- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jimmy Carter has apologized for what he called a “stupid” passage in his book that critics say is a de facto endorsement of Palestinian violence against Israelis.

The former president had spent most of the past two months defending his new book, “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,” after 15 board members at his Atlanta-based Carter Center resigned in protest of the book’s content.

“I apologize to you personally and to everyone here,” Mr. Carter said when asked about the passage by a student during his appearance at Brandeis University on Tuesday. After explaining that the passage was “worded in a completely improper and stupid way,” Mr. Carter said he has asked publisher Simon & Schuster Inc. to change the wording in future editions of the book.

The questionable passage, which appears on Page 213 of the book, reads: “It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.”

Some of Mr. Carter’s critics, including the Carter Center board members who resigned, say the text reads as defending terror tactics until a peace accord can be reached between Israel and Palestinians.

“Repeatedly I call on all to terminate the use of violence,” Mr. Carter said in response.

He also addressed critics who said the book title unfairly compared Israeli policy to the racial separatist policies of South Africa’s government, which ended apartheid in the early 1990s. Mr. Carter said he did not mean to “equate Zionism with racism” when choosing the title.

“I chose that title knowing that it would be provocative, but in the long run it has precipitated discussion and there has been a lot of positive discussion,” he said.

Emory University history professor Kenneth W. Stein, who served as the Carter Center’s first executive director, was one of the first board members to resign after the book was published in December.

Last week, in a statement released through Emory’s Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, Mr. Stein criticized Mr. Carter’s book for suggesting that the Palestinian terror group Hamas is “ready for dialogue.” Mr. Stein noted that Hamas has never recognized the legitimacy of the Jewish state and that, as recently as October, a Palestinian official said at a Hamas gathering that Israel is “a vile entity.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Carter released the transcript of a discussion he held as president with Pope John Paul II. During the Oct. 6, 1979, discussion, Mr. Carter urged the pope to publicly acknowledge Israel during one of his speeches.

“I reported that the Jews in our country at least thought that he was biased against them because he had never yet mentioned Israel in one of his speeches,” the transcript reads. “He replied, ‘I have mentioned Jerusalem.’ I replied, ‘This is not adequate for the Jews.’ ” The transcript was first released to the Associated Press.

Mr. Carter’s appearance at the Brandeis campus in Boston was followed by an appearance by Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz, who has been critical of the book. Although Mr. Carter refused to debate him and even to appear with him, Mr. Dershowitz told the students in attendance that he appreciated the former president’s apology.

“You heard the Brandeis Jimmy Carter today, and he was terrific,” Mr. Dershowitz said. “I support almost everything he said. But if you listen to the Al Jazeera Jimmy Carter, you’ll hear a very different perspective.”

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