Former President Jimmy Carter finds himself in the center of a firestorm at a New York Jewish-affiliated law school, where a publication plans to bestow upon him a peace award, despite his mixed record on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the New York Times
Carter was chosen by the editors of The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution — a Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School publication — to receive this year’s International Advocate for Peace award.
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But Cardozo is an offshoot of Yeshiva University — an Orthodox Jewish institution where support for the state of Israel runs high — and Carter is an extremely polarizing figure when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He has, on many occasions, criticized Israel over their treatment of Palestinians and described their circumstances as apartheid, the Times reports.
On a website called shameoncardozo.com, a group calling itself the Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni posted a letter making plain their outrage to the law school’s board of overseers.
“Jimmy Carter is anathema to the aspirations of the Jewish people and the survival of the State of Israel,” the letter read in part. “Yeshiva University and Cardozo should not give a platform to his slander.”
Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel issued a statement trying to shed some light on the situation, according to the Times.
He explained that students run the journal and that it was they, not the university’s administrators, who chose Carter as the recipient of the award.
Although the law school adheres to Jewish laws, it attracts students and faculty from a variety of religions, and its curriculum has no religious or political focus.
On Tuesday, Cardozo’s dean, Matthew Diller, addressed the school’s dilemma.
“Part of being a law school is being an open and diverse community with a cacophony of ideas which people are free to express,” 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.”
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