Seth Eisenberg
Freedom matters

Jimmy Carter’s bad advice

After 20 years teaching relationship skills and a decade more studying events in which individuals and groups seek to deliberately hurt others, I know that all bullies are not the same.

Some bully in reaction to pent up feelings of sadness, anger, fear, frustration or pain with the belief they’ll feel powerful or are otherwise justified making others feel the same way they do. Those bullies often change their behavior when they feel better about themselves. For those kinds of bullies, finding compassion and relief from their own upsetting feelings often ends behaviors that threaten others.

When former President Jimmy Carter says Israel and Hamas should talk, given the benefit of the doubt, he likely sees Hamas fighters as wounded bullies that need love, compassion, understanding and relief.

For those who don’t want to give America’s one-term 39th president benefit of the doubt, consider that major sponsors of the Carter Center include the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation, Saudi Fund for Development, Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health, Sultanate of Oman, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The OPEC Fund for International Development and United Arab Emirates.

These generous funders are not the Mother Theresa’s of the world.

Unfortunately, when former presidents appear on television, they don’t have to dress like race car drivers in outfits that feature their key sponsors. Pajamas are an altogether different story.

Other bullies live on the emotional high they experience when they inflict pain, including heinous acts of violence, on the most innocent of victims.

For them, mediators who try to relieve perceived feelings of pain, anger, sadness, fear or frustration reinforces confidence in their tactics, often first aimed at those to whom they’re closest.

When thugs, gangsters, militants, separatists, fanatics, radicals, terrorists or whatever other term we use for those individuals and groups who deliberately seek to kill civilians proclaim to the world that they are emboldened by their celebration of death against enemies who love life, you don’t have to wonder which type of bullies they are.

We love death like our enemies love life!”

~ Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee made comments this week that represent how much of America’s heartland sees Israel’s war against groups like Hamas that indiscriminately target civilians and the West’s fight against al Qaeda, ISIL, and many of 150 other groups designated as terrorist organizations.

“There were 50 dead Japanese civilians in Hiroshima for every person killed at Pearl Harbor. Was that disproportionate? Is the new standard to make sure there’s an eye- for-an-eye and tooth-for-a-tooth symmetry of civilian body counts? Every single proposed and agreed-to cease fire pushed by Obama and Kerry resulted in Hamas immediately violating it by firing more rockets into civilian targets in Israel. Israel fires missiles at military targets and sometime misses and regrets when it accidently kills civilians. Hamas intentionally aims to kill Jewish civilians and celebrates when it succeeds. Israel has no choice but to disarm Hamas completely. The United States policy should be to join Egypt and Jordan and call for an end to the terrorists instead of pressuring Israel to disarm.”

The notion of telling Israel to holster its weapons in the midst of their defending their existence is as absurd as asking Elliot Ness to holster his firearm to give Al Capone time to reload and reposition. It’s hard to help the good guys beat the bad guys when our guys don’t know the difference.”

~Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Huckabee had some commonsense advice for Jimmy Carter and others who suggest treating terrorists as bullies to be appeased.

“In Texas City, Texas,” Huckabee wrote, “a would-be burglar was caught on video trying to break into a house, then seeing something that made him turn and run like a rabbit. Was it a gun? Nope. It was just a sign on the front door. It read, ‘No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.’”

About the Author
Seth Eisenberg is President of the PAIRS Foundation, a former At-Large chair of the National Writers Union, elected labor leader, and pro-Israel activist. He is an author of Instructions for Intimacy, The Laundry List of Relationship Mishaps, Knots and Double Binds, PAIRS Essentials, Warrior to Soul Mate, PAIRS for PEERS, and the SHALOM Workshop. He can be reached via LinkedIn at
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