Jimmy Carter’s apology

12.30.09

In a hell-freezes-over moment, the former U.S. President has asked for forgiveness for “stigmatizing Israel”:

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has apologized to the American Jewish community for ‘stigmatizing Israel’ and asked for forgiveness for his actions, the JTA reported on Monday.

“We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel,” Carter wrote in a letter to the JTA.

“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 for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so,” Carter wrote, referring to the prayer said on Yom Kippur in which Jews ask God for forgiveness for any sins.

That’s all very well and nice but it’s tough not to be skeptical. And I’m not the only one who feels that way. Here’s Meryl’s take on the whole thing:

 The Jimmy Carter apology is deeply suspicious and seems utterly insincere. In order for a person to receive forgiveness for his actions, he needs to atone for them. There is no atonement, as can be seen in his anti-Israel op-ed in the Guardian two days after he offered the “apology.” And the timing of the open letter is very suspicious. It coincides with his grandson’s run for office in Atlanta (though Carter denies this has anything to do with it), but it’s also nothing to do with Hanukkah.

[ . . . ]

It sounds to me like it’s an apology of expedience, nothing more. Once again: Apology not accepted. I still think Carter’s problem with Israel is that there are Jews in it.

I’m inclined to agree with Meryl. Actions speak louder than words, and Carter’s have spoken pretty loudly.

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