As Joshua Muravchik reports in Contentions, the dynamite new “weblog” of Commentary magazine, Jimmy Carter made the following statement during his visit to Brandeis University in an attempt to defend his new book: “This is the first time I’ve ever been called a liar.” In making this claim, former President Carter asserted that, until his tome Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid hit the bookshelves, he had never been charged with mendacity.
Naturally, this is itself a boldface lie–as Mr. Muravchik, referring to a 1976 Harper’s article called “Jimmy Carter’s Pathetic Lies,” makes clear. What strikes us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” as so offensive, moreover, is the fact that it is such an obvious fib.
We mean, come on: Who in his right mind believes that any president of the United States has entirely avoided being dubbed a liar? On its face, Jimmy Carter’s statement is entirely unbelievable.
Yet perhaps what most rankles about President Carter’s statement is its obvious–and smarmy–attempt to make its speaker into a victim. It’s as if he’s saying: “All I wanted to do was encourage dialogue on the Middle East and I was so horrifically maltreated! Oh, woe is me!”
Forgive us if we don’t shed too many tears for the mendacious former president. After all, he gave his ill-informed, one-sided, propagandistic rant the fiercely polemical title Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. In so naming his screed, Carter likened the Israelis’ struggle for survival to the militant racism of apartheid South Africa. Gee: Who would have thought that this would have offended a few people? Not Jimmy “Stagflation” Carter, it seems.
And then there’s the little matter of a passage in the book implicitly condoning anti-Israeli terrorism. Although President Carter apologized for this bit during his speech at Brandeis, why should he be surprised that this would meet with outrage?
In general, President Carter’s lame reaction to his jeremiad is sadly typical of modern political life: Having given massive offense, the perpetrator must claim to be the real aggrieved party. In short, everyone must be a victim.
Hence the notorious Gang of 88 at Duke University, when not prejudging lawsuits to fit their own political prejudices, must blather on about how horrid it was for them to receive all sorts of vicious hate mail. Well, gee: You just hung out a couple of innocent students out to dry, and it turns out that some people didn’t care for that too much. Poor, poor you. Ah, you sad little tenured professor; we’re just riddled with compassion.
(Note: The crack young staff normally “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently working on a new book tentatively titled Jimmy Carter: Shill for Terrorism and Muslim Apartheid.)