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YU’s Law School to Honor Jimmy Carter for ‘Conflict Resolution’

The Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni looked at Carter's "lifetime of work" and rather than find it worthy of an award, what they saw was a record of slandering Israel.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (R) about to embrace Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh (L), in Gaza City, as the two discussed ending the international boycott of the Islamic, anti Israeli and anti American terrorist organization.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter with his friend Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh as the two discussed ending the international boycott of the Islamic, anti Israeli and anti American terrorist organization.
Photo Credit: Hamas

Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law is scheduled to present former U.S. president Jimmy Carter with the “International Advocate for Peace” Award this Wednesday, April 10.

Since leaving the presidency, former president Carter has been present in many places around the globe where  tremendous conflict has taken – and continues to take – place. With respect to the conflicts foremost in the minds of pro-Israel Jews and other Zionists, the role Carter has played has been wildly unpopular.

The award is being presented by the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. The law school administration has insisted – through a statement issued by a public relations firm – it was a choice made by the students. Sources have suggested the opposite is the case.

In what appeared to be an effort to distance themselves from the award and the event, at least to those complaining, some concerned individuals were told “on good assurance” that neither Cardozo’s Dean Diller nor YU’s President Joel would be present at the award ceremony, and that they were completely uninvolved.

As a letter obtained by The Jewish Press that was sent by Dean Diller to certain “high roller” alumni inviting them to the event made clear, however, Diller plans to be front and center at the event.

“Today, I am particularly pleased and honored to invite you,” wrote Dean Diller, “to a very special afternoon with President Jimmy Carter on April 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm.”  Diller closed the letter by telling the big givers he hoped they would “plan to join me in welcoming the 39th President of the United States to the law school.”

The Jewish Press sent repeated queries to find out why and how Cardozo, of all law schools – it is the only one connected to an officially Jewish institution – chose to honor Jimmy Carter.

The Cardozo statement explained that Jimmy Carter was being honored specifically for his “lifetime of work, from the historic Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt, to monitoring some 90 elections around the world and supporting fledgling democracies to resolve conflicts without violence.”

When he found out about the award, Cardozo alumnus Gary Emmanuel decided to act.  He gathered other alumni and concerned individuals to form the group “The Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni.”  When they looked at Carter’s “lifetime of work,” they saw something very different from what was expressed in Cardozo’s official statement.  The CCCA also created a website, Shame On Cardozo for Honoring Jimmy Carter, on which Carter is described as having a history of “anti-Israel bigotry”:

He is responsible for helping to mainstream the antisemitic notion that Israel is an apartheid state with his provocatively titled book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”, the publication of which prompted mass resignations from the Carter Center. He has met numerous times with leaders of the terror group Hamas whitewashing their genocidal goals and undermining US efforts to isolate Hamas. And Carter’s record of slandering Israel is so voluminous that both CAMERA and Alan Dershowitz have written books refuting his lies.

The Shame on Cardozo website links to a litany of Carter’s anti-Israel activities, including his stating on national television in 2006 that Hamas had observed an 18-month truce – not true – and in 2007 using a faked Nelson Mandela letter to “prove” Israel is an Apartheid state.

Perhaps most troublesome is that just over a year ago Jimmy Carter said in an interview with Time magazine that he didn’t think it was such a big deal if Iran gets a nuclear weapon.  Here’s the full quote, with no characterizations:

Well, of course, the religious leaders of Iran have sworn on their word of honor that they’re not going to manufacture nuclear weapons. If they are lying, then I don’t see that as a major catastrophe because they’ll only have one or two military weapons. Israel probably has 300 or so.

In the four days since Carter’s Cardozo award became public, on April 4, emails and Twitter blasts have been ricocheting around the Internet.  Most have been highly critical of the pending honor.  In addition, alumni and others interested have sent letters of protest to Richard Joel, the President of Yeshiva University, and to Matthew Diller, the Dean of Cardozo School of Law.

A 1991 Cardozo graduate who practices in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Seth Goodman Park, said he responded immediately upon hearing about the Carter award presentation.  Park wrote to his alma mater that Carter was “undeserving of the honor.” He acknowledged that the former president had achieved some progress in the 1970′s, but since then Carter has been “counterproductive and divisive.”  In his letter to Dean Diller, Park also wrote:

I believe that there is no greater living enemy to progress in achieving further peace in the Middle East than Mr. Carter whose work, particularly over the past two decades, to demonize one of the parties to the conflict while coddling and martyring the other has led to hate and misunderstanding.  His work is the very antithesis of proper diplomacy.

Another alumnus who was the 2007 executive editor of the Journal of Conflict Resolution, thinks the choice of Carter as an honoree to be an “inappropriate, offensive” one.

“If he was simply left-wing, I could fully support, or at least not object to the decision to honor Mr. Carter, Ari Davis wrote to Dean Diller and President Joel. “However, because his idea of ‘peace’ is the evisceration of Israel as a Jewish state and the elevation of the terrorist organization Hamas, I can not see how Cardozo and YU can support this decision.”

Davis wrote that if he were still executive editor of the Journal he would have objected to the decision to honor Carter, and if that failed to change it, “I would have resigned my position.”

The ire ignited by a Jewish institution honoring Jimmy Carter was not limited to Cardozo graduates, but extended to the broader Jewish community.

David Steinmann, a New York businessman, has been a well-established and respected pro-Israel voice for many years.  In a sternly worded letter, Steinmann wrote the two heads of the institutions that giving such an award to Jimmy Carter was an “ill-considered decision,” one which “will bring shame to your doorstep.”

Steinmann characterized Carter as a “driving force behind the now coordinated and concerted efforts by anti-Semites and anti-Israel haters to defame and delegitimize the State of Israel and its Jewish citizens.”  In Steinmann’s view, Carter’s characterization of Israel as an Apartheid state alone should be enough “to make President Carter persona non grata amongst Jewish institutions.”

The Jewish Press asked Steinmann why he decided to speak out so forcefully about this choice.  He said that he was disappointed that Cardozo, “one of the pre-eminent Jewish institutions in America,” was giving undeserved recognition to Jimmy Carter.

“American Jews who care about Israel, and Jews everywhere, need to be vigilant and outspoken about these kinds of matters,” said Steinmann.  He went on to explain why, especially when an issue plays out in a place in which many young Jews are being educated, displaying a stiff neck is essential to the survival of our people.  “We will win some and lose some, but in the process of letting our voices be heard we will help to educate the generation which follows ours as well as influence a wider discussion about what Jewish organizations ought to be doing.”

Another Jewish New Yorker incensed by the decision of a Jewish institution to honor Jimmy Carter is Irwin Hochberg, past chairman of the board of the UJA Federation of New York.  When Hochberg found out that Cardozo was about to honor Jimmy Carter, he was aghast, calling the decision “unconscionable.”

The emails of support echoed Emmanuel’s own response upon learning about Cardozo’s award to Jimmy Carter.  “I simply could not believe that a law school affiliated with Yeshiva University could honor a man who has gone to such great lengths to harm the Jewish people,” Emmanuel told The Jewish Press.

Perhaps the best judge of Carter’s honesty with respect to his public statements about Israel, and his treatment of Israel’s enemies, comes from a former protegé, Kenneth Stein.

Stein met President Carter in 1982, and shortly thereafter Carter asked Stein to become the first executive director of the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Center, based at Emory University.  In a lengthy article which appeared in the Middle East Quarterly in 2007, Stein described his relationship with Carter and the many collaborations, trips and publications they worked on during the three years he served as the Carter Center’s executive director, and over the course of the next 20 years, while Stein was the Carter Center’s Middle East Fellow.

The MEQ article came out within a year after Stein resigned his position over what he described as the “inaccuracies” in Carter’s 2007 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

This is how Stein described that book.

But Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,[1] Carter’s twenty-first book and his second to focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, is deficient. He does what no non-fiction author should ever do: He allows ideology or opinion to get in the way of facts. While Carter says that he wrote the book to educate and provoke debate, the narrative aims its attack toward Israel, Israeli politicians, and Israel’s supporters. It contains egregious errors of both commission and omission. To suit his desired ends, he manipulates information, redefines facts, and exaggerates conclusions. Falsehoods, when repeated and backed by the prestige of Carter’s credentials, can comprise an erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and policymaking. Rather than bring peace, they can further fuel hostilities, encourage retrenchment, and hamper peacemaking.

Reading Stein’s opus it becomes clear why so many believe Jimmy Carter was not, and is not, an honest broker when it comes to dealing with the Jewish State.

In the book, Carter does not mention the counterproductive judgments made by Palestinian leaders or their embrace of terrorism over the last many years. While nineteenth- and twentieth-century European, Ottoman, Arab, and Zionist leaders all sought at various times to stifle Palestinian self-determination, the claim that the establishment of a Palestinian state rests only in the hands of Jerusalem and Washington is rubbish. By adopting so completely the Palestinian historical narrative, Carter may hamper diplomatic efforts enshrined in the “Road Map” and elsewhere that attempt to compel the Palestinian leadership to accept accountability for its actions.

Finally, and frighteningly, Stein addresses the unspoken question.  Maybe Carter didn’t care for Israel, but surely that doesn’t mean he is an anti-Semite.  In his seminal on-the-record statement about his former boss, Stein had this to say: “Carter’s distrust of the U.S. Jewish community and other supporters of Israel runs deep.”

Anti-Semitic or not, Richard Allen of the seemingly ubiquitous JCC Watch, and someone who has been actively working to spread the news about the YU law school’s award to Carter, was voluble on the topic.

“This is a perfect example of Jewish donations going to efforts that work to delegitimize Israel,” Richard Allen told The Jewish Press. “Why would anyone contribute money to a law school that honors an enemy of the Jewish people?”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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35 Responses to “YU’s Law School to Honor Jimmy Carter for ‘Conflict Resolution’”

  1. Y.U. always feigns ignorance. Richard Joel should be ashamed.

  2. Seriously, could they have picked a WORSE person to honor? Shameful, YU!

  3. Keri Rosen says:

    What a joke!

  4. Alon Stempel says:

    Seriously?

  5. The ironic thing is, if ANY OTHER school was going to do this, THEY'D be up in arms!

  6. Avi Kunstler says:

    starting to get pretty fed up with YU….too much of the wrong stuff

  7. Dean says:

    The other day I received a request from JNS to write a letter of protest to (antisemite) Roger Waters’ invitation to speak at New York City’s 92nd Street Y. The event, with pressure from concerned activists, was cancelled. Now we learn of this new affront to our dignity with (antisemite) Carter’s invitation to speak and receive an honor at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law in New York. What afflicts the minds of Jews? Have we no self-respect? Do we not understand that Israel is not only part of Jewish religion and culture, it is an essential part of who we are and the only country in the world where Jews could turn in times of trouble?

    New York intellectuals and many other Jewish intellectuals and leaders think that Israel is optional and must be endlessly criticized rather than defended. They are playing into the hands of our enemies, strengthening their cause. Jews who think that they are smarter and morally superior to everyone else in their stupid actions also must be considered to be enemies of the Jews because what they are doing endangers and weakens us all.
    I have never understood rabbis who dialogue with Islamists and Jewish antisemites in their shuls. I even recall one incident where the Muslims came to promote and whitewash Islam in a shul but the map they brought along omitted Israel. When asked about the map, the rabbi said that this was not a political event and that such political questions were off limit. The examples go on and on. Activists are considered rubes by leftist Jews for pointing out the insanity of Jewish anti-Israel positions. The leftists are gobsmacked when anyone challenges their efforts to love our enemies and hear them out.

    The Jews and Jewish institutions that invite antisemites to speak to our students and community must be marginalized and mocked – if they get away with their crazy views, then we will continue to give voice to the legitimization of our own downfall.

  8. Ben Matis says:

    Jesus, what the hell are they thinking at Cardozo?

  9. I worked for the Peanut in the White House – he is a racist.

  10. Good for my old friend Seth Park! Cardozo seems to be acting like a BOZO.

  11. Seth Park says:

    Thanks Arch. I cherish the institution, but this is just wrong. Citation to "peer leadership" should not be the end of the discussion, if students are acting foolishly, they should be prevented from doing so.

  12. Judah S. Harris says:

    Can't you accord a level of honor to people for their good work while also scolding them for their sins?

  13. Anonymous says:

    the headline should read: JEWS AWARD NAZI MEDAL FOR PEACE. When Yeshiva University takes such action they endorse global anti semitism. They are saying the jew haters are right. Every published anti semite has been pointing to jewish endorsement of their views. Yeshiva University has just endoresed the anti semitic positions of carter. it is the jews who are causing anti semitism. Anti zionism is a canard and red herring, a code for anti semitism. Diaspora jews who believe that being anti zionist will distinguish themselves from other jews in the next holocaust should read history. This is truly an insane action and whoever is responsible should be named in these articles and they should be barred from any further representation of the jewish people. Why aren't the desion makers named?

  14. Anonymous says:

    WHAT ARE THE NAMES OF THE THOSE WHO MADE THIS DECISION AT YU? a proper news story would get these names. Jews need to know who they are to be able to protect themselves from such dangerous, suicidal and masochistic behavior. All contributors, students and alumni should recive this disclosure from the Universtiy who has scandalized their degrees.

  15. Bruce Cantin says:

    Isn't it time for that buck toothed senile jackaas to shrivel up and croak?

  16. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    First YU tries to cover up sex abuse allegations and now this. Seems a trend is growing there.

  17. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Only obama…but I'm sure that's coming

  18. Shelley Squires says:

    Honoring Carter is a blemish on YU and Cardozo. A shonda!

  19. Matthew Diller and Richard Joel need to be horse whipped. I mean literally, for real.

  20. Understand your ire. But, not a nice thing to say.

  21. Bizarro World. jews, whom carter despises in much the same way as father coughlin of ww2 anti-semitic infamy, are "honoring" this demented and delusional jew hater.

  22. Bizarro World. jews, whom carter despises in much the same way as father coughlin of ww2 anti-semitic infamy, are "honoring" this demented and delusional jew hater.

  23. Nofyah Shem Tov says:

    Sounds like an April Fools' joke to me! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MINDS?

    I just lost what little respect I had left for YU.

  24. Maybe they van get 'Rabbi' Schneier to present it to him. It would be a real Kumbaya moment…

  25. JIMMEY CARTER IS AN AMALEKITE. THE BEST THING HE CAN DO FOR THE JEWS IS NOTHING BUT A STAB IN THE BACK.

  26. Stop donating to the school and send a letter stating why you have stopped donating. Do it now all you important alumni.

  27. YU honoring Jimmy Carter is like it making a cheeseburger kosher blogs.timesofisrael.com/Cardozo-honoring-jimmy-carter-OY-vey/

  28. benrod: How DARE YOU call President Carter a Nazi? I challenge you to present one iota of factual basis for your slanderous remark you worthless puke.

  29. Really Bruce, don't be shy. Say what you really mean.

  30. Bruce Cantin says:

    Richie, what is not nice is his blatant anti semitic comments and actions. He is and always has been a true *******!

  31. Bruce Cantin says:

    And oh yeah, he was a really good President…NOT!!

  32. Robert King Barrett says:

    Jimmy Carter obviously ate too many of the nuts he grew. It made him into a NUT!!!

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