Op-Ed: Interview: Jimmy Carter Encourages Demonizing Israel
“Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter clearly has an Israel, and even a Jewish problem. His sympathies almost always lie with the enemies of Israel and those of Jews. Many of his erroneous statements over the years target Israel.
“The way Carter operates can best be seen in his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid which was first published in 2006. He continued to claim that what he wrote was totally accurate, even after the book’s numerous factual errors were exposed publicly and widely disseminated.”
Alex Safian is Associate Director of CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America).
He adds: “With so many egregious errors and misrepresentations, it is almost impossible to select the book’s most blatantly incorrect passages. One can however, choose passages which illustrate Carter’s typical modus operandi in deceiving his audience. For instance, he claimed in an interview with Larry King in 2006 that, ‘Since August of 2004 … Hamas has not been guilty of an act of terrorism that cost an Israeli life.’ The same assertion is in his book on pages 179 and 184.
“This was a false claim on many levels. On 31 August 2004, sixteen people were killed and 100 wounded in two nearly simultaneous suicide bombings aboard city buses in Be’er Sheva. On 29 September 2004, two pre-school children were killed by a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza. On 13 January 2005, Palestinian terrorists attacked the Karni crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, killing 6 civilians. On 14 July 2005, a woman was killed by a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza. Hamas claimed full responsibility for all of these attacks.
“Only by concealing these fatal terrorist attacks was Carter able to claim that Hamas observed the ceasefire. Of course, such fabricated portrayals of Hamas as ‘moderate’ are meant to lead his audience to believe that the ‘stiff-necked Israelis’ are the obstacles to peace.
“Carter also engaged in falsehood by omission when he was interviewed on the Denver-based Caplis & Silverman Show in 2006. Silverman asked him, ‘Didn’t the head of Hamas, the elected leader of the Palestinians, go to Tehran last week and say, “We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government …and we will continue our jihad-like movement …until the liberation of Jerusalem?”’ Carter repeatedly denied that this had taken place, but these remarks made by Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority had been quoted by the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, the Guardian as well as others.
“Apparently Carter’s arrogance is so excessive that he seems to believe that if he himself doesn’t know something, then it must be false. And even after being forced to admit that some of his favorite anti-Israel claims were untrue, he later repeated them again. A typical example involves Menachem Begin’s supposed promise during the Camp David negotiations to impose an open-ended settlement freeze.
“Carter claimed on page 50 in his book that, ‘Perhaps the most serious omission of the 1978 Camp David talks was the failure to clarify in writing Begin’s verbal promise concerning the settlement freeze during subsequent peace talks.’ In an earlier op-ed, he accused Begin of violating his word. This was not true. Begin had only committed to a three month settlement freeze, and what’s more, Carter knew it.
“This became evident at a symposium in Washington in 2003 commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Camp David Accords. The former head of the Israeli Supreme Court, Justice Aharon Barak, who was Attorney General at the time of Camp David stated that he was the only one taking notes at the meeting in question, which showed that Begin had agreed to no more than a three month freeze. Off-camera Carter was heard saying: ‘I don’t dispute that.’ Despite having admitted this in 2003, in later op-eds and his book, Carter returned to accusing Begin of failing to deliver on a promised settlement freeze.
“Those who only read the title of Carter’s book or news reports about it, get the impression that Israel is an apartheid and thus extremely racist society. But when pressed, Carter said that he was only referring to Israel’s alleged treatment of the Palestinians in the territories and not how, for example, Israel treated its Arab citizens. Carter also routinely misstated the definition of the word ‘apartheid’ saying that it was not based on racism. Yet the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines apartheid as ‘inhumane acts … committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group ….’
“There is another matter that must be mentioned – in 1987, Carter appealed to the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of former Nazi guard Martin Bartesch for ‘humanitarian reasons.’ Bartesch lost his U.S. citizenship and was to be deported after information surfaced that he had killed a Jewish prisoner in the Mauthausen concentration camp.”
Safian concludes: “Whether it is Hamas, the PLO, Arafat himself, Saudi princes, or random Nazi war criminals, Carter always seems to have a passionate empathy for the enemies of the Jews. Empathy for the Jews themselves or for Israel, seems much harder to come by.”