Six former U.S. ambassadors, all Republicans, urged the Democratic Party to strip former President Jimmy Carter of an honorary position.The letter mailed Wednesday to Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean calls for Carter’s removal from his position as honorary chairman of Democrats Abroad, because of statements Carter made about Hamas.The letter, sent under the auspices of the Republican Jewish Coalition, refers to a June 19 speech by Carter in Ireland. In the speech, the ex-president “castigated our government and the governments of Israel and the European Union for withholding direct aid to Hamas leaders in the Palestinian Authority,” according to the letter.Carter told the audience that the isolation of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority was “criminal,” despite the fact that Hamas was designated as a terrorist organization during the Clinton administration and it is illegal for the United States to give it assistance.In response to the ambassadors’ letter, the DNC pointed to a statement by Dean last year in which he distanced himself from Carter.Amaya Smith, Dean’s spokeswoman, said, “The Democratic Party, led by our strong congressional leadership, has demonstrated unwavering support for Israel and its security needs during this time of great uncertainty. Meanwhile Republicans can’t change the fact that their leadership encouraged its members 164 who did to vote against aid to Israel.”That number of Republicans voted against a measure this week that included $2.4 billion in aid to Israel.
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