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ISRAEL: Sitting down with Carter

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Jimmy Carter knew what he was getting into when he launched his one-man Middle East diplomacy tour.  After emerging as the most prominent American critic of Israeli policy, the former president wasn't expecting to be received here with open arms.

But as the Nobel Peace Prize-winner returned to Jerusalem after meeting with Hamas leaders in Damascus, his aides said they were amazed that not a single Israeli government minister was willing to meet with him during the several days he was here last week.

"We expected a cold reception but not to be treated like this," said one Carter advisor.

Carter hailed the public acceptance by Hamas of a two-state solution on pre-1967 borders, provided the proposed peace deal was approved in a Palestinian referendum. The development, Carter said, proved  Israel and the U.S. were "making a very serious mistake" in refusing to meet with the militant group, which won parliamentary elections in 2006 and now controls the Gaza Strip.

Carter laughed when asked if he thought his actions would spark debate back home about the United States' foreign policy and its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"There’s no chance for debate there,” he said, because the public discourse is hopelessly tilted in favor of Israel.  “You can have the debate in Israel, but you can’t in America.”

“A debate in America is an absolutely hopeless dream,” Carter continued. “There is not a single candidate in America, for governor, for House of Representatives, for Senate or for president that would dare say anything that was not acceptable to Israel.”

—Ashraf Khalil in Jerusalem

Photo: Former President Jimmy Carter. Credit Ashraf Khalil / Los Angeles Times

P.S. The Los Angeles Times issues a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, the war in Iraq and the frictions between the West and Islam. You can subscribe by registering at the website here, logging in here and clicking on the World: Mideast newsletter box here.

Comments () | Archives (22)

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It is absolutely embarrassing the way our media is so completely censored at the daily Israeli atrocities committed. This treatment of Carter should have been front page news. They even denied him the use of his Air Force One jet for the 1st time ever for any ex-president.

Israel is slaughtering and torturing innocent civilians daily. Settlers are even killing and torturing to death as they did to a 14 year old last week. They are never arrested. They always mention a "suicide bomber" in defense, when there hasn't been one in 2 years. They make multi murderers of families at prayer as heroes. Meanwhile, 1000's of Palestinian women and children are killed, Gaza is cut off from water, fuel, and electricity. They are locked in with no food for all of 10 days of passover. It is just the most vicious and hypocritical nation committing a holocaust and not allowing anyone to report on it. Even Riad Hamah, a human rights American in Texas was murdered and dumped in a lake last week for simply sending food to poor Palestinian children. BTW, he'd been complaining of harrassment for years without any help from authorities. Now hes dead.

Get your news from Wake Up from Your Slumber,and whatreallyhappened.com.

Gee, no mention of that Israeli spy anywhere? So we give a country billions each year to have so much mistrust and espionage toward the U.S? Hmm -- wouldn't want to be labled "anti-Semetic" now.

Mel was right.

Thank God for Israel. They are on the front lines in our mutual war to save civilization as we know it. Hamas and its sponsors and supporters are ruthless animals who must be crushed. Carter is a gulible fool. What don't folks understand about the stated Arab position that Israel be destroyed. They will settle for nothing else.

I am highly critical of our policy toward Isreal, and I AM a candidate for Congress.

“There is not a single candidate in America, for governor, for House of Representatives, for Senate or for president that would dare say anything that was not acceptable to Israel.”

Uh... Ron Paul

I find it amusing that Mr. Khalil is so focused on the poor hospitality that Carter has received while in Israel. What a Muslim prism with which to interpret reality!

Well, Carter is welcome to the Muslim "hospitality". The same kind of "hospitality" that they gave the American Embassy staff in Iran during his presidency. The same kind of "hospitality" that our embassy staff in Beirut received and the same kind of "hospitality" enjoyed by Christians in Saudi Arabai to this day.

As for Carter's contention that: "There is not a single candidate in America, for governor, for House of Representatives, for Senate or for president that would dare say anything that was not acceptable to Israel.”

He's right. The Islamochurian candidate Obama THINKS it, but doesn't SAY it. Taqiya anyone?

Seems like Carter is making a play for political relevancy. He may be making a play for a cabinet post in a new administration. Life must be getting boring on the peanut plantation. Does he have it in him to accomplish something? I am doubtful. Give him some credit for trying. Okay, okay just give him a glass of wine and another heart pill. Bush is a lame duck president and Carter is more of a coot (a famous coot). The middle east is a big big mess. Iran is going to have nukes in a couple years. Isreal is paranoid already. Do you have equal rights in Isreal if you are not Jewish? They have nukes already. Not a pretty prospect for the future of the world. Good luck to the next president and his team period! I am moving to Alaska or possibly even Chile...just kidding...my Spanish is horrible.

America should no longer get involved in sending billions of dollars overseas to provide for the infrastructure of other countries. There is no proper filter that allows for correct allocation of funds. World peace and democracy may one day morph into foreign entities... Unfortunately where there are large sums of money there are groups of people hording monies into their own special interest and there are extreme misallocations of huge sums of monies funnelled into projects that are not America's business or not in America's interest.

Terrorism should and will be erradicated hopefully one day in the Middle East. Until then... America should keep our noses focused on American business right here at home and let these other countries sort out their own business. Of course, human rights violations should be addressed by organizations like the U.N. or Amnesty International and the International Community.

Jimmy Carter might want to bring his focus back to projects here at home like Homes for Humanity.

http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011/$File/rwp_06_011_walt.pdf

Read this to understand how US foreign policy in the middle east is skewed in favor of Israel and how it got that way - it might also shed some light on why we are in Iraq.

Americans have long been under some kind of gag rule concerning voicing ideas independent from Israel's. Under the current adminstration, it has been unpatriotic until very recently to utter ideas inconsistent with US policy and when people raise an objection to Israeli policy, they are labeled anti-semitic. All of us need to remember that only totalitarian states demand complete acceptance to the state line and we dishonor the democratic foundations of the US and Israel when we fail to speak truth to power.

"Im one of those rare Americans that does NOT support Israel." Are you an American, really?

"US policy towards Israel will not change until the US is defeated in the next world war." Not going to happen. BTW, you must be really out of your mind if you desire a world war to eliminate Israel.

"At that point, Israel will be a moot point as it will not exist."
I don't think that Mecca, or Tehran will fair so well in that conflagration. Think about it. Peace is the oly solution.

Hamas did not agree to anything anyone would find in the least bit palatable.

They agreed to get all of Jerusalem. They agreed to let every person who ever lived in/near/visited or saw a movie of Israel get a brand new home in present day Israel. They agreed to continue to send suicide bombers into Israel as often as they can. They agreed to ignore Jewish refugees forced out of arab lands.

There will be peace in the middle east when Palestinians love thier children more than they hate Israelis.

"If Israel wouldn't keep seizing hilltops from Parlistinian farmers, uprooting their olive trees, fencing off their farms and harassing their kids on the way to school peace would be a lot more attainable in the Middle East."
Do you think that Isrealis get their jollies by imposing restrictions on Parlistinians? No, they are tired of having their children murdered by maniacs with bombs strapped to their bodies.

"And here in the United States no presidential candidate dares to talk about it lest some of the Jewish billionaires funding their campaign switches his support to someone else." Oh, the Elders of Zion conspiracy paranoia! Aren't there Arab billionaires?

Ron Paul is a congressmen AND congressional candidate, and he has certainly said and acted in ways that do not blindly support Israel. I guess Carter forgot about him.

Now let us see something positive from the Hamas.
Maybe they would like any good will gesture like release of Cpl . Shalit. Israel signed out of Gaza over a year ago.

What about the US? What about our interests? What happen to policy of strong defense avoiding getting dragged into conflicts around the world? Why we are always have to get everyone out of trouble. Japan, UK, Russia, China all are fully content with what goes on in the world, but we in the US have to get in the middle of thing. Whether being Middle East and Far East or Europe.

Can we look inwardly for a change? Why should I care about Israelis or Palestinians? I want America back. I want America for Americans of any decent or any color or any religion. I want it to be about us.

Wow. A former US President who is brave enough to say publicly what we all know. Why can't we openly debate this issue without fear? Is it because the Israel lobby is so powerful that it can destroy any poliitician who utters anything that is not acceptable to Israel? I suppose Presidnet Carter isn't concerned because he is not running for office. An important question, I submit, is wether our nation's blind loyalty to Israel will result in our destruction by the forces of Islamic jihad. Is that a price that we are willing to pay? Is it any wonder that we are seen as hypocrits around the world?

Im one of those rare Americans that does NOT support Israel.

US policy towards Israel will not change until the US is defeated in the next world war.

At that point, Israel will be a moot point as it will not exist.

If Israel wouldn't keep seizing hilltops from Parlistinian farmers, uprooting their olive trees, fencing off their farms and harassing their kids on the way to school peace would be a lot more attainable in the Middle East. And here in the United States no presidential candidate dares to talk about it lest some of the Jewish billionaires funding their campaign switches his support to someone else.

 
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