When former President Jimmy Carter spoke at Brandeis University in January, he complained that "this is the first time I've ever been called a liar...". Well, he'd better get used to it, because I can now prove that he is a liar.
Last week in a speech at George Washington University, he categorically denied that he had received any invitation to debate me about his book. He said that he had--these are his quoted words--"never received any invitation to debate, contrary to what a Harvard professor has said." Well one of us is lying and it's not me. My best witness is none other than Jimmy Carter himself. Here is what he said, just a few weeks earlier at Brandeis:
"But let the debate take place, and I've never responded to any of the people that have made their attacks on me. I understand there is a Harvard professor that has done so. I turned down a meeting with him; I felt, I didn't think that Brandeis needed a Harvard professor to come here and tell you how to ask questions. But to summarize my answer I think it is going to be much easier in the future not only in this campus but around the nation to debate these issues."
It sure sounds like he was boasting about turning down a debate with me. Was he lying at Brandeis, or at George Washington? The answer is clear: at George Washington.
Here is how Boston Globe reported what Carter had personally said to them:
"Last month, the former president told the Globe he had declined an invitation from a university trustee to speak at Brandeis, because it came with the suggestion he debate Alan Dershowitz, a professor at Harvard Law School who has criticized Carter's book, 'Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.' (Emphasis added.)
Was Carter lying to the Globe? Or was the Globe reporter lying? The answer is once again clear: Carter was lying when he told the students at George Washington that he had "never received any invitation to debate" (emphasis added). Here is the chronology of what happened--again, according to the Boston Globe:
"The effort to bring Carter to Brandeis began Nov. 14, when computer science professor Harry Mairson, chairman of the Faculty Senate, sent Carter a letter asking whether he would be interested in coming to talk. Mairson called the letter a 'feeler,' not an invitation.
"Carter said he was inclined to say yes and would have done the lecture for free, as long as Brandeis sent a plane to pick him up at his home in Georgia. 'I thought it would be a good idea to go to a campus that had a lot of Jewish students and get a lot questions,' he said.
"But before accepting, he called longtime friend and former adviser Stuart Eizenstat, a member of Brandeis's Board of Trustees, for advice.
"Eizenstat said he advised Carter not to accept because he did not know whether the professor had an agenda.
"A member of Carter's staff later asked whether Reinharz could extend an invitation, instead, so Eizenstat said he approached Reinharz with an idea: invite Carter to debate Dershowitz, who had recently reviewed Carter's book and who had previously expressed a desire to debate Carter several times.
"A debate 'would make this a real academic exercise,' Eizenstat said. '. . . The president of the university is not in the business of inviting someone, even a former president, for a book tour.'
Reinharz thought the debate was "a terrific idea," he said in a telephone interview.
Carter, however, was stunned by the proposal.
"I don't want to have a conversation even indirectly with Dershowitz," Carter said. "There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."
Carter still could have accepted an invitation from a faculty member, Reinharz said.
"President Carter -- and indeed anyone -- is welcome to come on the campus of Brandeis University to talk about anything under the sun," he said.
Mairson received a written reply, dated Nov. 17, from Carter's appointment secretary, saying that he would not visit the campus.
The evidence is crystal clear:
1) Carter was invited to debate me.
2) He rejected the invitation, saying--in his words--"There is no need to, for me to debate someone who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."
3) He admitted during his speech at Brandeis that he "turned down a meeting with him" ["a Harvard professor"; the only proposed meeting was a debate].
4) He stated at George Washington that "he had never received any invitation to debate, contrary to what a Harvard professor has said" (again, my emphasis).
5) That statement is a categorical and willful lie.
6) Hence, Jimmy Carter is a liar.
Now that he has been caught in a lie and exposed, Carter may try to weasel out of his lie by claiming that he never received a formal invitation from Brandeis. But that's not what he said, and it's certainly not the impression he tried to convey to the students who did not know the whole story. He told his audience at George Washington that he "never" received "any" invitation to debate and that I was not telling the truth.
The fact is that, in addition to the Brandeis proposal for a debate, I repeatedly invited him to debate in print, on television, on radio and through intermediaries. He knew that, as evidenced by his acknowledgement at Brandeis and elsewhere. There is no way around the fact that Carter lied. Had he made the statement he made at George Washington in a courtroom under oath, he would have committed perjury.
That wasn't his only lie. His book and media appearances have been filled with lies; the debate lie is only the most recent and most easily demonstrable. He has, for example, been telling his audiences that Nelson Mandela has compared contemporary Israel to apartheid South Africa. Mandela has made no such comparison: I challenge Carter to prove otherwise. The only source Carter can possibly have been referring to is a made-up letter by an Internet propagandist who admits that he wrote the letter and attached Mandela's name to it: in short, a lie.
Jimmy Carter is a liar. And the more he tries to defend himself, the more lies he tells.