Carter’s ‘re­morse’


AF­TER BE­ING ac­cused of anti-Is­rael bias and an­tisemitism, for­mer pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter man­aged to make in­roads to the US Jewish com­mu­nity fol­low­ing a highly an­tic­i­pated speech at the pre­dom­i­nantly Jewish Bran­deis Univer­sity in Mas­sachusetts.

The crowd of stu­dents, many of them Jewish, cheered for Mr Carter and wel­comed him with a stand­ing ova­tion.

On the stage, the for­mer pres­i­dent tried to fix the im­pres­sion made by his book Pales­tine: Peace not Apartheid, and said that one of the para­graphs in which he sug­gested that Pales­tinian ter­ror against Is­rael might be jus­ti­fied was worded “in a stupid way”.

Mr Carter ini­tially de­clined an in­vi­ta­tion by the univer­sity when it was for­mat­ted as a de­bate with law pro­fes­sor Alan Der­showitz. Later it was agreed that both would speak at the same event but not at the same time. The univer­sity, with the largest Jewish stu­dent body in Amer­ica, was ex­pected to lead the way in bash­ing the for­mer pres­i­dent’s book.

But Mr Carter’s con­cil­ia­tory tone won over the crowd. He did not re­treat from his views that the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion of the West Bank was the main rea­son for the con­flict with the Pales­tini­ans, but stressed he did not approach the is­sue from an anti-Is­rael stand­point. “This book is the first time that I’ve ever been called a liar and a bigot and an an­ti­semite and a coward. This is hurt­ing me,” the for­mer pres­i­dent said.

Prof Der­showitz said af­ter­wards that if Mr Carter’s book had re­flected the views pre­sented at Bran­deis, the en­tire con­tro­versy could have been avoided.

In the blogs, p38; Alan Der­showitz, p47

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