David Gerstman may have been the first person in the blogosphere to note that, buried in the middle of Professor Kenneth Stein’s stinging criticism of Jimmy Carter’s book, was a veiled accusation of plagiarism. Stein called the book “replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments.” David noted that “copied materials not cited” was a genteel reference to one of the worst sins a writer can commit.
In a subsequent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Stein said two maps in Carter’s book were “very closely similar, or unusually similar, to maps that were produced and published in Dennis Ross' book.” The next day Dennis Ross said it “sure looks” like Carter ripped him off. The apparent plagiarism was covered by The Political Pit Bull, Gateway Pundit, Bill’s Bites, Hot Air, LGF and others. A video of Stein, Ross and Carter discussing the issue is here.
Paul Mirengoff of Power Line placed the issue in perspective, noting that plagiarism was “probably the least of the problems Carter faces with respect to his book” -- given Stein’s other, even more serious, criticisms of it. Mirengoff quipped that “at least [Carter’s book] has good maps.”
Actually -- it doesn’t. And therein lies a problem much more serious than plagiarism.
The truth is a little more complicated than mere plagiarism, and takes a while to explain. Carter not only appears to have copied maps from Ross but -- more importantly -- to have re-titled them to make them appear to be something they are not. Moreover, his maps omit the descriptive notes that Ross included on his maps, which would have contradicted the point Carter was trying to make. Finally, the point he was trying to make with the borrowed and altered maps is central to his entire book.
So this will be a long post, but an important one.
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To understand the two maps, a little background is necessary. On July 11-25, 2000, the Israelis and Palestinians met at
In August and September, the Israelis and Palestinians conducted secret meetings to try to resolve issues on
The Clinton Parameters were formally offered to the Israelis and Palestinians at a meeting with
-- a Palestinian state on approximately 97% of the West Bank (phrased as “between 94 and 96 percent of West Bank territory” plus a “land swap of 1 to 3 percent,” for a total of between 95 and 99 percent -- with 97% thus being the midpoint), and 100% of Gaza, with “contiguity of territory for each side” and 80 percent of the settlers remaining in blocs within the retained 4-6% area;
-- a capital in East Jerusalem, with sovereignty over all Arab parts of the City (including Arab parts of the Old City) and Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount;
-- an unlimited right of refugees to return to the new state of
Palestine, plus limited absorption of refugees into Israel(depending on ’s policies and sovereign decision); and Israel
-- an international presence for security purposes as Israel withdrew from the West Bank, with a “small Israeli presence in fixed locations” remaining in the Jordan Valley -- under the authority of the international force -- for a limited time.
In his book (page xxv), Ross published a map entitled “Map Reflecting Clinton Ideas” showing what the area of the proposed Palestinian state would have been under the Clinton Parameters. Here is the map:
The note on Ross’s map states that it illustrates a Palestinian state in 95% of the
Ross’s map makes it obvious that the proposed Palestinian state was on virtually all of the West Bank, in contiguous areas, with no retention of land in the
Arafat was invited to the White House to give his response. A week after the deadline, in a face-to-face meeting with
Arafat thereafter rejected even an offer by
All of this is a matter of record in Ross’s book. Ross summarized it by writing that, with its December 27 action, “Barak’s government had now formally accepted ideas that would effectively divide East Jerusalem, end the IDF’s presence in the
In his autobiography (“My Life”),
But here is how Jimmy Carter describes what happened (on pages 150-151 of his book), followed by the maps he published seeking to support his allegations:
There was no clear response from Prime Minister Barak [to the
ClintonParameters], but he later stated that had twenty pages of reservations. President Arafat rejected the proposal. Israel
. . . The best offer to the Palestinians – by Clinton, not Barak – had been to withdraw 20 percent of the settlers, leaving more than 180,000 in 209 settlements, covering about 10 percent of the occupied land, including land to be “leased” and portions of the Jordan River valley and East Jerusalem.
. . . This honeycomb of settlements and their interconnecting conduits effectively divide the West Bank into at least two noncontiguous areas and multiple fragments, often uninhabitable and unreachable, and control of the Jordan River valley denies Palestinians any direct access into
. . . . Jordan
This must set a new world’s record for substantive errors packed into three short paragraphs: (1) the Israeli cabinet formally accepted the Parameters on December 27, and both Clinton and Ross thought Barak’s response was clear; (2) under the Parameters, 100% of the settlers would be gone from a Palestinian state covering 94-96% of the West Bank; (3) there would be no “honeycomb” of settlements dividing the West Bank; (4) Carter’s 10% figure is double the 4-6% figure expressly set forth in the Parameters; (5) no portion of the Jordan River Valley was to be permanently retained by Israel; (6) even the “small Israeli presence” for security purposes would be withdrawn within a fixed period; and (7) the Palestinians would have direct access to Jordan along the entire border.
Carter’s description of the Clinton Parameters, and the Israeli response to it, is not even close to correct, but Carter used two maps on page 148 to try to illustrate his false description and absolve the Palestinians from their rejection. The first map is set forth below and is obviously substantially identical to the Ross map reproduced above.
But notice that while the map is in identical to Ross’s in almost every respect, Carter has significantly altered its title. Carter calls his map not an illustration of the
Next to that map, Carter placed another map, which he titled “Palestinian Interpretation of Clinton’s Proposal” (emphasis added) -- a map also borrowed from Ross but then re-titled and altered in an even more significant way. Here is Carter’s map:
Carter’s map, and the title he has placed on it, appears to show that the Palestinians had a dramatically different “interpretation” of the Clinton Parameters. Looking at Carter’s map, the purported “interpretation” of the Clinton Parameters divides the West Bank into three separated cantons, with no contiguous territory, with a very large amount of land retained by
But this Carter map is a totally false illustration of any possible interpretation of the Clinton Parameters, and you can tell it is false not just by reading the Parameters themselves, but by looking at Ross’s second map (and its explanatory note), from which Carter's map apparently came. Set forth below is the page from Ross’s book (page xxiv) with two maps; the one on the left corresponds to the above map in Carter's book:
The map on the left is substantially the same as Carter’s (although it includes more detail). But the more important point is that the title on Ross’s map refers not to a purported Palestinian interpretation of the December 23, 2000 Clinton Parameters, but rather to the “Palestinian Characterization of the Final Proposal at Camp David” (emphasis added) -- in July 2000! It is not a map of the Clinton Parameters at all -- not in anyone’s interpretation.
Moreover, Ross added the map on the right to demonstrate that the map on the left was actually an incorrect illustration of the initial
And it gets worse. On the map he did borrow, Carter omitted Ross’s note, which clearly stated that the map “reflects a map proposed by the Israelis early at
Finally, Ross noted on his map of the "Palestinian Characterization of the Final Proposal at Camp David" (which Carter published as the Palestinian interpretation of the Clinton Parameters) that it was actually an illustration of a map posted by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department that “inaccurately depicts” even the initial Camp David proposal by
In other words, it is totally bogus to present this map, or one based on it, as a purported Palestinian “interpretation” of the December 23, 2000 Clinton Parameters that might have given the Palestinians cause for concern. It is a map of a purported Israeli offer at
Ross put the map in his book to demonstrate the erroneous contention by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department of what was offered at
The two maps on page 148 of Carter's book are thus either virtually identical or substantially the same as those in Ross's book, which Ross has said he created himself. But the titles have been changed, and the explanatory notes omitted, and the maps are being used to illustrate a demonstrably false point.
Perhaps there is an innocent explanation for all this that absolves Carter from the lesser charge of plagiarism. In the video linked above, Carter asserts that he has “never seen Ross’s book” and that Carter’s maps “come from an atlas that is publicly available.” But the maps in Carter’s book bear no notation of any source or attribution, and at the back of his book (page 250) Carter thanks Paul Pugliese “who prepared the maps.”
Did Carter take the maps from Ross’s book, or from a publicly available atlas that has not yet been identified, or did he have Paul Pugliese prepare them (with what instructions from Carter)?
We don’t know for sure, but it seems reasonably clear that, one way or another, the maps came from Dennis Ross’s book and then were mislabeled, making them into something they are not, omitting important information that was on the maps, and then presented in Carter’s book as competing “interpretations” of the Clinton Parameters -- which they indisputably are not. Carter’s maps are worse than plagiarism -- they are placed together in a way that dramatically distorts history, misinforms the reader, and assists Carter in his book-length attempt to absolve the Palestinians from their rejection of peace in 2000 in favor of a barbaric war.If Carter's book were a car, it would be recalled.