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Jimmy Carter and Israel: Angry Reactions to President's Views

Image: Jimmy Carter and Israel: Angry Reactions to President's Views
(Simon & Schuster)

By    |   Monday, 29 Dec 2014 03:45 PM

Despite brokering a historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt while serving as president, Jimmy Carter has become critical of Israel since leaving office.

Specifically, his more recent thoughts on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, as reflected in his 2006 book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," have been rejected in Israel. In the book, Carter asserts that Israel's settlement on Palestinian land was the main obstructer to Middle East peace.

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"The bottom line is this: Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens — and honor its own previous commitments — by accepting its legal borders," Carter wrote. "All Arab neighbors must pledge to honor Israel's right to live in peace under these conditions."

In a column for The Jerusalem Post, American Jewish Committee head David Harris called Carter's book "a crude polemic that compromises any pretense to objectivity and fairness."

"In accepting the Palestinian narrative, Carter has conveniently revised history, excused the Palestinians for their tragic failure to come to terms with Israel each time the chance presented itself, and blithely ignored Israel's very legitimate security concerns," Harris wrote in 2006. "Many Israelis, including those that once greatly admired his role in fostering peace with Egypt, may never again trust Carter's diplomacy, including his vaunted role as an election monitor. He can no longer claim to be an honest broker."

Added Haaretz blogger Shmuel Rosner: "A quick and superficial scan of the book turns up no new or inflammatory disclosures, but it does contain some particularly harsh criticism.
Carter, who has gone on an intensive tour to promote the book, has certainly noticed that the people interviewing him were less interested in Palestine this week and more interested in Iraq, as was [U.S. President George W.] Bush these past few days. And indeed, this is one of the basic criticisms in Carter's book: There is not enough vigorous debate in the United States regarding the Palestinian problem. And this week, once again, it was not easy to find people interested in paying attention to this problem."

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New Republic magazine's former publisher Marty Peretz said Carter "will go down in history ... as a Jew hater," according to The Washington Post.

The Washington Post also quotes retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who called Carter's apartheid analogy "especially outrageous" given that Carter later acknowledges in the book that what's happening in Israel today "is unlike that in South Africa — not racism, but the acquisition of land."

"It's obvious that Mr. Carter just doesn't like Israel or Israelis," Dershowitz is quoted as saying.

Jewish Virtual Library reviewer Mitchell Bard went into more detail.

"The book appears to have been hastily written with casual observations and remembrances slapped together. Given Carter's resources, it is surprising that it appears to contain little or no research, which only partially explains the astounding level of inaccuracy and misrepresentation of historical facts. Carter is entitled to his opinions, but he cannot be allowed to get away with falsifying history, which he does to such an extent that the book often reads like a work of fiction.

"For a former president and self-proclaimed Middle East expert, Carter shows remarkable ignorance and naiveté when he discusses the Arab world," Bard continues. "Without any basis, and ignoring all the evidence to the contrary, Carter says the Arabs will all recognize Israel once it reaches an agreement with the Palestinians. Syria has given no such indication. Hizballah and other Islamic terrorist groups have made clear that Israel's existence is the provocation rather than its presence in the disputed territories."

Carter's support of what Bard sarcastically calls, "The Helpless Palestinians," to be troubling.

"The book is filled with criticism of Israeli treatment of Palestinians, but Carter has little to say about the behavior of the Palestinians toward Israelis or toward each other," Bard wrote. "He says, for example, that Palestinian human rights must be protected, but he does not say anything about the PA’s denial of those rights."

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Despite brokering a historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt while serving as president, Jimmy Carter has become critical of Israel since leaving office.
jimmy carter, israel, angry, reactions, presidents, views
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2014-45-29
Monday, 29 Dec 2014 03:45 PM
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