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.
This laying of the wreath seems to have particularly thrilled Abdel Rahim, a top aide to Palestinian Authority Holocaust denier -- I mean, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Arafat's longtime associate and successor). The Jerusalem Post reminded readers that this presidential salute was a first, given that "U.S. President George W. Bush and other top administration officials had refused to honor Arafat during their visits to Ramallah." Rahim was positively brimming with enthusiasm, burbling on to Carter about the day Arafat's tomb would be moved to Jerusalem, "the capital of the Palestinian state."
And these -- Abbas & Co. (Fatah) -- are the "moderates." More such moderation came out in recent news reports that Abbas had to be convinced by Israel not to carry out plans to bestow official honors next week on two female accessories to Israeli murder, including the driver of the bomber of the infamous 2001 Sbarro pizzeria massacre.
Maybe Carter can arrange recognition for these women. Having honored the PLO murderer Arafat, Carter would surely like to honor others from his terrorist camp. Oh, I forgot. The former president is already doing just that in meetings with Hamas murderers even as they continue to kill.
This would seem to register high on the outrage meter, but, for the most part, what is audible from the White House, the State Department and the Congress, is so much tepid background noise to the effect of, "We wouldn't do that if we were you, sir." Not much else. At least not until Rep. Sue Myrick, North Carolina Republican, got involved.
Because Carter's meetings with the Hamas leadership run counter to international agreements to isolate Hamas, and to U.S. policy and international policy regarding this terrorist group, Myrick has publicly called on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to revoke Jimmy Carter's passport.
Hallelujah. With this request, an American leader has actually taken a stand for American security interests, for victims of terrorism, for the principle of not bargaining with terrorists, for an important ally, and, perhaps most important, for a grown-up, restorative moral order. Jimmy Carter should certainly lose his passport for his shameful and degrading and harmful Hamas overtures.
And preferably before he flies back home.