Carter to Jews: I'm Sorry

In an effort to mend a strained relationship, former President Jimmy Carter wrote an open letter apologizing for anything he’s done or said to upset to the Jewish community. Carter deemed the letter—sent to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Associated Press Wednesday—his Al Het, a prayer for forgiveness offered on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. While president, Carter brokered the first Israeli-Arab peace treaty, but later outraged many Jews with his 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, in which he compared Israel’s treatment of Arabs to South Africa’s racial oppression. Many Israeli leaders also criticized Carter’s meeting with Hamas in Gaza. The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who previously vocally condemned Carter, welcomed his apology, which comes at a particularly significant time: Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter, recently announced he would run for a Georgia state senate seat in a district with a vocal Jewish population. The younger Carter said in a statement that his grandfather’s apology was unrelated, but that the letter was a “great step toward reconciliation.” In a recent appearance at Emory University, Jimmy Carter said that if he had one more day in the White House, he’d “bring peace to Israel and its neighbors.”