Emory Professor Kenneth Stein didn't mince words when it came to explaining the point of his lecture on Thursday.
"My task today is to try and explain to you why I disagree with a man ... who I have known for almost 25 years," he said.
The man in question is former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Stein's former boss at The Carter Center and the author of the controversial book about the Arab-Israeli conflict Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.
Stein, the William Schatten professor of history and politics and the director of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, resigned from The Carter Center in November in protest of the book, which he has called factually inaccurate and biased against Israel.
On Thursday, before a packed White Hall lecture hall and many more people through an Internet webcast, Stein outlined why he feels Carter's book is flawed and why he has publicly parted ways with the man he had worked with closely for many years.
In his discussion, Stein chronicled his relationship with Carter, laid out his criticisms of Carter's book and presented his own suggestions on how the world's leaders might take steps toward peace in the region.
Stein chronicled his partnerships with Carter throughout the years. Stein served as the first executive director of The Carter Center and often advised Carter on Middle Eastern politics. The two men collaborated on the 1984 book The Blood of Abraham, a history of the Middle East.
Stein noted the "symbiotic" nature of their relationship, mentioning how the two men frequently debated during their trips around the Middle East.
During his lecture, Stein recalled Carter saying, "Ken, I think I may have learned as much from you in the last three or four years as I learned during my time as president."
Stein said he found the remark flattering, but also frightening.
After explaining his history with Carter, Stein prepared to launch into his criticisms of the book. But before he began, Stein assured his audience that the book's provocative content is not the result of Carter, who is 82, losing his mental acuity.
"No one is going to stand and imply that he's losing it," he said. "I don't buy it."
As PowerPoint slides flashed behind him, Stein said Carter's book presents a one-sided account of Israeli-Palestinian relations. Stein called Carter's description of United Nations Resolution 242, an important framework for Arab-Israeli relations since 1967, an unjustified attack.
Stein said Carter suggested in his book that Palestinians can and should demand that Israel return territories before peace negotiations begin, a view which Stein said represents a deviation from traditional interpretations of the U.N. resolution.
"Jimmy Carter has violated the gold standard," he said.
In doing so, Stein said Carter was interfering with the current framework for peace in the Middle East, which he said was akin to Carter rewriting an essential text.
"What he's not entitled to is his own Quran, his own Torah, or his own Jimmy Carter Bible," the professor said.
A question-and-answer session followed Stein's presentation. Several audience members asked what could be done to work toward Arab-Israeli peace. In his response, Stein emphasized the need for the United States to take a very active role in the process.
"Without the United States involved, an Arab-Israeli negotiation does not work," Stein said. He later added that current politicians have lacked the will and courage to take such a role in the conflict.
The lecture is part of an initiative called "Inquiry, Conflict and Peace Building in the Middle East" that was created by the Office of the Provost to respond to dissatisfaction over the handling of Carter's town hall lecture on campus in February. Many members of the Emory community were unhappy that no opposing viewpoints were presented when Carter discussed his book.
The lecture was broadcast over the Internet, with students listening in at Brown University (R.I.), the University of North Carolina, George Washington University (D.C.), among others.