Diana West

In mustering arguments against Jimmy Carter's head-to-head, if not heart-to-heart, get-togethers with the arch-murderers of Hamas -- the Iranian-supported, Muslim Brotherhood-linked terror organization openly dedicated to the annihilation of the state of Israel -- it becomes clear that these disastrous meetings aren't a question of misunderstood or overlooked facts, or a matter of persuasion based on such facts. They come down to a stark choice between evil and good: to meet with Hamas, or not to meet with Hamas; to lend legitimacy to a terror group, or to shun it; to degrade the office of the presidency, or to honor it. Jimmy Carter has made all the wrong choices.

The horror of it all comes from the fact that Carter, as a former president of the United States, doesn't choose in the anonymity of a private person. With lifelong recognition for his permanent, if dubious, place in American history, he makes his immoral choice as a venerable representative of the presidency, indeed, as an enduring symbol of the nation.

It was as such a symbol that the former president hugged a former Hamas official at a reception in Ramallah on Tuesday. Unfortunately, Carter didn't arrive in time for last Friday's sermon, delivered by a Hamas cleric and MP, and translated by MEMRI. It called for Islamic conquest, first of Rome -- "the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine (Koranic motifs describing Jews) in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam," and then "Europe in its entirety ... the two Americas and even Eastern Europe."

He could have hugged that Hamas official, too.

And it was as such a symbol that the former president, along with wife, Rosalynn, the former first lady, visited the grave of Yasser Arafat, the founding father of global terrorism, who, in his time on Earth, watered it with the blood of innocents, including that of two American diplomats he ordered assassinated in 1973 in Sudan. Did the thought of all this blood temper Mr. Carter's enthusiasm? Hailing Arafat's "historic role," the 39th president of the United States laid a wreath of red -- red -- roses on the terrorist's grave, calling him a "dear friend."

Too bad a column can't come with a sick bag.

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).