Too little too late

Too little too late

So now that Jimmy Carter has apologized to the Jewish community, does that mean that setting the stage for such monstrosities as the Goldstone Report will no longer be counted against him? Or that legitimizing the slander against Israel that has snowballed in the world arena is not such a big deal?

Sorry, Jimmy. It’s not that easy. Mea culpas (as you should well know) work only when you set out to undo the damage you have caused.

Whether or not Carter’s about-face can be laid at the door of expediency – his grandson Jason is considering a run for the Georgia state Senate from a district with a substantial Jewish community – it rings hollow.

The man who publicly tarred Israel with the brush of “apartheid” (his book was titled “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid”) and accused pro-Israel lobbyists in the United States of being too powerful and skewing U.S. international policy cannot simply say he’s sorry and expect an outpouring of forgiveness.

To his credit, Carter has not denied that his grandson’s political aspirations were a factor in his recent apology, though he claims it was not the only reason. The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman seems willing to accept that, suggesting that we don’t have the “right to judge.”

But we do.

Carter’s statements and actions over the past years have dealt a body blow to Mideast peace efforts. Will he now put equal effort into undoing that damage? Will he take back his harsh words and present a balanced appraisal of the Israeli-Palestinian situation?

Carter’s self-described “Al Het” was accompanied by the following statement: “We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel.”

Good, but not enough.

Nor does his admission that the use of the word “apartheid” in his book title might have been misleading address the rest of the distortions in his book, laying the blame for the peace stalemate almost entirely at Israel’s door.

Is it possible he’s so naïve that he doesn’t realize the impact of criticism leveled by a former president of the United States?

Hardly likely. Let’s see if he will now use his bully pulpit for good instead of calumny.


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