The worst president of my lifetime, without a shred of doubt, was Jimmy Carter. He spoke English strangely: when he meant to say “important” it came out “impotent.” He behaved like the ultimate 99-pound weakling, and was swatted around by the Soviets, the Iranians, the Saudis, the Nicaraguans, and a small white rabbit. When he finally decided to strike back, he gave a speech and blamed everyone else for his troubles. It seemed that the American people had let him down.
My own faith in the wisdom of the American people was born the day they turned down Carter’s request for four more years of rodent-tormented impotence.
Since then, Carter has been engaged in a cheerless campaign to demonstrate his moral superiority to the rest of us. I won’t dwell on the details of this endeavor; suffice to say it has entailed befriending thugs like Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega, and genuflecting before monsters like Kim Il Sung.
Now advanced in years, Carter clearly is pining for a stroke of genius that might be viewed as his legacy: a Unified Field Theory of World Peace, say. He has thought hard on the matter, and has finally achieved a dazzling insight into the causes of human conflict. It’s the Jews. It’s Israel. Punish them suitably, and the lion will lie down with the lamb.
Had it not been authored by Jimmy Carter, this would have been an extraordinary piece to find in the opinion pages of my hometown paper, the WaPo. In it, Carter claims to belong to a group of travelling “Elders,” roaming the world in search of people on whom to pass judgment. So, who are these ancient moral mariners? Nobody has elected them. Nobody has invited them. They just decided that the earth is their village, and that the human race needed a good talking to.
Particularly Israel. Among the Elders, Carter tells us, are Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, both known for their hostility to that country and to the Jews who support it. Their thesis, fully endorsed by Carter, is that Israel is a uniquely racist, “apartheid” country — deserving far more attention and condemnation than, say, Iran or North Korea. Implied in many of their statements is a belief in a nebulous conspiracy of neocons, financiers, and political puppet-masters who make of Israel their cat’s paw — villains who fatten on trouble and bloodshed, are the chief disturbers of the world’s peace, and happen to be, one and all, Jews.
The WaPo piece appears to have been written by a man who has suffered a stroke, and can only see half of every field of conflict. It is astonishing in its partiality. Carter bemoans Israel’s sealing off of Gaza, but never mentions that the Gazans elected a government sworn to anihilate Israel. He criticizes Israeli settlements but reports only “despair” among Palestinians. He accuses unnamed “Israeli leaders” of aiming to colonize the West Bank, but looks forward to a “nonviolent civil rights struggle” waged by Gandhi-like Arabs.
There is no context, no history of intransigence and terror, no regional balance of power: only Israel and its victims. Only on one occasion does Carter, though the fog of his affliction, catch a glimpse of the larger world:
Israel prevents any cement, lumber, seeds, fertilizer and hundreds of other needed materials from entering through Gaza’s gates. Some additional goods from Egypt reach Gaza through underground tunnels. Gazans cannot produce their own food nor repair schools, hospitals, business establishments or the 50,000 homes that were destroyed or heavily damaged by Israel’s assault last January.
The intent of the passage is clear enough: Israel is strangling the life out of Gaza. But wait a minute: the Gazans need underground tunnels to receive goods from Egypt? Which brings up the question: where are Egypt, and the other Arab countries, in all of this? Don’t they share a long border with Gaza, through which they can bring “cement, seeds, fertilizer, and hundreds of other needed materials”? If not, why not? Could it be that the Egyptian government, like Israel’s, wants nothing to do with the religious mafia now ruling Gaza with Iranian support?
Never mind. The world at times may seem like a complicated place, but we feel certain all its problems stem from one source. Why — I ask — travel thousands of miles to figure out what we already know? My advice to Jimmy Carter and his Flying Elders is: chill out. Rest your ancient bones. Sit in that comfy easy chair, relax, and blame the Jews.
UPDATE: A wiser man than me would have shut his mouth and let Elliott Abrams tell the story.