YU/Cardozo update – Carter gave anti-semitic Bible lessons, NYT coverage, more
The story made The New York Times:
When editors of The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, a scholarly publication from the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, decided to bestow this year’s International Advocate for Peace award on former President Jimmy Carter, they sought to honor his decades as a mediator and humanitarian. But in the process, they ignited a sizable conflict of their own.
That is because Cardozo is a part of Yeshiva University, an Orthodox Jewish institution where support for the state of Israel runs high. And among supporters of Israel, there are few figures more controversial than Mr. Carter, who has repeatedly criticized Israeli policy toward Palestinians and described their circumstances as apartheid.
…“Part of being a law school is being an open and diverse community with a cacophony of ideas which people are free to express,” Dr. Diller said Tuesday. But, he added, “we are part of a Jewish institution and we stand for Jewish values and commitments, and part of that is support for Israel.”
Brian Farkas, the editor in chief of The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, said that the decision to honor Mr. Carter had been mischaracterized.
He said he had spent the morning engaged in “respectful” discussion with members of the Jewish Law Students Association, and that plans were in the works for a future event that would offer differing perspectives on Mr. Carter’s work.
He added that Mr. Carter, who was not available for comment, had agreed to take questions from students after his address on Wednesday afternoon.
As decades-old tapes from his Church Sunday school lessons reveal, former President Jimmy Carter’s bias against the Jewish state may come more from an old fashioned Christian animus toward Judaism than from concerns over the situation of Palestinians. Carter taught Christian students in Plains Georgia that Judaism teaches Jews to feel superior to non-Jews, that Jewish religious practices are tricks to enhance wealth, and that current Israeli policy toward Palestinians is based on these “Jewish” values and practices.
In a series of sermons Carter recorded between 1999 and 2003 that were published as a CD set by Simon and Schuster called “Sunday Mornings in Plains,” Carter attacks modern Israel by retreading ancient anti-Semitic tropes that go back to the early church fathers and the Judaism/Christianity schism that gave birth to a millennia of Christian persecution of Jews.
1. Jews hate and feel superior to non-Jews: In the tapes, one hears — in Southern drawl — his ancient animus: Jews hate non-Jews:
“…this morning I’m gonna be trying to relate the assigned Bible lesson to us in the Uniformed Series with how that affected Israel and how it affects us through Christ personally… It’s hard for us to even visualize the prejudice against gentiles when Christ came on earth. If a Jew married a gentile, that person was considered to be dead. … How would you characterize from a Jew’s point of view the uncircumcised? Non believer? And what? Unclean, what? They called them DOGS! That’s true. … What was Paul’s feeling toward gentiles in his early life as a Jewish leader? [Paul was not a Jewish leader. Ed.] Anybody? Absolute commitment to persecution! To the imprisonment and even the execution of non-Jews who now professed faith in Jesus Christ. … We know the differences in the Middle East. But the differences there are between Jews on the one hand who comprise the dominating force both militarily and also politically and the Palestinians who are both Muslim and Christians. …”
2. Jewish ritual sacrifice is a dodge that relieves one from taking care of one’s parents, while preserving one’s wealth:
“Corban was a uh prayer that could be performed by usually a man in an endorsed ceremony by the Pharisees that you could say in effect, ‘God, everything that I own all these sheep all these goats this nice house and the money that I have, I dedicate to you, to God.’ And from then on according to the Pharisees law those riches didn’t belong to that person anymore. They were whose? God’s! So as long as those riches were belonged to the person, that person was supposed to share them with needy parents right? But once it was God’s it wasn’t theirs and they didn’t have anything to share with their parents. So with impunity, and approved by the Pharisaic law, they could avoid taking care of their needy parents by a trick that had been evolved by the incorrect and improper interpretation of the law primarily designed by religious leaders to benefit whom? The rich folks! The powerful people! Because the poor man wouldn’t have all of this stuff to give to God. He would probably, in fact he might very well have his parents in the house with him or still be living with his own parents.”
3. Carter ties this Jewish feelings of superiority and religious malevolence to current Israeli policy:
“One reason is that the Israeli government headed now by Netanyahu has to depend on the ultra-right or fundamentalist Jews to give them a majority in the parliament which they call the Knesset, and the recent resignation of foreign minister Levy has left Netanyahu with only one vote margin in the parliament. So the ultra-conservative Jewish leaders demand always that they have total control over anything that relates to religion inside Israel, in particular in Jerusalem. Well, I’m not here to condemn anyone but to point out that even within ourselves, there is an inclination for, I’d say, a feeling of superiority. Wouldn’t you think so? Would you agree? I know I have it.”
Carter’s beef with the Jews is not simply a disagreement over how Israel should treat the Palestinians. His is a deep theological hatred of the type that most Christians (including the Vatican in the 1960s Nostra Aetate) have long disavowed. This is not the “new anti-Semitism: it’s the old. All the more indefensible for an orthodox Jewish religious institution to give this man an award.
As I’ve said in the past, I am reluctant to call people anti-semitic without serious proof. This is damning. (In the partial transcript, which I unfortunately can no longer find online but which was emailed to me, Carter at one point criticizes biblical Judah – but calls it “Israel.”)
Carter’s admitting his own feeling of superiority and self-righteousness is accurate, at least. After all, he calls his group of crotchety yentas “The Elders” (without the irony that some others might employ in using that title.)
Here is his wonderful group being used as a prop by Hamas underneath a huge poster showing a map where Israel doesn’t exist.
That same group happily attended an anti-Israel protest a couple of years back that effectively meant that Carter and his fellow “conflict resolution” peers agreed that Israel’s legal system is illegitimate.
Is part of “conflict resolution” to allow yourself to be used by extremists on one side – or to openly embrace one side?
I am told that my protest posters will be distributed by at least one group at Cardozo today. If anyone takes photos or video, I’d appreciate it!