Skip to comments.Jimmy Carter's devotion to human rights doesn't extend to Israel
Posted on 06/27/2004 6:58:13 AM PDT by SJackson
Dear Mr. Carter,
It's been over 25 years since your famous Playboy interview admission - "I've committed adultery in my heart many times." My concern is for what may lurk in your heart but remain unsaid.
It's certainly commendable that you have actively devoted yourself to human rights and helping those less fortunate since leaving the presidency. However, it's puzzling that your generosity of spirit comes to an abrupt halt in matters related to Israel. How can care and concern for others be so selective?
You've written a string of major newspaper opinion pieces on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past few years. They follow a similar pattern. In your 2002 New York Times op-ed ominously titled "America Can Persuade Israel to Make a Just Peace," your analysis of each leader is telling and sets the stage.
Accusations bolt off the page at Ariel Sharon. "His invasion of Lebanon, his provocative visit to the Temple Mount, the destruction of villages and homes, the arrest of thousands of Palestinians, his open defiance..." You chastise him for "His rejection of all peace agreements that included Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands," as part of his ultimate goal "to establish Israeli settlements as widely as possible throughout occupied territories..."
This premise is curious in light of revelations by Betty Glad and Olin Johnson in "Carter's Greatest Legacy: The Camp David Negotiations." They note that when Prime Minister Begin refused to budge on the last sticking point in negotiations between Egypt and Israel, the settlements in the Sinai, it was Ariel Sharon who broke the impasse, calling Begin "to assure him it was all right to compromise on the issue to avoid the failure of the entire conference." As the linchpin of those negotiations, this fact could not have escaped your knowledge, yet you completely ignore it, instead painting the Israeli leader as ruthless and uncompromising. Sharon's intent to dismantle the Gaza settlements, whether or not ultimately implemented, is further proof of a strong pragmatic side. But why let hard facts cloud an agenda.
In marked contrast, complaints about Yasser Arafat are muted and limited to sins of omission. You offer that he never exerted control over Hamas and other radical Palestinians, rarely denounced violence and was likely insincere when he did speak out. Then, in an observation bordering on the absurd, you continue "He may well see the suicide attacks as one of the few ways to retaliate against his tormentors, to dramatize the suffering of his people..."
This is the man whose aids, during the height of the 2000 peace negotiations, clandestinely ran summer camps instructing 25,000 Palestinian teenagers on mock kidnappings of Israeli leaders and the handling of Kalashnikov rifles. It's the man who swore off violence to President Bush just days before Israel intercepted the Karin A and confiscated 50 tons of sophisticated weaponry earmarked for a fresh Palestinian Authority terror campaign. It's also the man exposed by both CBS and the BBC as having diverted funds totaling upward of a half billion dollars to his personal accounts, monies meant to improve the quality of life for countless Palestinians. Considering your profound commitment to helping those most in need, shouldn't these actions, all of which led to increased Palestinian suffering, be worthy of your contempt? Yet, even now, despite all the revelations, rarely does a rebuke of Arafat come forth from your lips. Why not? Why is your outrage so selective, Mr. Carter?
Again and again, your editorials replay the same theme -- Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is the core reason for the long-standing conflict, "the primary incitement to violence among Palestinians," and only a return to the 1967 borders will achieve peace. In your four op-ed pieces, just one sentence suggests an alternative scenario and course of action to alleviate the conflict. A quote by Colin Powell states "The Palestinian leadership must end violence, stop incitement and prepare their people for the hard compromises ahead."
In your Washington Post op-ed last September, "The Choice for Israelis," you close with the provocative challenge "Do we want permanent peace with all our neighbors, or do we want to retain our settlements in the occupied territories of the Palestinians..." You claim that "No matter what the Palestinian leaders may choose...," the choice to end the impasse is Israel's alone. Do you really believe that! You can't think of anything the Palestinians could do to ease the conflict? Do you doubt that Israel would jump at the chance for "permanent peace with all our neighbors" if such an offer were accompanied by concrete gestures?
If the core issue is occupation of the territories, then why the massacre of unarmed Jews by local Arabs in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, well before Israel's occupation, or even statehood? Why the 1964 PLO charter calling for the destruction of the state of Israel three years prior to the capture of the West Bank and Gaza? Why did Yasser Arafat walk away from sweeping land concessions and imminent Palestinian statehood during the 2000 Camp David accords? And why did a poll late last year by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion reveal that six of ten Palestinians believe Hamas and Islamic Jihad should continue violence against Israel even if she were to abandon all of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem?
In reality, Israel could offer every inch of land that pundits like you insist stand in the way of peace, and it wouldn't make one iota of difference. Israel could concede Tel Aviv and Haifa as well, and it still wouldn't matter. While you obsess over resolution 242, the real issue is swept aside.
Yitzhak Rabin said it best. When the Oslo process first began, he insisted that any exchange of territory for intangible promises of peace include a provision calling for Palestinian leaders to cease from engaging in "hostile propaganda" against Jews and Israel. Toning down the rhetoric of hate was a necessary prelude to resolving all other issues. Unfortunately, his core request has never been seriously addressed.
The Middle East is a neighborhood where conspiracy theories abound, and everything from 9/11, to the train bombings in Spain, to even the Al Qaida organization itself have been attributed to "Zionist plots." It's a region where a Syrian high school text describes Zionism as the "new Nazism", where a high placed Iranian official rails that "Israel's existence is diametrically opposed to Iran's national interests", where a Saudi language text states "The Jews are wickedness in its very essence," and where the outgoing Malaysian Prime Minister receives a standing ovation from nearly 60 Arab leaders for his diatribe against the influence of world Jewry. Clearly, the climate for peace does not exist.
Nor is the situation much better between Egypt and Israel, despite your op-ed boast that the peace treaty brokered by you, "not a word of which has since been violated," has been a success.
As you know, the very first article of the accords calls for "normal and friendly relations" between the two parties. The reality of an Egyptian ambassador recall into its fourth year, of Cairo bookstores stocked to the hilt with anti-Semitic literature, of state-controlled newspapers relentlessly demonizing Israel, and of the launching of a hateful TV mini-series during Ramadan, cannot be construed as normal and friendly by any stretch. If anything, the icy Egyptian model seriously calls into question the idea that relinquishing land is the cure-all.
Nowhere is the hatred more frenzied, or the incitement more orchestrated or systemic, than among the Palestinians. As one Palestinian mother admitted in a 2002 Chris Hedges book, "The children are fed ... hatred for the Jews from the day they are born..." Former PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat speaks of an educational system that mass manufactures hatred, and of despising Jews prior to his having even met one, adding, "And the truth is, we wanted to kill Jews long before the occupation."
As long as PA maps continue to show all of Israel as Palestine, and banner headlines like the one found in the PA-issued textbook "Our Country Palestine" inform students "There is no alternative to destroying Israel," peaceful coexistence, regardless of land concessions, can virtually be ruled out. The adulation of suicide bombers and wild celebrations in Palestinian streets at the deliberate slaughter of innocents, so foreign to western sensibilities, can only be explained by such massive indoctrination. Think about it, Mr. Carter. When was the last time you read of spontaneous Israeli celebrations when a Palestinian terrorist was killed, let alone an innocent Palestinian bystander?
While you clamor against U.S. approval of Israel's "demands" in your editorials, as if calling for the cessation of terrorist acts is somehow unreasonable, there's nary a mention of a propaganda machine that has thoroughly poisoned today's Palestinian youth and all but guaranteed another generation of bloody conflict. For a man who delights in being viewed as a moral compass, why such deafening silence?
Most puzzling of all is why a former U.S. president would reserve his greatest criticism for a select group of democracies. However imperfect, what other form of government allows for more individual rights? Such freedoms, along with a respect for differing religious beliefs and helping those less fortunate are hallmarks of the United States and Israel. Three great religions openly practice their faiths in Israel. Have you counted the number of churches and synagogues in Saudi Arabia lately? Are you aware of the devastation wreaked upon Joseph's Tomb within hours after Israel entrusted its protection to the PA?
It's no secret that Israeli Arabs enjoy more freedom than their brethren in surrounding Arab countries. And, despite incessant browbeating of Israel for eroding conditions in the territories, a recent London Telegraph article noted lower mortality rates, improving health, and a significant jump in life expectancy for Palestinians since Israeli rule began.
In fact, from 1967 to 1993, prior to the return of Arafat from Tunisia to herald the start of the Oslo peace accords, the West Bank's economy was among the fastest growing in the world due to commerce between Israelis and Palestinians. During that period, seven universities were established in the area, while none had existed in the previous 19 years under Jordanian rule.
Globally, Israel's humanitarian efforts have benefited more than 140 nations. Israel was the first country to grant refuge to displaced Bosnian-Muslims from Yugoslavia's civil war. She gave safe haven to hundreds of desperate Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s, who remain to this day. She has provided rescue squads and food supplies to countless countries after natural disasters, regardless of the recipient's political stance towards her. Over the years, Israeli teams have helped alleviate hunger and disease in dozens of developing African nations. Ironically, Israel's ongoing efforts to help those in need closely mirror your own. Yet, your criticism of her remains steadfast.
You bitterly complain about the U.S. tilt towards Israel, ignoring our government's frustration at a Palestinian leadership that has again and again sabotaged budding peace talks by failing to adhere to its most basic requirement -- curtailing terrorism. And shouldn't friendship and shared values count for something? Over the years, Israel has arguably provided us with more intelligence critical to our security than any other nation. Not surprisingly, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, Israel declared a national day of mourning, while Palestinians were videotaped dancing in the streets. But none of that matters to you, does it, Mr. Carter? Why is that? Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.
Jimmy Carter, on Israel and the Jews
1979: "I have never met an Arab leader that in private professed a desire for an independent Palestinian state. Publicly, they all espouse an independent Palestinian state -- almost all of them -- because that is what they committed themselves to do at Rabat (the 1974 Arab League summit conference)."
--President Jimmy Carter
a 1979 press conference
at a March 1980 meeting with his senior political advisers, angrily snapped, "If I get back in, I`m going to f--- the Jews."
Jimmy Carter, March 1980
Late 1980: Cyrus Vance
confirmed to then-New York mayor Ed Koch that Carter, if reelected, would "sell out" the Jews
Jimmy Carter shortly before the 1980 election
had I been elected to a second term, with the prestige and authority and influence and reputation I had in the region, we could have moved to a final solution
Jimmy Carter, 12-1-2003
Israel exists; it has a right to exist in peace behind secure and defensible borders; and it has a right to demand of its neighbors that they recognize those facts. I have personally followed and supported Israel's heroic struggle for survival, ever since the founding of the State of Israel 34 years ago. In the pre-1967 borders Israel was barely 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel's population lived within artillery range of hostile Arab armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.
"We take the world like you find it; and Israel is a small state with a small population. It's a democracy and it exists in a neighborhood that in many - over a period of time has opined from time to time that they'd prefer it not be there and they'd like it to be put in the sea. And Israel has opined that it would prefer not to get put in the sea, and as a result, over a period of decades, it has arranged itself so it hasn't been put in the sea."
The peanut farmer clearly hates Jews. Thank God he was denied a 2nd term.
I suppose it has been a fairly smooth transition for most libs from useful idiot for the USSR to useful idiot for the jihad.
I hear he's now running for Sainthood.
Jimmy Carter = 2nd worst President in the history of the US.
Why would anyone think that Jimmy Carter who hates decent people.
I base this conclusion on the fact he refused to attend the dedication of the World War II Memorial at the end of May showing his disrespect for the Greatest Generation of Americans. Why would anyone think that just because he hangs around "supervising" elections in banana republics, that he would support human rights in Israel?
My other reason for drawing this conclusion is Jim-boy inserted himself into the North Korean crisis in the 1990s. If he cared about human rights, he would have stayed off the Korean peninsula and would have insisted President Clinton act to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear (or as he pronounces it NUKE-lar, and Democrats make fun of President Bush's pronunciations) weapons. But what did he do? He guaranteed North Korea would have nuclear weapons. Why would anyone think that just because Jim-bo hammers a few nails for Habitat for Humanity that he gives a hoot about human rights?
His comments concerning the death of President Reagan spoke volumes. He made some necessary bows, but then when forced to compare, as he had to, their respective Presidencies, he issued the 'but Jesus is glad I did what I did, and conducted myself the way I conducted myself, and that's good enough for me' rationale for his failed 4 years in office. Please find me a more vain statement, if you can.
This guy has never met a dictator he didn't like and wasn't willing to help wisk away to greener pastures, and I have never heard him utter one, solitary word in defense of the United States, so Israel of course, would be out of the question. He's a vain, supercillious, inept man, and men like him are a huge danger to the Country, and a huge burden on the electorate.
Oh my goodness, did he really say this?
Jimmy is another failed democrat, another presidential failure who has HAD to build a legacy AFTER leaving office.
And not very successfully I would add.
Yes, it has been a smooth transition from useful idiot from the USSR to useful idiot for the Jihad. You'd think somewhere along the line they'd have wised up. But no.
Why only the second worst?Who is number one? Clinton?
Maybe someday he'll advocate "freedom" or "property rights" instead. I guess he doesn't think those are human rights.
Where did you get your quotes from? Did he really use the term, "final solution"? That smacks of Hitler, doesn't it? Isn't that just pure evil?
Perhaps this is why he has such a good relationship with moveon.org ... they don't really like the Jews either.
God is waiting to deliver the last verdict on Jimma Carter.
The man has as much hate buried in his soul as most rappers.
If he had quietly retired after losing to Reagan, jimmuh would be "second worst". He gets extra points in the years since then to nose out the bent one to take the "worstest of the worse" prize.
Of course, the bent one still has many years left to retake the crown (a toilet seat from an old arkansas outhouse would seen appropriate)...
They talk about "Bushisms"? Imagine if Bush had said this: "Had I been elected to a second term, with the prestige and authority and influence and reputation I had in the region, we could have moved to a final solution." Former president Jimmy Carter as quoted in today's New York Times. ~ Ann Coulter
Right now jimmuh and the bent one and neck and neck for "Worst Ex President" but the bent one will ultimately win just because he has many more years in which to do his meddling mischief.
Actually I think it was reported by the NYT from his speach at the announcement of the "Geneva Plan", not an interview.
Once a useful idiot, always a useful idiot. At least he is consistent.
I guess I've never understood how any person who follows Christ could disavow and/or despise Israel. I don't know how Israelis live their lives as they do; getting up and going to work wondering if today is the day their bus will be blown up by some crazed terrorist, or they head out for pizza wondering if this is the night that the particular pizza place they eat at will be blown to bits. I can't imagine living like that. It's got to be that they feel they're living a precarious existence. But nary a word from carter. Expendable blood from an expendable people who he would have shown his own version of the final solution to. He makes me sicker than I've been for a long while.
I was referring to his presidency, not his recent machinations.
It considers itself a 'christian' by it's own definition of the word - there are Chrisians (by God's definition) and there are 'christians' (i.e. the definition used by that abhorrent thing).
Boggles the mind why so many American Jews vote Democratic, year after year.
Much to the dismay of Islam.
It's because of Barbara Streisand - they dare not upset her by voting Republican.
Barbara Streisand lives behind an 18 foot high fence in a remote mansion, has a cook, a butler, a chauffeur and flies in chartered jets. What the hell does she know about what's good for anybody but her ugly self? F her and her hollywierd ilk.
Carter sounds like another anti western person.