Friday, April 19, 1985
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Carter's New Book
Two-Faced On Mideast
done? The voice of thy brother's
blood crieth unto me from the
ground. And now art thou cursed
. . .' (Genesis 4:9 11).
"The blood of Abraham, God's
father of the chosen, still flows in
the veins of Arab, Jew, and Chris-
tian, and too much of it has been
spilled in grasping for the inheri-
tance of the revered patriarch in
the Middle East. The spilled blood
in the Holy Land still cries out to
God — an anguished cry for
Throughout his book, Carter
again is the Bible teacher, the
classroom instructor who tells the
story of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael.
The biblical account of the
emergence of the Islamic from
Ishmael have their influence in
the author's judgments in the Ab-
rahamic patriarchal role.
The religious concern in Car-
terism naturally left a distressing
of the Middle East.
feeling when, visiting a kibbutz
synagogue on a Sabbath eve,
Former President Jimmy Car-
President and Mrs. Carter found
ter is as much in the limelight
only two worshipers in
now as he was during his four
attendance. It distressed him. But
years in the White House. Almost
he was additionally distressed on
daily, on radio or television or in
his visit with Prime Minister
the newspapers — or in all of them
Golda Meir. An interesting
simultaneously — he is inter-
episode reported in the Carter
viewed, quoted, his views on the
book gives emphasis to the mes-
Middle East subjected to scrutiny
sianic and the effect of irreligios-
and emphasized as a major topic
ity upon him. He thus described
in the former President's chief
his visit with then Prime Minister
concerns in world affairs.
It is a result of the publication of
"Rosalynn and I ended our stay
another volume of his memoirs.
in Israel by visiting Prime Minis-
This one is under the title The
ter Golda Meir to thank her for
Blood of Abraham: Insights Into
extending to us the hospitality of
the Middle East.
her country. She was not pressed
The conferences with the major
with state business that morning,
Arab leaders incited concerns
so we stayed for an extended talk.
over the Carter attitude. While
"When she asked if we had any
his advocacy of direct negotia-
concerns, I replied that there was
tions with Israel is evident
one of a religious nature that I
throughout his book, the man who
hesitated to mention. I knew that
inspired the Camp David peace
she had been born in America and
that neither she nor the key
members of her cabinet were
known to be devout Jews. With a
smile she encouraged me to go on,
and I told her about the Sabbath
service at Ayelet Hashahar and a
general absence of religious
interest among the Israelis. I
commented that during biblical
agreements between Israel and
times, the Israelites triumphed
the Arabs is viewed in many quar-
when they were close to God and
ters as somewhat pro-Arab biased
were defeated when unfaithful.
to a degree considerably prejudi-
"She laughed aloud and agreed
cial toward Israel.
with me, but added that this was
He is critical also of the United
not a matter of concern to her be-
States. He would have a greater
cause there were certainly
involvement by this country,
enough 'orthodox' Jews around.
which could mean pressure on Is-
she was referring to the religious
Jews in the Israeli parliament,
It is his endorsement of a PLO
who were sometimes a real thorn
involvement that especially
in her side. She added, 'If you
brands his position, including
attend a session of the Knesset,
that of former President Gerald
you will see them in action and
Ford, as considerably antagonis-
will know they have not lost their
tic to Israel.
It is interesting to note that one
Therefore, perhaps, the fitness
of the critical comments on the
the term messianism ascribed
Carter book, written by M. J.
to The Blood of Abraham.
Rosenberg in Near East Report,
In essence, the volume adds not
calls the Carter approach "mes-
much to the current Middle
sianic." Therefore the need for an
East reverberations. Primarily,
explanation of the title of the Car-
the endorsement of the PLO as a
ter book, The Blood of Abraham
partner in peace negotiations is a
from the book itself:
major cause for anguish in Israel
"The Bible says that when the
ranks. Nevertheless there is
first blood was shed among His
marked importance in what a
children, God asked Cain, the
former President has to say on the
slayer, 'Where is Abel thy
subject, even if what he has writ-
brother?' And he said, 'I know not.
ten is strict recapitulation.
Am I my brother's keeper?' And
the Lord said, 'What hast thou
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