Carter Criticism RoundupSneaking in a last post just before Shabbat begins - and wah! the computer just ate is - now I'm really crunching it to reproduce the links:
For those of you from a more liberal political persuasion, Professor Mel Konner's perspective on Carter is quite telling:
A former president whose legacy has rested on bringing about peace between Arabs and Jews has turned his back on that to become a partisan. A man whose Christian values made him see both sides in a tragic conflict has become blind to one side's suffering. A man who walked in paths of peace has now become an obstacle to peace.This makes about as "realistic" as James "talk to the Iranians and the Syrians" Baker.
For me, it means the loss of one of my greatest heroes. I have never allowed a snide remark about Jimmy Carter's "failed" presidency to pass without contradicting it. I have said countless times that he is the greatest former president, setting a new standard for that role.
I don't recognize Carter any more. I am afraid of him now, for myself and for my children. He has not just turned his back on the balance and fairness that all peacemaking depends on. He has become a spokesman for the enemies of my people. He has become an apologist for terrorists.
Carter hates the wall [Israeli] leaders have built to protect [Israeli] children. I hate it too, and so do most Israelis. But the simple fact, disputed by no one, is that it has saved hundreds of innocent Jewish lives. It will come down when our enemies give up terror and acknowledge our right to live as a free people in our homeland.
Carter calls the Hamas leaders men of peace, a claim that flies in the face of every known reality.
But to quote Professor Konner again:
Carter has changed. Something has happened to his judgment. I don't understand what it is, but I know it is very dangerous.Senility, perhaps? The man is in his early 80s.
A friend of Jonah Goldberg writes at the Corner:
I'm reading Carter's book right now. I'm shocked by how Christian it is. A running theme is that not only are the Muslims being oppressed by the Jews, but so are the Christians. I know Rich and others have mentioned that odd line about the treatment of the Samaritans in the age of the Pharisees, but I'm still astonished that it's not being talked about more. Carter's book, at least to me, seems like a pretty obvious attempt to turn Christian America against Israel, and I think the wink-and-nod line about the Samaritans makes that clear. Sure, Carter couches his words in his typical "all I care about is peace and justice" rhetorical cloth (particularly in the first half of the book, where he assures us he really does accept the idea that Israel might be, you know, a democracy), but it's hard to conclude a third of the way in any thing other than the fact that Carter shares a
constitutional aversion to the Jewish state, well on par with the likes of Buchanan, et al. In some ways, Carter's distaste for Israel is even more conspicuous than Buchanan's. After all, the editor of The American Conservative hardly claims to be a liberal. But one has to wonder why someone as putatively liberal as Carter is so so willing to the give the benefit of the doubt, on virtually every controversial issue or accusation inhered in the conflict, to the illiberal party (that being the party of theocracy, cultural conformism, terror, etc.).
This perspective, unfortunately, makes perfect sense to me.
Carter is notorious in Israel for hectoring various Jewish Prime Ministers about the ideals that he believes Jews should be living up to, based on his understanding of the bible. And by the way, the branch of Christianity he belongs to, unlike the evangelicals, does believe very thoroughly in Replacement Theology. I think this point cannot be left out of the equation when considering Carter's opinions about Jews.
And for the third link, Ed Koch responds to the argument that Jews are stifling debate on Israel in the US.
[A]nyone even remotely familiar with the American Jewish community knows of the numerous organizations, leaders, writers, and other voices critical of the Israeli right. The notion that American Jewry, like Carter himself, has been cowed into silent acquiescence to "the right wing in Israel" would be laughable were it not so pernicious.
Shabbat shalom, y'all.