THE BLOG
09/27/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Must Allow Jimmy Carter to Speak at Convention

As the democrats have gathered in Denver to unite and rally all supporters behind Obama, they are causing a lot of excitement about the prospect of America getting passed the tipping point and addressing many of the challenges we have been facing for decades. However, Obama continues to show signs that even his courage to address the tough issues and ability to tell people what they "need to hear" has its limits.

Former President Jimmy Carter was invited to speak at the convention on Day 2, which was yesterday. That was until August 22, at least, when Israel Resource Review reported that the National Council on Young Israel -- an umbrella organization which represents more than 150 synagogues around the U.S. -- decides to break the unspoken rule not to intervene in American partisan politics by appealing to both the Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean to rescind Carter's invitation because Carter has dared to be a courageous voice against Israel's longer-than-four-decades-long military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as their settlement building in direct violation of international law and Fourth Geneva Convention.

And surely, as little exposure as this request received, Jimmy Carter was sidelined yesterday and wasn't allowed to speak at the convention. When Amy Goodman of Democracy Now asked Carter why he was sidelined, he avoided answering the question.

Some have attributed this event to an innocent "change of schedule." Don't buy it; it makes no sense. Jimmy Carter is a living former president of the United States. That makes him a member of the most exclusive club in American political life with often no more than five members at a time. Besides, he had already received an invitation to speak, indicating that his speech was built into the convention. Conventions are strictly scheduled events and no one's speech on day 2 ran over by longer than a few seconds. Schedule changes of this magnitude don't just happen. What other justification can the Obama camp and DNC have for sidelining a former democratic president and someone who won the Noble Peace Prize for his efforts to bring peace to Israel?

Calling Obama out on this act of caving to special interest is not enough. He needs to stop allowing Zionist groups push him around as he repeatedly has done ever since he started his campaign. Jimmy Carter's contributions and service to this country have been immense. Senator Barack Obama owes a through explanation to the American people for why Carter was sidelined, and he needs to do the right thing and make sure that Carter gets to speak at this convention.