Jimmy Carter’s newest efforts to repair relations with the Jewish community were rebuffed…last week — and at the very highest levels…
A closed-door meeting he held with Jewish members of Congress turned into a passionate rebuke of the former president’s views on Israel and the Middle East…The event, hosted by California Democrat Tom Lantos, served as a forum for Jewish Democrats to vent their outrage at Carter’s book.
“I told him that the Jewish community, that has great respect for his work around the world, is extremely hurt, disappointed and frustrated from his views and that he cannot serve as an honest broker,” Ackerman said.
A similar message was also voiced by Lantos and three other Jewish lawmakers who attended the meeting: Henry Waxman, Howard Berman and Jane Harman.
The members of Congress told Carter that he needs to apologize, but the former president did not do so.
Don’t do it, Mr. President. You published an honest book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If these people have a problem with the book it’s their own problem and they’ll just have to deal with it. They don’t hold a monopoly on truth regarding these issues. Why should you apologize? Because you criticized Israel? Because you called the Occupation equivalent to apartheid? It’s something you hear in the Israeli media regularly. Why is it treif in U.S. political discourse? Or American Jewish discourse?
If Gary Ackerman, Henry Waxman, Howard Berman and Jane Harman are telling Carter to apologize then they aren’t true friends to Israel. They’re merely sycophants or better yet suppliants at the trough of AIPAC.
And isn’t it instructive that Ackerman used this historical analogy to a political assassination in describing Carter’s response to the meeting:
“He left the room less happy than Lincoln was when he left the Ford Theatre,” said Rep. Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat who attended the meeting.
That’s, uh, really cute Gary. Very quotable. But you do realize that you’ve just accused yourself of assassinating a former president’s character, if not his physical body, don’t you?
The Forward article also contains a mendacious claim by Dino Abe Foxman about Carter’s views:
“I don’t disrespect him,” Foxman said, adding that his reason for not coming to the meeting was Carter’s refusal to apologize for arguing that Jews control the media and academia. “He is entitled not to support Israel, but he is not entitled to come out and fuel antisemitic canards.”
Carter does not claim that Jews “control the media or academia.” But he does claim that the Israel lobby has intimidated the mainstream media into putting constraints on discourse about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Those are not the same things. But a propagandist like Foxman could never muster the nuance to understand this. That is why Foxman does such a disservice to American Jewish communal discourse and the quicker he leaves the scene the better off we will be (not that there are not other dinosaurs out there equally destructive).