An honest apology is always welcome, even if harm done cannot be undone. (If only it could beâ€¦.) That’s one reason Yom Kippur has endured, and will endure – an apology eases the giver and the recipient.
Then there’s the fake apology: the one that goes “I apologize if” – implying that the person taking offense is actually the one to blame for doing so.
And then there’s Jimmy Carter, who seems to have made an art of disguising pride with pretend regret. (Even the “lust in his heart” quote was a kind of brag about being a faithful husband.)
In December, he sent a letter, through JTA, to the Jewish community – in the wake of criticism of his wrong-headed, enthusiastic endorsement of the equally wrong-headed Goldstone Report – offering “an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have” stigmatized Israel.
We wrote in this space that his apology was “too little too late,” noting that “Carter’s statement and actions over the past years have dealt a body blow to Mideast peace efforts.”
Now the former president has come out with a new book, “White House Diary,” writing – according to Maureen Dowd in Wednesday’s New York Times – that he is “sorry he alienated Jews and the press.”
Not having read the book, we’re not sure what that “sorry” means, but he certainly has alienated Jews.
Reviewing the book in the Los Angeles Times, Timothy Rutten perceptively notes “Carter’s recent shrill antipathy to Israel and its interestsâ€¦. Carter characterizes the Palestinians as people with ‘rights’ and the Israelis as people with ‘demands.’ Over and over, he fails to evince any sympathy for the existential condition of Israeli leaders for whom every aspect of the peace process is a negotiation over their country’s survival. In several instances, he also implicitly taxes American Jews, particularly those in government, with the old dual-loyalty slander. It’s ugly, small-minded stuff.”
Sounds like an accurate appraisal.