On April 2, The New York Times published a piece by Washington correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg titled, “Carters Return to Capital, Onstage” spotlighting a play about Jimmy Carter’s peace talks: “Camp David” (“They had 13 days to achieve the impossible. Peace”). Carter cooperated in the Arena Stage production, even giving a private diary to the writer Lawrence Wright.
The following paragraphs are the Times at its absolute worst on this subject. Worship of mainstream Washington, allowing courtiers to define the parameters of what is good and bad, letting “many Jews” with a starry-eyed view of Israel define what one is supposed to believe, picking one “expert” (Aaron David Miller) to be the authoritative voice, defining any sympathy for Palestinians and criticism of Israel as “off the highway”, etc…
Acolytes of Mr. Carter hope that “Camp David” — produced by a longtime Carter confidante, Gerald Rafshoon, and written by Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize winner — will be a powerful reminder of the signature triumph of the Carter presidency and perhaps revive the decades-long effort to rehabilitate him….
But the play, which runs through May 4 at Arena Stage, during another fateful juncture in the bloody road to Middle East peace, may also prompt comparisons to Mr. Carter’s more recent history. He has met with Hamas leaders, criticized Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza, and infuriated many Jews with his 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”
As the Obama administration struggles with its own peacemaking initiative, Washington does not see Mr. Carter as a force for good in the Middle East.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the most significant achievement in Arab-Israeli peacemaking over the course of the last 50 years was done by Jimmy Carter,” said Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East negotiator. But now, “Carter’s sensibilities on negotiating and the Arab-Israeli peace process have basically run off the highway,” he added. “He has achieved a sort of radioactive status, paradoxically, on the one issue in which he succeeded.”
Jimmy Carter has been exiled from mainstream political life, and the Democratic Party, because of his position on one subject, Palestine. When he said that Israel practices apartheid, back in 2006, he was paddled by Wolf Blitzer, Al Franken and Terry Gross. Now Israeli officials use the word whenever they please. The Times is a full participant in Carter’s shameful and tragic excommunication.