(CNN) – Former President Jimmy Carter – whose comments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have drawn criticism from many Jewish leaders over the years - has written an open letter asking the Jewish community for forgiveness
"We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel," Carter wrote in a letter provided to Jewish news service JTA. "As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so."
In Hebrew, "Al Het" is a plea for forgiveness. Traditionally, the term referred to the prayer offered on Yom Kippur asking God to forgive any sins committed against Him.
Carter’s book “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid” drew criticism from some in the Jewish community for language that seemed to place most of the blame for the continued Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Israel, and to compare the country’s settlement activities with South Africa’s historic apartheid policy.
In a JTA interview, the former president dismissed charges that the letter was released to coincide with his grandson Jason Carter’s prospective plan to enter politics.
The younger Carter is reportedly weighing a bid for the Georgia state Senate, to fill a seat that would open if incumbent David Adelman is confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to Singapore.
"Jason has a district, the number of Jewish voters in it is only 2 percent," said the former president.
The title of his controversial book was not an assessment of the current situation, said Carter. It was, rather, his view of what might happen in the future if Israel’s policies were not altered. “I never intended or wanted to stigmatize the nation of Israel, even though I have disagreed with the settlement policy all the way back to the White House," he noted.
Israel is not the little innocent country that it would like the rest of the world to beleive. They have added to the conflict on many occaisions over the years, and at times were outright arrogant in their actions. Carter only spoke the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts. He need not apoligize.
Carter is an embarrassment to the Democratic party. Heck, he's an embarrassment to anything he supports.
It is refreshing to hear someone actually apologize for being hurtful, whether the comments were justified or not.
There is an old adage that I am reminded of when I read this article. It goes:
Too Little Too Late.
Carter should take his Al Het and shove it up his Al Tuchus. His stupidity has set the prospects for Middle East Peace back to the Middle Ages.
President Carter does not owe Israel
Carter has always been an anti-Semite and this phony mea culpa does fool me one bit.
APOLOGY! For What!!! They deserve all the criticism they get. They've killed thousands of innocent people, similar to what Hitler did to them.
Gob bless Jimmy Carter. If only the world including Israel would follow his example and repent for their sins.
Jimmy, you're a class act.
Carter still can't open his mouth without making a fool out of himself. It won't stop either! Dumbest president we ever had.
So who will apologize for this article's premise that all Jews think the same, have the same "leaders" and support Israel's actions against Palestinians?
It does not sound like a sincere apology as it does not specify what
he is apologizing for. Does he still think the word " apartheid"
is appropriate? Will he explain why the change or is this
the end of his statement? He spent years coming down hard on
the only free and democratic country in the middle east.
The way it stands should we accept his apology? No!
President Carter's statement is a little late in the game. His many
previous opinions relating to the issue of his overtly biased stand regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are certainly evidence of his
true feelings. He quite simply has not spoke to the issue of civilian-targeted terrorist acts from the Palestinians as the prompter for the necessary Israeli responses over the years. His opinions have given
motivation to terrorist groups to use public propaganda to justify their
horrendous targeting of civilians. In his many previous statements,
he has not been at all critical of the Palestinian actions to the extent
he has criticized the Israelis.
May God have mercy on each one of us !
Craven rear-kissing to help his grandson's career.
The younger Carter's district may only be 2 percent Jewish, but that's also the proportion for the nation as a whole. And even politicos from 100% gentile districts have to be careful about crossing the tribe.
Jimmy's also a Baptist, so he probably figured he needed to mend fences with God's pets before shedding his mortal coil.
Note: when you haven’t done anything wrong - and Carter simply spoke the truth - apologizing accomplishes nothing. It tags you as spineless, and it certainly doesn’t earn you any respect from the other side.
Carter, like so many overly intelligent people,
has always had a deficiancy in common sense.
He also ignored the Iraelis when they advised
him against his failed rescue in Iran to free the
His lack of common sense may only be outdone
by his arrogance.
He thought he is out of politics forever, and rather than facing his mistakes with Iran, found it easier to blame Israel for all things bad, ignoring his major policy mistakes was easy to go after "Israel" which only gave him his only achievement in Camp David. This is obvious psychological pathology of Mr. Carter whose legacy will always include naivity and allowing evil powers in Iran and elsewhere to take over.
Now, suddenly his family members are in politics, so it is time to ask forgiveness for obvious political exploitation of the middle east situation and his "blame Israel" psychology. What a pathetic little man!!!!!
All democrats need to apologize to the Jews....they have NOT supported Israel one iota, and their appeasement policies to nations like Iran will only deepen the crisis Israel faces.
I have never figured Jimmy out. Is he really stupid or totally evil? He is directly responsible for the genocide, starvation, and political turmoil across the land of Africa. Now he is condemning a countries right to defend it's self.
Now, how about apologizing to the rest of us, Jimmy: you know, the ones that believed your "Peace Not Apartheid" perspective. What, were you just kidding? Or, is this just a case where you believe the meek shall inherit the Georgia Statehouse?
Former President Carter remains a class act and a voice of reason in a unreasonable world.
I do believe that Carter did not have to apologize for his comments in his book. For me, his views in the book were right on target.
What it does show, is Carter's humbleness and kind nature.
History will show his Presidency in better light than at present.
Wow these people got the american people over a barrel.The more money and weapons you give them the more they want, with an apology.
For someone that stood up to both sides and held them accountable for the "process" I am dismayed in the asking for forgiveness. How long will the World be held accountable or pay for someone's injustice. How long are we going to watch the same History shows, Movies, anything media related meant to instill in our brains to never ever think to do anything bad to someone fo the Jewish Faith when the point should be held by all (even Neocons) is to work things out and not do anything bad to anyone for any reason. Trying to shame someone perpetually will only backfire.