January 22, 2007

Jimmy Carter: A compendium

"... I am opposed to an independent Palestinian state, because in my own judgement and in the judgement of many leaders in the Middle East, including Arab leaders, this would be a destabilizing factor in the Middle East and would certainly not serve the United States interests." --(Jimmy Carter at the United Jewish Appeal National Young Leadership Conference, February 25, 1980).
Folks, I"ve had my fill of reading about Jimmy Carter, because I think it's more important for you to read the hate speech that is in the Hamas Covenant and in the Palestinian National Charter, than ruminate how ex-president Carter sold out the Jews with his latest palestinian-propaganda-on-parade. In my opinion, Jimmy Carter and those who think like him, are dangerous because they are liars, but they are not as dangerous as Muslims who blow up Jewish toddlers in strollers. Let's be reasonable.

Nonetheless, Carter's book and the righteous criticism of it, are making the rounds and I have compiled several articles and links below for those of you who are interested in reading more on him. The links include articles from those who challenge him as well as other accounts relative to his mendacity. All links are worth reading; those links with an asterisk preceding them are especially worthwhile:

In 1980 Jimmy Carter declared his opposition to a "Palestinian" state

*Carter aside, Israel deserves total support

Carter defends Mideast book as accurate

*Dershowitz seeks to grill ex-president Carter on Israel book

The Carter trap

NY Times: Dennis Ross: Don't Play With Maps (Carter mispresents maps to hide Arafat's rejection of peace)

Jimmy Carter's Jewish Problem

*Michael B. Oren: A Religious Problem - Jimmy Carter's book: An Israeli view

*Jimmy Carter's own words

Jimmy Carter Interceded on Behalf of Nazi SS Guard

Ex-President for Sale - by Alan Dershowitz

Brandeis University to Allow Rebuttal After Carter Speech

Carter agrees to speak at Brandeis

Emory Prof. Ken Stein resigned from the Carter Center. This is the note he distributed about it.

This note is to inform you that yesterday, I sent letters to President Jimmy Carter, Emory University President Jim Wagner, and Dr. John Hardman, Executive Director of the Carter Center resigning my position, effectively immediately, as Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University. This ends my 23 year association with an institution that in some small way I helped shape and develop.

My joint academic position in Emory College in the History and Political Science Departments, and, as Director of the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel remains unchanged.

Many still believe that I have an active association with the Center and, act as an adviser to President Carter, neither is the case. President Carter has intermittently continued to come to the Arab-Israeli Conflict class I teach in Emory College. He gives undergraduate students a fine first hand recollection of the Begin-Sadat negotiations of the late 1970s.

Since I left the Center physically thirteen years ago, the Middle East program of the Center has waned as has my status as a Carter Center Fellow. For the record, I had nothing to do with the research, preparation, writing, or review of President Carter's recent publication. Any material which he used from the book we did together in 1984, The Blood of Abraham, he used unilaterally. President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the
one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts,
deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook. Having little access to Arabic and Hebrew sources, I believe, clearly handicapped his understanding and analyses of how history has unfolded over the last decade. Falsehoods, if repeated often enough become meta-truths, and they then can become the erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and for policy-making. The history and interpretation of the Arab-Israeli conflict is already drowning in half-truths, suppositions, and self-serving myths; more are not necessary. In due course, I shall detail these points and reflect on their origins.

The decade I spent at the Carter Center (1983-1993) as the first permanent Executive Director and as the first Fellow were intellectually enriching for Emory as an institution, the general public, the interns who learned with us, and for me professionally. Setting standards for rigorous interchange and careful analyses spilled out to the other programs that shaped the Center's early years. There was mutual respect for all views; we carefully avoided polemics or special pleading. This book does not hold to those standards. My continued association with the Center leaves the impression that I am sanctioning a series of egregious errors and polemical conclusions which appeared in President Carter's book. I can not allow that impression to stand.

Through Emory College, I have continued my professional commitment to inform students and the general public about the history and politics of Israel, the Middle East, and American policies toward the region. I have tried to remain true to a life-time devotion to scholarly excellence based upon unvarnished analyses and intellectual integrity. I hold fast to the notion that academic settings and those in positions of influence must teach and not preach. Through Emory College, in public lectures, and in OPED writings, I have adhered to the strong belief that history must be presented in context, and understood the way it was, not the way we wish it to be.

In closing, let me thank you for your friendship, past and continuing support for ISMI, and to Emory College. Let me also wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season, and a healthy and productive new year.

As ever,
*Criticism of Carter's book (list of blatant lies) makes it into the Congressional Record by Congressman Mark Steven Kirk on the floor of the US House. The following is now a part of the Congressional Record:

Congressman Mark Steven Kirk
Special Order
Peace Not Apartheid: More Fiction than Facts
January 18, 2007

Madame Speaker: In today's Washington Post, former President Jimmy Carter defended his book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." President Carter wrote: "...most critics have not seriously disputed or even mentioned the facts..."

After reading the book, I have become a critic, and today will only correct the facts purported in his book.

Regarding our policy towards Israel, there is little room for mistakes, let alone outright misstatements of fact. For that reason, I want to present to the House eight factual inaccuracies found in President Carter's book.

#1: On page 62, President Carter quotes Yasser Arafat as telling him, "The Palestine Liberation Organization has never advocated the annihilation of Israel." No evidence is provided and the book does not contain one footnote. Fact check: Article 22 of the PLO's Charter stated that "the liberation of Palestine will destroy
the Zionist and imperialist presence." Yasser Arafat supported this charter and lied to President Carter.

#2: On page 57, President Carter writes, "The 1949 armistice demarcation lines became the borders of the new nation of Israel and were accepted by Israel and the United States, and recognized officially by the United Nations." Fact check: The "1949 armistice" lines were never accepted as official borders by Israel, the United States or the United Nations. This error reflects a poor attention
to detail in the book.

#3: On page 127, President Carter writes that there was "a surprising exodus of Christians from the Holy Land." Fact check: Israel is the only Middle East nation where the Christian population has grown in the last half century. Christian communities and other faith communities like Baha'is have dropped in size in many Muslim countries.

#4: On page 152, President Carter writes, "It was later claimed that the Palestinians rejected a 'generous offer' put forward by Prime Minister Barak with Israel only keeping 5 percent of the West Bank. The fact is no such offers were ever made." Fact check: According to President Clinton's lead negotiator, Ambassador Dennis Ross, Prime Minister Barak accepted Clinton's proposal - offering to withdraw from 97% of the West Bank, dismantle isolated settlements and accept a Palestinian state with part of Jerusalem as its capital. Arafat rejected the proposal. A quick call between Presidents Carter and Clinton would have corrected this error.

#5: On page 148, President Carter presents two maps he claims were considered at Camp David. One of them is labeled "Israel's interpretation of Clinton's proposal." Fact check: There were no maps ever created at Camp David. The map President Carter labeled as "Israel's interpretation" is a copy of a map created by Dennis Ross
for his later book, "The Missing Peace." Ambassador Ross' map is a representation of the final offer agreed to by Prime Minister Barak and rejected by Arafat. President Carter violated Ambassador Ross' copyright of this map.

#6: On page 197, President Carter writes, "Confessions extracted through torture are admissible in Israeli courts." Fact check: The Israeli Supreme Court banned the use of torture in interrogations in a decision handed down on September 6, 1999 by Supreme Court President Barak.

#7: On page 188, President Carter writes, "Kadima had been expected to gain 43 seats based on its pledge of a unilateral expansion of the 'great wall.'" Fact check: Israel's Kadima Party ran on Prime Minister Sharon's platform of disengagement - a pledge to dismantle settlements and unilaterally withdraw from territory.

#8: On page 215, President Carter writes that one option for Israel is "withdrawal to the 1967 border as specified in U.N. Resolution 242." Fact check: U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 does not define a border.

Madame Speaker, these errors diminish the credibility of President Carter's book. President Carter is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.

The errors I present here are only a sampling of those included in the book. Now in the twilight of his career and with many at the Carter Center resigning their posts, President Carter should recall this book and hire competent assistants to ensure his future work does not reflect poor scholarship.