December 20, 2006

Dear President Carter:

We have read your letter to American Jews. As much as the tone of this letter is different from that of your book, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid," or your many public interviews, the damage to the good name of Israel and the American Jewish community from your unwarranted attacks remains. As does our outrage.

No matter the distinction you articulate in your letter, using the incendiary word "Apartheid" to refer to Israel and its policies is unacceptable and shameful. Apartheid, that abhorrent and racist system in South Africa, has no bearing on Israeli policies. Not only are Israel's policies not racist, but the situation in the territories does not arise from Israeli intentions to oppress or repress Palestinians, but is a product of Palestinian rejection of Israel and the use of terror and violence against the Jewish state. Nothing illustrates the stark difference better than Israel's offer of withdrawal made at Camp David and its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

Your efforts in the letter to minimize the impact of your charge that American Jews control US Middle East policy are simply unconvincing. In both your book and in your many television and print interviews you have been feeding into conspiracy theories about excessive Jewish power and control. Considering the history of anti-Semitism, even in our great country, this is very dangerous stuff.

To belatedly claim that you were really talking all along about Christian support for Israel, which you disrespectfully call "bias," neither repairs the damage of your accusations nor eases our concerns. Millions of American Christians support Israel because of their deeply felt religious beliefs and because they understand that Israel is a democracy, an ally of America, and on the front line to combat terror.

We continue to be distressed about the role you have taken upon yourself with regard to Israel and American Jews. Indeed, we know that the rabbis with whom you met in Phoenix are similarly distressed.

True sensitivity to Israel and American Jews would be demonstrated by ceasing these one-sided attacks and apologizing for damaging the good name of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

We look forward to such a statement.

  Glen S. Lewy
National Chairman

Abraham H. Foxman National Director
Anti-Defamation League

ADL’s concerns about Jimmy Carter’s book were highlighted in print ads in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and other leading publications.

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2006 Anti-Defamation League