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Thursday, December 7, 2006
Professor Kenneth W Stein explains resignation from Carter Center

The following was sent yesterday by Professor Kenneth W Stein to former
students and some close friends. It is reprinted by IMRA with his
permission:

Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History, Political Science, and
Israeli Studies,
Director, Middle East Research Program and Emory Institute for the Study of
Modern Israel
1256 Briarcliff Road Suite A-427N Atlanta, Georgia 30306
---------------------------------------
404-727-2798 (o) 404-727-2441 (fax)
www.ismi.emory.edu

Hi-

This note is to inform you that yesterday, I sent letters to President Jimmy
Carter, Emory University President Jim Wagner, and Dr. John Hardman,
Executive Director of the Carter Center resigning my position, effectively
immediately, as Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University.
This ends my 23 year association with an institution that in some small way
I helped shape and develop.

My joint academic position in Emory College in the History and Political
Science Departments, and, as Director of the Emory Institute for the Study
of Modern Israel remains unchanged.

Many still believe that I have an active association with the Center and,
act as an adviser to President Carter, neither is the case. President Carter
has intermittently continued to come to the Arab-Israeli Conflict class I
teach in Emory College. He gives undergraduate students a fine first hand
recollection of the Begin-Sadat negotiations of the late 1970s. Since I left
the Center physically thirteen years ago, the Middle East program of the
Center has waned as has my status as a Carter Center Fellow. For the record,
I had nothing to do with the research, preparation, writing, or review of
President Carter's recent publication. Any material which he used from the
book we did together in 1984, The Blood of Abraham, he used unilaterally.
President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even
print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual
errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and
simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant
to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the
third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little
similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not
give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts,
deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook. Having little access to
Arabic and Hebrew sources, I believe, clearly handicapped his understanding
and analyses of how history has unfolded over the last decade. Falsehoods,
if repeated often enough become meta-truths, and they then can become the
erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and for
policy-making. The history and interpretation of the Arab-Israeli conflict
is already drowning in half-truths, suppositions, and self-serving myths;
more are not necessary. In due course, I shall detail these points and
reflect on their origins.

The decade I spent at the Carter Center (1983-1993) as the first permanent
Executive Director and as the first Fellow were intellectually enriching for
Emory as an institution, the general public, the interns who learned with
us, and for me professionally. Setting standards for rigorous interchange
and careful analyses spilled out to the other programs that shaped the
Center's early years. There was mutual respect for all views; 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. I can not allow that impression
to stand.

Through Emory College, I have continued my professional commitment to inform
students and the general public about the history and politics of Israel,
the Middle East, and American policies toward the region. I have tried to
remain true to a life-time devotion to scholarly excellence based upon
unvarnished analyses and intellectual integrity. I hold fast to the notion
that academic settings and those in positions of influence must teach and
not preach. Through Emory College, in public lectures, and in OPED writings,
I have adhered to the strong belief that history must be presented in
context, and understood the way it was, not the way we wish it to be.

In closing, let me thank you for your friendship, past and continuing
support for ISMI, and to Emory College. Let me also wish you and your loved
ones a happy holiday season, and a healthy and productive new year. As ever,

Ken

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