NEW YORK, N.Y. — Former President Jimmy Carter is facing a $5 million class action lawsuit for alleged falsehoods in his 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The suit in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York — Unterberg et al. v. Jimmy Carter et.al — pits Carter and his publisher, Simon & Schuster, against plaintiffs who purchased the book with the expectation that they would be reading accurate and factual information on the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. Instead, the suit alleges, the book contained false information intended to deceive the public and promote an anti-Israel agenda. As such, the suit contends, Carter’s book violated a New York law that makes it illegal to “engage in deceptive acts in the course of conducting business.”
The suit is brought by five Americans, two of whom hold dual American-Israeli citizenship. According to the Associated Press, the plaintiffs are seeking to have their lawsuit deemed a class action, meaning that they would be seen as representing a much larger group. That group would include all those who purchased Carter’s $27 book.
According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys David Schoen and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, this is “the first time a former President and a publishing house have been sued for violating consumer protection laws by knowingly publishing inaccurate information while promoting a book as factual.”
Although former Carter aides and colleagues expressed concerns to Simon & Schuster about the book’s inaccuracies, their allegations were not investigated, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit is an important one because “much of the public debate going on today about Israel is based on what people believe actually has transpired in past discussions, etc..” wrote Schoen in an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post. “For a former President to misstate these things obviously was anathema enough for his closest aides, supporters, and confidantes to quit over it and expose the falsehoods for what they were.”