Former President Jimmy Carter, who has garnered much criticism in recent years for his harsh words about Israel, will address the Democratic National Convention during prime time.
The Democratic National Convention Committee and Obama for America announced that Carter will speak Sept. 4 in prime time via video, as he will not attend the convention in Charlotte.
“President Carter is one of the greatest humanitarian leaders of our time and a champion of democracy around the globe,” said convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa. He also called the former president “a lifelong champion of human rights and investments in education and energy” and added that Carter “will provide unique insight” for economic recovery.
Abraham Foxman, national director of Anti-Defamation League, sharply criticized the invitation.
“I wish he wouldn’t [speak]. I don’t think the convention should provide a platform for someone with such a biased obsession with Israel that borders on anti-Semitism.”
“I know it’s very difficult for any political party to deny a platform to any sitting president,” Foxman said, adding he hoped Carter’s speech would not be aired in prime time or during any discussion about the Middle East or foreign policy.
Carter joins a growing list of prime time speakers at the convention, including first lady Michelle Obama and keynote speaker San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who will also speak on Sept. 4 at Time Warner Cable Arena. Former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren will deliver their remarks on Sept. 5 at the arena. Both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will deliver their acceptance speeches on the final night of the convention, Sept. 6, at Bank of America Stadium.
Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, appeared but did not speak at the 2008 Democratic convention.