by Isi Leibler
April 23, 2013
Visiting New York this week, I sought to assess the broader implications of the recent “International Peace Award” bestowed on former president Jimmy Carter by Yeshiva University’s Cardozo Law School. This unsavory display of groveling by a major Jewish institution to a committed foe of the Jewish people is not merely a stain on the entire Jewish community but highlights a dramatic erosion of Jewish values and Jewish dignity.
Many consider it a wake-up call and believe that alarm bells should be ringing in the conference rooms of major Jewish organizations.
Yeshiva University, created 127 years ago, is the crown jewel of America’s modern Orthodox establishment. Its Rabbinical Seminary was headed by the revered Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik. Its Cardozo Law School has evolved into the one of the most pre-eminent legal educational institutions. Although it caters for all Americans, Cardozo prides itself on being a Jewish institution, serves only kosher food and is closed on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
Since his electoral defeat, Carter has emerged as one of the most vicious opponents of the Jewish state whose vile bias appears to stem from traditional Christian anti-Semitism. His theological approach even retains the odium of Jewish deicide and he is on record stating that Jews hate Christians because they are “unclean, uncircumcised” and view them as “dogs”.
He was one of the principal architects of the campaign to demonize Israel as an “apartheid state” which led to14 members of the Carter Center including his former close advisor, Kenneth Stein, resigning and unequivocally accusing him of maliciously lying about Israel. Carter meets and embraces Hamas leaders, urging the US to negotiate with them. He also opposes efforts to deny Iran nuclear weapons.
Alan Dershowitz said that he could not “imagine a worse person to honor for conflict resolution”. He accused Carter of being “significantly responsible for the second intifada… He just prefers terrorists to Israelis” and “encouraged terrorism and violence by Hamas and Hezbollah”. He accused him of having “more blood on his hands than practically any other president” and could not understand how such a person who “never met a terrorist he didn’t like” could become the recipient of such an award.
Yet the administrators of Yeshiva University refused to rescind or even condemn the award to Carter. Their principal concern was to display political correctness and avoid being accused of restricting “academic freedom” or infringing on the rights of their students.
Chancellor Richard Joel declined to endorse the decision and unlike the Dean of Cardozo, Professor Matthew Diller, Joel “courageously” announced that he would absent himself from the proceedings. But he stressed that “Yeshiva University both celebrates and takes seriously its obligation at the University to thrive as a free marketplace of ideas, while remaining committed to its unique mission as a proud Jewish University”.