We think that this following excerpt from Professor Kenneth W. Stein's article My Problem with Jimmy Carter's Book in Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2007 issue, we be of interest to our readers.
The Ghost of Menachem Begin
Carter's animosity toward Begin has grown with time. He blames Begin for refusing to negotiate over the West Bank. Not only did this deny Carter a more complete peace deal, but, Carter believes, it also institutionalized itself in Israeli policymaking, worsening the Palestinians' plight. Since Begin took office on May 17, 1977, ending the Labor movement's hegemony in Israeli political life, Carter has repeatedly blasted Israeli prime ministers for what he terms the creation of a "horrible" and "terrible" state of affairs for the Palestinians in areas of east Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
The mistrust was mutual and began to surface before Begin's election. According to Eliyahu Ben-Elissar, then Begin's bureau chief, "Begin did not like [Carter's] March 1977 statement that the Palestinian refugees needed a homeland. None of us liked it. We resented it ... Begin considered it a major shift in U.S. policy."
Indeed, skepticism of Carter's intentions may have convinced Begin to take a harder line about the West Bank, which, in line with biblical terminology, he called Judea and Samaria. During his tenure as prime minister, Begin forbade the negotiation agenda to include the West Bank and those portions of Jerusalem that the Israeli government annexed after the 1967 Six-Day war. This refusal to negotiate became Carter's core disagreement with Begin. Carter realized that with Begin adamant against further concessions, he had no tangible item to offer to the Palestinians or other Arab leaders to reach a broader peace agreement. With Begin not offering a fallback position, Carter could not initiate a conclusive Israeli-Palestinian negotiating process. He never forgave Begin.
Intertwined in the dispute over the West Bank was the issue of Israeli settlements. Samuel Lewis, U.S. ambassador to Israel at the time, explained, "Begin would never consider admitting that the [Israeli] right to settle wasn't a right, and Carter, basically, was asking him [Begin] to agree that settlements were illegal." Begin refused. The subsequent expansion of settlements has further embittered Carter's relations with Israeli leaders and with Israel's supporters in the United States, whom he believes are willfully silent on the subject.
While Carter lauds Begin for his intelligence, a point he has repeatedly made when speaking to my students, his animus toward the late Israeli leader is limitless. This became evident when we were writing The Blood of Abraham, and Carter insisted on asserting that Begin "wanted to expand Israeli borders to both sides of the Jordan River." In fact, this is anachronistic. True, this had been Begin's view prior to Israel's independence in 1948, but it was not, as Carter implied, Begin's position after his twenty-nine years in the Knesset (parliament) or during his premiership. During chapter editing, I brought the error to Carter's attention. He declined to correct it.
During the difficult negotiations between Egypt and Israel, Carter and his advisers tried to get Sadat to engage in a collusive scheme: They would encourage Sadat to make "deliberately exaggerated" demands. The White House would then intervene to "compel" Cairo to scale back its demands in exchange for Israeli concessions. Then-national security advisor Brzezinski explained that Washington would "apply maximum leverage on Israel to accommodate," by keeping the West Bank's political future on the table for future negotiations. That Carter risked possible Israeli-Egyptian peace in an effort to extract greater concessions from Begin underscores the tension in their relationship.
In 1983, the first time Begin met Carter after both had left office, Begin was icy toward the ex-president. Carter surmised that he may have "aggravated him [Begin] more than usual." Begin's personal secretary later said Begin was angry with what he had learned in the books by Brzezinski and National Security Council staff member William B. Quandt about Carter's behind-the-scenes maneuvering. This anger grew after he read the claim in The Blood of Abraham regarding his alleged desire to expand Israeli borders across the Jordan River. On our 1987 trip to Israel, Begin refused to see Carter, citing health reasons, but Begin's personal secretary told me it was because of the way Carter had treated Begin.
Carter also blames difficulties with Begin for undermining his re-election. In early 1980, with the critical New York Democratic primary looming, Mondale urged Carter to repudiate the U.S. vote for U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 465, which had condemned Israeli settlement activity. According to Brzezinski:
Jewish voters swung heavily over to Senator [Edward] Kennedy, ensuring Carter's defeat. The set-back prolonged the Carter-Kennedy contest. Sadat did not want a final showdown on the Palestinian problem prior to the return of the Sinai to Egypt. Without pressure from Sadat, our own incentive to push Israel hard was much decreased. Begin proved himself to be a skilled manipulator ... adroit at delaying tactics and in diversionary public appeals ... by mid-June it was clear even to Mondale that Begin wanted Carter defeated.
According to Brzezinski, Carter believed his disagreement with Begin to have both cost him critical primary victories and to have weakened his re-election bid. But other issues—high inflation and mortgage rates, the Iran hostage crisis, a national sense of malaise, and the third party candidature of John Anderson—may have contributed more to Carter's loss.
 Author interview with Eliyahu Ben-Elissar, Jerusalem, Nov. 13, 1992.
 Remarks by Samuel Lewis, The United States Institute for Peace, minutes of a study group session on Lessons Learned from Fifty Years of Negotiating Experiences, Washington, D.C., Apr. 16, 1991.
 Carter, The Blood of Abraham, p. 42.
 Brzezinski, Power and Principle, pp. 242-7.
 Carter, The Blood of Abraham, p. 107.
 Author interview with Yahiel Kadishai, Begin's secretary (1977-83) and confidante, July 5, 1993, Tel Aviv.
 UNSC Resolution 465: "Territories Occupied by Israel," Mar. 1, 1980.
 Brzezinksi, Power and Principle, pp. 442-3.