Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Jewish Rabbi Defends Former Baptist President

Rabbi Michael Lerner says that Jimmy Carter was the best presidential friend Israel ever had.

“Jimmy Carter was the best friend the Jews ever had as president of the United States.He is the only president to have actually delivered for the Jewish people an agreement (the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt) that has stood the test of time. Since the treaty, there have been bad vibes between Israel and Egypt, but never a return to war, once Israel fully withdrew from the territories it conquered in Egypt during the 1967 war.

To get that agreement, Carter had to twist the arms of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. Sometimes that is what real friends do—they push you into a path that is really in your best interest at times when there is an emergency and you are acting self-destructively.

When the U.S. government is following a self-destructive policy, even a policy backed by people in both major political parties, its best friends are those who try to change its direction and are not afraid to offer intense critique. That’s why a majority of Americans, and 86 percent of American Jews, voted in the 2006 midterm elections to reject Bush’s war in Iraq and his policies suspending habeas corpus and legitimating wire-tapping and torture. Not because we were disloyal, but precisely because we love America enough to challenge its policies even when Vice President Cheney questions our loyalty. We know that critique is often an essential part of love and caring.”

Rabbi Lerner goes on to defend Carter and his new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, from attacks by both Jewish and Evangelical Christian organizations. Last week, President Carter was in my adopted home town, Louisville, KY, for a reading and book signing. The line stretched around the block, but there were also protests. So, I find Rabbi Lerner’s defence very refreshing. See the rest of it here.

Cross-posted from Mainstream Baptists’ Group Blog.


December 7, 2006 - Posted by | interfaith, Jews, Jimmy Carter

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