Ed Lasky, Jimmy Carter and Al Qaeda

Ed Lasky was interviewed on Israel National Radio, and a web feed of the interview is now available here. During the interview the topic of Al Qaeda's position that Israeli Jews have abrogated their covenant with God and are thus deserving of destruction was discussed.

Here are translated excerpts from that Arabic-language al-Qaida report from July 2005 threatening imminent attacks on the Jewish state:

  • God decided to test the Jews when they were still an oppressed people while still captive in Egypt. God seeks to lead them to the path of faith and victory and therefore urges them to conquer the Land of Israel. But the Jews are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve the goal.
  • To this day, the Jews have not learned that God grants victory only to those who struggle for victory.
  • Throughout the generations, Jews, unlike Muslims, showed that they do not fear God or recognize Him as the moving force in the universe. Instead, they are more concerned with what man thinks.
  • For this reason, the Jews find it easier to break the covenant between God and Abraham, which awarded the land of Israel to the Jews forever. (Genesis 15:18)
In the Internet magazine Zerwat al Sanam, meaning "Tip of the Camel's Hump," the al-Qaida author of this screed, Abu Zubeida al-Baghdadi, concludes that Israel's willingness to compromise with its enemies gives the Arabs an opportunity to be God's vehicle to destroy the Jews.
This is the perhaps same point Jimmy Carter was alluding to in his book: the idea that Israelis are not religious, that they are not really Jews, and there is no real covenant between God and Israel any more. Ed previously wrote about several critics who find Carter in agreement with Al Qaeda on this point:
Rick Richman found Carter using this ploy several times in his relatively small book.
In Carter's eyes, Israel fails a "religious test": it is no longer a nation of Jews..

In his book, Carter describes visits to several kibbutzim and found that on the Sabbath only two worshippers appeared at the synagogue. When he asked if this was typical, the "guide gave a wry smile and shrugged his shoulders as if it was not important either way". When Carter participated in a graduation ceremony at an Israel Defense Forces training camp, Carter presented a Hebrew bible to each graduate, "which was one of the few indications of a religious commitment that I observed during our visit". At the end of his visit, he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.  He told her that he had taught lessons from the Hebrew Scriptures and that a common historical pattern was that Israel was punished whenever the leaders turned away from devout worship of God. I asked if she was concerned about the secular nature of her Labor government". Not only does Carter seem to castigate Israel for losing its religious bearings but also he seems to call upon the wrath of God to punish her for her transgressions.
Another perceptive reviewer was of the opinion that Carter wasn't writing for Arabs or Jews, but that
"...he was aiming at American Christians, particularly the evangelicals who are among Israel's most ardent supporters." 
Michael Jacobs, writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution echoes Richman is noting that Carter harped upon Israel's secular nature. Michael Jacobs notes that Carter seems to take the same tack as the Sabeel in trying to depict Israelis as oppressors of Christians. He writes that Carter
"repeatedly refers to Israeli oppression of Christians, destruction of Christian holy sites and the imprisonment of Bethlehem."
Jeffrey Goldberg reviewed Carter's book for the Washington Post and wrote,
"A specific agenda appears to be at work here. Carter seems to mean for the book to convince American evangelicals to reconsider their support for Israel. Evangelical Christians have become bedrock supporters of Israel lately, and Carter marshals many arguments, most of them specious, to scare them out of their position". He notes the aforementioned Golda Meir story and states that is was meant to show that Israel is not the God-fearing nation that religious Christians believe it to be. And then there are the accusations, unsupported by actual evidence, that Israel persecutes Christians." Carter, for example, had written that ‘it was especially interesting to visit with some of the few surviving Samaritans, who complained to us that their holy sites and culture were not being respected by Israeli authorities-the same complaint heard by Jesus and his disciples almost two thousand years ago". Goldberg notes the absurdity of this remark-"there are no references to Israeli authorities in the Christian Bible. Only a man who sees Israel as a lineal descendant of the Pharisees could write such a sentence."  That phrase alone should be a tip-off that something murky is at work in Carter: he is attempting to demonize Israelis by evoking the painful experience of Jesus 2000 years ago.  He again tries to drill this "point" in to his readers when he writes that the security fence (that has saved so many Israeli lives) itself is a crime against Christianity because it "ravages many places along its devious route that are important to Christians".