Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Two Map Solution

Jimmy Carter has received a lot of flack for his book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, but the charge of plagiarism seems to be difficult to pin on him. The maps in question certainly look similar, but the problem lies more with the cartographer than with Carter. However, I disagree with Ralph Luker: the National Reviewis not making something out of nothing. Dennis Ross' map reflects the experiences of a diplomat of the Camp David process in 2000 and the ideas that were bandied about. Such a representation is not as obvious as something that showed the topography of the Holy Land--the River Jordan, Dead Sea, etc.--or stable political boundaries.

I let other people gripe about it. What I find interesting is that, if Carter's map copies Ross' map, they are two maps, and the differences are telling. The Ross map shows more area; the Carter map focuses in on one area. The former represents what a solution to the Israel-Palestine question might look like, and how it might be achieved. The latter shows one state being encroached upon, its territory being eaten away. The titles tell two different stories: "Map Reflecting Clinton Ideas" versus "Israeli Interpretation of Clinton's Proposal." One envisions a future for two nations; the other shows the same plan as the unilateral desires of one nation.

Jonah Goldberg, in his review, suggests that Carter wishes to discredit Clinton's diplomacy in 2000. The Carter map (if it is plagiarized) cast doubt on what Clinton might have achieved.


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