It’s always interesting when Jimmy Carter raises his head from the depths of his presidency in exile, like a perennial groundhog. The main difference is that when groundhogs raise their head, it forecasts either more winter or an early spring. In Carter’s case, it’s always gloom and blame of Israel. As President Reagan famously and appropriately quipped, “There you go again.”
It’s novel for Jimmy Carter to use the anniversary of the UN Partition vote to be heard from most recently. He's too smart to make errors of the magnitude that he has in his NY Times Op Ed, so I must write it off to his willfully misleading the reader. For starters, if on November 29, 1947 the Arabs (the only ones referred to as “Palestinians” then were Jews) had accepted the Partition Plan, they'd have a state today, side by side with Israel.
Carter disingenuously denies, this asserting that "peace is in danger of abrogation" as if Israel is the sole cause for the lack of peace. The fact is that if the Arabs laid down their weapons and stopped their rhetoric and incitement against Israel, they'd have peace tomorrow. He writes with arrogance as if only his voice is valid, but the truth is many former presidents and world leaders have spoken the truth which Carter conveniently ignores.
Take President Clinton, a fellow Democrat, who also spent more than a little time on the Israel-Arab conflict. Clinton blamed the Palestinians squarely for the failed negotiations during his presidency. “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state. I had a deal they turned down that would have given them all of Gaza… between 96 and 97 percent of the West Bank, compensating land in Israel, you name it.” He blamed Yasser Arafat directly for the failure of the 2000 Camp David Summit.
Continuing to rest his hat on a stack of half-truths, non-truths, and innuendo, Carter chides Israel for the fact that Palestinian Arabs are not Israeli citizens. Of course they aren't. They want their own state. Why should they be Israeli citizens? He adds to this the outright lie that "most live under Israeli military rule." That's absurd. Most live under Palestinian Authority rule. These are simple facts he willfully misrepresents.
Carter inflates the number of Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria, "the West Bank," (or what he calls Palestine) by some 50%, from some 400,000 to 600,000. He must have his head back during his presidency when inflation was at record highs. Either way, he’s deliberately and maliciously wrong.
There are many narratives that make up the conflict here, but willfully ignoring and misrepresenting facts is below the belt. Carter has ingested the Palestinian Kool Aid, and with it ascribes 100 percent blame of Israel, and a 100 percent pass for the Palestinians.
Carter not only ignores that thousands of Israelis (and Americans) have been killed and maimed by Palestinian Arab terror against Israel since he left office, but in his infamous book accusing Israel of apartheid, he even suggests that such terror is legitimate. Carter ignores the dozens of terror tunnels built, and thousands of rockets fired by his friends in Hamas, excusing their behavior as “boys will be boys,” disregarding the abject theft of resources that could be used to build the state of Palestine for which he advocates, rather than destroying Israel. Carter turns a blind eye to Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields, the definition of a war crime if there ever were one.
World leaders decried and condemned Hamas’ human rights violation including President Obama, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, and Prime Minister Harper. President Clinton’s comments were perhaps most clear, “Hamas was perfectly aware of what would happen if they started raining rockets into Israel. They fired one thousand and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them. They (Israel) know when Hamas attacks them that Hamas has set up a situation which politically it can’t lose, because they (Israelis) can say ‘well if I attack them back they always hide behind civilians and I’ll kill civilians, and if I don’t we’ll look like fools letting somebody shoot a thousand rockets at us and not responding.” Yet Carter remains deaf, dumb and mute.
And Carter doesn’t seem to blink at the notion that his “Palestine” would be Judenrein, forbidden for Jews to live there, albeit contradicting the very 1947 Partition Plan vote on whose anniversary he writes.
On a 2009 visit to Israel, Carter visited my neighborhood south of Jerusalem and referred to this as areas Israel would not have to cede in a final status solution. While it’s not up to Carter what Israel should or shouldn't cede, he contradicts himself by referring to the "illegality of all Israeli settlements." Carter represents it as if there are not equally valid conflicting legal opinions. He preaches as if his is view is gospel, as if his initials imbue him with the sense of divinity of another more famous JC. If such communities were illegal, what gives Carter the right to decide what can or can’t stay Israeli in the event of a peace agreement with our neighbors?
I have followed Jimmy Carter since I was a student at Emory, when Carter started what we called his presidency in exile. I have challenged Carter on his half-truths and misrepresentations in person, and in writing. We were used to this then, and sadly nothing's changed. His anti-Israel venom spreads like brain cancer, and is a disease that he uses to infect others. President Reagan’s rebuke remains valid today as it was then.