Category Archives: Jimmy Carter

Zionist Organization of America board member leads class action lawsuit against Jimmy Carter for Apartheid book

This is an extraordinary and clunky attack on free speech by a group of Americans and Israelis who simply didn’t like former President Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.

Tablet’s Marc Tracy reports that on Monday, a group represented by attorney David Schoen ( a board member of the Zionist Organization of America who boasts defending members of the Israel mafia ) announced it was filing a class action lawsuit against Carter and his publisher Simon & Shuster. They claim the book, marketed as nonfiction, contains“demonstrable falsehoods, omissions, and knowing misrepresentations designed to promote Carter’s agenda of anti-Israel propaganda.”

The publisher responded to Tablet:

“This lawsuit is a frivolous and transparent attempt by the plaintiffs, despite their protestations to the contrary, to punish the author, a Nobel Peace prize-winner and world-renowned statesmen, and his publisher, for writing and publishing a book with which the plaintiffs simply disagree. It is a chilling attack on free speech that we intend to defend vigorously.”

The plaintiffs, Stephen Unterberg, Susan Eckman, Ryan Shuman, Danica Bernard and Steven Tabak, and apparently a cast of thousands who were traumatized by the book,  are demanding “damages” for everyone who ever bought the book. Seriously. You can read the lawsuit yourself below–

Carter Complaint- Lawsuit Against Jimmy Carter

-cecilie surasky

Jimmy Carter’s apology to the Jewish people

What is it about Atlanta and Israel?

First, in response to a firestorm of criticism and vilification, Atlanta resident and iconic film star Jane Fonda issued a mea culpa about the wording of a petition she signed protesting the Toronto International Film Festival’s celebratory spotlight on Tel Aviv. She said she signed it, “without reading it carefully enough, without asking myself if some of the wording wouldn’t exacerbate the situation rather than bring about constructive dialogue”. To her credit, Fonda did not remove her signature. But it was still an extraordinary move that reflected the intense pressure she was under. (This level-headed group of Atlanta Jewish leaders rose to her defense.)

And now, Jimmy Carter, reportedly in an effort to ease his grandson’s political path to a Georgia state Senate seat, has written an open letter of apology to, well, the entire Jewish people.

An open letter to the Jewish community at the season of Chanukah from former President Jimmy Carter:

The time of Chanukah and the Christian holidays presents an occasion for reflection on the past and for looking to the future. In that vein, I wish to share some thoughts with you about the State of Israel and the Middle East.

I have the hope and a prayer that the State of Israel will flourish as a Jewish state within secure and recognized borders in peaceful co-existence with its neighbors and with all the Moslem States, and that this peaceful co-existence will bring security, prosperity and happiness to the people of Israel and to the people of the Middle East of all faiths.

I have the hope and a prayer that the bloodshed and hatred will change to mutual respect and cooperation, fulfilling the prophetic aspiration that the lion shall lie down with the lamb in harmony and peace. I likewise hope that violent attacks against all civilians will end, which will help set a better framework for commencing negotiations. I further hope that peace negotiations can soon commence, with all issues on the negotiating table.

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NY Times Getting Tougher on the Israel lobby?

Some surprising headlines seen in the last week or so of the New York Times: “With ‘Annapolis’ a warning to Israel”, “Israel cries wolf” , and “Israel on Trial”. The war on Gaza, the Israeli move to the right in its recent election, and the new US administration may be having some non-trivial effect on both who and what is appearing in the mainstream press, in particular, the New York Times.

It’s difficult to know if this implies a significant change or an exception that proves the rule.  It is clear, however, that there is, to some extent, a different type of dynamic being set by the Obama administration compared to previous years, one which might actually hold the Israelis, and not just the Palestinians, accountable for their actions.  For example Obama’s recent and unambiguous call for a process based on Annapolis “With ‘Annapolis’ a warning to Israel” goes directly against statements  recently made by Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman.

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Republican Jewish Coalition thinks Jimmy Carter is radioactive

Another wow. While nearly 80% of Jews voted for Obama, (and we’re the biggest single religious group opposed to the war with Iraq), there are some Jewish Republicans.  The Republican Jewish Coalition, acting like thought-police, want to know why Obama would ever want to meet with a former sitting president to talk about the Middle East. Especially, gd  forbid, one who actually forged a lasting peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. (Some way to show the love Jimmy!)

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today called on the Obama administration to disclose the role of former President Jimmy Carter in advising the administration on critical foreign policy issues.

RJC Executive Director Matthew Brooks said, “In an in-depth article in the April 6, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh states that Carter has met with President Obama to discuss foreign policy, and that the administration was aware of Carter’s trip to Syria in December 2008. Carter is calling for broader U.S.-Syrian relations.

“Former President Carter has never been perceived as a friend of Israel,” Brooks continued. “In the years since his presidency, Carter has been openly hostile to Israel and has shown a naïve grasp of the realities in the Middle East.

Brooks, who doesn’t hesitate to make a demand on behalf of the entire “Jewish community”, goes on to say:

“We call on President Obama to disclose the role that Jimmy Carter has in his administration as an advisor on Middle East policy. Carter believes that pressuring Israel will result in peace between Israel and those still openly dedicated to her destruction. If this is the kind of advice that President Obama is turning to, that is indeed of great concern to us, to the Jewish community, and to the vast majority of Americans who support our ally Israel.”

Has Brooks actually read the Arab peace plan and their offer to give Israel full, normalized relations in exchange for a return to ’67 borders and the sharing of Jerusalem? Seriously. The plan has been on the table since 2002, and Israel and groups like the RJC have been ignoring it just as long. Even the political realists of Hamas have said they’d consider a long term hudna (truce) with Israel. To be fair, on the other side, Netanyahu has not vowed to destroy the Palestinian state, because there isn’t one. And he wants to keep it that way.

Check out Seymour Hersh’s article in The New Yorker that started the fuss.

Jimmy Carter should be “un-dissed” by the Obama Administration

Ralph Nader writes in Counterpunch that the censoring of Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention was a mistake (reported here previously).   After much behind the scenes machinations, he and Rosalyn only got a walk-on part although former president Carter has tirelessly worked for peace in the region since his brokering of the Israeli-Egyptian Camp David agreement in 1979.  In 2006, his  book “Peace, Not Apartheid” caused a great deal of controversy by simply mentioning apartheid in the title while moderately talking about possible solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict.  Although causing a firestorm in the US, such discussions of apartheid have been occurring frequently in the Israeli press.  In the US, such words caused a former president of the US to not get a traditional speaking gig at the convention. Nader argues that Obama will need to get past such small-minded, narrow identity politics to achieve a stable peace in the region.

The Democrats Owe Jimmy Carter an Apology

Don’t Suppress Carter (or the Opportunities for Middle East Peace)


Now that the season of electoral expediency is over, Barack Obama owes Jimmy Carter an apology.

At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, the Party denied Jimmy Carter the traditional invitation to speak that is accorded its former presidents.

According to The Jewish Daily Forward, “Carter’s controversial views on Israel cost him a place on the podium at the Democratic Party convention in late August, senior Democratic operatives acknowledged to the Forward.”

Silencing Carter, who negotiated the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement, involved behind the scenes tensions between supporters of the hard-line AIPAC lobby and those Democrats who argued both respect and free speech to let Carter join Bill Clinton on the stage and address a nationwide audience.

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VIDEO: “Obama hangs out with anti-Semites”

This video of McCain spokesperson Michael Goldfarb on CNN today is almost–but not quite– funny. CNN’s Rick Sanchez tries to pin Goldfarb on his accusation that Obama hangs out with anti-Semites. Goldfarb draws a blank. But, inexplicably, Sanchez “gives” Goldfarb his assertion that respected Columbia Middle East Studies professor Rashid Khalidi, compared yesterday by McCain to a neo-Nazi, is, in fact an anti-Semite. Huh? Based on what exactly? No one bothers to say because, apparently, as a Palestinian who asserts a right to self- determination, Khalidi’s anti-Semitism is self evident.

Hat tip to SAM for letting us know about Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Ron Kampeas article tearing down the McCain assertion that Khalidi was ever a spokesperson for the PLO.

Dershowitz boasts about getting Jimmy Carter shunned by Democrats

You gotta love Alan Dershowitz, a man who says about fave-ex-president Jimmy Carter there’s “a special place in hell reserved for somebody [who] has literally become such an anti-Israel bigot,” but who  publicly promises to give anyone a reward who can identify any “prominent Jewish leader who has ever equated legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.” (SEE YOUTUBE VIDEO BELOW)  And the definition of is is?

Having handily dispatched Norman Finkelstein through his campaign to deny him tenure at DePaul, Dershowitz has a new, and much more profitable nemesis: Jimmy Carter. Dersh is already hawking his upcoming book, The Case Against Israel’s Enemies—Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who
Stand In the Way of Peace,
with a title so crassly Orwellian that it might even make the McCain campaign blush these days (Remember that little peace agreement with Egypt Carter made happen? What a peace-hater! See also MJ Rosenberg’s new piece on why Israel seems to merely “yawn” at the idea of full, warm relations with its Arab neighbors.)

Dershowitz, an undeniably tremendous debater but a man with no academic background in Middle East affairs, is now claiming the Democrats deliberately shunned Jimmy Carter at the recent convention because of his criticism of Israel policy. Carter says his absence at the convention was his own decision.

In fact, Dershowitz boasts his lobbying of the DNC was partially responsible for the decision to break tradition and distance themselves from a living Democratic president.

In this case, Dershowitz may be telling the truth. Has anyone seen favorite-target-of-the-pro-settler-right Obama linked in any way with Carter? It’s fairly obvious Dersh and friends have made Nobel prize winner Carter kryptonite to the Obama campaign. Not that it takes much in this environment. And they’re not done yet.

Johann Hari writes about the McCarthy-ite attacks on Israel’s Critics

Below is a new London Independent article recounting one reporter’s own experience, along with the experience of others, (discussed here previously). We need to be ever vigilant. The forces arrayed against legitimate criticism of US supported Israeli transgressions must be countered for there to be any possibility of a stable peace in the region. There will always be “push-back” from such forces, CAMERA, the David project, etc, but there is a growing movement of progressive voices, Jewish and otherwise, that is making the claim of monolithic and unquestioning support for Israel more and more difficult. Even the New York Times with the new bureau chief Ethan Bronner is starting to report in a slightly more balanced way.
The Loathsome Smearing of Israel’s Critics

by Johann Hari

In the US and Britain, there is a campaign to smear anybody who tries to describe the plight of the Palestinian people. It is an attempt to intimidate and silence — and to a large degree, it works. There is nobody these self-appointed spokesmen for Israel will not attack as anti-Jewish: liberal Jews, rabbis, even Holocaust survivors.

My own case isn’t especially important, but it illustrates how the wider process of intimidation works. I have worked undercover at both the Finsbury Park mosque and among neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers to expose the Jew-hatred there; when I went on the Islam Channel to challenge the anti-Semitism of Islamists, I received a rash of death threats calling me “a Jew-lover”, “a Zionist-homo pig” and more.

Ah, but wait. I have also reported from Gaza and the West Bank. Last week, I wrote an article that described how untreated sewage was being pumped from illegal Israeli settlements on to Palestinian land, contaminating their reservoirs. This isn’t controversial. It has been documented by Friends of the Earth, and I have seen it with my own eyes.

The response? There was little attempt to dispute the facts I offered. Instead, some of the most high profile “pro-Israel” writers and media monitoring groups — including Honest Reporting and Camera — said I an anti-Jewish bigot akin to Joseph Goebbels and Mahmoud Ahmadinejadh, while Melanie Phillips even linked the stabbing of two Jewish people in North London to articles like mine. Vast numbers of e-mails came flooding in calling for me to be sacked. Continue reading

Congressional lawmakers go after Jimmy Carter

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:

Two Republican congressmen introduced legislation that would deny the Carter Center federal dollars.

Two Republican congressmen introduced legislation that would deny the Carter Center federal dollars.

U.S. Reps. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) introduced the Coordinated American Response to Extreme Radicals Act , or CARTER Act, last week in the wake of former President Jimmy Carter’s recent outreach to Hamas.

“America must speak with one voice against our terrorist enemies,” Knollenberg said in a statement. “It sends a fundamentally troubling message when an American dignitary is engaged in dialogue with terrorists. My legislation will make sure that taxpayer dollars are not being used to support discussions or negotiations with terrorist groups.”

The Zionist Organization of American praised the legislation.

Carter’s Atlanta-based center focuses mostly on international development. The former president met with Hamas officials against the advice of the Bush administration. He defended his meetings as his attempt to help bring an end to the violence on the Israel-Gaza Strip border.

Thank you Jimmy Carter for everything, even for using the apartheid word

We’ll share some choice quotes from Haaretz’s editorial thanking Jimmy Carter for all he’s done, like that little peace agreement he brokered with Egypt, despite the fact that Israel is now “boycotting” him. But first, it’s worth pointing out that high level Israeli officials (not to mention Haaretz reporters) were using the term “apartheid” to describe Israel’s unequal and separate systems for Israelis and Palestinians long before Carter’s book came out and caused a firestorm that could have destroyed a lesser figure.

Folks like former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair who wrote in 2002, “In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That regime exists to this day.” And there’s Shulamit Aloni, former Minister of Education, who said, “Through its army, the government of Israel practices a brutal form of apartheid in the territory it occupies.” Geez, even former South African prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd, considered the architect of apartheid said, “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.”

But Carter is a former US president. And he put apartheid, a word he clearly meant to describe the Palestinian occupied territories and not Israel behind the green line, in the title of his book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. Haaretz writes this week, after detailing his major gifts to Israel and the cold shoulder treatment he’s getting this week:

But Israelis have not liked him since he wrote the book “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.”

Israel is not ready for such comparisons, even though the situation begs it. It is doubtful whether it is possible to complain when an outside observer, especially a former U.S. president who is well versed in international affairs, sees in the system of separate roads for Jews and Arabs, the lack of freedom of movement, Israel’s control over Palestinian lands and their confiscation, and especially the continued settlement activity, which contravenes all promises Israel made and signed, a matter that cannot be accepted. The interim political situation in the territories has crystallized into a kind of apartheid that has been ongoing for 40 years. In Europe there is talk of the establishment of a binational state in order to overcome this anomaly. In the peace agreement with Egypt, 30 years ago, Israel agreed to “full autonomy” for the occupied territories, not to settle there.

These promises have been forgotten by Israel, but Carter remembers.

Thank you Carter, and Haaretz for saying, simply, the truth of what you see. Not everyone has to agree on the word. But they should argue on its merits, not by attacking the messenger, which is the ultimate cheap shot.