The Question of Carter’s Cash

The Question of Carter’s Cash

Claudia Rosett writing in the National Review has an article about where the cash comes from that funds the Carter Foundation:

Did Jimmy Carter do it for the money? That’s the question making the rounds about Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, an anti-Israeli screed recently written by the ex-president whose Carter Center has accepted millions in Arab funding.

Even in Carter’s long history of post-presidential grandstanding, this book sets new standards of irresponsibility. Purporting to give a balanced view of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict, Carter effectively shrugs off such highly germane matters as Palestinian terrorism. The hypocrisies are boundless and include adoring praise of the deeply oppressive, religiously intolerant Saudi regime side by side with condemnations of democratic Israel. In one section, typical of the book’s entire approach, Carter includes a “Historical Chronology,” from Biblical times to 2006, in which he dwells on events surrounding his 1978 Camp David Accords but omits the Holocaust. Kenneth W. Stein, the founder of the Carter Center’s Middle East program, resigned last month to protest the book, describing it in a letter to Fox News as “replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments.” As this article goes to press, more protest resignations, this time from the Carter Center’s board of councilors, appear to be in the works.

If there is a silver lining to any of this, it is that Carter’s book has drawn much-overdue attention to some of the funding that pours into the Carter Center, whose intriguing donor list includes anti-Israeli tycoons and Middle East states. Founded in 1982 and appended to Carter’s presidential library, the center has served for almost a quarter century as the main base and fund-raising magnet for Carter’s self-proclaimed mission to save the world.

In recent weeks, a number of articles have noted that Carter’s anti-Israeli views coincide with those of some of the center’s prime financial backers, including the government of Saudi Arabia and the foundation of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, whose offer of $10 million to New York City just after Sept. 11 was rejected by then-mayor Rudy Giuliani because it came wrapped in the suggestion that America should rethink its support of Israel. Other big donors listed in the Carter Center’s annual reports include the Sultanate of Oman and the Sultan himself; the government of the United Arab Emirates; and a brother of Osama bin Laden, Bakr BinLadin, “for the Saudi BinLadin Group.” Of lesser heft, but still large, are contributions from assorted development funds of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as of OPEC, whose membership includes oil-rich Arab states, Nigeria (whose government is also a big donor to the Carter Center), and Venezuela (whose anti-American strongman Hugo Chávez benefited in a 2004 election from the highly controversial monitoring efforts of the Carter Center).

Jimmy Carter pretends to be fair and balanced in his book about the Middle East and his comments, but he fails to disclose that funding for his Foundation comes from people like the king of Saudi Arabia, BCCI scandal banker Agha Hasan Abedi, and Arafat pal Hasib Sabbagh.

Rosett concludes her article as follows:

In a recent Los Angeles Times opinion piece defending his new book (and insinuating that the debate over it is being controlled by pro-Israeli lobbyists), Carter wrote that he is merely seeking a “free and balanced discussion of the facts.” It is quite possible that even he may not know for sure whether he has molded his views to suit anti-Israeli donors; whether his center has attracted the money of such donors because they like his views; or whether, while fighting the guinea worm, he simply made the unrelated mistake of writing an appallingly biased and bad book. But having parlayed his former public office into global influence, he owes the public at least this much: Tell us, clearly and directly, enough about your supporters and their money that we can, with full information, decide for ourselves what is going on.

With Jimmy Carter’s refusal to enter into a public debate over the facts contained in his book, and the resignation of many of the Carter Center Board of Councilor Members because of their disagreement with many statements in his book, Jimmy Carter continues to bring shame on himself and his once good name.

Previous related posts:
14 Carter Board Members Resign
Carter: An anti-semitic hypocrite
Jewish Democrats: Does the Party still represent you?
Letter from Ari Fleischer to former President Carter
A Reply to Jimmy Carter
The Movement to Censure Jimmy Carter