Monday, January 22, 2007

From: My son
Subject: Carter defends his 'Palestine' book
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 14:43:00 +0000

Carter defends his 'Palestine' book

The Associated Press
Sunday, January 21, 2007
ATHENS, Georgia
The former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has said that the storm of criticism he has faced for his recent book has not weakened his resolve for fair treatment of Israelis and Palestinians.

"I have been called a liar," Carter said Saturday at a town hall meeting on the second day of a three-day symposium on his presidency at the University of Georgia.

"I have been called an anti-Semite," he said. "I have been called a bigot. I have been called a plagiarist. I have been called a coward. Those kind of accusations, they concern me, but they don't detract from the fact the book is accurate and is needed."

Following the publication of the book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," 14 members of an advisory board to his Carter Center resigned in protest. Those former board members and others say the book is unfairly critical of Israel.

"Not one of the critics of my book has contradicted any of the basic premises — that is the horrible persecution and oppression of the Palestinian people and secondly that the formula for finding peace in the Middle East already exists," said Carter, 82.

Carter said he was pleased that the book had stimulated discussion of an issue that had been "omitted from the public consciousness" for at least the last six years.

Also Saturday, Carter, at times emotional, told how he had saved the 1978 Camp David peace talks when it appeared the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, would leave.

Carter said that in the first three days of the talks Sadat and the Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin, often argued. After about a week, Carter said, Sadat reached a breaking point and packed his bags to return to Egypt — and Carter "knelt down and prayed."

Carter said he then walked to Sadat's cabin. "Sadat and I stood with our noses almost touching," he said, "and I told him that he had betrayed me and betrayed his own people and if he left our friendship was severed forever and the relationship between the United States and Egypt would suffer."

Sadat agreed to stay, and the Camp David accords were signed after 12 days of negotiations.

The three-day conference was arranged to mark the 30th anniversary of Carter's 1977 inauguration.

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