NEW YORK – A $5 million lawsuit filed in federal court in New York on Tuesday against former US President Jimmy Carter and publisher Simon & Schuster alleges that Carter’s 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid contains false information and was intended to deceive the public and promote an anti-Israel agenda.

The five plaintiffs in the suit, readers of the book, want their lawsuit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages, to be deemed a class action, meaning that the plaintiffs would be seen to represent a much larger group – that is, everyone who purchased Carter’s $27 book.

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The plaintiffs are Americans, with two of the five holding dual American-Israeli citizenship.

The suit alleges that the five plaintiffs in the suit who purchased Carter’s book, as well as others, assumed they were buying an accurate record of historic events relating to Israel and the Palestinians.

By claiming to be a Middle East expert, the suit claims, Carter and, by extension, his publisher, intentionally presented inaccurate information that was highly critical of Israel and therefore violated a New York law that makes it illegal to “engage in deceptive acts in the course of conducting business.”

According to a press release sent out by plaintiffs’ attorneys David Schoen and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the suit is “the first time a former President and a publishing house have been sued for violating consumer protection laws by knowingly publishing inaccurate information while promoting a book as factual.”

The complaint notes that former Carter aides and colleagues contacted Simon & Schuster with concerns about inaccuracies in the book, but that the allegations were not investigated further.

Schoen, in an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post, noted that there is precedent in New York for a class-action suit against writer and publisher “for falsely marketing as true and accurate a book that is neither.”

Similar suits, Schoen said, have been filed in New York against James Frey, the muchreviled author of the notentirely- accurate memoir A Million Little Pieces. Those suits ended in settlements.

“Ours is a much more serious subject I believe, because the book intentionally misleads and misrepresents about actual historic events and much of the public debate going on today about Israel is based on what people believe actually has transpired in past discussions, etc.,” Schoen wrote in his e-mail.

“For a former President to misstate these things obviously was anathema enough for his closest aides, supporters, and confidantes to quit over it and expose the falsehoods for what they were.”

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