JTA Article about ZOA and Carter
ZOA in the news
January 13, 2010

The Zionist Organization of America and its leader, Morton Klein, have rejected President Jimmy Carter’s apology to the Jewish community for anyway he may have helped “stigmatizeIsrael.


In its first statement on the matter, ZOA rejected the apology:

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has rejected former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s recent apology for having made false allegations and harsh criticisms of Israel, as his words did not amount to an apology at all. Indeed, his statement was not a retraction of his past harsh and monstrous criticisms of Israel, but an indirect reiteration and reaffirmation of them. …

The ZOA notes that President Carter did not repudiate even a single specific past anti-Israel statement he has made in over three decades of maligning Israel with vicious falsehoods and tendentious allegations in innumerable op-eds, interviews, speeches and books. In fact, this statement actually reaffirms that his “criticisms” are accurate and legitimate but were only meant for “improvement” not for “stigmatizing Israel.” In other words, Carter’s calling Israel an apartheid, human-rights abusing, war-mongering state are still in his view true, but he is merely sorry that they “may have” harmed Israel’s image! He did not say these criticisms were untrue or actually harmful and retract them. Additionally, Jimmy Carter may have had an ulterior motive to offer his “apology” — assisting the electoral prospects of his grandson, Jason, who is running for Congress in a district of Georgia with a Jewish population. His non-apology is therefore an insult to our intelligence.

The ZOA followed up with a second statement pointing to a recent opinion piece by Carter in The Guardian as proof of his insincerity. In additon, the group called on three Jewish organizational leaders — Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Ira Forman of the National Jewish Democratic Council — to retract their relatively poisitve responses to Carter’s apology:

Mr. Foxman accepted Carter’s “apology” as constituting the “beginning of reconciliation”; Rabbi Hier contended that “we have to look at it seriously” and not dismiss it; and Mr. Forman claimed that … Jimmy Carter should be “congratulated and encouraged.”

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