Did CNN Use Anti-Semitism to Defend Jimmy Carter’s Anti-Semitism?

As NewsBusters has reported here, here, here, and here, former President Jimmy Carter has gotten himself into quite a pickle over his new book about the Israeli/Palestinian issue.

On Tuesday night, Carter spoke to students at Brandeis University. CNN’s report on this speech during the 7PM EST installment of Wednesday's “The Situation Room” appeared to be rather anti-Semitic potentially in an attempt to deflect criticism for Carter himself expressing anti-Semitic views in his controversial book (video available here, h/t Hot Air).

Early in her report, correspondent Carol Costello stated: “Standing before a Jewish audience, he at times looked hurt, defiant and charming…Jimmy Carter faced controversy head on at the historically Jewish Brandeis University.”

According to an April 28, 2006, article on this subject by the Jewish publication Forward, only 50 percent of Brandeis students are Jewish. As such, Costello’s statement that Carter was “standing before a Jewish audience” at a “historically Jewish” university is not completely accurate, and some might say anti-Semitic.

Moving forward, Costello said the following: “His best-selling book, ‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,’ has enraged some Jewish leaders over that the use of the word "apartheid".

Though this is certainly true, it totally ignored all of the non-Jewish people in the country and around the world that were outraged by this. In fact, nowhere in her report did Costello address the fifteen members of the Carter Center that have resigned over issues surrounding this book.

I guess this would have deflected the point she was making that it’s only Jewish people who disagree with the views Carter expressed. 

What follows is a full transcript of this report.

BLITZER: There are also new developments in the controversy over Jimmy Carter's book over the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. He spoke publicly and candidly about the stinging criticism and he actually apologized for the first time at least for one part of the book all before a very potentially unfriendly audience. Let's go back to Carol in New York -- she has the latest.

COSTELLO: His speech was certainly interesting to watch. President Carter, who has refused to apologize for any part of his controversial book, did. Standing before a Jewish audience, he at times looked hurt, defiant and charming.


COSTELLO (voice over): Jimmy Carter faced controversy head on at the historically Jewish Brandeis University.

JAMES CARTER, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is first time that I have been called a liar and a bigot and an anti-Semite and a coward and a plagiarist. This has hurt me.

COSTELLO: His best-selling book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," has enraged some Jewish leaders over that the use of the word "apartheid". But Carter did not back down.

CARTER: I chose that title knowing that it would be provocative.

COSTELLO: But when it came to this controversial passage on page 213, that reads, in part, "It is imperative all Palestinian groups make it clear they would end the suicide bombings when international laws and the ultimate goals of the roadmap to peace are accepted by Israel."

Students told Carter the line suggests suicide bombings are tactic used in war and should only be stopped when peace comes. Carter did bend there. And for the first time since the controversy began, apologized.

CARTER: That sentence was worded in a completely improper and stupid way, for which I have apologized to many audiences.

COSTELLO: As for whether Carter brokered another peace accord with that mea culpa, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who rebutted Carter's remarks, says no.

PROF. ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: This was the Brandeis speech, and then there's the Al-Jazeera speech in which he mentions none of the above.


COSTELLO: I asked Mr. Dershowitz why Jimmy Carter would say one thing about his book to a Jewish audience and another to a Palestinian audience. Dershowitz says it all boils down to who donates to the Carter Center -- Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, an explosive charge from Alan Dershowitz. Thank you, Carol, for that.

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