While the Yeshiva University and Cardozo administrators are hiding behind the veil of First Amendment rights and academic freedom, as proud members of the Cardozo community, we beseech you to do the right thing and make your voices heard. The issue at hand is not one requiring righteous people to worship the false idols of free speech at the expense of Jewish values and principles. As we end our observance of Yom HaShoah, we must face the lessons that well-intentioned European Jews also respected the rights of their fellow citizens to voice ugly thoughts and protest their very existence. But silence is complicity and “Never Again” requires learning from the lessons of the tragedies that befell the Jewish people. Antisemitism, whitewashing terrorists who seek to destroy the Jewish homeland, and lies and distortions based on personal and dangerous biases are all qualities that define the post-presidential Jimmy Carter. Yeshiva University and Cardozo should not give a platform to his slander while at the same time granting credibility to his disingenuous and repugnant positions.
Along with the honor and pride that emanates from your role as Board members it is your individual responsibilities to ensure that the school’s faculty and administrators make decisions that represent the values that you wish to not only endow to the student body but also those that you wish to see reflected in the community. The extensive media attention that this award has drawn has been entirely negative and the Board bears the ultimate responsibility for any impact that this will have on the school’s reputation both in the near future and the long-term. Alumni will not continue to support an institution that so blatantly ignores the principles on which it was founded and which so willingly and callously slaps in the face the people who form the very foundation of its future success.
We have established a website that reflects the positions of a diverse body of Cardozo alumni and that urges all members of the Cardozo community to speak out against this misguided choice of award recipient and dangerous precedent that will be set if it is not rescinded.
We therefore urge you to prevail upon the administration and rescind the honor that Cardozo intends to bestow upon Jimmy Carter. We believe this is one of the most important decisions that you will make during your tenure as a member of the Board and we hope that you will not make it lightly, that you will balance the competing values with which you are presented in the context of the history of the Jewish people and teachings of the Torah generally, and that you will uphold Cardozo’s mission and in fact bring wisdom to life.
Gary Emmanuel ’04
on behalf of The Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni
Stay tuned, we’ll continue to update you from ringside.