Young Israel Calls On YU and Cardozo Law School to Rescind Invitation to Jimmy Carter


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carter1.jpgThe National Council of Young Israel today called on Yeshiva University and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law to withdraw an invitation to former President Jimmy Carter to attend an award ceremony at the law school on April 10. Carter is slated to be the recipient of the International Advocate for Peace Award, which is an award that is given each year by the school’s Journal of Conflict Resolution.

“The National Council of Young Israel strongly urges Yeshiva University, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and the school’s Journal of Conflict Resolution to do the right thing and rescind the invitation that has been issued to former President Carter,” said Farley Weiss, the president of the National Council of Young Israel. “We believe that honoring President Carter as an International Advocate for Peace Award may be consistent with this organization’s past of honoring another demonizer of Israel, Bishop Desmond Tutu, but it does not mean that bad decisions should be repeated over again; rather, they should learn from the past and honor those who truly deserve to be honored. We would further like to hear from Yeshiva University and Cardozo Law School, which is my wife Jessica’s alma mater, that steps will be taken by the university to prevent the recurrence of such honorees in the future.”

“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 is certainly not deserved to have any honor bestowed upon by him by an entity that has ties to the Jewish community and the Jewish State,” continued Weiss. “We hope that Yeshiva University and Cardozo will do the right thing and reconsider its decision to permit Mr. Carter on campus and not allow its students to pay honor to someone who has done much to hurt the honor of the State of Israel.”

In April 2008, Carter deliberately and wantonly ignored the wishes of the United States government when he traveled to Syria to meet with Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas’ terrorist organization. Carter not only met with Mashaal but embraced Hamas, a terrorist group that has repeatedly called for the destruction of the State of Israel. This action by Carter was not one for conflict resolution, but was a slap in the face to Israel, the U.S., and Jews everywhere.

Carter has also shown his repeated denigration of Israel not just through his actions, but through his words as well. In 2006, Carter wrote a book entitled “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” Carter’s use of the word “apartheid” in the book’s title was outrageous. Although apartheid is the rule of dominant minorities, Carter inexplicably used the divisive term to describe Israel, a country which is by no means ruled by a dominant minority.

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  1. It is the student-run journal’s invitation to rescind. The University and Law School had nothing to do with it. National Council of Young Israel should know this.

  2. I received this letter from the President of Yeshiva Universtity:

    Please take a moment to read the statement below which I hope will help you more fully understand Yeshiva University’s stance on this situation

    The student-run Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution has invited former United States President Jimmy Carter to receive its Advocate for Peace Award. President Carter’s invitation to Cardozo represents solely the initiative of this student journal, not of Yeshiva University or the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School. The university recognizes the breadth of impassioned feelings engendered by this appearance, and is mindful of the diversity of expressed opinions on the matter.

    At the core of Yeshiva University’s expressed mission and sacred mandate stands an unwavering and unapologetic commitment to the legitimacy, safety, and security of the State of Israel. Israel remains not just a critical, but an essential pillar of our institutional and communal ethos. We’ve built a campus in Israel; our students study there in droves; our alumni make aliyah by the thousands; all of our schools engage in collaborative programs with Israeli institutions. Both literally and emblematically, Yeshiva University proudly flies the degel Yisrael, the Flag of the State of Israel, both on our campuses and in our hearts.

    While he has been properly lauded for his role in the Camp David Accords of 1978, I strongly disagree with many of President Carter’s statements and actions in recent years which have mischaracterized the Middle East conflict and have served to alienate those of us who care about Israel. President Carter’s presence at Cardozo in no way represents a university position on his views, nor does it indicate the slightest change in our steadfastly pro-Israel stance.

    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.

    Richard M. Joel
    President and Bravmann Family University Professor

    My response:

    Mr. Richard M. Joel, President Yeshiva University

    Despite your nice words, a published anti Semite such as this former President would not be permitted to enter the doors of almost any other thinking Jewish institution anywhere in the world. I guess other Jewish institutions are not as open minded and do not take the concept of “free marketplace of ideas” to the extent your institution has. My first obligation is to the Jewish nation. Not to a “free marketplace of ideas”. I am first and foremost a proud and unapologetic Jew. Your actions state that you are first and foremost a forum for “free marketplace of ideas”.

    If someone were to publicly and shamefully make outrages statements about your mother, if he were to publicly repeat them time and again, publish and distribute them, would you invite that person to your home for dinner in the name of “free marketplace of ideas”?

    It is not too late for Yeshiva University to examine their place in Klal Yisroel, and to make a stand for decency and morals.

  3. As a second generation American Born Jewess, mother, grandmother, and graduate of Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, I am appalled by the University’s attitude and its President’s attitude toward Carter. I am loathe to think that withe the attitude of a being, “a free marketplace of ideas”, what will be allowed on your campuses next???? Perhaps you’ll allow marketing Christian ideas? Moslem ideas? Anti Semitic Ideas??
    Where will it stop?
    Instead of “asu S’yag….”, you are stretching your arms out and inviting trouble!
    Immediate action to rescind this blasphemous invitation is called for and is necessary, although it will not totally cancel out the damage.

  4. Mr. Joel’s letter proves once again that this academic institution is more university than yeshiva. Sad. (I wonder what he would have said if they had invited Ahmadinejad or Adolf Eichmann.)