Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Carter dependent on Saudi money?

I don't often get "political", but I have to say that I am sick of hearing about former President Jimmy Carter on the news. He was a horrible president. I knew it back when I was in high school and I haven't forgotten. His Habitat for Humanity project is wonderful, but can he please keep his mouth shut? Is he still an American? Whose side is he on?

As for my high school memories, I will never forget the Iran hostage crisis. How the world knew they could run roughshod over us because we had a weak man in office. How inflation and 20% interest rates on home loans caused my parents to become hostages in their own home. They wanted to move and put their house on the market at that time but it was not possible to sell a home. We were all hostages.

Here is an enlightening editorial I saw this morning in the June 2007 edition of Orange County Jewish Life. I had no idea he and his causes have taken so many millions of Arab money. Why am I not surprised?

EDITOR'S CORNER

By Ilene Schneider



jimmy we hardly knew ye

I thought Former President Jimmy Carter was just an innocuous blond-haired, blue-eyed, soft-spoken “homeboy” from Georgia who got lucky enough to win a strange election. It was a time when a Rhesus monkey could have gotten elected under the Democratic banner in the aftermath of Watergate and the Vietnam War. Running as an outsider when many “innies” were seeing the insides of prison cells, this peanut farmer and born-again Christian was nominated out of a field of twelve Democratic candidates to run against an unelected Republican incumbent (Gerald Ford) in 1976.

Carter had a sister who proseletyzed too much, a brother who drank too much, and a campaign that promised too much, making Carter look feckless. Of about 1100 campaign promises, the Carter Presidency kept one – to create a Department of Education.

There was one other notable achievement during Carter’s Presidency – the Camp David Accords, which outlined a framework for a comprehensive Middle East peace. These accords, which were signed on September, 17, 1978, by Carter, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat following a two-week conference at Camp David, the presidential retreat, marked the first time an Arab nation formally recognized Israel’s right to exist. Israel, in turn, gave up territory it had captured in the Sinai Peninsula.

While Carter received a great deal of credit for engineering the historic event, it may have been spurred on by the high rate of poverty in Egypt or the desire of Sadat and Begin to take the first step toward stability in the region. Carter is probably remembered much better for another historic event – the complete failure to negotiate the return of American hostages taken by Iran in 1979, an event that, along with double-digit inflation, undoubtedly cost Carter the Presidency in 1980.

I thought Former President Jimmy Carter was just using his political capital and his relative youth upon leaving office to take some strides toward bettering the human condition. Nobody can argue with the premise of Carter’s brainchild, Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit housing organization that builds simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need. Moreover, nobody can quibble about the utter lack of human rights in some parts of the world.

However, Carter’s attacks on Israel and factual distortions in his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, and the speeches he has given on college campuses (UCI, May 3, for example) in defense of the claims he espouses in the book are nothing short of outrageous. They also make any thinking person wonder exactly whose condition Carter is bettering.

According to an article in FrontPage.com (April 30, 2007) Alan Dershowitz, renowned lawyer, professor at Harvard Law School, and author of six best-selling books, “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.’… Abedi called his bank ‘the best way to fight the evil influence of the Zionists.’ … Saudi King Fahd contributed millions to the Carter Center as have other members of the Saudi Royal Family. Carter also received a million-dollar pledge from the Saudi-based bin Laden family, as well as a personal $500,000 environmental award named for Sheikh Zayed, and paid for by the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates… Despite the influx of Saudi money funding the Carter Center, and despite the Saudi Arabian government's myriad human rights abuses, the Carter Center's Human Rights program has no activity whatever in Saudi Arabia.”

Dershowitz concludes, “If money determines political and public views as Carter insists ‘Jewish money’ does, Carter's views on the Middle East must be deemed to have been influenced by the vast sums of Arab money he has received… He is no better than so many former American politicians who, after leaving public life, sell themselves to the highest bidder and become lobbyists for despicable causes. That is now Jimmy Carter's sad legacy.”


For feedback, contact editor@ocjewishlife.com.

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