And more. So much more. The book is a skein of falsehoods. Carter repeatedly gets history wrong -- as when he suggests that Israel attacked Jordan in the 1967 war. In fact, Israel pleaded with Jordan to remain neutral as it fought off Egypt and Syria. But Jordan elected to join the other Arab states in attempting to obliterate Israel. It lost Jerusalem and the West Bank as a consequence.
The former president surely knew, when he wrote this sentence, that it was completely untrue: "The unwavering official policy of the United States since Israel became a state has been that its borders must coincide with those prevailing from 1949-1967." In fact, no U.S. government, including Carter's, insisted on withdrawal to what Abba Eban called "Auschwitz borders."
Carter also repeatedly insinuates that U.N. Resolution 242 calls for such a withdrawal -- another lie. The resolution does speak of withdrawal, but was carefully crafted (against the objections of the Soviets) not to call for such a total pullout.
Carter writes that in the years since the Camp David accords, "The Israelis have never granted any appreciable autonomy to the Palestinians." Obviously, patently false. Concerning the 2000 Camp David/Taba negotiations, Carter suggests that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority rejected a compromise. But as former State Department chief negotiator Dennis Ross has countered, "Their (Israel's) government, meaning the cabinet, actually voted for it ... This is a matter of record, not a matter of interpretation." Carter's good friend Arafat walked away and started the second Intifada.
The former president's sloppiness -- or mendacity -- shows up on nearly every page of the book. He claims that an Arab document, the so-called "Prisoners Proposal," called for "a unity government with Hamas joining the PLO, the release of all political prisoners, acceptance of Israel as a neighbor within its legal borders... "
Or not. Here is Abdel Rahman Zeidan, a Palestinian minister, on the BBC: "You will not find one word in the document clearly stating the recognition of Israel as a state."
There's more. Carter's distaste not just for Israel but also for Jews is reflected in some of his anecdotes, as is his inexplicable attraction to autocrats and thugs in positions of power.
But a lawsuit is not the way to deal with this. The First Amendment trumps all. The courts cannot police books for accuracy -- not in America.
But the rest of us can.
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