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Jimmy Carter Unites Democrat and Republican Jews who Renounce his Convention Message


Former President Jimmy Carter visits the Arab neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem.

Former President Jimmy Carter visits the Arab neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / Flash90

Imagine this: two Jews, one opinion!

And not only two Jews, but two Jewish organizations, one representing Jewish Democrats and one representing Jewish Republicans, and there is still only one opinion.

Who accomplished this miracle?  None other than former US president Jimmy Carter.

In what may be a first, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the National Jewish Democratic Council agree on something, and it is something important.  They agree that former US president Jimmy Carter should not be speaking at the upcoming Democratic Convention which will take place September 3 – 6 at the Time-Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Democratic National Committee announced this week that Carter will be appearing via videolink in a prime time slot during the upcoming convention.  The announcement included a quote from Carter who expressed his “steadfast” support for President Obama and who looks forward to “the progress he will make in the next four years.”

Given President Obama’s recent outreach efforts to assure Jews they still have a comfortable berth in the Democratic party, it is hard to understand why a platform would be given to Carter.  Jimmy Carter is the only Democrat to have garnered fewer than fifty percent of the American Jewish vote in any presidential election since 1924.   In 1980, when Carter ran against Ronald Reagan, Carter received only 45 percent of the Jewish vote.

In the press release announcing Carter’s participation in the convention, the 2012 Democratic National Convention Chair, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, described Carter as “one of the greatest humanitarian leaders of our time and a champion of democracy around the globe,” and a “lifelong champion of human rights.” However, not everyone — even within the Democratic party — was quite so enthusiastic.

NJDC chair and CEO David Harris called Carter’s record on Israel and the Middle East an embarrassment.  Harris also described former President Carter as “harmful to the peace process.”

Speaking from the same page as his Democrat Party colleague, Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, responded to the news of Carter being headlined at the Democratic convention in only a slightly more hostile tone.  In an email to Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, Brooks described Carter as “openly hostile to Israel,” and having publicly equated the Jewish Homeland to the South African Apartheid regime.  In 2006 Carter published a book about the Middle East peace process which largely blamed Israel for the conflict.  The title of Carter’s book is Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The Jewish Republicans also took the opportunity to blast the Democratic party for showcasing someone who is widely seen as anti-Israel.

But the NJDC’s Harris was still hoping to minimize the fallout from Carter being showcased at the Democratic convention.  While clearly distancing himself from Carter, Harris said he was “confident” that the former president would not be using his speech to talk about Middle East policy.

Perhaps Harris has not read the Democratic National Committee press release announcing Carter’s slot at the convention.  It promises Carter will be providing “his unique insights about President Obama as a global leader,” and lauds Carter for being “a champion of democracy around the globe.”  It is hard to imagine that Carter will not devote at least some air time to promoting his version of peace in the Middle East.

Nonetheless, perhaps Jimmy Carter deserves another peace prize – forget about the enmity between Israel and Egypt, now he is the impetus for two sets of many Jews to have the same opinion.  That opinion: Jimmy Carter should not be speaking at the Democratic Convention.

Carter will give his videolinked convention speech on Tuesday night, September 4th.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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29 Responses to “Jimmy Carter Unites Democrat and Republican Jews who Renounce his Convention Message”

  1. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    Jimmy Carter gets the Jewish Peace Prize!

  2. Ray Long says:

    Here is an excerpt from an article many years old – and little has changed: " It now turns out that the shoe is precisely on the other foot. Recent disclosures prove that it is Carter who has been bought and paid for by anti-Israel Arab and Islamic money."
    http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474976879837

  3. Lauren Ks says:

    Your headline is pretty grammatically misleading. I read it to think that Carter was renouncing his message not that the Jewish community calls on him to do so.

  4. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    Lauren – I only write the articles, not the headlines (although the one I submitted was the same as what I said when I posted it here – Jimmy Carter gets the Jewish Peace Prize!)

  5. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    But I'll tell my editor – I liked my headline better anyway.

  6. Lauren Ks says:

    Thanks Justin for noticing what I did in that headline. Poorly written for sure.

  7. Stewart Nasar says:

    anti semitic anti Israel white trash piece of $#!#

  8. Anonymous says:

    Jimmy Carter is the only US President who was successful in negotiating a long-lasting peace treaty between Israel and one of its hostile neighbors. Can you imagine what additional burden it would be on Israel's military if they had to face another war with Egypt? Instead for 35 years through all sorts of Egyptian turmoil, the peace treaty negotiated with Carter's support has endured. One would think that there would be monuments in Israel erected to honor Carter, that streets would be named after him. Instead he is despised by the Orthodox Jewish community. What does that tell you about Israel and its Orthodox supporters?

  9. Susan Cohen says:

    Unfortunately, I think the headline editor meant "DEnouncing:. I'm not sure you can renounce something someone *else* does…

  10. Susan Cohen says:

    Lauren Ks Unfortunately, I think the headline editor meant "DEnouncing:. I'm not sure you can renounce something someone *else* does…

  11. Susan Cohen says:

    harrylax: Begin & Sadat cooked that up between themselves & conned Carter into paying for it. It says volumes that Jews aren't fooled by this (even if it's only in retrospect through his hate-filled follow-ups), even the Orthodox, for whom you seem to have a weird negative fixation out of all the Jews who see through Carter & despise him.

  12. Charlie Hall says:

    There are no Democrat Jews. There are Democratic Jews, and/or Jewish Democrats. Democrat is a noun.

    That said, as a Democratic Jew, I'd love to go Charlotte to either boo Carter or walk out. While he was not hostile to Israel while President, his actions after leaving office have been beyond the pale.

  13. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    Again, I don't get to write the headlines. And Charlie – Carter won't be at the convention in person, only via videolink.

  14. Stewart Nasar says:

    its about time we recognized his true colors

  15. Charlie Hall says:

    The problem with Carter is NOT what he did while President, but what he did and said after he left office!

  16. I agree with Charlie (mark the calendar!).

  17. Charlie Hall says:

    Mashiach is coming!

  18. President Carters peace treaty was to lie for Arafat to commit more murders against against thIsrealis takiung away theire right for self defence.President Obama not any bbetter.

  19. Dangerous for Israel…putting Israel (a friend/ally in a negative light, blaming- is hostile to the Jewish Refuge- i mean State- and by extention to Jews, our cultures & religion.

  20. If Carter is invited by the Democrats to speak via videolink so should Jeremiah Wright be invited.They have identical views on Israel.

    For that matter, when you look closely, Obama and Carter have identical views on Israel=67 armistice lines as the border.

  21. Nonsense. The deal between Egypt and Israel was not peace.It was a non agression pact. Egypt honored nothing in the agreement other than not attacking Israel, which it wouldn't do anyway for fear of Israel's strength. Israel got nothing out that deal and Sadat boasted of how he had screwed Israel. Sadat got back the Sinai plus billions from the USA. And as thanks for that he was killed, but that's the Muslims for you.

  22. John Levin says:

    Enough to cause me to vomit!

  23. Susan Cohen says:

    Lori Lowenthal Marcus So Carter's a coward, but he's obviously no TOO stupid…

  24. Is the 2016 candidate, the anti-Israel Rand Paul speaking at the GOP convention via video or live? Clear and present danger surely is worse than ancient history.

  25. Ray Long says:

    As we write these words, interacting via internet, the 'news' says that Egypt is mobilizing to attack Gaza? 2 weeks ago, I would not have seen that coming.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Jimmy Carter is a dangerous man and needs to be kept out of Israel.
    He is not beloved by Americans. American Jews should stay far away from him as he will turn on you and deliver you to the Arabs.

  27. David Austin says:

    Well, regarding the definition of democratic vs democrat it seems that the libertarians are more democratic. Just sayin'.

  28. David Austin says:

    Well put Charlie … many President's followed Carter's lead, but none of them excused Hamas violence and Palestinian contempt every time a concession is made in their behalf. How an ex-president can turn a blind eye to suicide bombs in civilian markets and the fact that the Palestinians rejoice when it happens is beyond me. American's aren't pro-Israel any more than they are anit-terrorism. Sadly the Palestinians have made those two stands one and the same.

  29. Yaakov Levy says:

    true colors of dem party…. very sad….

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