No Peace at the Carter Center
By Melanie White
Fourteen members of an advisory board to the carter center in Atlanta
resigned last month in protest over former president Jimmy Carters book
'Palestine: Peace not apartheid' published in November.
The book which discusses the Israel Palestine conflict and the history
behind it, denies much Palestinian Arab terrorism blaming the majority on
Furthermore emphasis on Christian and Muslim Arabs living in 'the land'
since Roman times is exaggerated, where as little discussion of Jews being
expelled from Arab countries since 1948 is mentioned.
The resignations from these members of the board were the latest action in a
continuing controversy over the book and its references to the Israel
Palestine conflict tilting sharply towards the Palestians.
The joint letter of resignation said that they could 'no longer be in a good
conscience to continue to serve.'
Additionally the letter also referred to comments Mr Carter made about
Israel and American Jewish political power being used to hinder debate on
'It seems you have turned to a world of advocacy, even malicious advocacy.
We can no longer endorse your stringent and uncompromising position. This is
not the Carter Center or the Jimmy Carter that we came to respect and
support' the letter said.
The fourteen members who resigned were members of the center's board of
councilors, a group of more than 200 mostly local leaders who act as
ambassadors and fundraisers for the center.
Amongst the resigned was board member Steve Berman who said that a deciding
factor was a particular passgae on page 213 that he was able to quote
easily: It was imperative, Carter wrote that Arabs and Palestinians 'make it
clear that they will end suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when
international laws and ultimate goals of an internationally proposed peace
accord are accepted by israel.'
Berman, a commercial real estate developer from Atlanta said that this
implies 'condoning terror as a means of obtaining the objective of a
Berman describes himself as a great admirer of Carter and as a liberal jew
who is concerned about the stance Israel are taking to resolve matters with
the conflict and the palestinians.
But he and the other 13 members who resigned all believe that Carter went
too far. 'The thing that really disenchanted all of us, it broke our hearts,
was to see the president abandon his traditional position of the mediator,
promoter of peace and honest broker, to become an advocate for one side of
the conflict. It wouldnt have mattered even if he had promoted the Israeli
side' Berman said.
Carter declined to comment about the resignations. In a statement issued by
the center's press office Executive Director John Hardman expressed
gratitude to the members for serving and emphasised that those on the board
are 'not engaged in implemneting work of the center and are not a