Jimmy Carter’s own words

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

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.

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