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Jimmy Carter Defends Controversial Book at Emory University

Thursday , February 22, 2007

AP

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ATLANTA — 

Former President Jimmy Carter made a stop on Thursday at the Atlanta university to respond to criticism of his book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

More than 600 Emory University students and staff attended his lecture about the book titled, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."

Critics allege the book contains inaccuracies and distorts history to shape the reader's opinion to one side of the issue. Carter has defended the book, saying he didn't mean to offend anyone.

Carter said he realized the title of the book alluding to the racial divisions of apartheid in South Africa would cause criticism, but Carter says the forced segregation of Arabs in Palestinian areas occupied by Israel is not based on race.

The forced segregation was created by some Israelis to acquire choice lands in the occupied territories, Carter said.

The former president invited Emory students and professors — including some who protested his book earlier this week — to visit the occupied areas to see for themselves.

Carter said Israelis can reduce threats against their country by withdrawing the occupation forces and entering in peace with Palestinians.

"I believe what I advocate in this book — whether you agree or disagree — is the best chance for the future," Carter said.

On Thursday night, Carter will discuss Middle East peace prospects with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to a sold-out audience at the Carter Center.