bolton said it first – cut off his pension

– from Ron Kampeas, JTA

Carter originally was to have made the tour as part of “The Elders,” a group of senior statesmen including Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, and Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general. Members of that group decided Tuesday to postpone their tour, reportedly under US pressure. The cancellation led Carter to go ahead with the tour under his center’s auspices. Reportedly he will be joined by Stephen Solarz, a former US congressman, who is Jewish. A statement from “The Elders” said,

The Elders have been exploring ways that they can contribute to peace and to the world’s understanding of the complex issues involved in the Middle East conflict. They had planned a visit to the region in April to meet and listen to representatives from government, civil society, business and the public in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The Elders will continue consultations with key leaders in the region and outside, with the purpose of developing a comprehensive report, but have decided to postpone their visit.

Obama’s spokesman said,

Senator Obama does not agree with President Carter’s decision to go forward with this meeting, because he does not support negotiations with Hamas, until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and abide by past agreements. As president, Obama will negotiate directly with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

Hillary’s spokesman said,

Hamas is a terrorist organization who (sic-RB) is responsible for the deaths of countless innocents and almost daily rocket attacks against Israel. Hillary respects former President Carter, but disagrees with his decision. She would not meet with Hamas without coordinating with Israel.

McCain’s spokeswoman said,

John McCain believes it’s a serious and dangerous mistake for Americans of any stature to meet with an organization like Hamas that is committed to the destruction of Israel and regularly conducts terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Clinton’s top Jewish surrogate (sic- RB), said,

A meeting with the former President of the United States lends credibility to terrorists and Holocaust deniers (sic -RB) worldwide. In light of Hamas’ continuing violence and calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, I strongly urge President Carter to reconsider his decision.

Rep. Mark Kirk protested the reports of the visit, by reading the names of 26 Americans who had been killed in Hamas attacks in Israel and in disputed lands (sic- RB), adding,

Mr. Carter, these voices from the grave beseech you — do not meet with the man who ordered their deaths.

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