A prominent Jewish leader said Monday he doubts the sincerity of former President Jimmy Carter's recent apology to the Jewish community after Carter said in a speech this month that the U.S. government has "yielded excessively" to Israel.
Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in December he was encouraged that Carter had sent an open letter to the Jewish community a few months earlier to offer an Al Het — a prayer said on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
But he said Monday that the comments Carter made at a two-day conference on U.S.-Arab relations, in which he encouraged President Barack Obama to take a more "balanced" position in its relations with Israel, "leave little doubt of the insincerity of his apology."
"Nothing has changed. None of his views have been recalibrated," said Foxman, who said he spoke with the Georgia Democrat by telephone last week about his comments. "He hasn't really changed his views and I don't understand what this Al Het letter was all about."
Carter, who could not immediately be reached for comment, issued his apology in hopes of improving an often-tense relationship with the Jewish community.
Although he brokered the first Israeli-Arab peace treaty during his presidency, Carter outraged many Jews with his 2006 book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Critics contend he unfairly compared Israeli treatment of Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza to the legalized racial oppression that once existed in South Africa.
At the March 18 summit in Atlanta, Carter said the U.S. has "yielded excessively to the circumstances in the Holy Land as Israel has confiscated several lands within Palestine" and urged President Barack Obama to push a two-state solution that establishes an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.
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