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Jewish Post

No Peace at the Carter Center

By Melanie White

Jimmy CarterFourteen 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 the Jews.

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 the controversies. '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 Palestinian state.' 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 government board.'

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