Jimmy Carter’s own words
For 14 members of the Carter Center’s board of councilors who resigned on Jan. 11, the former president’s most recent book, “Palestine; Peace not Apartheid” was so one-sided, biased and factually deficient that they felt they could no longer serve as advisers. We commend their principled stand.
Mr. Carter “confused opinion with fact, subjectivity with objectivity and force for change with partisan advocacy,” the former Carter loyalists wrote. “You have clearly abandoned your historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side,” the board members continued in the letter addressed to Mr. Carter. The agenda of the Carter Center has been permanently marred by the book’s clear prejudice.
Mr. Carter has been rightly chastised for effectively ignoring Palestinian terrorism as well as rewriting or simply omitting basic historical facts of the conflict in a loathsome effort to dump blame for the failure of peace entirely on Israel. Also abhorrent is that Mr. Carter’s book seems to sanction violence against Israel, calling on terrorist groups to “make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.” Mr. Carter has condemned the violence, but rational and impartial observers of the IsraelPalestinian conflict should nevertheless be appalled, as the 14 advisers to the Carter Center were, by the implications of this statement.
As critics have pointed out, not only is Mr. Carter’s book factually flawed — and often egregiously so — but the former president has refused to admit, much less amend, the blatant inaccuracies in his subsequent media appearances. In an OpEd in the Los Angeles Times, for example, Mr. Carter attributed the criticism of his book to “severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts” and blamed lack of criticism of Israeli policies on Israel’s lobbying efforts. But if facts are what really interest Mr. Carter, his book certainly does little to prove it. A book riddled with errors blurs the line between advocacy and propaganda — far from the “free and balanced discussion” that Mr. Carter claimed to want.
It’s now clear even to those who have respected and supported Mr. Carter and his noble humanitarian work that the former president has lost the pretense of being an honest broker. Thanks to his book, Mr. Carter, the 2002 Nobel Peace honoree, has lost his once-credible standing in Middle East affairs.