You've got to hand it to Jimmy Carter. No matter how wrong he is, no matter how many times he is refuted, no matter how inane his ramblings, he just keeps on coming back. Forget that he was eviscerated in a landslide election. And forget that historians and the public rate him as the worst president of all time. Carter doesn't seem to have gotten the message. We're stuck with him forever.
Most recently Carter shared the penetrating insight that opposition to President Barack Obama is fueled by racism. Obama himself disagreed. More importantly, Obama's biggest critics like him a lot more than the ex-president, even though Jimmy is a white man.
But leaving aside those inconvenient facts, it seems incredible that Carter would accuse Obama's critics of racism when Carter is widely perceived to be an anti-Semite. His non-stop criticism of Israel as an apartheid state and his refusal to acknowledge Israel's right to defend itself has confirmed in the minds of many that Carter has a bit of a problem with the Jewish state.
But I for one have never bought it.
Carter, I have argued, is not so much an anti-Semite as he is what Lenin famously called, 'a useful idiot,' his mistake being to always side with the weaker party, notwithstanding their immorality. Let us never forget that the Carter administration tried to view the Khmer Rouge as the rightful government of Cambodia even though they slaughtered one out of three Cambodians. For Carter, weakness is itself a sign of righteousness.
I GREW up in the United States during the 1970s when we danced to disco music, wore leisure suits, and watched The Brady Bunch. But as if that weren't torture enough, we had Jimmy Carter as president. I can still recall how depressing it was to watch him announcing one catastrophe after another, from the skyrocketing misery index to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to the capture of our hostages in Iran, to the tragically botched rescue attempt to free them. Fortune did not smile on Jimmy Carter.
But Carter's biggest failing is that he's without a moral compass. To be sure, his heart wishes to do good. It's just that his head is often confused as to what the good is. Throughout his career he invariably defended tyrants and dictators at the expense of their oppressed peoples, not because he was insensitive, but rather because he was confused.
Carter always subscribed to what my friend Michael Scroccaro calls 'Underdogma' - a knee-jerk championing of the underdog, however immoral, as if poverty dictates virtue and weakness dictates righteousness. So, if the Israelis have jetfighters and the Palestinians only Kassams, that must mean the Israelis are the guilty party.
Carter's underdog obsession is what motivated him to legitimize Fidel Castro and take his side in a bio-weapons dispute with the United States, and to praise North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung with the words: "I find him to be vigorous, intelligent,... and in charge of the decisions about this country." Carter added absurdly: "I don't see that they [the North Koreans] are an outlaw nation." He also hailed Marshal Joseph Tito as "a man who believes in human rights," and said of murderous Romanian dictator Nicolas Ceausescu, "Our goals are the same: to have a just system of economics and politics... We believe in enhancing human rights."
Carter also told Haitian dictator Raul CÃ©dras that he was "ashamed of what my country has done to your country," which made most Americans ashamed of Jimmy Carter.
From all this I concluded that Jimmy Carter is not an anti-Semite so much as hopelessly naÃ¯ve and utterly lacking in moral judgment. A well-meaning idiot.
TO BE sure, I received a great deal of criticism from readers who told me I'm the one who is hopelessly naÃ¯ve. Jimmy Carter is a glaring anti-Semite. Was I blinded by my own theory?
Therefore, when Carter said in 2006 that Israel's policies in the West Bank were actually worse than apartheid South Africa, I began to question whether my readers were right. When he added in his 2009 book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy that due to "powerful political, economic, and religious forces in the US, Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned, voices from Jerusalem dominate our media," I said to myself that anyone who rolls out the old Jews-control-the-world theory probably is an anti-Semite. And then the clincher seemed to be Carter's recent pronouncement that "the key factor that prevents peace is the continuing building of Israeli settlements in Palestine, driven by a determined minority of Israelis who desire to occupy and colonize east Jerusalem and the West Bank."
You mean Palestinian terrorism, Arab aversion to democracy, and 60 years of Arab wars to annihilate Israel had nothing to do with the absence of peace? Surely this man was a bigot! And yet, something inside still told me that Carter didn't harbor any unnatural hostility to Jews.
I was therefore delighted to chance upon Prof. Alan Dershowitz's outstanding series of articles detailing the millions of dollars that Carter has personally and institutionally accepted from leading Arab sources, including Saudi King Fahd, the now-defunct BCCI bank, Shiekh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, and Agha Hasan Abedi, among others. These millions, some of which even went to bail out the Carter peanut business in the late 1970s, finally vindicated my earlier theory.
Jimmy Carter is not an anti-Semite. He is simply a man with a price.
The writer is founder of This World: The Values Network. His newest book is The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation. www.shmuley.com