Jimmy Carters meddling must end now

In the 1980 presidential debate, Ronald Reagan famously said to Jimmy Carter, “There you go again.”

We repeat those same words as Carter cozies up to terrorists on his current Mideast swing: Mr. President, there you go again.

Though snubbed by most Israeli leaders on this trip, Carter had no trouble penciling in appointments with Palestinian terrorists.

He hugged Hamas politician Nasser Shaer at a reception April 15 in Ramallah. He laid a wreath at the grave of the late Palestinian arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. Then it was off to Damascus for a Friday, April 18 tête-à-tête with Hamas capo Khaled Mashaal, a man sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Both the U.S. State Department and leading members of Congress urged Carter not to dignify these thugs with his presence, but to no avail.

“Since Syria and Hamas will have to be involved in a final peace agreement,” Carter said, “they have to be involved in discussions that lead to final peace.”

Cue laugh track.

To believe Hamas secretly desires peace with Israel is to take on tooth fairy levels of naivete. Yet Carter persists in his sham shuttle diplomacy, sipping tea with those who would eliminate Israel and Jews from the face of the earth.

This isn’t new. In recent years Carter steadily turned his back on Israel and Jews, culminating with the publication of his 2006 screed, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

These actions do not occur in a vacuum. Carter has a track record of accepting Arab money for his Carter Center. Thus his antipathy toward Israel makes perverse sense. The only surprise is that some still take him seriously as an evenhanded Middle East player.

While there is much to admire in the enduring Israeli-Egyptian peace deal brokered by the Carter administration, as well as his humanitarian work, the ex-president has squandered his reputation.

This is a shame because, like him or not, Carter commands respect around the world. Were he truly evenhanded, supporters of Israel could have used him.

As it is, we must continue to condemn his freelance meddling.

On a happier note, we wish our readers a joyous Passover. Year in and year out, the Jewish community faces unexpected challenges, copes with unforeseen tragedies and celebrates unanticipated joys. That’s how life goes.

At this time of year, we pause to contemplate the miracle of our survival and give thanks for the strength of the Jewish people here, in Israel and around the world.

Chag sameach to all.