Carter donning a skullcap
Carter donning a skullcap Israel news photo

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has labeled former U.S. President Jimmy Carter a “liar” for apologizing for slandering Israel and then continuing to spread “false statements” against the Jewish State. The unusually sharp condemnation of a former American president also included a swipe at other Jewish organizations in the United States that praised Carter for his apology.

In an open letter meant to the Jewish community in December, Carter wrote, "We must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel. As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het [the Jewish prayer in which worshippers remind themselves of sins] for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so."

However, the ZOA charged that on virtually the same day Carter delivered his apology, he wrote in the London Guardian that the Hamas terrorist organization should be accepted. Carter also declared, “Israel has long argued that it cannot negotiate with terrorists, yet has had an entire year without terrorism and still could not negotiate.”

The pro-Israel ZOA stated, “The Carter opinion piece defaming and stigmatizing Israel on the same day he supposedly apologized for it makes it clear that Jimmy Carter is simply a liar whose words of reconciliation can never be accepted.”

The organization also called on the Anti-Defamation League, Simon Wiesenthal Center and the National Jewish Democratic Committee to withdraw their support for Carter’s apology. ADL director Abe Foxman previously said that Carter should be "congratulated and encouraged” for his apology but also added, "Only time will tell. There certainly was a lot of hurt, a lot of angry words that need to be repaired. But this is a good start."

Morton A. Klein, president of the ZOA, stated that “a careful reading of Jimmy Carter’s supposed apology reveals that in fact he retracts not a single one of his hostile words and deeds against Israel over three decades, but on the contrary reaffirms their correctness. Now he adds insult to injury by purporting to have apologized for his hostile words and deeds while continuing to add to their number. The former President’s cynicism knows no bounds.

“He speaks of a year free of anti-Israel terrorism, ignoring not only continuing Palestinian assaults – like the murder by Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah of [a rabbi last month], for which deed Abbas and the PA honored the terrorists who committed this foul deed – but the hundreds of assaults that Israeli forces prevent week after week. He ignores continuous Israeli efforts to negotiate with the PA, which the PA has consistently rebuffed, but fails to criticize the PA.

“Jewish and Christian Zionist leaders should repudiate his spurious apology for the sham that it so clearly is.”

Klein also said Carter may have had an ulterior motive for his apology in order to assist “the electoral prospects of his grandson, Jason, who is running for Congress in a district of Georgia with a Jewish population.”

(ed note: INN published CAMERA's and Gerald Honigman's skeptical responses to the "apology" at the time, including the information about his grandson's campaign in Georgia)