Atlanta Former President Jimmy Carter apologized for any words or deeds that may have upset the Jewish community in an open letter meant to improve an often-tense relationship.
He said he was offering an Al Het, a prayer said on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. It signifies a plea for forgiveness.
“We must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel,” Carter said in the letter, which was first sent to JTA, a wire service for Jewish newspapers, and provided Wednesday to The Associated Press. “As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.”
Carter, who during his presidency brokered the first Israeli-Arab peace treaty, outraged many Jews with his 2006 book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” Critics contend he unfairly compared Israeli treatment of Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza to the legalized racial oppression that once existed in South Africa.