In 2007, human rights icon Nelson Mandela appointed a “Council of Elders,” including former US president Jimmy Carter and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to help defuse world trouble spots. After an unsuccessful mission to Sudan, they headed for one of several visits to Israel and Palestinian communities to “help people understand the urgency of peace.”

The key to being a successful mediator is the reality and perception of impartiality and fairness.

Back then Israelis were already skeptical about the fairness of these “Elders” who applauded the blizzard of UN resolutions condemning the Jewish state while failing to lead the international community in condemning the terrorism of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Carter and Tutu’s biases against the Jewish state are longstanding: President Carter, despite hosting the signing of the historic peace treaty between Egypt’s president Sadat and Israel’s prime minister Begin in 1979, has for decades lambasted the Jewish state, while giving a virtual moral free pass to the Palestinians, even legitimizing Hamas. He’s failed to acknowledge the 3,000-year presence of the Jewish people in the Holy Land, falsely accused Israel of launching a pre-emptive strike on Jordan in 1967, blamed Israel for the exodus of Christians from Palestinian territories, and faulted Israel for its administration of Christian and Muslim holy sites, when in fact only Israel protects all holy sites and guarantees access to all religions.

Then there is Carter’s last book on the Middle East: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. That title alone would have led to protests against a Yeshiva University Cardozo Law School student journal’s award they are presenting this week to the former president for conflict resolution.

Bottom line: Whatever his other achievements, Carter has never resolved his own conflict with the Jewish State of Israel.

And speaking of apartheid, Archbishop Tutu has provided much of the “moral” backbone for this and other slanders against the Jewish state and her people.

In 1989, Bishop Tutu lectured Israel during a visit to Yad Vashem, the national memorial to six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. He advised Jews to pray in this fashion: “God, this happened to us.

We pray for those who made it happen, help us to forgive them and help us so that we in our turn will not make others suffer.”

Now, New York commuters are confronted by a poster campaign paid for by the American Muslims for Palestine, which is urging the US to cut off aid to “the Apartheid State” of Israel as part of the global anti-Israel Boycott/divest/sanctions movement: Its headline is this quote from the Nobel Peace Prize winner: “I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.”

What motivates Tutu? His refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of a future for the Jewish people in some ways echoes the anti-Semitic views expressed in 1938 by his mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, who essentially told the Jews of Europe to accept their pending doom at the hands of the Nazis. And there is theological bias. In 2003, Tutu became a patron of Sabeel International, founded by Palestinian cleric Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, who has declared: “It seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him... The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily.”

“Elders” like Carter and Tutu, who demonize the Jewish nation, who deny the Jewish people’s past in the Holy Land, who refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to defend herself, are neither peaceseekers or peacemakers. Apartheid slanderers and boycott campaigners will only succeed in further emboldening the extremists who have already turned much of the Middle East’s Arab Spring into an international nightmare.

Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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