Friday, December 21, 2012

Jimmy Carter and Saudi money

Jimmy Carter and Saudi money

Yaakov Ahimeir

It is rare that a journalist finds such a damning indictment, with heavy evidence to support it, against a senior American public figure; yet Harvard University professor and renowned jurist Alan Dershowitz has produced just such an indictment against former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in an article that I recently came across.

After his presidential term ended, Carter devoted himself, of course, to moralizing and harsh one-sided criticism against Israel. As the facilitator of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, many believed that Carter advocated his positions (even the vague hint that Israel is an "apartheid state") with the understanding, knowledge and, mainly the integrity that the signing of the first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab country signaled. Dershowitz shatters Carter's image as a man beyond reproach, as one who acted on fundamental principles and purity of heart. In fact, according to Dershowitz, Carter was driven by Saudi money. A whole lot of it.

Dershowitz published his accusations against Carter in a scathing article published on the Jewish website in 2007, whose managers claim they run the richest content site, in terms of Jewish culture, on the web. Politically, Dershowitz supports the Democratic Party and recently voted for the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama. More importantly, Dershowitz notes that he actively participated in the campaign to elect Carter as president. He even notes that he "immediately liked Jimmy Carter and saw him as a man of integrity and principle."

But Dershowitz became disillusioned, to say the least, with everything he thought about Carter. As is well known, the former U.S. president founded the Carter Center: Advancing Human Rights and Alleviating Suffering, which works to assist election integrity in many countries. Yet Dershowitz reveals in his article that Carter received a significant cash prize in the name of the Saudi Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and pocketed the money.

"Even Harvard University returned the money donated by the sheikh to him because of his anti-Semitic views," Dershowitz says. Dershowitz was the principle figure in convincing the prestigious university to return the sheikh's donation of $2 million. The very same sheikh established the think tank, The Zayed Foundation, which "hosted speakers who called Jews 'the enemies of all nations,' and attributed the assassination of John Kennedy to Israel."

Dershowitz also blames Carter and The Carter Center for receiving funds from dubious sources. For example, a promised donation of a million dollars from the Saudi bin Laden family. Dershowitz makes a damning historic comparison between Harvard's conduct in the 1930s and Carter's behavior. According to Dershowitz, Harvard honored Nazi scientists in the 1930s, even after Hitler's views became known, and as such, acted as an accomplice to evil. "I sadly concluded," Dershowitz writes, "that Jimmy Carter of the 21st century has become complicit in evil."

What a stunning and damning parallel this eminent jurist makes! The Saudis thus also "bought," at a high price, the Carter Center's silence about human rights violations in their kingdom. This is in stark contrast to the attention paid by the Carter Center to human rights violations in such countries as Iran or China.

Dershowitz concludes that Carter's diplomatic positions toward Israel and the Middle East may be honest, but where is the disclosure about his dependence on Arab money? In the American public sphere, Dershowitz concludes, there is no lower level of integrity than that of Carter. "It pains me to say this," Dershowitz writes, and notes that he is one of Carter's former supporters.