Jimmy Carter Visits Iowa City

By: Claire Kellett, Anchor/Reporter

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By Claire Kellett

IOWA CITY - Wednesday night, Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City welcomed an unusual guest. It wasn't a sports team, but rather a former president of the United States. Jimmy Carter drew a crowd of more than 8,000 people. Some came just to see the 39th president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, while others wanted to hear him talk about his controversial new book, “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."

“I wrote this book to describe the plight of the Palestinians and because I'm convinced we desperately need debate about where we are and where we ought to be going, and how to rejuvenate the non-existent peace process in the Middle East," says Carter.

Carter says the book's objective is permanent peace for Israel and its neighbors. It’s something the former president says he’s dedicated his entire adult life to. Many in attendance applaud his efforts.

“With the whole anti-Israel lobbying in the U.S., it takes a lot of courage to stand up to them and say what's really happening in Israel,” says Eddie Willenborg of North Liberty.

But others criticize the author, claiming his book contains factual errors and misstatements. Members of the local Jewish community say it's simply one-sided.

“I am an Israeli so of course I served in the military, so I feel emotionally involved, but I feel every person, every American, every thinker needs to think twice about Carter's opinion, because it's not right," says Tali Ariav of the Aliber Hillel Jewish Student Center.

Carter adamantly defends the accuracy of his book, saying he wrote every word himself.

The former president rarely speaks about his book at universities. He says he’s been invited to more than 100 campuses, but he's only visited five.

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