Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:
Six former U.S. ambassadors, all Republicans, urged the Democratic Party to strip former President Jimmy Carter of an honorary position.
The letter mailed Wednesday to Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean calls for Carter’s removal from his position as honorary chairman of Democrats Abroad, because of statements Carter made about Hamas.
The letter, sent under the auspices of the Republican Jewish Coalition, refers to a June 19 speech by Carter in Ireland. In the speech, the ex-president “castigated our government and the governments of Israel and the European Union for withholding direct aid to Hamas leaders in the Palestinian Authority,” according to the letter.
Carter told the audience that the isolation of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority was “criminal,” despite the fact that Hamas was designated as a terrorist organization during the Clinton administration and it is illegal for the United States to give it assistance.
In response to the ambassadors’ letter, the DNC pointed to a statement by Dean last year in which he distanced himself from Carter.
Responses to Carter’s talk from members of the diplomatic corps with differing opinions are sure to come next. As JVP’s Mitchell Plitnick wrote in the JVP newsletter several months ago about his experiences speaking with Samuel Lewis, the US ambassador to Israel from ’77-’85:
Perhaps most striking was that Ambassador Lewis felt strongly that the US and Israel needed to speak with the existing Palestinian government, even though it is led by Hamas.He rightly pointed out that many terrorist and violent groups have graduated into political leadership, and that the only way to move forward was to speak with duly elected Palestinian representatives.
These are actually very common ideas, very much in the mainstream, though you’d never know it from our media or from Congress. The dividing line usually is nothing more than a strong background in the Middle East.
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