, thanks. Carter was, and is...clueless.
3 posted on 09/11/2003 6:33:20 PM PDT by PGalt
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To: yonif
Powerful piece, thanks. Carter was, and is...clueless.
4 posted on 09/11/2003 6:34:51 PM PDT by PGalt
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To: yonif
And we tell them everyday to hold back, unbelievable.
5 posted on 09/11/2003 6:38:36 PM PDT by ALASKA
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To: dennisw
Ping.
6 posted on 09/11/2003 6:38:51 PM PDT by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: PGalt; ALASKA; All

7 posted on 09/11/2003 6:39:53 PM PDT by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: yonif
Excellent!
8 posted on 09/11/2003 6:40:06 PM PDT by blam
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To: yonif
What a powerful story.

I continue to fear that there is no peace for Israel.

I do not pretend to know God's will concerning Israel but I am comforted by his words.

9 posted on 09/11/2003 6:42:16 PM PDT by PFKEY
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To: yonif
Thanks for that post, and the maps as well. Very powerful and informative indeed.
10 posted on 09/11/2003 6:43:29 PM PDT by freep_toad
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To: yonif
Menachem Begin was one tough little guy. Made of iron. Lived a modest life and his thoughts and efforts were selflessly for Israel
11 posted on 09/11/2003 6:45:37 PM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: yonif
http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/History/ishisttoc.html

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/asbook06.html
13 posted on 09/11/2003 6:46:54 PM PDT by RaceBannon (It is perfectly fine to kill people when you are defending yourself)
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To: freep_toad
The sad thing is that Bush and every president since Carter have been advocating and supporting the same thing.
14 posted on 09/11/2003 6:52:29 PM PDT by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: dennisw
And Carter continues to run for sainthood amongst the US Left.
15 posted on 09/11/2003 6:53:18 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: ALASKA
"And we tell them everyday to hold back, unbelievable."

They should just ignore us!
16 posted on 09/11/2003 6:54:18 PM PDT by Arpege92
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To: yonif
Carter the preacher with a penchant for self-righteousness.

For quite some time I had respect for Jimmy Carter the man and the engineer, even though I didn't always agree with him. But ever since he became a lackey, a pawn, for the Clintonian Left just like John Glenn (the boyhood hero with feet of clay) and Walter Cronkhite, I've no use for him.

17 posted on 09/11/2003 6:54:53 PM PDT by Eala (Truth... is a cow which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull.)
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To: yonif
WHO COULD EXPECT THE MAN THAT GAVE IRAN TO THE MULLAHS AND THE PANAMA CANAL TO THE RED CHINESE TO UNDERSTAND SUCH A MOVING SPEECH?
18 posted on 09/11/2003 6:55:36 PM PDT by faithincowboys (Defeat the Fifth Column Leftist Bastards)
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To: yonif
WHO COULD EXPECT THE MAN THAT GAVE IRAN TO THE MULLAHS AND THE PANAMA CANAL TO THE RED CHINESE TO UNDERSTAND SUCH A MOVING SPEECH?
19 posted on 09/11/2003 6:55:43 PM PDT by faithincowboys (Defeat the Fifth Column Leftist Bastards)
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To: faithincowboys
What do you think of President Bush who pressures Israel to do the same?
20 posted on 09/11/2003 6:57:29 PM PDT by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: yonif
We were tertiated, Mr. President."

Carter lifted his head. "What was that word, Mr. Prime Minister?"

PRICELESS!
21 posted on 09/11/2003 6:59:23 PM PDT by Optimist (I think I'm beginning to see a pattern here.)
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To: yonif
BUMP for later.
22 posted on 09/11/2003 7:01:51 PM PDT by jmstein7
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To: yonif
Powerful piece, Yonif. May God bless the Israelis.
23 posted on 09/11/2003 7:05:57 PM PDT by nwrep
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
24 posted on 09/11/2003 7:06:27 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: nwrep
I sent it to President Bush on his public email.
25 posted on 09/11/2003 7:08:51 PM PDT by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: yonif
He even carried his own bag.

He carried his own empty bag.
26 posted on 09/11/2003 7:13:06 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: yonif
Next time mail it with a personal note, fax it, or call. The Bush White House holds a very, very, very low opinion of EMails. So I'm told.
27 posted on 09/11/2003 7:15:29 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Thanks for the info.
28 posted on 09/11/2003 7:16:04 PM PDT by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: yonif
Carter was an insufferable, self-righteous, glory-hounding putz then and has remained so unto the present day. Remember how he kept bitching to his wife about his lack of recognition when they were at Nixon's funeral?
29 posted on 09/11/2003 7:23:18 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: yonif
I sent it to President Bush on his public email.

Good.

30 posted on 09/11/2003 7:23:35 PM PDT by happygrl
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To: yonif
Unfortunately, you are correct. I don't have to imagine how I would feel if someone else tried to tell the U.S. that we should have been patient with Al Qaeda - and their supporters - after Sept, 2001.
IMHO, Israel should (and has every right to) take the same stance the U.S. took after that day 2 years ago today: "We do not need anyone's approval when it comes to protecting our own sovereignty".
31 posted on 09/11/2003 7:28:47 PM PDT by freep_toad
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To: yonif
It were as if he was looking through this born-again, Southern Baptist pathetical, duplicitious, little man president from way inside himself, from that deep, Jewish intimate place of infinite lament and eternal faith - the place of long, long memory.
32 posted on 09/11/2003 7:29:36 PM PDT by AmericaUnited
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To: aruanan
We might have been better off with Billy, at least not much worse.


33 posted on 09/11/2003 7:30:21 PM PDT by SJackson
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To: yonif
Very powerful. Clearly written by someone who was present.
34 posted on 09/11/2003 7:35:45 PM PDT by WaterDragon (America the beautiful, I love this nation of (legal) immigrants.)
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To: SJackson
We might have been better off with Billy, at least not much worse.

You mean Billy Clinton? Bill Clinton was Billy Carter with racing stripes, glass packs, and a big spoiler.
35 posted on 09/11/2003 7:39:11 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: yonif; Fzob
Thanks, great story

The difference between a real man and a peanut brain.

36 posted on 09/11/2003 7:44:06 PM PDT by JZoback
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To: yonif
"We were tertiated, Mr. President."

Carter lifted his head. "What was that word, Mr. Prime Minister?"

A Polish Jew teaches English to an American President holding a University diploma.

37 posted on 09/11/2003 7:48:04 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Go ahead, make my day and re-state the obvious! Again!)
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To: JZoback
Talk about the lemmings - peanuts ... social engineering --- social science liberal DNC nazis !

Exactly 5 years on the FR ... this is what I learned !

Brown shirt box car (( acLu // naacLp // DARWIN )) america (( reno - gore - PLO - dnc - aflcio - chicoms )) ...

... vs ...

... * FREE * (( nra // RNC - BUSH )) America - Israel !

Check out the * link * !

In case you're wondering (( nra membership )) !

Check it out ... you get a free --- $ 10, 000 $ --- accidental life insurance policy with it !

No 2nd amendment ... NO 1st amendment --- soviet pc gulag stalag america a la clinton - liberals !

Traitors !

38 posted on 09/11/2003 7:49:11 PM PDT by f.Christian (evolution vs intelligent design ... science3000 ... designeduniverse.com --- * architecture * !)
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To: yonif
awesome.

Thanks.
39 posted on 09/11/2003 8:01:11 PM PDT by xzins
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To: yonif

the brilliance of Menachem Begin BUMP

40 posted on 09/11/2003 8:06:37 PM PDT by putupon (The text in this tagline serves no purpose other than to occupy the space between the parentheses)
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To: Salem
Ping.
41 posted on 09/11/2003 8:08:04 PM PDT by yonif ("If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem, Let My Right Hand Wither" - Psalms 137:5)
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To: yonif
"rid his mansion of foppery..."

Love it. This writer is a student of H.L. Mencken. Fops is a great 1920s word and should be resurrected and smeared liberally on many politicians.
42 posted on 09/11/2003 8:11:56 PM PDT by sergeantdave (Ran out of maple syrup for my waffles this morning. Grrr.)
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To: yonif
Bump!
43 posted on 09/11/2003 8:28:26 PM PDT by TotusTuus
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To: yonif
What a wonderful story! Thanks for posting it.
44 posted on 09/11/2003 8:30:45 PM PDT by paulklenk (Freedom isn't free.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
I heard Carter described as one of the greatest US presidents of all time...I must have missed something when he was in office. Yawn.
45 posted on 09/11/2003 8:33:21 PM PDT by MontanaBeth (Born Conservative)
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To: Mia T
An absolutely wonderful & inspirational article.
46 posted on 09/11/2003 8:39:08 PM PDT by jla
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To: SJackson; yonif; rdb3; Simcha7; American in Israel; spectacularbid2003; Binyamin; Taiwan Bocks; ...
"...No one came to our rescue. We suffered and died alone. We could do nothing about it. But now we can. Now we can defend ourselves."


An officer of the Golani Brigade during morning prayer after entering the city of Ramallah

Yes, they can! And should.

If you'd like to be on or off this
Christian Supporters of Israel ping list,
please FR mail me. ~
  -  -
Letter To The President In Support Of Israel ~

47 posted on 09/11/2003 8:42:46 PM PDT by Salem (FREE REPUBLIC - Fighting to win within the Arena of the War of Ideas! So get in the fight!)
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To: yonif
Thank you for this post, it was very, very moving.
48 posted on 09/11/2003 8:52:47 PM PDT by adam_az
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To: yonif
FAX AND CALL THE WH; email disappears...
49 posted on 09/11/2003 9:15:45 PM PDT by Yehuda (http://www.JewPoint.blogspot.com)
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To: yonif

50 posted on 09/11/2003 9:20:21 PM PDT by Live free or die
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