Wednesday afternoon, April 10, a journal from Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of law will be presenting former President Jimmy Carter with an award, honoring him for his “human rights record.” The Jewish Press has covered developments concerning this award and responses to it, extensively.
In addition to the many alumni and concerned individuals who spoke out against the Carter Cardozo Award, four of the largest American Jewish organizations have weighed in over the last 24 hours, all expressing their disgust 0ver the decision of a Jewish-affiliated school to give kavod (honor) to someone like Jimmy Carter.
On Tuesday, April 9, two organizations called on Cardozo to rescind the Carter honor. The Zionist Organization of America issued a statement, describing Carter as having a “repellant, decades-long record as an Israel-basher and promoter of Israel’s most vicious enemies, including Hamas.”
The National Council of Young Israel also issued a statement calling on Cardozo to rescind the invitation to Carter. Farley Weiss, the president of the NCYI, wrote, “Mr. Carter’s well-known animus and bias towards the State of Israel has earned him widespread condemnation from Jews and non-Jews alike, and he certainly does not deserve to have any honor bestowed upon by him by an entity that has ties to the Jewish community and the Jewish State.”
On Wednesday, April 10, the day of the award ceremony, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League each publicly criticized Yeshiva University’s law school for choosing to honor and provide a platform to someone with such a well-documented anti-Israel history.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, said the Cardozo law students had not exercised “due diligence” before choosing Jimmy Carter as an honoree.
“Had they done so,’ he told the Algemeiner, “they would have discovered that Mr Carter has never resolved his conflict with the Jewish state. His serial bias against Israel is well-documented. That alone should have led tomorrow’s lawyers, whatever their ethnicity or religion, to conclude that President Carter should not receive such an honor.”
The ADL’s Foxman slammed the students, saying, “The students were wrong – they are entitled to be wrong and inappropriate and we are entitled to say that honoring former President Carter is wrong, especially for a Jewish institution…and indeed for any institution.”
In response to Cardozo’s refusal to revoke the award and ceremony for Jimmy Carter, the Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni issued the following statement:
It is shameful that President Richard Joel of Yeshiva University and Dean Matthew Diller of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School are not prepared to take a moral stand and rescind the invite to honor Jimmy Carter made by the Cardozo Journal for Conflict Resolution. By providing moral cover for those who would eradicate Israel and who despise America for her democratic values President Carter has caused irreparable harm to Israelis, Jews across the world and democracies across the globe. Cardozo has now provided a similar fig-leaf to President Carter and that is a terrible shame.
Jimmy Carter has an ignominious 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.
It is disingenuous of the Cardozo administration to justify its decision to allow the event to go ahead in the name of “academic freedom”. If a student journal at Cardozo were to invite David Duke to bestow an honor upon him, rest assured that Cardozo administration would not have remained aloof on the matter. By honoring Carter at a bedrock of the American Jewish community, Cardozo administration not only betrays the values of honesty, integrity and truth but it betrays its community of supporters who rightfully view Jimmy Carter as anathema to the aspirations of the Jewish people and the survival of the State of Israel.
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.