Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ken Stein Resigns

Before leaving Michigan for Columbus, Ohio, I took part in TEAM -- a one-year program for Jewish educators through the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit and the Alliance for Jewish Education. In June, the program concluded with a three-day conference on best practices for teaching about Israel and Zionism in the classroom. The conference was coordinated by the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel and led by its director Ken Stein, a professor at Emory. I was very impressed with Ken and his entire team for what was an extremely thought-provoking experience on how to convey the situation in the Middle East to students at every age level (past TEAM meetings and discussions had left me frustrated for what was a waste of my time). Ken has recently been in the news after resigning his post as a fellow at Emory's Carter Center because of the anti-Zionist rhetoric in Jimmy Carter's new book. Kol Hakavod to Ken for standing up for what he believes! Here is the article from the Forward:

A prominent Middle East scholar, Kenneth W. Stein, announced his resignation as a fellow of Emory University's Carter Center, in response to former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."

Stein did not give the book's title in the e-mail announcing his resignation, saying that it was "a title too inflammatory to even print."

Carter's book, published last month, is based on his years as a peace negotiator, including his role in the 1978 Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt. The book has drawn widespread criticism from Jewish activists.

Stein was the first executive director of the Carter Center, and he is now the director of the university's Middle East Research Program and of the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel. Carter and Stein co-wrote a book in 1984 called "The Blood of Abraham." Stein said he was present in the room, as well, during a number of events recollected in Carter's new book, and his notes show "little similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information"

Stein characterized Carter's book as "replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments."

In his e-mail, Stein said that he plans in the future to more fully rebut the errors that he found in Carter's book.

Stein said that in his early years working with Carter, "we carefully avoided polemics or special pleading. This book does not hold to those standards. My continued association with the Center leaves the impression that I am sanctioning a series of egregious errors and polemical conclusions which appeared in President Carter's book."

Stein will continue in his other academic positions at Emory.

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