A one-time honest broker is now a biased advocate and an obstacle to peace.
We are in that season when Jews celebrate one of their few successful rebellions against oppression. Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. How ironic, then, that Jewish-Americans are embroiled in a grim struggle against a Christian former president who is tainting our holiday joy.
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.
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.
At this holiday season, Jews remember a time when our existence was threatened in our homeland; it is threatened again now. Christians remember the birth of a baby boy long dreamed of, to a Jewish mother who had to flee from terror to protect him. Jewish mothers shrink from terror in the same place today.
Carter hates the wall their leaders have built to protect their 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. He wants Israel to back down unilaterally, to believe the promises of people who are its sworn enemy. Israel withdrew from Gaza just last year, removing Jewish settlers by force. The result was relentless rocket attacks and the killing and kidnapping of Jewish soldiers within Israel.
I have read with shock and sadness Carter's biased, harmful book "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid." I have watched as Carter was interviewed in the media. He told CNN's Larry King that President Bill Clinton and envoy Dennis Ross were misrepresenting their peace efforts in 2000, insisting that only he knew the truth, even though they were there and he was not.
When Soledad O'Brien of CNN, showing deep concern about the severe criticisms directed against the book, asked him how he would respond, he laughed. He has not once answered the many specific criticisms except to say, again and again, that his book is completely accurate.
He has said or hinted repeatedly that Jews control the Congress and the media, a classic anti-Semitic slur. It seems that Cuban-Americans can speak up on Cuba, Irish-Americans can support the IRA, Mexican-Americans can lobby on immigration law, but when Jewish-Americans speak our minds about Israel, we don't deserve the same constitutional protections and a former president can try to silence us.
Carter has changed. Something has happened to his judgment. I don't understand what it is, but I know it is very dangerous. At a minimum, his legacy is irrevocably tarnished, and he will never again be a factor in the quest for Middle East peace. At worst, he is emboldening terrorists and their apologists in the Arab world, encouraging them to go on with their terror campaign and refuse even to recognize Israel's right to just exist.
We know what happens when the right of Jews to exist is denied, but Carter has forgotten. The "Historical Chronology" at the beginning of his book starts with Abraham and grows more detailed in modern times. But between 1939 and 1947 there is . . . nothing!
In the text, the history of Jewish suffering is accorded five lines, and the Holocaust is barely mentioned in passing. But as both Hanukkah and Christmas remind us, Jews are history's most persecuted people, and Israel, where we started, is our last, best refuge. Carter's bizarre book is a poisoned holiday gift for Jews and Christians, and a danger to Jews throughout the world.