(This is a follow-up to my item of earlier in the week: Al-Hayat: Jimmy Carter to meet Hamas leader in Damascus.)
Jimmy Carter, who is generally acknowledged to have been the worst US president of modern times, is now turning out to be the most embarrassing ex-president.
Even so notable a statesman as the usually soft-spoken President Shimon Peres of Israel today publicly lashed out at Carter after meeting him in Jerusalem. Carter’s “activities over the last few years had caused great damage to Israel and the peace process,” said Peres.
In an unprecedented diplomatic snub to a leading American politician, Israel’s prime minister (Ehud Olmert), foreign minister (Tzipi Livni) and defense minister (Ehud Barak) have all refused to meet Carter during his visit to Israel, which began today.
Carter is due to go on to Damascus where he says he plans to meet Hamas terror mastermind Khaled Meshal. Peres said that such a meeting would be a “severe mistake,” calling Meshal a “murderer and terrorist.”
Meanwhile, State Department officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as well as several leading politicians from Carter’s own Democratic party are pleading with Carter not to meet Meshal. Several of Meshal’s victims have been Americans.
“Please don’t confer legitimacy on a group that embraces violence and wishes to destroy Israel,” several Democrats wrote in a letter to Carter.
Notable among those who have not criticized Carter is Barack Obama.
Reuters reports from Indianapolis:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Friday it was not his place to criticize former President Jimmy Carter… “I’m not going to comment on former President Carter. He’s a private citizen. It’s not my place to discuss who he shouldn’t meet with,” Obama told reporters while campaigning in Indianapolis.
Click here to see one of the many children murdered on Meshal’s orders.