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Candidates React to Carter Hamas Plans


Former president Jimmy Carter, pictured in this 2007 photo, mentioned to reporters this month that Barack Obama had won his home state of Georgia and his hometown of Plains. "As a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for, but I leave you to make that guess," Carter said, leaving little doubt about who he'd like to see in the White House next year. (Associated Press)

Updated 7:57 p.m.
By Glenn Kessler
Former president Jimmy Carter plans to meet next week in Damascus with Khaled Meshal, the head of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, in a direct rebuke of the Bush administration's campaign to isolate it.

Carter's plans, first disclosed by the Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat and confirmed by sources familiar with Carter's itinerary, also placed the campaigns of Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) in a political bind.

The campaign of Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, was quick to blast Carter's reported plans and called on both Obama and Clinton to condemn the meeting with an organization listed as a terrorist group by the State Department.

Both Clinton and Obama issued statements with milder language, saying they "disagreed" or did "not agree" with Carter's plans.

Obama has strained to reassure Jewish voters he is a strong supporter of Israel. Indeed, a source close to Carter said that the former president favors Obama but has said that he decided not to endorse Obama publicly or formally because he fears it would contribute to hostility to Obama among Jewish Democrats.

In 2006, Hamas, formally known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, won Palestinian legislative elections, ousting the Fatah faction championed by the administration. It then forcibly seized the Gaza Strip last June, splitting the Palestinian territories. Both the Bush administration and the Israeli government have long sought to ostracize it.

However, Carter's trip would also come at a time when a growing number of experts -- in the United States and Israel -- have argued that isolating Hamas is not productive. A poll published in February in Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, found that 64 percent of Israelis favor direct talks with Hamas. Both Efraim Halevy, a former head of the Mossad spy agency, and Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former foreign minister, say Hamas can no longer be ignored.

A bipartisan group of foreign-policy luminaries, including former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, issued a statement before the Annapolis peace talks in November that said "we believe a genuine dialogue with the organization [Hamas] is far preferable to its isolation."

The Carter Center, in a statement, confirmed Carter planned to be in the Middle East this month but declined further comment. No senior American citizen, either in or out of the government, has met with Hamas's leadership since it was named a terror group in the mid-1990's.

Brzezinski, Carter's former national security adviser and an Obama supporter, said he was unaware of Carter's plans but said "it is a good idea to talk to Hamas," given the changing mood in Israel. "Extremist movements, if handled intelligently, can be brought around to embrace" a more moderate approach.

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said however that while "former president Carter is a private citizen...United States government policy is unchanged: Hamas is a terrorist organization. They can't have one foot in politics and one foot in terror."

McCain "believes it is a serious and dangerous mistake for Americans of any stature to meet with an organization like Hamas that is committed to the destruction of Israel and regularly conducts terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis," said his campaign spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker.

Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, said that "Hillary respects former President Carter but disagrees with his decision. She would not meet with Hamas without coordinating with Israel."

Tommy Vietor, an Obama spokesman, said "Senator Obama does not agree with President Carter's decision to go forward with this meeting because he does not support negotiations with Hamas until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements."

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 9, 2008; 7:13 PM ET
 
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Comments

Following a dismal Presidency, (Remember 15% mortgage rates... gas crisis... failed hostage rescue etc.) He keeps trying to be significant but tragically by being at odds with the administration and further dividing our country.

Posted by: Thomas Zayatz | April 12, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Iran is doing to George Bush what Iran did to Jimmy Carter. His weak Presidency brought us shame and a horrible recession; just like George Bush. He is a good man but he is no leader. Inexperienced. He allowed the Iranians to hold the American Embassy people hostage for almost a year and a half. Now, he is going to talk to Hamas. He should stick to building homes. I hope he does not get kidnapped and held for ransom because with all the expense of the Iraq war it might be difficult to pay the ransom.

Posted by: fancydog@san.rr.com | April 11, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

What can you expect from the worst President this country has ever seen. It is no surprise to me to see this idiot hurt America. He is the worst president even worst than Geroge W. Bush. Carter is a treasoner.

Posted by: Rafael | April 11, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

This guy is a treasoner!!! Carter should be put in an elderly senior home and not allowed to get out. Carter you are an Anti-American!!!

Posted by: Rafael | April 11, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Carter's present actions should surprise no one. By his actions such as in giving the Panama Canal away, it often seemed that Jimmy Carter was probably the only anti-American President our Country ever had. And it now seems that he has not changed a whit since then. For he can apparantly still be depended upon to attempt to damage our Country or its image in any way he thinks he can.

Posted by: Muser | April 11, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Weird, isn't it? Former President Carter, going to meet with an enemy combatant of Israel, AGAIN! When Begin and Sadat signed the peace accord, everyone was cheering--Including Pat Robertson on the 700 Club. Israel's far Right was against it and Begin, and Egypt's extremists killed Sadat.

And then he Kept a promise with the Shah of Iran--someone he didn't place into power, but someone he kept committed to when others turned their backs on him. So why place someone into power and then NOT back them when it's politically expedient? If that's the case Saddam would still be alive.

No one wants to negotiate! No one wants to listen! Everyone wants to DICTATE! Every time a person talks peace in the Middle East, a RIGHT WING NUT pops off--usually in multitudes. Haven't you heard that Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely?

Posted by: ji_john | April 10, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Folks, the ONLY People involved in the diplomacy are the Executives(Current), the State Dept., and the Local Ambassadors.

Obasama, Billary and especially a Civilian Nut-Job like Jimminey Cahter, need to remember their Collective CIVILIAN Status, and STFU, and Stay TF Out!

It is called the "Logan Act", and it is time to Enforce it! Enough Warnings! :-(

Posted by: RAT-The | April 10, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Jimmy Carter, in addition to Reverand Wright, is another liability for Obama. In many ways they are similar. Carter in 1976 was very vague on specifics but struck a homesy and folksy chord that resonated with voters after Watergate.

Yet he turned out to be a very weak president. Obama through his charisma has won the support of many who know little about his policies. He needs to be more specific, show strength, and prove that he will not be another Jimmy Carter or he will seem like a poor alternative to McCain.

It has passed the point where Obama can continue to do it with smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Daniel Hancock | April 10, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

NEO-CONS FOR HILLARY ! ! !

Pretend that you're a Democrat (Hillary supporter), pretned that you're a patriotic American

Smear Obama with any of the following:

1. He's a Muslim
2. He's not Black enough
3. He's not White enough
4. He's not patriotic
5. He's a racist

note: never address any "issues", instead smear him with any association: his pastor, someone who endorses him, his wife, his father,etc. always make subtle racist commments (i.e. compare him to Jim Jones), imply that he's a Muslim: his middle name in capital letters...and MOST IMPORTANT repeat it over and over (check FoxNews for latest smear)

remember: Americans are stupid! (look how we got them in the Iraq war!)

if you repeat anything enough, they'll believe it.

then

SAY IF OBAMA IS NOMINATED, YOU WON'T VOTE DEMOCRATIC IN NOVEMBER

* note: this is true, but if Hillary is nominated, it doesn't matter who gets elected...you can vote for whomever you want....McCain is slightly better, but both are in our lobby's pocket, i.e. both Clinton and McCain will put America in our WARS

THE NEOCON LOBBY OWNS BOTH MCCAIN AND HILLARY.

but not Obama

WE MUST STOP OBAMA !

Posted by: x | April 10, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

This man supports Obama`?

Posted by: Elisabeth | April 10, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

If sitting Presidents can work push the envelope far outside the bounds of precedence and rule of law, why can't ex-Presidents work for peace?

There's truly nuthin' happenin' in the Israeli-Palestinean situation except for the regular death toll and bloodshed. Why should this sitting administration care about it?

Posted by: Spectator | April 10, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

At the end of the day, the decision whether to meet and negotiate with hamas is Israel's to make and nobody elses.

Israel needs to determine within the next 90 days whether to have a full out artillery invasion of hamas in gaza or decide if there is any benefit to talking with hamas. This is what Defense Minister and former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak is analyzing. hamas is building, with the help of syria and iran, the largest and most lethal military force on Israel's border, one that exceeds hezbollah's.

Personally, I think Israel should militarily smash hamas. The only thing these mashaguna arabs understand and respect is force. Negotiating with these nut cases is an exercise in futility. Israel should destroy hamas militarily, regardless of what feckless, morally obtuse left wing world opinion thinks and says and preserve and protect their survival and citizens.

Posted by: Jeff Owen | April 10, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Carter was a disaster as President.He allowed 53 American to be held hostage by students in in Iran for 444 days. When he did decide to authorize a plan it failed. He drove our economy into the toilet with gas shortages. And after four years of the Carter presidency, inflation and unemployment were considerably worse than at the time of his inauguration.

Over the years, he has spent his life trying to establish credibility over the years. He has done some good work since, but visiting Hamas will again show this man does not have a clue.

Posted by: skinsfan 1978 | April 10, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

-------------------
What happened to I would meet without conditions or advance discussion meetings?
-------------------

The detail that you are missing is that his position on that applies to legitimate (even if totally whack) heads of state. Hamas is not a legitimate, recognized governing entity, and as such, doesn't fall under Obama's policy.

Posted by: Joe in Bend | April 10, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The only ingrained terrorist organisation is the present U.S. adminstration and yet, it is legitimate to talk to these imbeciles.
Hamas is here to stay and people know it.It is better to have them in the fold of dialogue than not..
When will the U.S. ever learn from its adventures of the past??

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

It's time to yank Carter's passport. Bush, McCain and Hillary and Obama need to make it crystal clear that Carter is NOT speaking for the U.S. or them. Carter has a long history of interfering in state business.

Zeignew Brezezinski who worked for Carter, is now working for Obama along with Zeigs, son. His daughter Mika, is one of the MSNBC shills for Obama. Zeig was wrong in the in the 1970's and he's wrong now. He did not serve former Pres. Carter or this nation well. Obama would be wise not to seek advice from the Brezezinski family. It calls in to serious question the judgment of Barack Obama.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (it is her name)is the most qualified and most electable candidate in the race. Her grasp of domestic and international issues is unmatched.

Barack Hussein Obama (it is his name) is unqualified and unelectable. His negatives are rapidly rising with the revelations on Antoin Rezko, "pastor" Wright, Moss, Meeks, Crown, Emil Jones, Ayers & Dorhn, Exelon, Odinga in Kenya, Africa, and scariest of all, Auchi. Any one of these scandals is enough to make Obama unelectable, combined they are lethal to his candidacy now and forever. He does not belong on the Dem ticket, Hillary should choose a white male with strong national security credentials.

*VOTE SMART! VOTE PATRIOTIC! VOTE HILLARY!

Posted by: Katherine | April 10, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I am a firm believer that we need to talk to Hamas. But I also believe Hamas is a terrorist group and we need to recognize that before anyone talks to them.

Jimmy Carter should not be meeting with Hamas now, on his own. Jimmy Carter through his last book, Apartheid, is no longer viewed as a neutral party. He shouldn't be going there alone but rather potentially leading a delegation after the next Presidential election if the next President believes its appropriate.

I am not a neocon and I believe that we must try to bring Hamas into the fold of civilized nations and organizations. But again now is not the time for Carter to do this.

Posted by: peterdc | April 10, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Every raving femanist that thinks that Hillary is better because shes got a set is a strung out loser, mul..... please leave the forum

Posted by: Fem
===========================================

I'm so sorry I didn't realize this forum was reserved for the educated elitist sheep of the great shepard Obama. But they are right, she is better, much better.

"I pushed the wrong button when I voted for that bill" I love that excuse by Obama. How boneheaded and funny. Presidential timbre, right.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Tommy Vietor, an Obama spokesman, said "Senator Obama does not agree with President Carter's decision to go forward with this meeting because he does not support negotiations with Hamas until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements."

What happened to I would meet without conditions or advance discussion meetings?

Posted by: RetCombatVet | April 10, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

The reason all the losers and has been cheap political hacks support liar and loser arrogant smirking power mad phony
Barack Hussein Obama is they are all stuck
on Stupid! As only a village idiot could
support black racist,flip!flop! Waffle!
Barack Hussein Obama and only Toxic Obama
Kool Aid Drinker Obamabots Will Be Dumb
Emough To Vote For Obama!

"Obama was for the Boycott of the Games,
Before He Was Against It!" Obama sounds more and more like his pal Windsurfer John
Kerry and is even more looney toons liberal
so just say no to Barack Obama!

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | April 10, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I hope Meshal and his Iranian supporters remember that Carter, as Reza Pahlavi was cracking religious heads in Tehran, praised the Shah at a state dinner as the creator of an "island of stability" in Iran.

What a phony!

Gitmo's too good for him. Let him build homes in Gaza. Then his pals can use the roofs and yards to shoot more rockets at schoolyards in Sderot and Ashkelon. That should make Jimmy happy!

Posted by: Stuart Wilder | April 10, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It never cease to amaze me how the so-called "right" loves war and hate Peace.

If there is a hell below Bush won't find Carter there.

Posted by: OneFreeMan | April 10, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

No one really wants a resolution to this conflict. Its the same game; demonize your opponent, sell more bombs, kill more people.Its a game of 'he started it', but instead of pointing fingers they point guns.
Sad...

Posted by: priceisright | April 10, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Hamas has, as its top funder, Saudi Arabia. The Saudis - including members of the royal family - also funded Al Qaida right up until 9-11.

Ronald Reagan sold TOW missiles to Iran, using the profits to fund a terror group - the Contras - in Nicaragua. Funding and supplies for chemical and bio-weaponry also flowed to Saddam Hussein from Reagan and GHW Bush.

Brzezinski funded and armed the Afghan mujaheddins to keep the Soviet Union spread thin militarily and subsequent presidents did the same. It helped close down the USSR. But what turned some into al Qaida afterward was GWH Bush's Gulf War and the subsequent continuation of an American military base in Saudi Arabia.

I don't think any US government official should be meeting with Hamas. Carter now represents a peace center, not the US government, and technically could face prosecution for what he's doing. The candidates across the board have criticized the move, which is the proper response. But does anyone really think any attorney general would jail an old ex-President whose motives are not to support or further Hamas as a terror group, but simply is trying to determine if there's a way to break the logjam between Israelis and Palestinians?

With nearly 2 of 3 Israelis supporting Carter's effort, it seems worth a shot. Especially since Israel's superior military has not succeeded in destroying Hamas. A permanent state of war is an option but an occasional effort to end such a war is also an option that most populations caught in that vise would prefer.

As Wayne Gretsky noted "You never score on the shots you don't take."

Posted by: Kevin Hayden | April 10, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

.


BLESSED ARE THE PEACE MAKERS !


jesus

.

Posted by: KJL | April 10, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

i wonder if carter still lusts in his heart? maybe he should just get a heart attack and drop dead

Posted by: jimmy carter's nemesis | April 10, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Jimmy Carter is a hero- it takes guts to do what is right in the current political environment.

Posted by: ThinkAbout | April 10, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Every raving femanist that thinks that Hillary is better because shes got a set is a strung out loser, mul..... please leave the forum

Posted by: Fem | April 9, 2008 8:20 PM

Excuse me could you please give me back my tweezers and magnifying glass? It's not nice to masturbate in public you know.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Did Obama run this plan past Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I think it's the right move, and am only saddened it has to be done this way.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil politics don't work. As much as Hamas is a problem, it's not going to get better if we wait for it to fix itself (or bomb the crap out of everyone)

Posted by: jencm | April 9, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

.

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

Carter is for peace, and that's why the neocons hate him.

.

Posted by: KJL | April 9, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Enforce the Logan Act!

Throw his Civilian Arse into Guantanamo!

Wait! That is too nice! Send him to Detroit! ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | April 9, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Jimmy Carter announced his candidacy for the 1976 presidential campaign to the media and proclaimed himself an "eager student" of Brzezinski. During Carter's presidential campaign Brzezinski became Carter's principal foreign policy advisor by late 1975. After his victory in 1976, Carter made Brzezinski National Security Advisor.

After 9/11 Brzezinski was criticized for his role in the formation of the Afghan mujaheddin network, some of which would later form the Taliban and would shelter Al Qaeda camps.

Now, given the total failure of Carter's administration, his judgement during his administration, and his support of Obama who is a communist/Marxist/Socialist sympathizer as proven by his association with William Ayers and the Rev. Wright what could expected from Carter?

Posted by: Josef Nagy | April 9, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Every raving femanist that thinks that Hillary is better because shes got a set is a strung out loser, mul..... please leave the forum

Posted by: Fem | April 9, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Carter, its about time this nation stopped coddling a rasist and oppresive state and started talking to the victims of Israels apartheid.

Posted by: Carter = The Right Thing To Do | April 9, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

non issue.

Every democratic loser supports Obama WHY!

Posted by: mul | April 9, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

.

Even though 64% of Israelis favor meetings with Hamas, The neocons will brand Carter as an antisemite

FOR THEM,

SHALOM MEANS WAR

.

Posted by: KJL | April 9, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

James EARL Carter's passport should be revoked (or, he could be sent directly to Gitmo, his choice ; )

Posted by: JakeD | April 9, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

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