The Campus War Against Israel and the Jews: The Carter Center - by John Perazzo

The next investigative article in Frontpage's series.


Established in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, the Center that bears the Carters’ surname works in partnership with Emory University on the self-identified mission of fighting to “[promote] human rights and the alleviation of human suffering”; “prevent and resolve conflicts”; “enhance freedom and democracy”; and “improve health.” Employing some 150 workers and operating on an annual budget of $36 million, the Carter Center describes itself as a “nonpartisan” organization that is “neutral in dispute-resolution activities.” But in point of fact, there is nothing “nonpartisan” or “neutral” about the Carter Center – particularly as regards its view of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Jewish people. This is due chiefly to two related factors: (a) the fact that large portions of the Center’s financial backing derive from anti-Israel, Islamic sources in the Arab world, and (b) the rabidly anti-Israel perspective of the Center’s founder, Jimmy Carter.

The Carter Center has been a longtime recipient of Arab funding, including many millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia’s late King Fahd; at least $5 million from the king’s nephew, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal (whose infamous post-9/11 offer of $10 million to New York City was rejected by then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani because it was accompanied by the suggestion that America should cut back its support of Israel); $500,000 from the government of the United Arab Emirates; $1 million from Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, Jordan; another $1 million in a joint pledge from ten of Osama bin Laden’s brothers; and untold sums from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. No doubt, Mr. Carter’s consistently pro-Arab, anti-Israel rhetoric acts as a magnet for such donations; and not surprisingly, there are no similar contributions hailing from Israeli sources.

Carter’s antipathy toward Israel has evolved into the stuff of legend. In his 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, the former President depicts Israeli intransigence as the chief obstacle to Mideast peace. “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land,” he writes. By his telling, Arab leaders are prevented from embracing peace with Israel only by the latter’s stubborn refusal to end its “occupation,” withdraw entirely from “Palestinian land,” and return “to the 1967 border as specified in the U.N. Resolution 242.”

In the aftermath of Hamas’s stunning ascension to political supremacy in January 2006, Carter was quick to meet with the organization’s leaders in Ramallah, congratulating them on their electoral victory and credulously accepting their blather about “want[ing] to have a peaceful administration.” The fact that Hamas’s founding charter continued to call for the permanent destruction of Israel and the mass murder of Jews did not sway Carter in the least. Not even Hamas’s subsequent barrage of rocket attacks against southern Israeli towns could convince him to abandon his naïve belief that the organization stood “a good chance” of abandoning terrorism as its modus operandi. Then, when foreign aid to the Palestinian territories dried up as a result of international reluctance to pour money into the coffers of a terrorist group, Carter reflexively condemned what he saw to be the world community’s “criminal” conspiracy to deprive innocent Palestinians of vital resources.

As he is wont to do, Carter directed most of his blame at the United States. In May 2006 he penned an International Herald Tribune article impugning America for being “the driving force behind an apparently effective scheme of depriving the [Palestinian] general public of income, access to the outside world and the necessities of life.” “Innocent Palestinian people are being treated like animals,” added Carter, “with the presumption that they are guilty of some crime.”

In December 2006, Kenneth Stein, a professor of Israeli Studies at Emory University and the first Executive Director of the Carter Center, stepped down from his position at the Center and issued a resignation letter in which he described Mr. Carter’s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid as being “replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments.”

On January 11, 2007, fourteen members of the Carter Center’s 200-person Board of Councilors likewise resigned in protest over Carter’s anti-Israel screed. “You have clearly abandoned your historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side,” they wrote in their letter of resignation. “It seems that you have turned to a world of advocacy, including even malicious advocacy. We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support.”

Situated on the campus of Emory University, the Carter Center stands as an outpost of the anti-Israel propaganda that is feeding the campus war against Israel and the Jews.