A law journal’s plan to present an award to former President Jimmy Carter hasn’t gone over well with some alumni of Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School and pro-Israel activists.
The critics, who call themselves the Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni, have called on Yeshiva administrators rescind the honor and cancel the ceremony in light of what they characterize as Carter’s anti-Israel actions.
Cardozo’s student-run Journal of Conflict Resolution is to bestow upon Carter its International Advocate for Peace Award on Wednesday. Past recipients include Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Jeffrey Sachs.
The coalition has established a website entitled Shame on Cardozo and has sent an open letter to the law school’s overseers declaring that Carter’s views run contrary to the university’s commitment to Israel’s legitimacy and security.
"Awarding this honor to someone with Carter’s anti-Israel record that includes whitewashing the genocidal aims of Hamas, mainstreaming the notion that Israel is a racist state, and validating a nuclear Iran is quite simply abhorrent," the letter reads.
A second letter to alumni cites Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, as evidence of his "anti-Israeli bigotry" and calls upon Cardozo alumni to oppose the award.
"We therefore urge you to condition any continued support of Cardozo, be it financial or otherwise, on the cancellation of this event," the organization wrote.
In a public letter posted online two days before the scheduled award ceremony, Yeshiva University President Richard Joel said he "strongly disagrees" with many of Carter’s statements regarding the Middle East conflict. However, the decision to present Carter with the award was made solely by the law students involved with the journal and does not reflect the views of either the university or the law school, he said.
"That said, Yeshiva University both celebrates and takes seriously its obligation as a university to thrive as a free marketplace of ideas, while remaining committed to its unique mission as a proud Jewish university," Joel’s letter reads.
Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development," as the awards committee put it. He is perhaps best known for the 1978 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel and for the Carter Center in Atlanta, which promotes peace and social justice.
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