The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which had cautiously welcomed Jimmy Carter’s apology for pain it said he caused the Jewish community with his stridently anti-Israel views, is now calling that apology into question following a speech in which he reverted to his former views.
“As far as I’m concerned, there is no Al Chet,” said ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman, referring to Carter’s evocation of a prayer for forgiveness said on Yom Kippur. “President Carter’s recent comments on Israel are profoundly disappointing, and leave little doubt of the insincerity of his apology.”
Carter’s December 2009 letter to the American Jewish community had offered a personal apology for the harm he had caused and referred to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within secure and recognized borders. At the time, the League said that while Carter’s words should be taken seriously and given respect, his apology must be matched by words and deeds.
On March 18, however, at a conference on US-Arab relations in Atlanta, Carter accused the United States of being “much more attuned to the sensitivities of the Israelis” and of having “yielded excessively to the circumstances in the Holy Land as Israel has confiscated several lands within Palestine.” Those remarks coincided with the diplomatic dust-up between Israel and the US over new housing construction in east Jerusalem.
Carter also accused the Obama White House of unfairly siding with Israel and criticized the administration’s shuttle diplomacy efforts as “feeble.”
In a March 25 letter to Carter, Foxman questioned the sincerity of his apology and offer to continue discussions in the future – an offer Carter had proffered in a call to ADL the same day of his speech in Atlanta.
“I do not believe further discussions between us will be fruitful,” Foxman wrote. “I continue to hope the day will come when you have truly repented of your insensitive views of Israel and the Jewish people.”