Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Some Jews Nervous About Carter's Adviser Role

The Republican Jewish Coalition is calling on the Obama administration to disclose the role of former President Jimmy Carter in advising the administration on critical foreign policy issues.

"In an in-depth article in the April 6, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh states that Carter has met with President Obama to discuss foreign policy, and that the administration was aware of Carter's trip to Syria in December 2008. Carter is calling for broader U.S.-Syrian relations," said RJC Executive Director Matthews Brooks.

"Former President Carter has never been perceived as a friend of Israel," Brooks added. "In the years since his presidency, Carter has been openly hostile to Israel and has shown a naïve grasp of the realities in the Middle East."

Brooks notes that Carter criticized Israel in 2006 when it launched a defense campaign against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. ''I don't think Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon,'' the former president said at the time.

Brooks also is uneasy that Carter has called on the United States to recognize and give monetary support to Hamas, which still has as its central goal the destruction of Israel. When Hamas won the election in Gaza in 2006, Carter told Larry King in an interview that ''there's a good chance'' that Hamas would become a nonviolent government.

"Now Carter is advocating that the Obama administration become actively involved in Syrian-Israeli talks," Brooks said. Hersh quotes the Syrian President as saying that such talks would be predicated on Israel giving up the Golan Heights, including their strategic control over Israel's water sources. Carter hopes - and Assad has led him to believe - that such talks would be a step in moving Syria away from its strategic alliance with Iran and toward a more positive relationship with the West.

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