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August 13, 2014

Carter Shills Again for Hamas

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Former President Jimmy Carter continues to promote Hamas (the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement) as a legitimate political actor. In an article co-written with former Irish president Mary Robinson in Foreign Policy, Carter urged Western states to recognize Hamas as a diplomatic partner.

"Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor—one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people—can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons" ("Carter wants West to recognize Hamas”, (USA Today, Aug. 6, 2014).

This is nothing new for the one-term former president. After Israel’s December 2008–January 2009 Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Carter took to the editorial pages of The Washington Post to claim falsely that Israel was starving Gazans, Hamas’ smuggling tunnels were “defensive” in nature and that Hamas was attempting to maneuver politically in good faith (“Carter Shills for Hamas, January 10, 2009).

Now Carter and Robinson—the latter also was U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights and an organizer of the U.N.’s notorious 2001 Durban Conference against Racism that featured an explosion of anti-Semitism—want the world to recognize as legitimate an Islamist organization with genocidal goals. Hamas’ charter calls both for the destruction of Israel and war against the Jewish people.

Aaron David Miller, a former senior U.S. Arab-Israeli negotiator and now a resident scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. itemized the likely consequences of heeding Carter and Robinson: “[F]ollowing Carter’s advice to recognize Hamas would alienate Israel, undermine Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a more moderate figure who governs the West Bank, and anger the Egyptians” (“Carter wants West to recognize Hamas”, USA Today, Aug. 6, 2014).

A Wall Street Journal editorial also took a more realistic view of Hamas’ motives and aims: “Hamas may also believe it can repeatedly go to war against a militarily superior foe because Israel has never exacted a fatal price. Hamas’s aggression serves its political purposes, while Palestinian casualties serve its propaganda purposes.

“Those goals are furthered when Western governments call for mutual restraint, as if both sides are equally responsible for the violence. ‘We're continuing to convey the need to de-escalate on both sides,’ State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said … a plea that has no effect on Hamas but pressures Israel to pull its punches” (“The Next Gaza War,” The Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2014).

President Barack Obama, in contrast to Carter, said, “I have no sympathy for Hamas. I have great sympathy for ordinary people who are struggling within Gaza.” Obama also was quoted as saying “I have consistently supported Israel’s right to defend itself, and that includes doing what it needs to do to prevent rockets from landing on population centers and, more recently as we learned, preventing tunnels from being dug under their territory that can be used to launch terrorist attacks.” (“Obama: ‘I Have No Sympathy for Hamas’,” Huffington Post, Aug. 6, 2014).

Ex-president Bill Clinton recently condemned Hamas’ tactics and asked “[h]ow could they put rockets in a school to follow a deliberate strategy to force the deaths of their own civilians so as to make Israel look bad in the world?” (“Bill Clinton Slams Hamas For Using International Money To Dig Tunnels; And Store Rockets in Schools,” The Yeshiva World, Aug. 3, 2014).

Carter’s attempt to legitimize the terror group is consistent with his history of attempting to undermine Israel, epitomized by his 2006 work, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which was rebutted by CAMERA’s 2007 monograph Bearing False Witness: Jimmy Carter’s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

An editorial in The Washington Times summed up Carter’s animosity toward the Jewish state:

"Mr. Carter’s enmity toward Israel is consistent and long-standing. He has held a grudge against the friends of the Jews since Ronald Reagan, winning a record percentage of the Jewish vote, defeated him decisively in 1980… Once turned out of office, Mr. Carter made nursing the grudge a full-time job. He collected slurs against the Jewish state and put them in a toxic book in 2007 called ‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.’ Even the title was meant to insult Israel” ("The pariah president”, The Washington Times, Aug. 11, 2014).

The real question about Jimmy Carter’s Middle East views is not why he’s blindly hostile toward Israel, but rather at this late date, why some news media imagine them worth covering. -- Ziv Kaufman

Posted by ER at August 13, 2014 03:17 PM

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