Apparently, Jimmy Carter's new book, "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan that Will Work," is causing quite a stir among people who lived the history contained therein. In fact, reading what some are saying, it appears Jimmy got a little too much peanut butter on his brain or he is a baldfaced liar.
Carter refers to Jews again and again as "radicals," another word for terrorists. He called former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin a "radical" and then goes on to describe him as the "most notorious terrorist in the region." Of course, he said the British said that, not him. Carter describes Likud Party leaderBenjamin Netanyahu as a "key political associate and naysayer" who was strongly opposed to Israel relinquishing control over the Sinai.
It appears that Jimmy Carter is revising history. The Benjamin Netanyahu I know was attending college during the Camp David meetings. In fact, when I recommended him to Begin for a government job, the prime minister did not even know who Benjamin was. I have no idea how Carter was so aware of Benjamin Netanyahu's political ideology; he was selling furniture to help fund his schooling.
The former president writes that Begin agreed to divide Jerusalem. I found that to be astonishing … especially since Mr. Begin had given me a copy of the letter he wrote to Carter on Sept. 17, 1978. In the letter he wrote, "Dear Mr. President. … On the basis of this law, the government of Israel decreed in July 1967 that Jerusalem is one city indivisible, the capital of the State of Israel." According to Begin, Carter informed him that the U.S. government did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Begin told me he responded, "Excuse me sir, but the State of Israel does not recognize your non-recognition." The former president writes that Prime Minister Begin agreed to a freeze on building Jewish settlements. Begin told me he had not agreed to a total freeze; he only agreed not to build new settlements for three months, during the negotiations. Carter gives the impression that he and Begin were close friends by saying that Begin and Sadat visited him in Plains to reaffirm the personal commitments each had made to the other. I found that quite humorous; Mr. Begin told me he had refused to meet with Carter when the president traveled to Jerusalem.
In all honesty, Carter probably remembers it the way he says it happened. But only someone supremely arrogant in their own beliefs can insert himself in history in such a way as to make himself out to be a more heroic figure. Carter suffers from a bad case of hubris and that, along with his sanctimony, can be a deadly combination.
In Israel's case, that is more true than anywhere else.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky