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April 17, 2008

Carter, Once Again, Inspires Censure


Jimmy Carter, whose legacy is already stained by his distorted and error-filled book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, is once again on the receiving end of dismayed criticism as a result of his decision to meet with leaders of the Hamas terror organization.

Shmuel Rosner, Ha'aretz's chief US correspondent, writes that the decision of Israel's Prime Minister and Defense Minister not to meet with Carter during the former president's Middle East trip — a decision apparently in response to Carter's insistence on meeting with Hamas — was justified. (Rosner also describes Carter's book as being "nothing but a concoction of exaggerations, inventions, distortions and lies.")

Michael Kraft, a former State Department counterterrorism adviser, writes in the Baltimore Sun that

For a high-profile person such as Mr. Carter to put the gloss on Hamas and publicly meet with its leader at this stage only encourages Hamas to believe that if it remains steadfast in its "resistance" and rejectionist rhetoric, the West will try to make deals or concessions without Hamas having to end terrorism and its opposition to Israel's existence. ...

Mr. Carter's well-publicized meeting plans amount to rewarding terrorists in advance without any negotiations.

A Washington Post editorial today similarly criticizes Carter for lending undue legitimacy to Hamas. The editorial asserts that

no act of terrorism is out of bounds for the Hamas leader [Mahmoud al-Zahar], who endorses the group's recent ambush of Israeli civilians working at a fuel depot that supplies Gaza. The "total war" of which he speaks was initiated and has been sustained by Hamas itself through its deliberate targeting of civilians, such as the residents of the Israeli town of Sderot, who suffer daily rocket attacks.

These facts would hardly need restating were it not for actors such as Mr. Carter, who portray Hamas as rational and reasonable.

The Post takes Carter to task for believing — or making believe — that Hamas accepts Mahmoud Abbas's negotiation with Israel, while conveniently ignoring that Zahar called Abbas a "traitor" for negotiating. (This amounts to an "incitement to murder," the editorial notes.)

Democratic Congressmen Howard Berman and Gary Ackerman wrote a letter to Carter explaining that "The legitimacy and prestige that Hamas will derive from your visit will be seen in the region as a clear demonstration that violence pays."

Perhaps the most scathing commentary is by the opinion editor of Lebanon's Daily Star, Michael Young. Under the headline "Jimmy Carter: A fool on a fool's errand," Young describes the idea, promoted by Carter and others, that meeting with Hamas will enlighten its supposedly pragmatic leaders on the benefits of peace and negotiation, and counters: "You can almost hear Khaled Meshaal gasping at the naivete of such sweeping positivism, as he prepares to score points off his solemn American visitor." He adds:

it makes no sense today to damage Abbas by opening a channel to Hamas, which has never endorsed the agreements reached with Israel during the Oslo years. In fact, to bring Hamas into negotiations would only grant legitimacy to the movement's rejection of those agreements, and of the entire Oslo process. This, in turn, would only further constrict Abbas' slim margin of maneuver. ...

There is also a valid case to be made that Hamas is not interested in a peace treaty with Israel, because its ultimate ambition is to liberate the whole of Palestine. Certainly, that's what the movement demonstrates day in and day out. Meshaal has declared that Hamas would accept a deal on the basis of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, but has added a key caveat that this must also include a right of return for the Palestinian refugees of 1948 to their places of origin. For Israel this is a non-starter on demographic grounds, and Meshaal knows it. ...

That's why Jimmy Carter is on a fool's errand, complicating an already complicated situation. It's often said that Carter has been a better ex-president than president. That's no compliment, so ghastly was his tenancy of the White House - the Camp David accords notwithstanding. Peace may be a long way away between Palestinians and Israelis, but Carter won't speed things up any by turning into Meshaal's patsy.

Posted by GI at April 17, 2008 10:10 AM


Thanks for one of the more level-headed posts on Former President Carter's diplomatic jaunt.

The question for me is not so much 'what will come of this,' as 'why is Carter doing this.'

That's not apathy: I think that the short-run outcome will be a public relations bonanza for Hamas and related organizations; and that the long-range effects are incalculable.

What does puzzle me is what is pushing Mr. Carter to defy the State Department, Congress, and - more to the point - common sense.

Posted by: Norski at April 17, 2008 07:46 PM

To Norski I say assume the worst (about Carter) because nothing, absolutely nothing, else begins to explain it.
And to GI, Michael Young, and others quoted, I join Norski in his compliment. Thanks.

Posted by: Ben at April 17, 2008 10:58 PM

A Washington Post editorial today similarly criticizes Carter for lending undue legitimacy to Hamas ... These facts would hardly need restating were it not for actors such as Mr. Carter, who portray Hamas as rational and reasonable.

Is this the same WaPo that published a propaganda peace by al-Zahar

the other day, under the following byline:

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a surgeon, is a founder of Hamas. He is foreign minister in the government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, which was elected in January 2006.

The hypocrisy is blinding.


Posted by: oao at April 18, 2008 12:32 PM

I do not support President Carter's current initiative. I do support a robust peace process between Israel and her neighbors and do consider the 1978 Camp David Accords as a cornerstone for a viable peace process. I salute 30 years of peace between Israel and Egypt!


Bruce Craig Roter,
Composer of "A CAMP DAVID OVERTURE (Prayer for Peace)," a work inspired by the Camp David Peace Accords,
[excerpts available at:]

Posted by: BRUCE CRAIG ROTER at April 20, 2008 09:05 AM

Carter is a traitor and a moron who hates Israel as much as Hamas, and whose IQ is lower than the number of years he served as President.

Which part of the following did Carter NOT understand about Hamas?

...broadcasting children's shows with Mickey Mouse and Big Bird look-a-likes, to indoctrinate children 5 and under to hate Jews?

...sending 8-year olds to military training camps where they learn how to kill Jews?

...strapping explosives filled with nails, razor blades, and rat poison to the chests of 15-16 year olds and sending them out to murder children and teenagers in Israel?

...firing rockets with warheads filled with nails, razor blades, and rat poison at innocent Israeli women and children?

..firing rockets at daycare centers, schools, synagogues, and markets from launchers located on top of mosques, schools, and hospitals hoping to draw return fire from Israeli forces, claiming that Israel intentionally targets these structures?

...stealing fuel, food, and medicine just to create a humanitarian crisis with which to blame Israel?

..announcing to the world that they are proud of using women and children as human shields, and that dead Palestiniam children is their best weapon against the Zionist enemy?

Carter went on a psychopathic rant yesterday saying that “Israel is starving to death the ‘Palestinians’ in Gaza. “This is the worst humanitarian crisis I have ever seen,? he babbled.

What makes these comments so egregious is that the A-hole NEVER EVEN VISITED GAZA!

Oh, Carter visited Sderot where women and children have been terrorized 24 hours a days, 365 days a year, and seven straight years by a barrage of rockets carrying explosives mixed with ball bearings, nails, razor blades, and rat poison for maximum carnage.

Yet, Carter brushed off the 2,555 straight days of terror, including two years worth AFTER Israel totally withdrew from Gaza with a “firing rockets at civilians is wrong,? comment.

Yeah, Jimmy. It certainly is “wrong? to fire rockets at Israeli daycare centers. schools, hospitals in an effort to kill, maim, and traumatize every, single resident of Sderot — especially children.

It is also wrong to draw a psychotic “moral equivalence? comparison between an unsubstantiated number of “dead children,? who were recruited and trained as soldiers by Hamas to kill Jews, and/or used as human shields, with innocent Israeli children deliberately targeted by Hamas rockets.

Last Week, Hamas’ top Muslim cleric declared that Hamas’ destruction of Israel is just the beginning of a glorious conquest of the Western world, beginning with Rome, and stretching to the European and North American continents.

While you were kissing terrorist butt, Jimmy, and crying about Gaza, a place you didn’t even see, your Hamas buddies blew up a truck convoy of food and fuel supplies to Gaza after Israel relaxed restrictions at the border crossing.

Posted by: DrRJP at April 21, 2008 07:29 PM

Meeting with enemies is not the same as "legitimating" them. Carter may be naive (as he was during his presidency) but there are few choices with Hamas: obliterating them, keeping up a state of half-war as now, or talking to them to see whether they will consider a modus vivendi with Israel. Leave it to Hamas to demonstrate, as it has time and again, that it has no sincere interest in the latter.

Posted by: Robert Garvin at May 1, 2008 08:04 PM

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