Jimmy Carter: I Oppose Israel Boycott, but Settlement Goods Must Be Labeled

Former U.S. president tell AP that he and the 'elders' will not 'publicly endorse any kind of embargo, or so forth, against Israeli invasion, or occupying troops in Palestine.'

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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, March 28, 2011. Credit: AP

Jimmy Carter doesn't support the "boycott, divest, sanction" campaign against Israel, he told the Associated Press. However, the former U.S. president – who has been outspoken in his opposition to the occupation – also thinks that products made beyond the Green Line should be clearly labeled as such, not labeled "Made in Israel," he said.

Carter, 90, and the other retired senior leaders known as the "Elders" discussed the economic pressure campaign against the Israeli occupation, he said. "We decided not to publicly endorse any kind of embargo, or so forth, against Israeli invasion, or occupying troops in Palestine," he stated.

But Carter adds: "We have also encouraged Europeans for instance, at least to label products that are made by Israeli people who occupy Palestine and ship their products out of Palestine to be sold in Europe. ... so that the buyers can decide whether they want to buy them or not."

As president of the United States, James Earl Carter, which is his rarely-cited actual name, helped orchestrate the treaty between Israel and Egypt. He has been devoted to the cause of peace and human rights since leaving the White House in 1981, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

In 2006, Carter remarked that Israel practiced a form of apartheid that was even worse than South Africa's: "When Israel does occupy this territory deep within the West Bank, and connects the 200-or-so settlements with each other, with a road, and then prohibits the Palestinians from using that road, or in many cases even crossing the road, this perpetrates even worse instances of apartness, or apartheid, than we witnessed even in South Africa," he said in an interview on the U.S. network CBS.

That and his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," in which Carter accuses Israel of oppression, spurred leading Jewish figures in the U.S. to react, including Abraham Foxman, leader of the Anti-Defamation League, who charged that some of Carter's comments border on anti-Semitism.

"The Elders" are a council founded by Nelson Mandela and presently chaired by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who aspire to promote peace and human rights. The vice-chairwoman is Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former Prime Minister of Norway.