J Street Gives Jimmy Carter An Award

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Elder of Ziyon has a piece on J Street’s recently giving an award to Jimmy Carter. It’s not surprising: J Street is the well-known anti-Israel organization of pro-Palestinian far-left Jews, and Jimmy Carter Is admired by all those who share his deep animus to Israel. A report on Carter’s latest recognition is here: “J-Street honors Jimmy Carter, who once tried to intercede for a Nazi guard who murdered Jews,” Elder of Ziyon, April 21, 2021:

On Monday, J-Street honored former president Jimmy Carter with their “Tzedek v’Shalom” award

Jimmy Carter has a problem with Jews. Not Zionists – Jews.

I’m not talking about his reprehensible comparisons of Israel with apartheid South Africa, or his apologetics for all of Israel’s enemies.

When Helen Thomas was forced out of her job for blatantly antisemitic comments that Jews in Israel should go back to Poland and Germany, she was interviewed by Playboy. Here’s what she said:

PLAYBOY: What was life like in the immediate aftermath as millions started viewing the video on YouTube?

THOMAS: I went into self-imposed house arrest for two weeks. It was a case of “know thyself.” Isn’t that what Socrates said? I wanted to see if I was remorseful—and I wasn’t.

…I also heard from Jimmy Carter. He called a few weeks later.

…Basically he was sympathetic. He talked about the Israelis in the Middle East, the violations. It was very nice of him to call, but I don’t want to get him into trouble.

Carter was calling to express his sympathy for Helen Thomas, and implicitly agreeing with her remarks that caused her to lose her job with Hearst. She had said the Jews should leave Israel and “go back to Germany and Poland,” and furthermore, she had previously made repeated remarks about how “the Jews controlled the Presidency, Congress, Wall Street, and Hollywood.” This was what Jimmy Carter found so appealing, this is what led him to call Helen Thomas and express his solidarity, his sympathy for her travails, having been so unfairly treated for bravely stating views on Israel that were sure to anger “powerful Jews.” Carter wasn’t appalled by Helen Thomas’ antisemitism; he admired her for it.

In Carter’s book, Peace Not Apartheid,” he made the incredibly odious suggestion that Palestinian terror against Jews should continue until Israel fulfills its supposed obligations:

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.”

Carter’s remark in Peace Not Apartheid shows that he thinks that “suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism” are in fact not atrocities to be denounced but, rather, are acts that should be considered to be justified, for as long as Israel refuses to accept “the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace.” That “ultimate goal” means, in Carter’s view, that Israel must agree to be squeezed back within the 1949 armistice lines, with a nine-mile waist at Qalqilya, the lines that Abba Eban once described as the “lines of Auschwitz,” and a Palestinian state is established on all the territory Israel withdrew from on the West Bank, and in Gaza. Only when all of that happens should the Palestinians be called upon to “end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism.”

But worst of all was something that happened in 1987, an episode that shows beyond a doubt that Carter’s vaunted support for human rights and justice ends when Jews are involved.

Carter received a letter from the daughter of the Waffen SS guard, Martin Bartesch, who was being deported from the US for lying on his immigration application.

Bartesch had volunteered for the Waffen SS and served in the SS Death’s Head Division. He was a guard at the Mauthausen, where 38,000 Jews died. German records from the camp record that he personally shot dead Max Oschorn, a French Jew.

As a concentration camp guard, and member of the SS Death’s Head Division, Martin Batesch was in up to his neck in every sort of atrocity at Mauthausen. He would have taken part in the “selection” of those Jews who were to be put immediately to death and those kept alive, only to be worked to death as slave laborers. He may have personally murdered only one Jewish victim – Max Oschorn – or at least that’s all we have on record, but he was deeply involved in the mass killings of Jews in gas chambers.

Bartesch’s family had written to many US senators asking for help. They would contact the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations and ask for details, and the OSI told them that Bartesch was a murderer, and the senators would drop the matter.

Not Jimmy Carter.

Without even asking the OSI to verify what the family claimed (such as their claim that Bartesch was forced to serve for the Nazis, when in fact he volunteered for the SS) Carter did not flinch in using his influence to help raise the case of someone who had been placed, as the daughter wrote, on the U.S. Government’s “Nazi Watch List.” Carter apparently found merit in her nauseating charge about the “cruel and un-American” behavior of the Nazi-hunting O.S.I. (the Office of Special Investigations), and wrote a note at the top of the letter and forwarded it to the OSI:

To Director, O.S.I.

I hope that, in cases like this, that special consideration can be given to affected families for humanitarian reasons. Jimmy Carter….

Carter was quick to come to the aid of a Nazi murderer who was due to be deported. He didn’t even bother to contact the OSI (the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting agency) to find out what crimes Bartesh had committed. Only on the strength of Bartesch’s daughter’s letter – bemoaning the treatment her poor put-upon father was receiving — Carter was willing to intervene. Surely he knew that people are not placed for no reason on the “Nazi Watch List,” yet he didn’t bother to, or perhaps didn’t want to, find out more.

Many will remember Carter’s behavior during the Camp David negotiations with Sadat and Begin. He hero-worshipped Sadat who in his view, could do no wrong. For Begin, on the other hand, Carter exhibited a palpable want of sympathy, even a visceral physical dislike for the homely Israeli leader. He was cruelly impatient with the anxieties Begin expressed about threats to the Jewish state’s survival. In 1979, while pressing Menachem Begin to make concession upon concession to Anwar Sadat, Carter erupted that he was “sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust.” Though at Camp David all the concessions were made by Israel, it was Anwar Sadat whom Carter and his National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski depicted as a veritable prince of peace. As for Begin, the great sacrifices he had made to obtain a peace treaty with Egypt were never acknowledged by Carter.

So J Street did the right thing in giving its award to Jimmy Carter. He’s done so much to weaken Israel. He publicly took Sadat’s side during the Camp David negotiations and made sure the final treaty met all of the Egyptian leader’s demands, and none of those put forward by Prime Minister Begin. Since then he’s been spreading the word that Israel is an “apartheid state” – his last book was that infamous Peace Not Apartheid – showing how indifferent he is to the facts. For had he bothered to look into the reality of the Jewish state, he would have discovered that Arabs sit in the Knesset, serve on the Supreme Court, go abroad as ambassadors for the state. He would have found out that the head of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. He would have had to admit that Jews and Arabs in Israel study together in universities, serve in factories and offices together, play in the same orchestras and on the same sports teams, are cured in the same hospitals. and so much more. Jews and Arabs have the same civil, political, and religious rights. The only difference is that Arabs are not required to serve in the military, though they may do so as volunteers. None of that information is mentioned in Carter’s book; it would have undermined his noxious charge.

Carter’s animus goes beyond Israel. It extends to all Jews. Where should Carter put his just awarded J Street plaque? He should place it on the shelf where he already has a similar award – a depiction in wood of Jerusalem — that he received in person from that “smyler with the knyf under the cloke,” the leader of the Hamas terror group Khaled Meshaal, when they met for cordial talks in Damascus -– a real meeting of minds — in 2009.

First published in Jihad Watch.