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.
On Thursday, during a visit to Berlin, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles called German publisher Jakob Augstein an anti-Semite. This after the SWC had included comments made by Augstein in its list of the top 10 anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slurs of 2012, the Spiegel reported.
“Based on his behavior and his words since the release of the list, we can say, yes, we are dealing with an anti-Semite,” Cooper reiterated, explaining that the list was focused on anti-Semitic slurs, not necessarily on the individual.
In Berlin, Rabbi Cooper criticized a column written by Augstein for Spiegel Online on the issue of ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, Jews.
Augstein has witten:
“Israel is threatened by Islamic fundamentalists in its neighborhood. But the Jews also have their fundamentalists, the ultra-orthodox Haredim. They are not a small splinter group. They make up 10% of the Israeli population. They are cut from the same cloth as their Islamic fundamentalist opponents. They follow the law of revenge.”
Cooper said at a Thursday’s forum in Berlin that he wants to know from Augstein how many suicide attacks have been carried out by Haredi Jews within and outside of Israel. Because of their appearance, he said, Haredi Jews were some of the first victims of the Nazi regime. Recently, he said, they have been killed in France and attacked on the streets of Berlin.
Here are the rest of the quotes provided by the SWC in its “2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs” (PDF):
“With backing from the US, where the president must secure the support of Jewish lobby groups, and in Germany, where coping with history, in the meantime, has a military component, the Netanyahu government keeps the world on a leash with an ever-swelling war chant.”
“Israel’s nuclear power is a danger to the already fragile peace of the world. This statement has triggered an outcry. Because it’s true. And because it was made by a German, Guenter Grass, author and Nobel Prize winner. That is the key point. One must, therefore, thank him for taking it upon himself to speak for us all.”
“The fire burns in Libya, Sudan, Yemen, in countries which are among the poorest on earth. But those who set the fires live elsewhere. Furious young people burn the American, and recently, the German flag. They, too, are victims, just like the dead at Benghazi and Sanaa. Whom does this all this violence benefit? Always the insane and unscrupulous. And this time it’s the U.S. Republicans and Israeli government.”
“Gaza is a place out of the end of times….1.7 million people live there on 360 sq. kilometers. Israel incubates its own opponents there.”
It may be debatable whether all the above statements are outright anti-Semitic or simply critical, and, indeed, several public individuals have come out in protest of the SWC’s inclusion of Augstein in a list that features Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and the Iranian regime.
“The choice of Jakob Augstein for ninth place on the list of the 10 worst anti-Semites is a serious intellectual and strategic error made by the Simon Wiesenthal Center,” wrote the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Not only has a critical journalist been placed in a group into which he doesn’t belong, the nine other people and groups who have justifiably been pilloried can now exculpate themselves by pointing to such arbitrariness.”
Rabbi Cooper, for his part, said Augstein has had the opportunity to reflect on his statements and to apologize to his German readers and to the Jewish people, which he has not done.
Augstein has rejected the accusations, and the Central Council of Jews in Germany criticized Augstein’s statements, even though the council’s president Dieter Graumann has said that Augstein does not belong on the list, and Council Vice President Salomon Korn said about Augstein: “I never had the impression that what he wrote was anti-Semitic.”
Perhaps the honorable Graumann and Korn could provide that much needed data concerning Haredi suicide bombers.
Like Europeans, Israelis are mad for their soccer. For some, soccer is the true religion of the Middle East, one shared by Muslims and Jews alike.
But just as in Europe, not all soccer fans follow the normal rules of civility, and the behavior of some fans of one Israeli soccer team in particular, Jerusalem Beitar, has been reprehensible. Beitar was the last of the 30 Israeli soccer teams without any Muslim players. The anti-Muslim racism of its fans has led to Beitar being banned from some soccer matches and being fined, as well as having demonstrations by Israelis denouncing their behavior.
When Beitar management last week brought in two Muslims from Chechnya to join the team, the response by the haters was ugly, if not unexpected. Despite official efforts to celebrate the inclusion of Muslims into the Beitar family as an important Israeli value, some fans responded at a game over the weekend with shameful calls for “Beitar purity,” and unfurled a vicious banner: “Beitar, pure forever.”
But today’s New York Times story about the incident is shocking in its narrow focus and excessive reliance on Israel haters to suggest that the racism of the worst Beitar fans accurately reflects Israeli society.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Jewish Press by telephone from Berlin, “You want to know what “mirrors” Israeli society? Walk in the Mamilla Mall on a Saturday night, Arabs and Israelis, Muslims and Jews, all strolling, eating and shopping together – that’s the mirror of Israeli society.”
The official response to the boorishness was swift and unequivocal: the team was fined 50,000 NIS ($ 13,400) and 50 of the worst offenders were banned from an upcoming match.
Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon slammed the ugly behavior, saying “I was shocked by the racism displayed in the Beitar Jerusalem stands yesterday against having Muslim or Arab players on the team.”
“We cannot ignore these displays of racism which not long ago were directed – and are still being directed – towards the Jewish people,” he wrote on Twitter.
And in a show of solidarity, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat attended the Tuesday press conference welcoming the Muslim Chechen players, Zaur Sadayev and Gabriel Kadiev, who had previously played on the premier Russian team Terek Grozny.
Barkat said, “I want to tell viewers around the world that we will not put up with racism or violence. This is an ethical statement that goes out from Jerusalem to the world.”
And Beitar’s team captain Amit Ben-Shushan said at the press conference welcoming the new players, “We do not engage in politics. As far as we’re concerned, we will do our best to welcome the players in the best possible fashion.”
The Russian-born billionaire owner of Beitar, Arkady Gaydamak, rejected the nasty response to the new players, telling Israeli Army Radio last week that the “small group of so-called supporters of the team do not represent the general opinion of the Israeli public, and they should not be allowed to win.”
No one suggests there is no racism in Israel or amongst Israeli sports fans – far from it. A horrible incident received a lot of attention last spring when Beitar fans, chanting “death to the Arabs” after a game in Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium poured into the nearby Malha Mall, where Arab workers were allegedly assaulted by some participants.
But the only “experts” quoted in the NYT article are ones whose professional livelihood is built and dependent upon denouncing Israel as a racist society.
For example, Professor Moshe Zimmerman, chair of Hebrew University’s German Studies Department, is quoted as expressing strong support for the article’s headline, that the racist Beitar fans reflect Israeli society.
It might have been useful for readers of the NYT article to know that Zimmerman was chastised by the relatively restrained Anti-Defamation League as far back as 2005, for repeatedly comparing the Israeli Defense Forces and authorities to Nazis.
Yet the NYT writer places Zimmerman as the first expert in the article. “People in Israel usually try to locate Beitar Jerusalem as some kind of the more extreme fringe; this is a way to overcome the embarrassment,” and Zimmerman continues, “the fact is that the Israeli society on the whole is getting more racist, or at least more ethnocentric, and this is an expression.”
If there were an Olympics for lying, the winner of this year’s gold medal for prevarication would be Egypt’s president, Mohammed Morsi.
Of course heads of state lie, but rarely do they display it with such chutzpah. The recent sleight-of-hand involving a president-to-president exchange would shock even cynics.
The letter in question was an apparent peace offering to Israeli president Shimon Peres, written by Morsi, the newly elected president of Egypt. Understanding its importance, Peres’s office released Morsi’s letter expressing best wishes to “the Israeli people” while thanking Peres for his missive congratulating Morsi on his election.
No sooner had the media run with the story than word came from Cairo that — you guessed it — Morsi denies he ever sent the letter.
Who you gonna believe: Morsi or Morsi?
This is not a case like the forged “Hitler Diaries.” No need for a graphologist to determine whether the henpecks are really Morsi’s.
The truth is as obvious as the nose on the face of the Sphinx, shot off by a medieval zealot who undoubtedly would have joined the Muslim Brotherhood had it existed back then.
Even the “blind sheikh,” Omar Abdul Rahman — serving a life sentence for masterminding the murderous 1993 attack on the World Trade Center — whom Morsi is asking President Obama to pardon, could tell you that Morsi is actually practicing tequila – the approved art of lying to confuse infidels.
We all hope the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leader occupies the top civilian post in the Arab world’s largest nation, will change its stripes now that it has power. But the world needs to verify before trusting. Here’s a reminder of the Brotherhood’s horrific track record:
* Assassinated Anwar Sadat for the sin of making peace with Israel.
* For half a century denounced the very concept of democracy as a heretical western import before a miraculous last-minute conversion in time to run Morsi for president.
* In the recent presidential campaign supporters intimidated many Christian Copts — ten percent of Egypt population — from voting against their man.
* Refuses to disavow Sharia law, imposing death sentences for homosexuals, adulterers, and Muslims who convert to another religion.
* Believes women are unfit to run for president.
* Has threatened to tear up Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel as soon as politically possible.
* Has urged its American followers to prepare for “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
During last year’s parliamentary campaign, the Brotherhood convened at Cairo’s most prominent mosque a genocidal hate fest orchestrated by senior activists vowing, “one day kill all Jews” and “Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Judgment Day is coming!”
That did not stop Washington from extending informal feelers to the Brotherhood that made predictions of a Brotherhood election victory almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And there was this Alice in Wonderland-like musing by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper before a Congressional committee: “The term Muslim Brotherhood is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”
Of course, even during the coldest years of the Cold War we negotiated with the Soviet Union — and in 2012 it is necessary that the U.S. conduct diplomatic relations with Egypt’s Islamist government, beneficiary of billions of dollars in ongoing American aid to the Egyptian people.
But while negotiating with Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Company, we never pretended that communism was “democracy, Russian-style” or that the KGB was as benign as the Boy Scouts. We mustn’t deceive ourselves about the Muslim Brotherhood.
This criticism is not directed exclusively at the present administration; the prior Bush administration “engaged” the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist spawn, Hamas, before it swept the 2006 Palestinian elections, staged a Gaza coup, and began firing thousands of missiles into Israel.
More crucial than deciphering Morsi’s handwriting, Washington should be setting clear parameters and red lines for America’s relationship with Egypt’s new president. The fate of the entire Middle East could be hanging in the balance.