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A President’s Foul Play

On the surface, it would be hard to find any commonality between a group of long-bearded, black-hatted, cloistered members of the Orthodox Jewish, anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta and former President Jimmy Carter, a Nobel prize-winning Anglo-Saxon Protestant. But it seems that they share a penchant for inane publicity when it comes to Israel.

While Carter’s new book is not half as despicable as these Jews’ recent trip to Tehran, where they joined hands with Iranian President Ahmadinejad at his Holocaust denial conference, it is pathetic if for no reason other than its title, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”


Alan Dershowitz has already written a lengthy review detailing the misinformation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict espoused by Carter, but for me what took the cake was watching Carter a few nights ago on “Larry King Live.” King pressed Carter about his views on Israel and his new book. Carter went on to say that both sides are to blame for the current crisis. King pushed back, asking him if that is so, why did he give his book the outlandish title “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,” to which the past president and Nobel prize-winner responded:

“You know, when I write a book of this kind, with admittedly a provocative title… to provoke debate and to provoke discussion.”


How pathetic! I can understand why some struggling writer might need to be provocative, but a past president of the United States? A Nobel Prize winner? Give me a break!

Likewise, what on earth are members of Neturei Karta or any Jews doing in Tehran supporting a man who would wipe the Jewish people off the face of this earth!

Jimmy Carter has cheapened himself and his work. The Neturei Karta have not only cheapened themselves but, as some of my friends have said, they should perhaps as group be excommunicated. (There is great irony in the fact that there are many Orthodox Jews that still give more halakhic legitimacy to Neturei Karta members than they do to the Reform or Conservative movements.)

The rabbis of the Talmud liked to say that “wise people are those who are careful with their words.” I would like to just say that Jimmy Carter and the Jews of Neturei Karta are simply unwise people in need of attention, but my gut tells me they are something much worse and dangerous.

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posted December 18, 2006 at 11:15 pm

As for Naturei Karta, they have a right to be anti Zionist, this is a legitimate opinion. I do not, however, believe that it was ethical for them to participate in a holocaust-denial conference – for that I can only say that they are clowns! How sickening. I do agree with you when you say they should be excommunicated, but it probably won’t make a difference to them because they do not intend to travel to Israel any time soon.

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posted December 19, 2006 at 9:09 am

To compare President Carter and Neturei Karta is despicable Rabbi Stern. One supports terrorism (Neturei Karta) while the other has done more for Jewish security than any other American leader (Carter). The mainstream Jewish community needs to wake up to the plight of the average Palestinian under the boot of the IDF and stop spewing propaganda. I am Jewish and support the idea of a Jewish state, but there is more to the story of Israel and Zionism then the heroics. Gideon Levy and Amira Haas routinely discuss the nature of the occupation and Haaretz in an editorial no less a few months ago called the occupation “an apartheid system”. Yes its easy to attack the Christians, the Muslims and the heretics but what about one of the largest Israeli newspapers. Until Jews begin to wake up from their long sleep about Israeli war crimes, and yes they are WAR CRIMES, Jews around the world will be in danger.

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Anne M Johnson

posted December 19, 2006 at 3:51 pm

I lived in the US when Jimmy Carter was the president. All I can think of when I hear his name, were the long gas lines, and getting up a 4 a.m. to get to the gas pumps, so I could be at work by 7:30 am. People were literally beating others up because they had cut into the line. He has lost all credibility as far as I am concerned, especially as a peacemaker, when he almost created havoc and civil unrest in his own country. Now he is desperately trying to write books, to keep his name in the public eye. What a sorry thing for the world.

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Jeff Halper

posted December 19, 2006 at 9:12 pm

YES, VIRGINIA, IT IS APARTHEID Jimmy Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” to describe what is developing in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel these last 40 years is both accurate and useful. Accurate because apartheid IS emerging in Israel/Palestine. What is apartheid? It is the forced separation of populations (whether on racial lines as in South Africa or on national/religious lines as imposed by Israel)in which one people establishes a regime of permanent and structured domination over another. This is EXACTLY what Israel is doing, from annexing its huge settlement blocs to imprisoning the Palestinians behind 26′ concrete walls and electrified fences. I don’t even see what the “controversy” is about. Just go to the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and OPEN YOUR EYES. Carter’s use of the term is useful because it names the thing: apartheid is the only term that gets at the systemic qualities of the regime of domination Israel is establishing. Its not just a policy or a response to terrorism or occupation — it is a full-blown, thought-out, intentional system of control and domination. Indeed, Israel itself calls its policy hafrada, separation, apartheid. Let’s thanks Carter for giving us a handle on this thing. Let’s stop arguing about the semantics and get on with the job of stopping it. Jews as the new Afrikaners. What a chilling thought!

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posted December 19, 2006 at 9:26 pm

Rabbi Stern, you disappoint me. You quote President Carter’s intent to “provoke debate and . . . discussion” and in the next breath you choke off both. You provide polemics but no facts whatsoever. Statements like “Give me a break” are not persuasive when they are not backed up with substance. Such blind obedience to Israel not only does nothing to promote Judaism, it is also unJewish. Had Abraham been as adamant in his refusal to disagree with G-d as you are to criticize Israel, He’d have destroyed the righteous of Sodom with the wicked (Gen. 18:23). Had Moses not besought the Lord his G-d, He would have consumed his own people (Exodus 32:9-14). Rabbi, you are of course free to criticize President Carter. But in your stiffnecked rhetoric and unbending acquiescence, you sound like President Bush.

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kevin s.

posted December 20, 2006 at 4:25 pm

Rabbi, First, I would join you in commending your readership to the Dershowitz article. It is odd that the onus would be on you to deflect the assertion that a nation defending itself from terrorist attack is tantamount to apartheid, but these are toubled times, indeed… Carter’s statement that he is just trying to provoke debate concedes that he provides no credible support for the notion that Israel’s actions constitute apartheid. If, as Jeff Halper states above, semantics don’t matter, why is he “chilled” by the notion that Jews are the new “Afrikaners”? Semantics are immensely important. What if I called Mr. Halper a Jew-killer? That would be a pretty important semantic, yes? If someone wrote a book claiming Jeff Halper was a Jew-killer, people might believe it just by looking at the title. Would Halper be “arguing semantics” if he said “whoa, I am not a Jew-killer, and the comparison is disgusting”? “Semantics” are being used to transform the actions of a largely peacable nation against a neighboring terrorist state into a human rights crisis.

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posted December 20, 2006 at 6:33 pm

B”H IS THERE APARTHEID in the Middle East? Certainly! The forced removal of Jews from their homes in Gaza was the kind of racism that was practiced by the demonic leader of Germany during the Holocaust. IN “Palestine?” Absolutely. Is a Jew permitted to live in “Palestinian” controlled areas? Are Jews given equal votes in the Palestinian Authority’s government? Let the Arabs, Palestinians and their Muslim brotherhood, stop lobbing rockets at Jewish civilians, stop indoctrinating their children of hatred of Jews and the Jewish religion, let the bomb-bearing individuals stop their desire to kill as many Jews as possible when they enter a hospital or pizza shop, and I assure you the fence will come down. Until then, we must concern ourselves with preserving the Jewish People. And the Muslims in the Middle East are committed to a total annihilation of our People wherever we may be, G-d forbid. I remind all of you that the Partition of 1947 called for a tiny state of Israel to exist with a much larger state of Palestine. The Jews accepted this. The Arabs rejected it. They planned to continue Hitler’s (Yemach Shemo) work, but G-d saw it fit to keep the Jewish people alive, so He thwarted the Arab plan of a Judenrein world. The entire Middle East problem is due to the Arab’s and Muslim hatred of Jews and their attempt to destroy us, nothing more. Jews living in Arab lands were treated atrociously until they sneaked out. This wasn’t even apartheid, it was attempted genocide. When you think Israel is at fault for the problems, think again. It is Arab hatred. Let the Arabs treat Jews with respect and dignity and things will be just fine. They won’t so there won’t be peace until Moshiach comes, may it be immediate.

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Elli Stern

posted December 20, 2006 at 7:59 pm

Kevin, Well said!! Jeff Harper’s comments have no substance. I just wish he would stick to the facts and respond to dershowitz’s review.

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Judy In Atlanta

posted December 20, 2006 at 9:27 pm

From what I ve read, some of these insane Jews who went to Iran have already been excommunicated from participating in study and from facilities they previously enjoyed using in their home countries. When I read “… imprisoning the Palestinians behind 26′ concrete walls and electrified fences”, I was somewhat shocked. Excuse me, but who is it that sends their sons and daughters to blow themselves up in Israeli buses and restaurants? If it means saving lives, Jewish or otherwise, then a wall, fence or any kind of impenetrable separation sounds like a good idea to me. Why would we want to stop it ? This isn t the Hard Rock Caf ! Love All, Serve All doesn t work with terrorists, or with anyone who wishes, actively supports and works towards the annihilation of Israel and ALL Jewish people. It appears to me that there is a left wing in Israel, as there in the U.S., who think we can all just get along. Tell the terrorists that! Start there. When you get their true cooperation, then the illusion (or delusion) can become something real. Editorial writers seem to voice their left wing opinions quite loudly. There was an editorial in the Atlanta Journal Constitution this week on Jimmy Carter and his book that horrified me. I m afraid people will actually believe this guy. After all, his opinion is printed, so it must be right. Frightening! If Jews, who have always embraced equality and human rights, are faulted for using separation as a method of self-preservation by editorial writers as well as others, then I lose hope that people are perceptive enough to see the truth through all the spin. As far as the former president – obviously “y’all” are not as familiar with him as I am. He was and is Anti-Semitic. He and his wife had a close personal relationship with Yassir Arafat and his wife. I believe they are still close to her. The same Arafat who became rich and lived in luxury and whose wife still does. The same Arafat who ordered the killing of Jews. No one puts any blame on Arafat or the PLO for the wall/fence. Why not? Not politically correct? Oh yes, let’s blame the Jews first, and the U.S. second. Or, we could simply resort to the best of all scapegoats, the cause of everything bad in the world – George W. Bush. And, absolutely right – Jimmy Carter was a terrible president. Not only the gas lines, but interest rates that made buying a house or car practically unaffordable, the disintegration of the intelligence community which we still suffer from today, Iran hostage taking and the rise of the Ayatollahs to power, and more negative impacts than I can name. Nobel Prize Winner? If that s supposed to be a credential of his…Whoopee. My understanding is that Sadat was ready to make peace with Israel at that time anyway, and was going ahead with plans of his own. I m not exactly sure what Jimmy Carter has done for Jews. When I asked my family in Israel the reply was that they are well aware of his Anti-Semitism. My feeling is that he and his entire family should personally go build habitat houses for the Palestinians and possibly even settle there. Perhaps he could be their president. Bottom line that I always return to: They want to kill us. Add to that: Jimmy Carter is their supporter and friend

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posted December 21, 2006 at 4:59 pm

Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semite–pure and simple!

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posted December 21, 2006 at 5:04 pm

Carter SUCKS !! Big time. He is a disgrace to his past presidency

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Bill Wine

posted December 21, 2006 at 5:16 pm

As far as the alledged Neturei Karta jews, were they really jews but just another Iranian conspiracy. It is not hard to put payes, a hat and a beard on a person and make him look like a Hassid. As far as the former President is concered, who was the worst President in history, he is a traitor to the U.S. and a liar to Israel. What a clown. He believes that if he builds a few houses he would be made a hero. He destroyed our economy and our foreign relations with no reason except to placate his Arab friends. If I live to be 100 (65 would work) I will never understand why Jews vote for Democrats. Our best friends are George Bush and the Republicans, and our people shn them. Perhaps you can explain to me why. When he dies we should have a party like the Arabs do.

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Julie in Memphis

posted December 21, 2006 at 5:19 pm

I find it hard to believe that the writer here is not being every bit as sensational in his depiction of former President Carter, as he accuses Carter of being. The comparison he draws is ludicous. Carter has always been a friend to Israel. But, friends are honest with you when they see you making bad decisions or in trouble. Besides, the writer seems to be under the impression that only opinions he agrees with should be heard. If you are afraid for people to hear all sides of an argument, you must not have much confidence in the strength of your own stance.

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Bill Wine

posted December 21, 2006 at 5:36 pm

As an update to my previous comment and to all of those that talk about Israeli Apartheid, and basically therefore question Israel’s right to exist. A little Jewish history would help. I was born as the UN granted (probably the only good thing that they ever did) and I emphasize, GRANTED Israel to the Jews. I lived though all the wars since. Always an attempt by the Arabs to push us into the sea. And that has not changed . If your commentators would know one iota about Jewish history and if they know why they celebrated Hannukah, I would like to remind everyone. (Greeks) Romans, Greeks, Egytians,Syrians, Persians (Iran? no) Turks, etc, etc. Which country in the world would allow another nation to be the majority? I guess it should be Israel. Maybe Poland will take us back.

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Danyeal De La Luna

posted December 21, 2006 at 6:16 pm

This is rediculous. The simple fact is that Christians, Muslims, and jews have been slaughtering eachother over dirt. Holy or not, this flies in the face of everything that your religious doctrines state. Life is more important than dirt. It’s not your land, it is not YOUR earth. It belongs to the Universe, the Divine, not you! The persecution of the Pagans has eclipsed the persecution of the Judeo-Christian-Islamists by more than 10 fold. Pagans never killed in the name of their gods. You all need to rethink your opinions and views. Jimmy Carter has done more for world peace than anyone in the Middle East, or the White House. Your slamming on him is undeniable proof of your own short sightedness and bigotry.

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Edna Straus

posted December 21, 2006 at 7:46 pm

Einsten said “no problem can be solved by the mind set that created it.” Einstein was Jewish, and one of the most gifted thinkers of our time. And, of couse, he was right. It is high tome someone opened the debate to the non PC truths that underly the long, sad, story of the Middle East. Jews and Arabs DO both have a part in the wars– and in any peace. This is as true here as it is in ANY conflict. It is sad to see that only one of the comments above reflects this willingness to hear and speak any truth that does not paint Israel as fully innocent, and Palestinians as fully criminal. Extremism in any form leads only to more falsehood, and self sustaining reprisals and counterreprisals. Which is just what we have seen in the Middle East. I vote for truth. NO human being and NO government is without sin– error, imperfection. ALL must change for resolution to occur. As for Meshiach– we are ALL meshiach. Let us act like it!

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David Shore

posted December 21, 2006 at 7:58 pm

Thank you Edna Straus. There are no good guys in the Middle East. Instead of finding new targets for our anger, we should search for new paradigms in our search for peace. Every group can point to someone or something and say “this is where a terrible wrong was done to me” How long must we keep the wounds raw. Let us live up to the higher principles of our heritage and search for world healing. The first step is to re-think our sense of self-rightousness.

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charle johnson

posted December 21, 2006 at 8:41 pm

I am a stupid (American) Swede—very unfortunately—with no Jewish blood.Although I confess to my plite, I feel that I am ABOUT ninety per cent brighter than MOST Jews, who, as a voting block, continue to support the demoncrats. How can a ‘race’ that is so brilliant— not catch on to the party that wishes to anull the family, that is ‘pro-queer’, pro-abortion, ad finitum—cont to vote for the demons? Chenv’Chesed Hashem and Shalom…P.S. Pls excuse my spelling: ani lo medaber harbo ivrit.

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posted December 22, 2006 at 12:33 am

Moshiach ,Mesaya,Jesus. All the followers of Abraham (Ibrahim) are waiting for that movement. Surprize will come when above mentioned leader will tell us that what we were doing? was “wrong”. People who are waiting for Moshiach or Messayah when they will hear this words “you were wrong” they will do one thing from two; they will go against Moshiach.OR they will ask for forgiveness ( that will be too late)So repent now. Live in peace and harmony.

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Steve K

posted December 27, 2006 at 11:23 pm

The definition of apartheid is “separation, segregation”, so how is what is going on in Palestine not exactly this? Both sides can be to blame for this? It’s perfectly logical. Also, if you want to censure Neturei Karta, you should do so through the Talmud, not through whom they associate.

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John Francis

posted December 28, 2006 at 5:26 am

Without the support of the USA, The State of Israel would not have survived, even with the support of the members of the Jewish community who live in the USA. What a pity they had to do that. Think of all the troubles that would have been avoided. There is one solution no one has ever proposed to the problem of peace in the Middle East. If there is such love for this modern Jewish State in the USA, and if they deplore what has happened to Israel in the recent past, the fragility of its existence, seeing how tiny a territory Israel occupies, could not the US government have found an area of equivalent size somewhere (on an Indian reservation perhaps!)and given it to the Israelis and then helped them move, lock stock and barrel to it. That east coast of the Mediterranean could then have reverted to the Palestinians and peace reigned supreme. Even Jerusalem and other holy places could have been carefully dismantled and rebuilt in this place in the USA where it would be safe for pilgrims to visit. Personally, I believe Israel has no legitimnate claim to those lands after having lost them for so long. Or have the Maori in New Zealand, the Native Americans in both North and South America the same claim to retake their ancient homelands from those Europeans who took them over, often with the same degree of callousmness and over the top measures as recently displayed by Israel against Hesbollah. A strange thought came to me as I watched scenes of that campaign on the TV. How well the Government of Israel has learned lessons from the measures used against their people by their Nazi oppressors in the 1930s and 40s. And I lost any sympathy I had for Israel after that.

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DeWayne Benson

posted December 29, 2006 at 5:29 am

Besides the Jewish people who live in Iran perminently, the few Jewish who attended the Iran meeting concerning the holocaust said from beginning the holocaust is so heavily documented, no one could deny it had happened. These few Jewish leaders also said, the reason they attended was to stop the secular Zionist leaders in Israel from using it inappropiately, as the holocaust was not a secular Zionist suffering, it was a true Jewish suffering. In this I completely agree, the Zionist was a secular and non-religious organization from the beginning, and as the forementioned Jewish leaders have said for decades, the Zionist State of Israel would not bring peace, and the Torah supports this belief, that it is the return of their Messiah who will accomplish all of these miraculous things.

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posted December 29, 2006 at 5:19 pm

The regathering and restoration of Israel is a miracle– a miracle of long-suffering faith that might inspire all people of good will the world over. So why then is this miracle refused ? No matter the many seemingly intractable and impossible difficulties of the present disposition of affairs, Israel remains a miraculous answer to prayer, a sign to us all of an enduring faith that overcomes. Where did the power truly come from to institute this state ? Shouldn’t that question give anyone pause ? All I can offer is prayer– to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Perhaps then, a great silence would ensue, a reverent silence before a wondrous marvel–instead of such a stumbling block of wrangling discord. Let everyone stand before this great and holy mystery of faith and fulfillment and ponder again how it ever could be so in a world that militates against peace at every turn, for a just and lasting peace will come one day. So let everyone of good will hold fast to that promise if nothing more, and pray all the more fervently for the light that illuminates, uplifts, consoles and restores to shine through this awful darkness, for the light that will quell every evil intention,that will gladden and enlighten the hearts of all peoples of the earth. Until that day, if that is our surest and lasting hope, then let us pray–for until we have peace fully in our hearts, it does no good to proclaim it with our lips. This is the last and best strategy for peace. And if we cannot speak reverently and prayerfully in that hope that overcomes all disasterous debacles and all defiant, warring factions, then let us keep prayerful silence until our words are formed and shaped in the greater faith that humanity, each and all, can truly seek peace and pursue it. That is the only truth I know–for where else do we have to turn ?

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John D. Sens

posted December 30, 2006 at 1:43 am

I think Carter and the commentators cant’ see the forest for the trees. One of the writers above was correct in saying that the earth does not belong to anyone. It is where and what it is and nothing can change that. The best anyone, a nation, a country, a person, can do is to have the use of land. As far as I can discern, every valuable piece of land in the world has been the subject of conquest to establish and hold the power to use it. The geographical region now known as Israel has been fought over for millenia, by Hebrews (who according to the Old Testment took it quite violently), Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Turks, and now the battle is on between the Arabs and the Israelis. Recent history: From the 17th to the 19th centuries, western Eurpoean powers advanced on many areas of the world conquering and subjecting peoples to their will. By the late 1940’s those colonial powers were losing their hold as native peoples pushed out the Westerners and became self-governing. Now, just when the colonial and western powers were leaving or being forced out of many regions, the West, in direct contravention to what was going on everywhere else, supported the establishment of Israel in Arab territory. The result has been almost sixty years of conflict that shows no signs of abating and may be growing worse. Efforts in the last 1000 years by the West to push into the East have been unsuccessful. The last great effort was the attempt by Germany in WWII to push east to obtain Lebensraum. That effort ended in a total disaster for Germany. Maybe Israel will be successful in its incursion to the east. Maybe not. But it will be a long time before we know. The big picture is that Israel is a thorn in the side of the Arabs and talking isn’t going to make it go away.

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