Pressure mounts on YU, Cardozo to rescind planned honor for Jimmy Carter
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.
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.”
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.”
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, Avi 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.”
I have also been hearing rumors that the main push behind the award was not the student editors of the Journal of Conflict Resolution , but the administration at Cardozo itself. This article seems to confirm at least some of that.
By the way, this is a good time to read an article written by the former executive director of the Carter Center about the lies he wrote in his book “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.”
There may be a protest organized by current YU students on Wednesday; I will publish the details when I get them.