Koch on Carter apology: Too little, but not too late


Ed Koch for the Web site WorldTribune.com:

When Jimmy Carter asks the Jewish community for forgiveness, I believe it is incumbent upon him to list what he believes he has done that requires forgiveness. I also think we should know, if after leaving the presidency he received any gifts, lecture fees or loans from Arab nations. He should make available any correspondence he has had during that period with Arab governments and list all the compensation he has received from them. I also would suggest that he hold a press conference at which journalists could ask him questions on the entire subject. Then and only then would the Jewish community be in a position to decide whether or not to grant him forgiveness. He should also know there is no one person who can grant him forgiveness in the Jewish community.

The thought surely has occurred to many as it has to me, why is he suddenly so concerned and in need of forgiveness? I believe he, like most of us at his age, 85, have thoughts concerning our mortality. I know that I do. He is a religious man, and occasionally, a Sunday school teacher. His Baptist faith tells him that he will be held accountable by God for his statements and actions here on earth. I suspect he is mindful of the Biblical admonition in Psalms 129, “They will be humiliated and will fall backwards, all enemies of Zion.” Skeptics say his sudden interest in bettering relations with the Jewish community comes as a result of his grandson’s running for public office in a community with a large Jewish population.

My advice to Jimmy Carter is to come clean. I believe that we Jews are a forgiving people, but we are also a people who, having been brutalized through the centuries, are suspicious of those who at the end of their lives wish to make amends but have not demonstrated any repentance. What does President Carter intend to do with the balance of his life to remedy the harm and injury to the Jewish people that he has inflicted over the years?

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