The former president, the man who presided over the birth of the Islamic Republic in Iran, is speaking at Brandeis University tonight. You can bet that if he does a Q&A, students will steer clear of any questions swirling around who funds the Carter Center and what they get for their donations. Today’s university types tend to only speak truth to power when it poses no threat of disturbing their leftwing worldview.

But our good friend Claudia Rosett is digging into Carter’s finances, and what she’s finding is illuminating.

In recent weeks, a number of articles have noted that Carter’s anti-Israeli views coincide with those of some of the center’s prime financial backers, including the government of Saudi Arabia and the foundation of Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, whose offer of $10 million to New York City just after Sept. 11 was rejected by then-mayor Rudy Giuliani because it came wrapped in the suggestion that America rethink its support of Israel.

I love how she phrases that. That Saudi money tied to the Saudi government’s virulent anti-Israel views put the responsibility for 9-11 not on the Saudi citizens who were 15 of the 19 hijackers or even on the Saudi citizen who funded the attacks, but on the US for supporting the lone democracy in that part of the world against the seething medievalists in Rhiyadh and elsewhere across the Middle East. We should have read the Saudi’s suggestion for what it was at the time: a threat. Take our money, stop supporting Israel, and you won’t experience another one of these attacks. But keep supporting Israel and you’ll stay in the crosshairs.

Thank God Giuliani rejected that money out of hand. Carter, though, accepts Saudi money by the bucketfull. And that’s not all:

Other big donors listed in the Carter Center’s annual reports include the Sultanate of Oman and the sultan himself; the government of the United Arab Emirates; and a brother of Osama bin Laden, Bakr BinLadin, “for the Saudi BinLadin Group.”

For the Saudi BinLadin Group, eh? Yeah, there are dozens of Bin Ladin’s running around out there and not all of them agree with Osama. But it’s interesting that Carter is taking Bin Ladin money and yet you don’t hear any of the whispers against him that the left pushes against Cheney over Halliburton, Bush over Carlyle or any of that kind of thing.

And it’s even more interesting that Carter’s views on Israel don’t seem to be all that far from Bin Ladin’s. Osama’s, not the brother. Both Carter and Osama see Israel as the Middle East’s prime mover, when even Shia sheiks in Iraq know better.

And there’s more:

Of lesser heft, but still large, are contributions from assorted development funds of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as of OPEC, whose membership includes oil-rich Arab states, Nigeria (whose government is also a big donor to the Carter Center), and Venezuela (whose anti-American strongman Hugo Chávez benefited in a 2004 election from the highly controversial monitoring efforts of the Carter Center).

Hugo Chavez who calls the President of the United States “the devil” and rules Venezuela by decree now–he’s funding Jimmy Carter’s enterprise. That says quite a bit.

Rosett has much more, so follow the link. She’s not suggesting, and neither am I, that all this money has bought Jimmy Carter’s services and molded his views. It is interesting, though, that Carter apparently sees no problem in accepting millions of dollars from people who do so much damage to world peace–when one of his Center’s stated missions is “waging peace.” And it’s even more interesting that the Soros-funded blog types haven’t thought to bring up any of this. Those people see sinister connections on the right where there aren’t any; why don’t they see connections on the left where they’re as plain as day?

I don’t think all that Arab money has bought Jimmy Carter; it just rents him. He would probably say and write the same things if there wasn’t a pile of Middle East money propping him up; it would just be harder for him to get his message out without the cash and the Carter Center. The noxious views that tilt toward America’s enemies and away from America and her allies were formed and hardened on a November night in 1980. Jimmy Carter has never forgiven the American people for rejecting him, and has spent most of his post-presidential life making us pay.