By Jason Maoz
JewishPress.com | November 30, 2006
For those with eyes to see, there were hints as far back as the 1976 presidential campaign of the trouble to come. Early that year, Harper’s magazine published “Jimmy Carter’s Pathetic Lies,” a devastating expose of Carter’s record in Georgia by a then little-known journalist named Steven Brill.
Reg Murphy, who as editor of the Atlanta Constitution had kept a close eye on Carter’s rise in state politics, declared,”Jimmy Carter is one of the three or four phoniest men I ever met.”
Speechwriter Bob Shrum quit the Carter campaign after just a few weeks, disgusted with what he described as Carter’s penchant for fudging the truth. He also related that Carter, convinced the Jewish vote in the Democratic primaries would go to Senator Henry (“Scoop”) Jackson, had instructed his staff not to issue any more statements on the Middle East.
“Jackson has all the Jews anyway,” Shrum quoted Carter as saying. “We get the Christians.”
Relations between Carter and Israel were tense from the outset of the Carter presidency.
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In The Unfinished Presidency, his book about Carter’s post-White House activities, the liberal historian Douglas Brinkley provides a detailed account of the former president’s obsession with helping Palestinian terror chief Yasir Arafat polish his image. Carter, according to Brinkley, regularly advised Arafat on how to shape his message for Western journalists and even wrote some speeches for him.
Carter was also a vocal critic of Israeli policies and “view[ed] the unarmed young Palestinians who stood up against thousands of Israel soldiers as ‘instant heroes,’” wrote Brinkley. “Buoyed by the intifada, Carter passed on to the Palestinians, through Arafat, his congratulations.”
Former New York mayor Ed Koch, in his 1984 bestseller Mayor, recounted a conversation he had shortly before the 1980 election with Cyrus Vance, who’d recently resigned as Carter’s secretary of state. Koch told Vance that many Jews would not be voting for Carter because they feared “that if he is reelected he will sell them out.”
“Vance,” recalled Koch, “nodded and said, ‘He will.’ ”