The Corner

Pious Amorality

In what I think was a rephrensible one-sided Jimmy Carter article in the Guardian condemning Israel for the conditions in Gaza, I was struck by these two sentences:

It is one thing for other leaders to defer to the U.S. in the crucial peace negotiations, but the world must not stand idle while innocent people are treated cruelly. It is time for strong voices in Europe, the US, Israel and elsewhere to speak out and condemn the human rights tragedy that has befallen the Palestinian people.

An ex-President of the United States seems to be saying that the “strong voices” of the world should oppose the lead of his own country in pursuing a long bipartisan policy of peace negotiations. This reminds one of Carter’s harsh criticism of his own country prior to the 2002 Nobel Prize deliberations, in which even one of the judges acknowledged that the award was happy payback for his antiwar stance — reminsicent of his earlier letter to the Security Council to try to stymie the first George Bush’s efforts to isolate Saddam Hussein and get him out of Kuwait.

It is hard to think of any ex-President in our history who has written and done so much to counter the official policies of his own country abroad. Of all the countries one could blame for human rights violations — Iran, Syria, the Palestinians and Hamas, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Cuba, Libya, etc. — why would he single out the only liberal democracy in the Middle East?

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