On Wednesday, the Journal of Conflict Resolution at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law will bestow an award on former president Jimmy Carter. The award, chosen by the students who run the journal, has stirred intense controversy at the historically Jewish institution, given Carter’s embrace of the anti-Israel movement in recent years and his eager association with openly antisemitic leaders in the Arab and Muslim world.
A group of Cardozo alumni, calling itself the Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni, has established a website, shameoncardozo.com, that summarizes the case against Carter, including an image of him interacting warmly with Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza and Palestinian Authority prime minister who is responsible for ongoing terror attacks targeting Israeli civilians. Carter’s error-filled 2006 book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid blamed Israel for the flagging peace process and placed him on the margins of debate on the issue.
Yeshiva University and Cardozo administrators deny any association with the decision to grant Carter an award. Lori Lowenthal Marcus of The Jewish Press reports that despite reassurances by Dean Matthew Diller that he would not be at the ceremony, “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…Diller plans to be front and center at the event.”
The school’s Journal of Conflict Resolution has stirred controversy in the past. Broadcaster and Cardozo alumnus Yishai Fleisher recalls that ten years ago, the journal chose to honor Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who had taken a vitriolic, and in some respects antisemitic, stance against Israel. Fleisher encouraged opponents of the Carter award to mount a vigorous protest against the ceremony rather than shut down the event itself.