Jimmy Carter has always been kind of a joke.
It's no longer funny.
The man from the red-clay hinterlands of Georgia with a stupid-drunk brother and a mother out of L'il Abner got elected president at a time when the nation would cast its lot with anyone not associated with Richard M. Nixon.
He messed up everything he touched from the silly killer rabbit to getting servicemen killed in a bound-to-fail hostage-rescue attempt in the Iranian desert. The rescue wouldn't have been necessary if he didn't completely misread events in the Middle East, allow the Shah of Iran into the U.S. in a mistaken attempt at compassion for the dying dictator and do nothing when France said it was releasing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who would lead the Islamic revolution that led the seizing of the U.S. Embassy and the 444-day hostage crisis.
His painful presidency ended when Ronald Reagan, the actor-turned-governor of California, beat him soundly in the 1980 presidential election.
So now, more than two decades later, the hero of the Iranian mess decided he has all the answers on the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire.
In his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Carter says Israeli's Palestinian policy "is a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights.”
He also says that the Israeli lobby in Washington controls U.S. policy in the Middle East, has contributed to our mess in Iraq and leads the Bush Administration around by the nose.
He's wrong on both counts. And, in my opinion, he just doesn't like Jews.
His organization, Habitat for Humanity, operates in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. Not Israel.
As far as the Israeli lobby is concerned, it's just silly. First of all, Jews in the U.S. are not a recognized minority because there are just too few of them. There are 13 million Jews in the world and about half live in the U.S. According to John Loftus and Mark Aarons in their book, The Secret War Against the Jews, American history is lousy with instances where the U.S. tried to harm Israel. For example, they quote a National Security Agency employee as saying that he knew of the Arab attack against Israel in 1973 30 hours before Israel was informed, an action that he said cost Israel hundreds if not thousands of lives.
Israel has bent over backwards to be fair with the Palestinians.
It has given them more than 90 percent of all the land they wanted. It gave them the Gaza, and the Arabs have made a mess of that. The current administration is prepared to give them a good chunk of the West Bank, a land that was taken from Jordan in the 1967 war and for which Jordan has relinquished all claims.
What Israel has gotten in return is lies, bombs, rockets, shootings, more lies and world condemnation.
Israel realizes that it needs to separate itself from the Arabs. Where the separation barrier has been erected, the death toll in Israel has fallen.
Israel is a small nation, about the size of New Jersey. If not for traffic, one can drive north to south in less than five hours. One can walk from the coast to the West Bank in an afternoon.
And yet, Carter wants Israel to retreat to 1967 borders. He wants the land gotten from Jordan to be given to Arabs who have yet to say that Israel even has the right to exist. The fact that there may be a civil war soon between the two factions and that the Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace doesn't come into the equation.
Just like the U.S. inviting the brutal Shah of Iran to get medical help in the U.S. had nothing to do with the seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the holding of U.S. citizens as hostages - hostages that were not freed until the U.S. was free of Jimmy Carter.
Jimmy, you've done enough harm. We need a rest. Go home. Be still.
Just go away.