Saturday, April 28, 2007

Inexcusable

There are some things for which there is no excuse, no extenuating circumstance, no "other side of the story." Jimmy Carter is guilty of one of those things.

From Alan Dershowitz: The Real Jimmy Carter

I have known Jimmy Carter for years. I first met him in the spring of 1976 when, as a relatively unknown candidate for president, he sent me a handwritten letter asking for my help in his campaign on issues of crime and justice. I had just published an article in The New York Times Magazine on sentencing reform, and he expressed interest in my ideas and asked me to come up with additional ones for his campaign. Shortly thereafter, my former student, Stuart Eisenstadt, brought Carter to Harvard to meet with some faculty members, me among them. I immediately liked Jimmy Carter and saw him as a man of integrity and principle. I signed on to his campaign and worked very hard for his election.

When Newsweek magazine asked his campaign for the names of people on whom Carter relied for advice, my name was among those given out. I continued to work for Carter over the years, most recently I met him in Jerusalem a year ago, and we briefly discussed the Mid-East. Though I disagreed with some of his points, I continued to believe that he was making them out of a deep commitment to principle and to human rights.

Recent disclosures of Carter's extensive financial connections to Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi Arabia, had deeply shaken my belief in his integrity. When I was first told that he received a monetary reward in the name of Shiekh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, and kept the money, even after Harvard returned money from the same source because of its anti-Semitic history, I simply did not believe it. How could a man of such apparent integrity enrich himself with dirty money from so dirty a source?

And let there be no mistake about how dirty the Zayed Foundation is. I know because I was involved, in a small way, in helping to persuade Harvard University to return more than $2 million that the financially strapped Divinity School received from this source. Initially, I was reluctant to put pressure on Harvard to turn back money for the Divinity School, but then a student at the Divinity School, Rachael Lea Fish showed me the facts.

They were staggering. I was amazed that in the twenty-first century there were still foundations that espoused these views. The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up, a think-tank funded by the Shiekh and run by his son, hosted speakers who called Jews "the enemies of all nations," attributed the assassination of John Kennedy to Israel and the Mossad and the 9/11 attacks to the United States' own military, and stated that the Holocaust was a "fable." (They also hosted a speech by Jimmy Carter.) To its credit, Harvard turned the money back. To his discredit, Carter did not.

Jimmy Carter was, of course, aware of Harvard's decision, since it was highly publicized. Yet he kept the money. Indeed, this is what he said in accepting the funds: "This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan." Carter's personal friend, it turns out, was an unredeemable anti-Semite and all-around bigot.

In reading Carter's statements, I was reminded of the bad old Harvard of the nineteen thirties, which continued to honor Nazi academics after the anti-Semitic policies of Hitler's government became clear. Harvard of the nineteen thirties was complicit in evil. I sadly concluded that Jimmy Carter of the twenty-first century has become complicit in evil.

The extent of Carter's financial support from, and even dependence on, dirty money is still not fully known. What we do know is deeply troubling. Carter and his Center have accepted millions of dollars from suspect sources, beginning with the bail-out of the Carter family peanut business in the late 1970s by BCCI, a now-defunct and virulently anti-Israeli bank indirectly controlled by the Saudi Royal family, and among whose principal investors is Carter's friend, Sheikh Zayed. Agha Hasan Abedi, the founder of the bank, gave Carter "$500,000 to help the former president establish his center...[and] more than $10 million to Mr. Carter's different projects."

This should cause outrage, but I doubt it will as the left is becoming more and more comfortable in its anti-semitism.

Carter is now the moral equivalent of a holocaust denier. Who can live with that?

(Gleaned from American Future.)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

And how many politicians are excoriated for their affiliation with the Israel Lobby? Not many even though many accept their largesse.

Take a look at Rudy Guiliani who has signed hatemongering Zionists like Norman Pohoretz and Daniel Pipes to his campaign.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

And how many politicians are excoriated for their affiliation with the Israel Lobby?

In this day and age? All too many. Look at Columbia University who would rather listen to and honor the President of Iran than the President of the United States.

Maybe Columbia wants to host the next holocaust denier conference.