President Carter: Recognize Terror Group Hamas’s “Legitimacy as a Political Actor”

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a member of The Elders delegation, embraces Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal before a meeting in Damascus

Former President Jimmy Carter has done it again.  He continues to prove that he is bereft of any credibility in foreign policy.

Mr. Carter, along with former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, wrote an Op-Ed for Foreign Policy magazine where he outright said that “[e]nding this war in Gaza begins with recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political actor.”


He reaches this conclusion, laying complete blame for the conflict on Israel, after acknowledging “Hamas’s indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians.”

Here is his conclusion:

Only by recognizing [Hamas’s] legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons.

This is an unbelievably disturbing and willfully ignorant (not naive) assertion.

Imagine if this statement were made about another terrorist group (and remember that Hamas is an officially recognized terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department):

Only by recognizing [al Qaeda’s] legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of [insert name of radical Islamic terrorist supporting state here] — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for [al Qaeda] to lay down its weapons.

Such a depraved view of foreign policy would never be given ink, but yet, because it is an article critical of Israel, it is taken as legitimate dialogue.

Most Hamas terrorist apologists on the Left and in the mainstream media ignore Hamas as if it doesn’t exist, as if it’s not targeting Israeli civilians, as if it wasn’t a terrorist group.  Yet Mr. Carter acknowledges all these facts and still blindly concludes that we should recognize their terrorist tactics as “legitimate.”

The idea that a terrorist group that is founded on the belief that Israel and the Jewish people must be wiped off the face of the earth will just “lay down its weapons” if we would just legitimize those goals is asinine.


Legitimizing Hamas’s terrorist tactics as “political” equates terror tunnels and rockets with political ad campaigns.  Recognizing and legitimizing a terrorist group will not cause them to give up but instead give them impunity for their terrorist acts.

This is the problem of the Palestinian Authority.  Instead of building credibility toward obtaining a sustainable peace, by rejecting Hamas and its terrorist tactics, the Palestinian Authority has welcomed them into a “Unity Government” with open arms.  The result has been more rockets fired at Israeli civilians, but this time subsidized by the concrete of terror tunnels that was intended for schools.  If the West were to offer Hamas the same “legitimacy,” imagine the disastrous consequences.

Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.


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