Burt Prelutsky

Years ago, when I still worked in advertising, I was a copywriter on the Mattel account. It should have been fun because they made toys. But it wasn’t, mainly because of all the restrictions the FCC placed on commercials aimed at children. In one of the spots I wrote, a little boy, playing with his Mattel racing car on the floor, imagined himself leading the pack at the Indy 500. It never got produced. Even though it would have been shot as an obvious daydream, and even though every little squirt playing with the car would imagine himself winning at the Brickyard, we weren’t permitted to show the toys doing anything they couldn’t actually do in real life.

So, how is it that nobody else ever seems to get called on the carpet for their lies and exaggerations? How is it, for instance, that every liberal from Ted Kennedy to Jesse Jackson can get away with pretending that American blacks are still living like slaves, and that four decades after the Civil Rights Act, the only thing keeping blacks out of the cotton fields are Democrats in Washington?

How is it that every rotten movie can get away with lying about how terrific it is? And, unlike other products, they don’t come with money-back guarantees.

And, finally, how is it that Jimmy Carter, that sanctimonious phony who was a disaster during his four years in the White House and a disgrace in the quarter of a century since, can pass himself off as equal parts statesman and saint? While most of us wished that he would simply slink back to his peanut farm after Ronald Reagan whupped his butt in ‘80, we hadn’t realized how starved he was for the spotlight.

Recently, he has been barnstorming all over the country, peddling his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” Carter contends that his purpose in writing the book -- in the unlikely event it was he and not some anonymous ghost who actually put Carter’s vile thoughts on paper -- was to open a dialogue about the Middle East. He calls upon America to take what he calls a balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. He claims that America unfairly favors Israel because of the Jewish lobby. He also compares Israel to South Africa in the bad old days, equating the fence they’ve built as protection against terrorists with apartheid.

Where does one begin to deal with all the lies foisted off by Mr. Peanut? Would he have called for a balanced approach to Germany and Czechoslovakia or Germany and Poland in the 1930s? Would he have carried Chamberlain’s umbrella back from Munich?

Forgetting Jews in congress and the senate, why would any American, aside from Steven (“Munich”) Spielberg, find a moral equivalency between Palestinians and Israelis? Israel keeps trying to trade land for peace, and they keep getting their school buses and pizza parlors blown up in exchange. For people who are traditionally known to be pretty sharp when it comes to horse-trading, this doesn’t seem like a very smart way to conduct business. But, God knows, they keep trying.

Something that Carter, who has often boasted of his close friendship with Yasser Arafat, insists on overlooking is that prior to 1948, the “Palestinians” were in fact the Jews living on the land that was the basis for the modern state of Israel. It was land, mainly sand, they had bought at inflated prices from Arabs for over 50 years. The fact that it is now the Arabs who are known as Palestinians is the result of a clever P.R. firm that suggested that if they wanted to picture themselves as underdogs in order to garner sympathy, they should stop calling themselves Arabs. After all, there were only about five million Jews in Israel and about 125 million Arabs surrounding them, and calling for their extinction.

Now why on earth would Carter call for a balanced approach? After all, Israel, in spite of occasional differences with the U.S., is a staunch ally, one of the few nations that sides us with us at the U.N., and is the only western democracy in a part of the world where Islamic Nazis run wild.

Whenever I hear an American claim that he favors Arabs in this ongoing conflict, a conflict perpetuated by a people who think Hitler left the job only half-done, I wonder why. Whenever I hear an American claim that people who treat their women like chattel; who live under theocratic rule; who oppose freedom of speech and certainly religion; who cheered and danced on 9/11 and then, for good measure, insisted that Israel was behind the attack; and who pay homage to suicide bombers; are preferable to Israelis, a people who share our values and who are exactly like us, except that they’re Jewish, I know that I’m in the presence of an anti-Semite.

Even if he happens to be a former president of the United States.