Tags: jimmy carter | israel

Jimmy Carter and Israel: 5 Times President Made News Over Views

By    |   Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 05:22 PM

During Jimmy Carter's presidency, he had notable successes and failures. The historic 1978 peace treaty he brokered between Israel and Egypt remains one of his highlights.

Carter hosted Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egypt's President Anwar Sadat in September of that year for a Camp David summit and helped construct a peace accord. Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula and the two countries recognized each other's governments.

The United States then established posts to enforce the borders and see to the cease-fire, while Israel also pledged to discuss peace with the Palestinians, according to the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

The Camp David Accords were formally signed in Washington on March 26, 1979, and is the most significant foreign policy victory of the Carter administration. Over the years, Carter's views on Israel continued to make headlines, especially some of his criticisms.

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In March 2014, Carter said he didn't support the Palestinian-led "boycott, divest, sanction" campaign against Israel, but felt products made in Israel-occupied Palestinian territories should be labeled to inform consumers, according to The Associated Press.

He also revealed that he and other retired senior leaders known as the "Elders" — including Irish President Mary Robinson, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari — spoke about the economic pressure campaign against Israeli occupation.

"We decided not to publicly endorse any kind of embargo, or so forth, against Israeli invasion, or occupying troops in Palestine," the president said. "(But) we have also encouraged Europeans for instance, at least to label products that are made by Israeli people who occupy Palestine and ship their products out of Palestine to be sold in Europe. ... so buyers can decide whether they want to buy them."

Carter outraged many Jewish people with his 2006 book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Critics felt he unfairly likened Israeli treatment of Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza to the racial oppression that was once legal in South Africa.

"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 in the book.

American Jewish Committee head David Harris responded in a column for The Jerusalem Post.

"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."

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In March 2010, Carter wrote an open letter in which he apologized for any words or deeds that may have upset the Jewish community.

"We must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel," Carter wrote. "As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het (a prayer said for atonement) for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so."

The apology was welcomed by Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who has long criticized Carter's views on Israel.

"When a former president reaches out to the Jewish community and asks for forgiveness, it's incumbent of us to accept it," he told The Associated Press. "To what extent this is an epiphany, only time will tell. There certainly was a lot of hurt, a lot of angry words that need to be repaired. But this is a good start."

This summer, the former president and Bishop Desmond Tutu urged the international community to recognize Hamas' legitimacy as a political party and slammed Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is considered a terror group by the U.S., the European Union, and Israel.

This support essentially could lead to the deaths of more Palestinian civilians and Israeli soldiers, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz said in September.

"It's not only the U.N., it's President Jimmy Carter who has blood on his hands," Dershowitz told JD Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.

Carter and Robinson elaborated in an op-ed piece on ForeignPolicy.com.

"There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war," the two former presidents wrote. "Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe."

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During Jimmy Carter's presidency, he had notable successes and failures. The historic 1978 peace treaty he brokered between Israel and Egypt remains one of his highlights.
jimmy carter, israel
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2014-22-21
Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 05:22 PM
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