WASHINGTON - Former US President Jimmy Carter insists that his letter of apology addressed to US Jews published on Monday was not simply due to the fact that his grandson has decided to launch a political career and run for the Georgia state senator.
The former president's grandson, Jason Carter, 34, an Atlanta-area lawyer, is considering a run to fill a seat covering suburban DeKalb County should the incumbent, David Adelman, be designated ambassador to Singapore.
News of the young Carter's political ambitions has led some to suspect the former president's motives behind his apology were insincere.
But Carter senior told the Jewish Telegraph Agency in an interview published Tuesday that ethnic electoral considerations were not reason enough to reach out to the Jewish community, although he did not outright deny that it was a factor.
"Jason has a district, the number of Jewish voters in it is only 2%," he said, chuckling.
The senior Carter, who is not a popular character in Israel, enraged the American Jewish community in the past with various statements made in his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."
In the book, Carter blamed Israel for impeding the Middle East peace process via settlement construction, further claiming such a policy will lead to apartheid. The publication of the book caused 14 Jews to quit their jobs at the Carter Center in 2006.
Since then Carter has been trying to restore relations with the Jewish public. He hoped to appear in synagogues or Jewish community centers to explain himself and apologize, but his efforts were rejected.
He therefore decided to publish his letter of apology in a Jewish news agency around the holiday season, in hopes of reaching the public.
In a statement following his grandfather's letter, Jason Carter said: "While I was very happy to see my grandfather's letter, it was completely unrelated to my campaign. The letter is a product of discussions with some of his friends in the Jewish community that have been going on for a long time. I, like many others, see this as a great step towards reconciliation."