Silverman: "I do kind of regret saying" that Carter was "talking about Israel as if they were the second coming of Nazi Germany"

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630 KHOW-AM host Craig Silverman referred to a Colorado Media Matters item and expressed regret about saying that former President Jimmy Carter was "talking about Israel as if they were the second coming of Nazi Germany." Silverman stated, "I wish I wouldn't have said it exactly that way" and, later, "I do kind of regret saying it, because then Media Matters picks up on it."

Referring to a December 1 Colorado Media Matters item noting 630 KHOW-AM host Craig Silverman's statement that former President Jimmy Carter (D) was "talking about Israel as if they were the second coming of Nazi Germany," Silverman expressed regret during the December 7 broadcast of The Caplis & Silverman Show. He stated, "I wish I wouldn't have said it exactly that way, because I don't like Israel to ever be associated with the Nazis." Later in the show, during an interview with Rocky Mountain News editorial page editor Vincent Carroll -- who in a December 7 column challenged Colorado Media Matters' "blast[ing]" of Silverman for his remarks about Carter -- Silverman stated, "I do kind of regret saying it, because then Media Matters picks up on it and now it's in your very well-read column, and I worry that some people will say, 'Wow, Israel's like Nazi Germany. Jimmy Carter is saying that.' "

Silverman's original criticism of Carter came in response to Carter's promotion of his most recent book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid (Simon & Schuster, November 2006), in which the former president compares Israel's treatment of the Palestinians not to Nazi Germany, but to South Africa's treatment of its black population under its previous system of apartheid.

After reading from Carroll's column defending Silverman, co-host Dan Caplis claimed, "Hey, any time Vincent Carroll agrees with you, you know you're probably in pretty good shape." In reply, Silverman expressed regret for his previous statement about Carter:

SILVERMAN: And I'm far from perfect myself -- and, you know what -- I wish I wouldn't have said it exactly that way, because I don't like Israel to ever be associated with the Nazis. It falls into the rhetoric of the enemies of Israel who seek to hurt Israel in the worst way possible by calling them Nazis. But I was pissed. I was pissed at Jimmy Carter. I haven't read his book. I probably will if he agrees to be on the show. He's going to be in Denver next week. But I really don't want to pay for a book. If he provides me a book, I'll look through it. I've looked through it at the Tattered Cover, and it's hard to get past the title when he starts, Palestine Peace or Apartheid.

Carroll later joined the broadcast by telephone to discuss his column critical of Colorado Media Matters. Caplis and Silverman did not extend Colorado Media Matters an opportunity to appear on the show.

Carroll stated, "I actually haven't read this [Carter's] book. I intend to get a copy and look it over. So I can't assess it. I'm not reviewing it. I'm simply quarreling with Colorado Media Matters' claim that Craig was misleading in his characterization of the way Jimmy Carter is characterizing the Israelis." Silverman responded:

Vincent, I appreciate it, the way you handled it. Although I do kind of regret saying it, because then Media Matters picks up on it and now it's in your very well-read column, and I worry that some people will say, "Wow, Israel's like Nazi Germany. Jimmy Carter is saying that." And it plays right into the Ahmadinejads of the world. And I think that's unfortunate. Thank you also for recognizing that Dan and I don't work off of a script here, and that particular day when I was talking about Jimmy Carter I was pissed, because I had seen him making the rounds of these national shows and he was saying repeatedly that it was worse than apartheid, worse than South Africa. So I didn't feel like the South Africa comparison was apt.

From the December 7 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show:

CAPLIS: Hey, uh -- every morning, Rocky Mountain News, I shoot straight to the commentary section -- that's kind of a lie. You know, if it's a day after a Bronco game or a Buff game I'll check sports first, but I always make it to the commentary section and look for On Point, which is written by Vincent Carroll, the editorial pages editor of the Rocky Mountain News. And, and today's caught my attention, as they always do. It's entitled "Carter's recklessness," and I'll just read a couple of paragraphs while we wait for Vincent to join us. And I really want your take on, on, hey, do you think Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semite? Are the anti-Semites starting to win in this country? Within political circles, at least. So, first couple of paragraphs:

Nearly everyone agrees that Jimmy Carter's new book, Palestine Peace, Not Apartheid, is a harsh indictment of Israel. But how harsh? The left-wing website, Colorado Media Matters, blasted KHOW radio host Craig Silverman the other day for claiming Carter is -- quote -- making the rounds of all the national shows talking about Israel as if they were the second coming of Nazi Germany -- close quote. In fact, the group maintains -- and this is getting back to the Colorado Media Matters -- the group maintains, Carter has been comparing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians with the way South Africa oppressed its black population under apartheid. Well, sure -- Vincent Carroll writes -- why else use apartheid in the title? Silverman isn't blind. He simply believes Carter talks about Israel as if it also were a Nazi-like state. He has a point, too.

So, that's the start of Vincent Carroll's column. Hey, any time Vincent Carroll agrees with you, you know you're probably in pretty good shape. Not that Vincent is perfect, but I'd say he's right more than most of us.

SILVERMAN: Right. And I'm far from perfect myself -- and, you know what -- I wish I wouldn't have said it exactly that way, because I don't like Israel to ever be associated with the Nazis. It falls into the rhetoric of the enemies of Israel, who seek to hurt Israel in the worst way possible by calling them Nazis. But I was pissed. I was pissed at Jimmy Carter. I haven't read his book. I probably will if he agrees to be on the show. He's going to be in Denver next week. But I really don't want to pay for a book. If he provides me a book, I'll look through it. I've looked through it at the Tattered Cover, and it's hard to get past the title when he starts, Palestine Peace or Apartheid. Because, of course, who's he going to accuse of apartheid, it's the Jews in Israel. Now, I watched him on CNN; I watched him with Larry King; I watched him with Wolf Blitzer. I also saw him on the morning shows. And he goes to great lengths to say, this is outrageous what's going on within Gaza or the occupied territories. And he says land is being stolen and that people are being abused, you know, rights. And he says it's worse than apartheid. He said that several times. So for those who say, no, he's making a comparison to South Africa -- the other thing about the Nazis, before they began with the final solution and the death camps, they confiscated property and they denied any basic rights to Jews. So the accusations that Carter's making are over the top. And if you take the time to read the book -- which I haven't, but some smart people have -- there are numerous distortions.

I went to Israel to try to find out more. First of all, Dan, I am not accusing Jimmy Carter of being an anti-Semite. I think you can criticize Israel and not be a bigot against the Jewish people. Now, are bigots against the Jewish people generally against Israel? Yes. But I'm not going to call Jimmy Carter an anti-Semite. I'm critical of Israel. I think that I'm critical of America in some regards. But when you look at Israel, you look at the fact they have a democracy, that they have freedom of the press; when you look at their capitalist system, which has led them to incredible inventions and progress in the world, and then you contrast it with their Arab neighbors and the way the Palestinians are conducting themselves, there's just no comparison. And the bottom line, the reason why Israel's had to build a wall -- and I went to that wall -- around Bethlehem, of all places -- you know, an Israeli can't go to Bethlehem, but -- because it's too dangerous. Why did they have to build that wall? To stop the intifada. Because people couldn't walk around Jerusalem or Tel Aviv without worrying about getting blown up. They built that wall to protect themselves. And so, that's the bottom line. But Jimmy Carter doesn't want to recognize those realities, or the fact that the Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, to lead them. Where is Jimmy Carter condemning those people?

[...]

CAPLIS: Vincent, thanks for mentioning that. But, more broadly, what do you think of Jimmy Carter and this book? Do you think he's an anti-Semite?

CARROLL: Oh, of course not. I don't think that for a minute. And, as I was very careful to say in my column, and I think Craig was as well, in the -- at least in the quote that I referenced and that Media Matters referenced, we're talking about what Jimmy Carter's been saying in his rounds in the press. I actually haven't read this book. I intend to get a copy and look it over. So I can't assess it. I'm not reviewing it. I'm simply quarreling with Colorado Media Matters' claim that Craig was misleading in his characterization of the way Jimmy Carter is characterizing the Israelis. And, after all, you guys do talk radio, and you're allowed a bit of hyperbole. And, while Jimmy Carter didn't explicitly describe Israel as a Nazi-like state, the fact of the matter is, he has said -- again, this is not in his book, this is what he has said in various, you know, on various cable shows and in other venues in the media -- in promoting his book, he has said that Israel's policies are worse than apartheid, which was, you know, a pretty vicious regime and, uh --

CAPLIS: Um-hmm.

CARROLL: -- you know, the focus of all the world's attention for many years. And he's also said -- and, ironically, both of these quotes that I put in my column are right from Colorado Media Matters' own site -- they quote him on Chris Matthews, Hardball with Chris Matthews, saying that Israel's policies, you know, comprise the -- quote -- worst examp -- one of the worst examples of human rights deprivation that I know. Well, Jimmy Carter's a educated guy, been around the world, traveled everywhere. He surely knows of some of the hellholes that exist around the world in terms of human rights. I reference a few in my column --

CAPLIS: Um-hmm.

CARROLL: -- and for him to juxtapose these two things, namely, that the Israeli policies constitute some of the wor -- one of the worst human rights violations that he knows of, along with saying that they are worse than apartheid, suggests to me that Craig is being totally fair in saying he's going around describing Israel as if it were some sort of -- as if were the second coming of the Nazis.

SILVERMAN: Vincent, I appreciate it, the way you handled it. Although I do kind of regret saying it, because then Media Matters picks up on it and now it's in your very well-read column, and I worry that some people will say, wow, Israel's like Nazi Germany. Jimmy Carter is saying that. And it plays right into the Ahmadinejads of the world. And I think that's unfortunate. Thank you also for recognizing that Dan and I don't work off of a script here, and that particular day when I was talking about Jimmy Carter I was pissed, because I had seen him making the rounds of these national shows, and he was saying repeatedly that it was worse than apartheid, worse than South Africa. So I didn't feel like the South Africa comparison was apt.

And when you caught me in the courthouse yesterday, I said, you know, Vincent, I bet you can find somewhere where he said these things, and I was pleasantly -- I was pleased. I saw John Temple [Rocky Mountain News editor, president, and publisher] last night. I don't know where you were. I got to your party at about 7:30 after the show. But John Temple gave me the heads-up that you had indeed written a piece. And he said, Vincent did his usual good job. And I thank you for it.

CARROLL: Yeah. No, actually, I was there last night. I must have been leaving about the time that you arrived. No, I know that, you know, doing extemporaneous talk radio is not easy. It's, it's -- it's a very different thing than what writers do. And, I just think you are granted a bit of leeway and -- you know, within bounds. And you were totally within those bounds in the terms of your description. No, Carter didn't specifically or explicitly compare the Israelis to Nazis, and he wouldn't. He's not a nut. He's not an anti-Semite. But he is a guy who has been for some time now making what I consider irresponsible comparisons and irresponsible allegations regarding the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. I mean, he said last -- in a piece in USA Today, for example, in the spring, he said that the recently elected Hamas legislators, quote, will neither recognize nor negotiate with Israel while Palestinian land is being occupied. Now, the implication was clear that the reason why Hamas won't recognize Israel is because of the settlements on the West Bank and that that [unintelligible] time in Gaza -- well, no, I guess not -- but on West Bank. But of course, that's not at all why Hamas won't recognize Israel. It doesn't recognize any of Israel. And Jimmy Carter, in this very prominent piece that was widely quoted, portrayed them in a -- in a very benign manner.

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