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Carter’s Apology Isn’t Peanuts

Carter’s Apology Isn’t Peanuts

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

It’s bad form to take an apology and look for ulterior motives.

Even if it’s clear that Jimmy Carter smeared Israel by invoking apartheid in his book title just to sell more copies — he acknowledged in interviews that it’s a shoddy analogy — no one forced him to apologize. There are plenty of people, probably more than there are Israel supporters, who will hail him as a hero for trashing Israel. So he’s not looking for love.

Some say he’s trying to fend off the Israel PAC campaign-killers who could target his son (sorry, that is grandson; h/t commenter below) who is running for state Senate in Georgia. Maybe that is part of his thinking.

But Carter is also a religious man, and the fact that he chose the expression “al het” in his letter to JTA asking forgiveness shows he cared enough to consult with Jewish friends about it. Opportunistic Israel-basher with an incomplete view of the peace process he may be, but Mel Gibson he is not.

The risk in casting off an apology is that people will grow to view our community as intransigent and vindictive once offense has been made. The views of this elder statesman of our country, who negotiated the first lasting Arab-Israeli peace agreement (thereby saving thousands of lives on both sides) should be scrutinized, fact-checked and countered, where appropriate.

But the appropriate response should be “Apology accepted.”

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