Published on: 01/19/07
Athens — Former White House press secretary Jody Powell said Friday President Carter anticipated the firestorm of controversy that would erupt around his recent book, "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid."
"I talked with him last fall and he was prepared for what was going to happen on this thing," Powell said of the book, which has been widely criticized as too harsh toward Israel.
Powell and former CIA director Stansfield Turner appeared on a panel about foreign affairs at a University of Georgia conference on the Carter presidency that continues through Sunday.
"You see this on a lot of issues but this one in particular, that for some folks, balance is not acceptable. It's got to be all one way or another, and if you disagree with that, you're going to catch hell," Powell said.
David Houghton, a British professor of political science at the University of Central Florida, said he was amazed at the disparaging tone of a New York Times review of book, which he said no credible European newspaper would use in describing a former national leader.
Because of the strong bias toward Israel in the United States, "I doubt seriously whether the U.S. can be an honest broker in the region," Houghton said.
Powell said Carter's defeat in his 1980 reelection campaign sent an unfortunate message to later presidents regarding Middle East policy.
"One of the lessons learned for later administrations was that making peace in the Middle East was a political loser," Powell said.