Jimmy Carter Needs History & Geography Lessons (Among Many Other Lessons)

On January 12, 2015, Jimmy Carter, the former President of the United States – who has never met a dictator or terrorist that he did not like and has never met an Israeli leader right of Lenin that he did like – on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was among the factors that led to the deadly attacks in Paris on January 7-9 at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket.

What Carter specifically said (perhaps while he was thinking about how grateful he is for all of the millions of dollars donated to the Carter Center by various oil-rich Arab dictatorships) was: “Well, one of the origins for it [the extremism that led to the al-Qaeda and ISIS supporting terrorists killing 17 people in France] is the Palestinian problem. And this aggravates people who are affiliated in any way with the Arab people who live in the West Bank and Gaza, what they are doing now — what’s being done to them. So I think that’s part of it.”

Setting aside that Carter is 100% wrong on Israel and has been since he (thankfully) became a former President and decided to let his misguided hate for Israel and his love for almost every dictator and kleptocrat on the planet really shine, it appears that Carter is either trying to deliberately misinform people about the origins of extreme radical Islamist violence in order to claim that this Islamist violence has something to do with Israel or he is in serious need of some history and geography lessons.

Sadly, there is altogether way too much history of radical Islamist and/or Arab supremacist motivated violence and terrorism that pre-dates the “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel (after it defended itself in the “war of annihilation” promised by the dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1967).  Despite the fact that the list of Islamist and/or Arab supremacist violence that either pre-dates 1967 or has plainly nothing to do with Israel and the [self-inflicted] suffering of the Palestinians is way too long for any one article, for the benefit of Jimmy Carter or anyone that may believe something Carter says based on his authority as a former (again, thankfully) president – below is a sampling of such violence and/or terrorism.

Early Examples of Extremist Islamist Violence

In 641 AD, the Caliph Umar decreed that Jews and Christians should be removed from all but the southern and eastern fringes of Arabia. The two populations in question were the Jews of the Khaybar oasis in the north and the Christians of Najran.  Only the Red Sea port of Jedda was permitted as a “religious quarantine area” and continued after 641 AD to have a small complement of Jewish merchants.

On December 30, 1066 a mob of extremist radical Islamists stormed the royal palace in Granada, Spain and crucified the Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred most of the Jewish population of the city. More than 1,500 Jewish families (approximately 4,000 people), were murdered in one day. According to historian Walter Laqueur and Bernard Lewis, this pogrom/massacre of Jews was motivated by the extremist Sharia ideology that no non-Muslim and in particular no Jew could hold public office.  Notably, this demonstrates that the tensions between the beliefs of radical Islamists and moderate Muslims (and what Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser has referred to as the “battle for the soul of Islam”) has been ongoing for at least 1000 years, as demonstrated by the Jews who reached high positions in the Ottoman court and administration during the Classical Ottoman period (1300–1600), which is another reason to characterize these 11th Century attacks as having been motivated by a radical extremist ideology.

19th Century Examples of Extremist Islamist Violence

In 1834, in the city of Safed in Ottoman controlled Palestine, local Muslim Arabs carried out a massacre of the indigenous Jewish population of that city killing almost 500 Jews, many of them children.

In 1864, around 500 Jews were killed in Marrakech and in Fez, Morocco. In 1869, 18 Jews were killed in Tunis and an Arab mob looted Jewish homes and stores, and burned synagogues on Djerba Island off of the coast of Tunisia. In 1875, 20 Jews were killed by an Islamist mob in Demnat, Morocco. And in 1897, numerous synagogues were ransacked and dozens of Jews were murdered in the area of Libya formerly known as Tripolitania.

Early to Mid-20th Century Examples of Extremist Islamist Violence

From late 1919, Arab attacks on Jewish communities in British Mandatory Palestine became commonplace, particularly in the Jordan Valley and the Galilee.  On May 1st, 1921 Arabs incited to violence by radical Islamist rhetoric from the Mufti of Jerusalem (who later became a guest and ally of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany) attacked Jewish residents in Jaffa and at five Jewish rural communities. 47 Jews were killed and 146 were wounded in these May 1, 1921 attacks. And on May 6, 1921, Arabs incited by the same radical Islamist rhetoric, attacked the cities of Hadera and Rechovot (where the amazing Weizmann Institute is today). In these May 5, 1921 attacks 47 Jews were killed and 146 were wounded.

In 1929, general anti-Jewish riots – incited again by extremist Islamist rhetoric by the Mufti of Jerusalem – spread throughout British Mandatory Palestine. From August 23 to August 29, Jews were under attack. The most violent attacks were those against old established Jewish communities in Hebron, Safed, Jerusalem and Jaffa. During these attacks, 133 Jews were killed and 339 wounded.  And on October 2, 1938 in the city of Tiberius in the Galilee, Arab rioters, again incited by extremist Islamist rhetoric, killed 20 Jews, including 11 children.

On June 1, 1941 in Baghdad, Iraq a 3 day pogrom took place during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot where Arab rioters attacked numerous Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues. By the time this pogrom was over, more than 180 Jews were killed and over 2000 were injured with incredible damage done to hundreds of Jewish homes and businesses.

From November 5 to November 7, 1945, more than 140 Jews were killed and many more injured in a pogrom in Tripolitania. 38 Jews were killed in Tripoli from where the riots spread. 40 were killed in Amrus, 34 in Zanzur, 7 in Tajura, 13 in Zawia and 3 in Qusabat (all cities that were part of British controlled Libya). The rioters ransacked nearly all of the area’s synagogues and destroyed five of them, along with hundreds of Jewish homes and businesses.

Extremist Islamist Violence Following the Partition Plan But Before Any “Occupation”

Specific examples of post-partition extremist violence against Jews would unfortunately take up way to much text, but from the date the partition plan passed at the U.N. (November 29, 1947) through May 15, 1948, a total of 1,256 Jews had been killed, most of them civilians. These deaths were caused by Arab militias, gangs, terrorists and military units, all which were expressly motivated by radical and extreme Islamist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.  During this time period, massacres were sadly common.  62 Jews were murdered by Arabs in the first week after the UN partition plan was passed; 39 Jews were killed by Arab rioters at Haifa’s oil refinery on December 30, 1947. On January 16, 1948, 35 Jews were killed traveling to the Jewish community of Gush Etzion (in what is today called the “West Bank”). On February 22, 1948, 44 Jews were murdered in a bombing on Ben-Yehuda Street in Jerusalem. In less than 24 hours on February 29, 1948, 23 Jews were killed all over British Mandatory Palestine. On April 13, 1948 78 Jews, mainly doctors and nurses heading to Hadassah Hospital, were murdered during the Mount Scopus convoy massacre. And on May 15, 1948, 127 Jews were massacred at Kfar Etzion, after 30 other Jews had died trying to defend the Etzion Bloc of Jewish communities.

Extremist Islamist Violence in Israel Before Any Alleged “Occupation” in 1967

Between 1949 and 1967 a total of 386 Israelis were murdered in terrorist attacks (in a country with less than 2 million people). Given that these attacks occurred while Jordan occupied the so-called West Bank and Egypt occupied Gaza (after their respective attacks on Israel in 1948) none of these terrorist attacks – despite Jimmy Carter’s rationalization – could have been motivated by the “occupation.”  Some examples of these attacks (which sadly demonstrate that when it comes to terrorism not much has changed): On March 17, 1954, Arab terrorists ambushed a bus traveling from Eilat to Tel Aviv, and opened fire at short range when the bus reached the area of Maale Akrabim in the northern Negev. In the initial ambush, the terrorists killed the driver and wounded most of the passengers. The terrorists then boarded the bus, and shot each passenger, one by one. 11 passengers were murdered. On April 11, 1956 Arab terrorists opened fire on a synagogue full of children and teenagers, in the farming community of Shafrir. 3 children and a youth worker were killed on the spot, and 5 were wounded, including 3 children that were seriously wounded and would never be the same again.

Recent Extremist Islamist Violence That Is Far Removed From Israel

This list could also sadly be long enough for multiple articles as since 9/11/2001 alone there have been over 20,000 terrorist attacks by people that have claimed that their motivation for the attack was based on their extremist Islamist ideology. But for purposes of this article and to help illustrate the complete absurdity of Jimmy Carter’s claim (that radical Islamists in France that claim allegiance to ISIS and/or al-Qaeda are called to action by the Israeli –Palestinian conflict) I am going to list below a few of the more heinous attacks that plainly have as much to do with Israel as a Tsunami occurring in Malaysia (which numerous radical Islamists throughout the world – as apparent intellectual cohorts of Jimmy Carter – did blame on Israel):

On December 13, 2001, there was a suicide attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi by Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist organizations Jaish-E-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, aimed at eliminating the top leadership of India and causing anarchy in the country. This attacked left 7 people dead and 12 people injured.

On July 13, 2002, Islamist terrorists killed 29 Hindu laborers in Qasim Nagar on the outskirts of Jammu in Jammu and Kashmir.

On August 5, 2003, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside the JW Marriott Jakarta lobby in Indonesia, killing 12 and injuring 150. The terrorist was from Jemaah Islamiyah, a South East Asian terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda whose express goal is the establishment of an Islamic state across South East Asia (perhaps Jimmy Carter thinks South East Asia is close to the West Bank and Gaza??).

On November 2, 2004, Theo van Gogh was murdered by Amsterdam-born radical jihadist Mohammed Bouyeri, who clearly stated he killed van Gogh for the same reason that Cherif and Said Kouachi attacked the Charlie Hebdo office – because van Gogh had the temerity to make a short film that was critical of how women are treated under Sharia law (and had nothing to do with Israel or “Palestinians”). At his trial, Bouyeri expressed no remorse for the murder he admitted to having done, and said to van Gogh’s mother in open court: “I don’t feel your pain. I don’t have any sympathy for you. I can’t feel for you because I think you’re a non-believer.” and Bouyeri bragged that he would do it again if he could and threatened to kill Ayaan Hirsi Ali (because she made the film with van Gogh). Bouyeri also argued at his trial that “in the fight of the believers against the infidels violence is approved by the prophet Muhammad.” Plainly, Mr. Bouyeri was motivated by an extremist Islamist ideology that had nothing to do with Israel and has everything to do with the “fight for the soul of Islam” between radical and moderate Muslims.

On July 11, 2006, there were 7 bomb blasts over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai. 209 people were killed and over 700 people were injured. The al-Qaeda spokesman taking credit for the attack said the blasts were a “consequence of Indian oppression and suppression of minorities, particularly Muslims.” Apparently, he had not consulted with Jimmy Carter or he would have realized that he was actually murdering hundreds of people in Mumbai because of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

On July 18, 2011 in Hotan, China, a group of 18 Uyghur men who opposed the local government’s prohibition on the wearing of the full-face Islamic veil unleashed a series of coordinated bomb and knife attacks, killing two security guards and taking eight hostages. The attackers yelled religious slogans and killed 4 people and wounded 4 others.

On December 25, 2011, there were Christmas Day bombings in Nigeria and shootings at churches in Madalla, Jos, Gadaka and Damaturu. Over 41 people were killed in these attacks. Perhaps Jimmy Carter thinks Boko Haram – whose stated goal is to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Nigeria – is motivated to murder Christian Nigerians because of Israel??

On February 14, 2014 in Borno, Nigeria at least 200 people were killed by Boko Haram.

On December 14, 2014, 9 Tehrik-i-Taliban terrorists, who seek to impose absolute compliance with Sharia law in Pakistan, attacked a school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. They murdered 145 people, including 132 children.

January 6-9, 2015 – the Baga Massacre. Boko Haram attacks the town of Baga in northern Nigeria killing hundreds of people. Reports are that as many as 2000 people are unaccounted for and feared slaughtered by Boko Haram.


Notably, none of the above list includes any of the attacks by extremist Islamist terrorist groups in the Philippines. However, since January 2000 alone radical Islamist groups and Islamist separatist forces in the Philippines have carried out over 40 major bombings against civilians and civilian property, mostly in the southern regions of the country. And obviously, the only things radical extremist Islamists killing innocent people in the Philippines have in common with radical extremist Islamists killing people in the Middle East are their radical beliefs, … but don’t tell that to Jimmy Carter; as based on the nonsense he was peddling on the Daily Show, he apparently believes they are all motivated by what Israel is supposedly doing to the Palestinians.

Ironically, Jimmy Carter could look at South Sudan, a country he also discussed on the Daily Show for a clear example of the absurdity of his attempt to blame Israel for motivating Islamist violence. To his credit, Jimmy Carter discussed with Jon Stewart the success of the Guinea Worm Eradication Program, a program designed to promote Sudanese and South Sudanese public health.  Unlike Jimmy Carter, however, most people in the Sudan know all too well how much more dangerous radical Islamist ideology is to their health than the Guinea Worm.  In 2012, the Sudanese government stripped its approximately 700,000 Christians of citizenship and put them on notice that they had one week to leave the country. During the decades-long Jihad by the Sudanese government that began in the early 1980s and continued through much of this past decade against the black Africans to the east in Darfur and in the south, conservative estimates put the death toll at the hands of the Janjaweed Militia and other radical Islamists and Arab Supremacists at over 2 million. And after South Sudan recently seceded from Sudan, the radical Islamists headed by Sudan’s Attorney General al-Turabi demanded that Sudan become a Sharia state, comparable to Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Now it is possible that Jimmy Carter was unaware of all of this history of extreme Islamist violence that plainly pre-dates the so-called “occupation” of the West Bank or Gaza or clearly has no connection whatsoever to Israel and/or the Arab/Israeli conflict, and that is why he made his ignorant statement to Jon Stewart. It is also possible that like many other people who hate Israel and apply to the only Jewish State a standard of behavior that they apply to no other country, that Jimmy Carter simply could not help himself and had to fit that round peg in that square hole and instead of blaming the terrorists’ radical hateful ideology and its numerous supporters for these attacks, he had to blame Israel for somehow motivating the maniacs that attacked Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket.  My bet is it’s the latter. After all, to a carpenter the solution to every problem is a hammer.  And to a “blame Israel first hater” like Jimmy Carter, the cause of every problem is apparently Israel.

About the Author
Micha Danzig is a practicing attorney in San Diego and board member of T.E.A.M. (Training & Education About the Middle East). He is also active with Stand With Us and a former soldier in the IDF.
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