Former Carter Center Member Says Jimmy Carter Condones Palestinian Terrorism

As NewsBusters reported last Thursday, people are resigning from the Carter Center due to the former president’s controversial book about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. One such member was on “Hannity & Colmes” Monday, and he stated that Carter has “abandoned his traditional position of honest broker and mediator,” and “goes so far as to condone terrorism until such a time a Palestinian state is achieved” (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).

Of course, much like the rest of his ilk in the fawning media, host Alan Colmes did everything possible to undermine the statements being made by guest Steve Berman. But, the former Carter Center board member was having none of it.

When Colmes began the interview asking “is Jimmy Carter anti-Semitic,” Berman coolly responded:

No, I wouldn't go that far. But what he has done, Alan, is he's abandoned his traditional position of honest broker and mediator in favor he's embraced the position of an advocate, a singular advocate for one side. We can't abide by that. In good conscience, we resigned, and actually, it's 15 of us now that have resigned.

Colmes tried to deflect this by discussing a letter that Carter put out attempting to quiet his critics about the title of the book using the word “apartheid.” Berman responded:

The title of the book obviously creates controversy. However, it's not the title that bothered us. It was what the contents of the book and it was his proclamations afterwards on his press tour.

Particularly bothersome was page 213 of the book, where the president, and I think your viewers can see this, actually goes so far as to condone terrorism until such a time a Palestinian state is achieved.

When we read that and other misstatements of fact in the book and, as I said, proclamations made in the press about the problem in the Middle East being all the fault of the Israelis, we said this person has abandoned a position of mediator and honest broker and has become an advocate.

Colmes again tried to defend the former president who he obviously reveres:

COLMES: In his forthcoming statement after this, he spoke for Hamas and all other Palestinians to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist within the recognized 1967 boundaries. He was very clear that he did not condone violence.

BERMAN: He was very clear then. But I -- as your viewers can see on page 213 of his book, he was hardly clear. He was -- he was hardly equivocal. He said that he condoned the use of violence until such time a Palestinian state.

After Hannity took the baton, Berman began questioning Carter’s motives for writing this book:

Maybe it's about selling books, in which case I'd like to challenge the president to donate all the proceeds from this book to various programs to promote peace and understanding in the Middle East, such as Seeds for Peace or the Economic Cooperation Foundation. I don't know.

Maybe it's -- maybe it's other things at work. Maybe we ought to look at the money. We'd like to see the president disclose where the funding for the Carter Center comes from.

It is puzzling to me why he's so concerned about human rights abuses in Israel, and he said nothing about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, where we know the Carter Center does derive a good deal of its funding from.

Wow. Shocking stuff. Yet, a LexisNexis search of the name “Steve Berman” indicated that no other major television network has interviewed him concerning this resignation. I wonder why that is.

What follows is a full transcript of this segment.

COLMES: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes". Fourteen members of the Carter Center advisory board abruptly resigned last week in protest to the former president's latest book entitled "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid".

In the book, Carter blames the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some say on the Jewish state for fostering a form of what he calls apartheid.

In letter to Carter, the center's board of counselors wrote, quote, "The former president has clearly abandoned his historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side."

Joining us now, former Carter Center board member, Steve Berman.

Thanks for being with us. Steve, is Jimmy Carter anti-Semitic?

STEVE BERMAN, FORMER CARTER CENTER BOARD MEMBER: No, I wouldn't go that far. But what he has done, Alan, is he's abandoned his traditional position of honest broker and mediator in favor he's embraced the position of an advocate, a singular advocate for one side. We can't abide by that. In good conscience, we resigned, and actually, it's 15 of us now that have resigned.

COLMES: Have you heard what Jimmy Carter has said? He put out a letter, and he said that apartheid in the title, for example, refers to conditions and events in Palestine and not Israel, as some have suggested, that he has been misinterpreted in terms, especially in terms of the title of the book.

BERMAN: The title of the book obviously creates controversy. However, it's not the title that bothered us. It was what the contents of the book and it was his proclamations afterwards on his press tour.

Particularly bothersome was page 213 of the book, where the president, and I think your viewers can see this, actually goes so far as to condone terrorism until such a time a Palestinian state is achieved.

When we read that and other misstatements of fact in the book and, as I said, proclamations made in the press about the problem in the Middle East being all the fault of the Israelis, we said this person has abandoned a position of mediator and honest broker and has become an advocate.

If we're going to deal with an advocate, we might as well deal with an advocate of our own.

COLMES: In his forthcoming statement after this, he spoke for Hamas and all other Palestinians to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist within the recognized 1967 boundaries. He was very clear that he did not condone violence.

BERMAN: He was very clear then. But I -- as your viewers can see on page 213 of his book, he was hardly clear. He was -- he was hardly equivocal. He said that he condoned the use of violence until such time a Palestinian state.

COLMES: Do you really believe Jimmy Carter condones acts of terrorism?

BERMAN: What am I left to think when I look at that particular quote on page 213? What am I...

COLMES: You know the man.

BERMAN: I -- well, I mean, I thought I knew the man. And most of us, we thought we knew the man. We were very puzzled and surprised when this happened. What are we supposed to think, Alan, when we see -- when we saw a particular cable show when he was pressed, he said -- the interviewer said, "Haven't the Israelis made concessions? Didn't the Israelis offer to give up 95 percent of the West Bank during the Clinton Camp David talks and divide Jerusalem?"

Carter said on television, "No, the Israelis never accepted Camp David."

HANNITY: Yes, they did. That is -- that is a shame. Well, you use the term you wish the Carter Center success but they also have to traffic in truth and in fact, which is a statement that you made.

So, basically, he's not trafficking in truth because the truth is, the answer to the question you were just raising is, yes, the Israelis did offer that. And Jimmy Carter told a lie.

What do you think this agenda is all about?

BERMAN: You know, it's hard to say. We've been thinking a lot about it. Maybe it's about selling books, in which case I'd like to challenge the president to donate all the proceeds from this book to various programs to promote peace and understanding in the Middle East, such as Seeds for Peace or the Economic Cooperation Foundation. I don't know.

Maybe it's -- maybe it's other things at work. Maybe we ought to look at the money. We'd like to see the president disclose where the funding for the Carter Center comes from.

It is puzzling to me why he's so concerned about human rights abuses in Israel, and he said nothing about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, where we know the Carter Center does derive a good deal of its funding from.

HANNITY: Steve, I want to specifically go -- explain in detail why you think he supports terrorism.

BERMAN: I wouldn't say that Jimmy Carter supports terrorism. What Jimmy Carter does is he supports the underdog in this conflict. But what he fails to recognize, that the underdog in this particular conflict has choices and has made choices.

When Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip, unilaterally, how was that greeted? It was greeted with the election of Hamas, and it was greeted with the Kassam missiles falling on Sderot, the Israeli town...

HANNITY: You interpreted that he supports the use of terror to achieve that goal.

BERMAN: Yes, well, you know, we can talk -- we can say different things to different people at different times. In the book, page 213, he's obviously condoning the use of terror.

HANNITY: Well, then so he does support it. I mean...

BERMAN: It appears that way.

HANNITY: It appears that way. Now, who used the term the Jewish lobby? I'm referring to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution piece. Was that him who used that term?

BERMAN: He didn't use the words specifically "Jewish lobby." He did say in numerous pieces, in an op-ed piece in the L.A. Times, that he -- there can't be an open, honest discussion on the situation in Israel. He's seen this for the past 30 years, because there is fear of this flank of the -- he was referring to the Jewish lobby.

Now, who's taking comfort in that? Well, you can look at the web sites of the various hate groups out there, and it's stunning. It's chilling to see these people saying, "Way to go, President Carter. Somebody finally gets it."

HANNITY: I have always thought he was pathetically, pathetically weak in terms of understanding the nature of evil in our time.

Your -- this is a validation for things I have been saying both on radio and TV for a long time about Jimmy Carter, going back to the shah of Iran and the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini, et cetera, et cetera. And his inability to deal with the Iran hostage crisis here.

He has been very outspoken in the -- with the president. But, in my mind, he seems to sympathize with the victims of terror. If you look, I don't care if it's '48, '67, '73, or today, Israel is the victim of unrelenting terror. And he gives no sympathy to that. And I, frankly, don't understand the mindset of somebody that can't see what is so transparent. Israel is the victim of terrorists, Steve, aren't they?

BERMAN: Well, Israel is the victim of terror. But you know what? This is a -- this is a complicated story, Sean, with dual narratives at work here, dual claims to -- legitimate claims to the land. And to unwind this all to get to an essential truth where we can find, perhaps, a peaceful way of dealing with this situation, both sides have to be held accountable.

COLMES: Steve, did Jimmy Carter deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

HANNITY: No.

COLMES: I think that was directed toward Steve -- Steve.

BERMAN: Yes. Sean, be quiet.

COLMES: Did he deserve it?

BERMAN: At the time -- at the time I was very proud of him. Three years ago I traveled to Geneva to witness the -- witness and support the signing of the Geneva Peace Accord that was authored by very brave Israelis and Palestinians. The president was the keynote speaker. I think in that interim he's lost his way.

COLMES: Thank you for being with us.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.