Jimmy Carter Fires Back at Longtime Aide Over Book
WASHINGTON – Former President Jimmy Carter faced new criticism Friday over his controversial book on Palestinian lands when a former Middle East diplomat accused him of improperly publishing maps that did not belong to him.
The new charge came as Carter attempted to counter charges from a former top aide that the book manipulates facts to distort history.
Ambassador Dennis Ross, a former Mideast envoy and FOX News foreign affairs analyst, claims maps commissioned and published by him were improperly republished in Carter's book.
"I think there should be a correction and an attribution," Ross said. "These were maps that never existed, I created them."
After Ross saw the maps in Carter's book, he told his publisher he wanted a correction.
When asked if the former president ripped him off, Ross replied: “it sure looks that way.”
Carter's book, "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid," was released last week.
"A former Carter Center fellow has taken issue with it, and Alan Dershowitz called the book's title 'indecent.' Out in the real world, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive," Carter wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece published in Friday's edition.
Click here to read Carter's op-ed published in the LA Times.
Carter disputed alleged "lies" and "distortions" against content in his book.
"With some degree of reluctance and some uncertainty about the reception my book would receive, I used maps, text and documents to describe the situation accurately and to analyze the only possible path to peace: Israelis and Palestinians living side by side within their own internationally recognized boundaries," he wrote.
Kenneth Stein, director of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, resigned Tuesday as Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University, stating in his resignation letter that "President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments."
"The purpose of the book should be to try to bring people together, to try and reconcile them. He published in the LA Times because his book tour is going in that direction," Stein said. "I'm a historian, I believe in the integrity of my profession, I believe that things should be written accurately, even if you disagree with them."
Carter is scheduled to sign books at Vroman's in Pasadena, Calif., on Friday.
"I wouldn't have chosen the words I chose on my resignation letter if I hadn't read the book really closely and hadn't been reasonable familiar for a lifetime with the details associated with the conflict," Stein said.
Click here to read Dr. Kenneth W. Stein's letter.
"I just want to be sure that when people write history, people don't do it for purpose of special pleading," Stein told FOXNews.com on Thursday. "They write it the way it was. They don't try to shape a person's opinion and slide them down a path in order to come to an inevitable conclusion."
Stein leaves the center after serving as its first executive director and founder of its Middle East program.
Carter issued a statement in response to Stein's letter noting that Stein hasn't been directly involved with the center in more than 12 years and did not address specific allegations by Stein.
"If Ken has read my latest book he knows that, as the book's title makes clear, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" is devoted to circumstances and events in Palestine and not in Israel, where democracy prevails and citizens live together and are legally guaranteed equal status," according to a statement by Carter released by Deanna Congileo, Carter's spokeswoman.
Stein hasn't talked directly with Carter, but has been contacted through third parties.
"Ken is one of the finest teachers I have ever known, and has been of great help during the early years of our center, as an advisor to me on Middle East affairs, and as a personal friend. I thank him for this, and wish him well," Carter said.
Stein alleged an inaccuracy on page 131 in the book of a 1990 White House meeting where Carter cites that Washington was mostly preoccupied with the Iraq/Kuwait conflict. Stein said that was in 1980, not 1990.
"He makes it appear that the reasons people didn't pay attention to what he was saying was because of the invasion," Stein said. "How was that possible? I was there."
"Carter can disagree with me. I don't think if you're president of the United States you have a specific privilege to overstate," he added.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights group based in Los Angeles, has received more than 16,000 signatures to an online petition to "act now against President Carter's one-sided bias against Israel."
Click here to read the petition.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the center, who read the book, said people in the Jewish community are outraged at Carter's book.
"I think the point of the book is to be hostile to Israel," Hier said. "I think he deliberately did it."
Hier said the book sides with the Palestinian cause and blames Israel for troubles in the Middle East.
"The reason he wrote this book is because he has become a spokesman for the Palestinian cause," Hier said. "Having read the book, I can tell you these are not the words of a person who is objective, who is trying to see a way out of this. He has come down 100 percent on the Palestinian side."
As for more specifics on questions to the book, Stein hinted at offering more details on factual errors and challenges to Carter's book in his letter.
"In due course, I shall detail these points and reflect on their origins," according to his letter.