Jimmy Carter returned from his meeting with leaders of Hamas to make the rounds on American television shows. Talking with Charlie Rose, Mr. Carter openly declared his view of Israel being morally equivalent with Hamas and engaging in “terrorism.” The key exchange is pasted below.
The former president’s statements are so beyond the pale that they put Jimmy Carter in a place where even Rev. Jeremiah Wright – former pastor (as of today, VERY former pastor) to presidential candidate Barack Obama was not willing to go at his National Press Club performance yesterday – that transcript is pasted after the Rose-Carter exchange.
CHARLIE ROSE: You believe there’s a moral equivalency in terms of what Hamas does, vis-a-vis Israel, in comparison of what Israel does vis-a-vis Hamas?
JIMMY CARTER: Well, the thing that concerns me about Palestinians in general relating to Israel is that there’s no evidence at all that Israel is willing to have peace with the Palestinians if it means relinquishing the Palestinian land that they have confiscated and colonized.
CHARLIE ROSE: Well, clearly they’re willing to agree to some of it, aren’t they?
JIMMY CARTER: No, I haven’t seen that yet. Let me tell you why.
CHARLIE ROSE: OK.
JIMMY CARTER: I don’t know what everybody thinks, but the overwhelming portion of Israeli citizens are willing and always have been willing in the last 30 years to exchange Palestinian land for peace. But the United States has a proposal called the roadmap, as you know. And one of the key elements is freezing of the settlements and not building any more settlements.
And when they had conference in Annapolis last November, the Israelis reconfirmed their commitment to the roadmap. Since then, thousands of new settlements have been approved and announced by the Israeli government, all on Palestinian land. And they have actually increased the number of roadblocks from 550 to 587. The United Nations and others monitor it very carefully.
CHARLIE ROSE: But is that, in your judgment, equivalent to whatever terrorist activities and whatever…
JIMMY CARTER: I wouldn’t say…
CHARLIE ROSE: … shelling that Hamas is doing onto Israel?
JIMMY CARTER: I have condemned the shelling of a little town of Sderot, which I visited, and Ashkelon which I also visited, as an act of unforgivable terrorism, because the people who suffered — they have been shelling for seven years. Thirteen people have been killed. And the people of Sderot are living in terror. It’s a town of about 20,000 people. We spent a couple hours, two or three hours with the mayor.And you ride through this town and there’s nobody on the street. Nobody on the playgrounds.
CHARLIE ROSE: Right.
JIMMY CARTER: They`re afraid of these rockets.
Well, if you look at the statistics from last year, 2007, every time one Israeli was killed, 40 Palestinians were killed by attacks by Israel against Gaza. And if you just look at children, every time an Israeli child is killed, eight Palestinian children are killed. So you can’t just say that all of the blame lies on one or the other. So what I try to do…
CHARLIE ROSE: But more one than the other?
JIMMY CARTER: I’m sorry?
CHARLIE ROSE: More one or the other?
JIMMY CARTER: I don’t even say that. You know, I think any time any powerhouse takes military action when it’s a high danger or almost an inevitability that women and children are going to be killed, I think that can be considered an act of terrorism, yes.
CHARLIE ROSE: So Israel is engaging in acts of terrorism?
JIMMY CARTER: I think both are equally guilty, yes.
CHARLIE ROSE: OK. That’s a moral equivalency.
From the National Press Club, April 28, 2008
MODERATOR: You have likened Israeli policies to apartheid and its treatment of Palestinians with Native Americans. Can you explain your views on Israel?
WRIGHT: Where did I liken them to that? Whoever wrote the question, tell me where I likened them.
Jimmy Carter called it apartheid. Jeremiah Wright didn’t liken anything to anything. My position on Israel is that Israel has a right to exist, that Israelis have a right to exist, as I said, reconciled one to another.
Have you read the Link? Do you read the Link, Americans for Middle Eastern Understanding, where Palestinians and Israelis need to sit down and talk to each other and work out a solution where their children can grow in a world together, and not be talking about killing each other, that that is not God’s will?
My position is that the Israel and the people of Israel be the people of God who are worrying about reconciliation and who are trying to do what God wants for God’s people, which is reconciliation.