A president who "never met a terrorist he didn't like" now stands to receive an award in peace and conflict resolution.
And Yeshiva University, a respected Orthodox Jewish institution of higher learning, is caught between a campus publication and rising anger from students and alumni alike.
The award comes from the student published Journal of Conflict Resolution, which is run through Yeshiva's Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. The journal itself has no direct affiliation with the university.
Respected legal scholar and frequent Carter critic Alan Dershowitz ridiculed the award. In an interview with Haaretz, he argues that the former president ignored the genocidal horror of Pol Pot while president. Many claim that Carter at least deserves credit for the landmark Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. Dershowitz, however, says that "he almost ruined it."
Yeshiva president Richard Joel also criticized the selection. While reiterating the institution's commitment to free debate and discourse, Joel also said in a public statement,
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.
Cardozo Law School alumni have used social media to alert other opponents while planning a protest for the event.
This is not the first time that an honor granted to Carter has been questioned by prominent members of the Jewish community. When Carter was invited to speak to the Democratic National Convention last summer, National Democratic Jewish Council president and CEO David Harris shared his shock,“When it comes to Israel and the Middle East, President Carter has unfortunately embarrassed himself — as his analysis and commentary has been stubbornly wrong, harmful to the peace process, and getting worse all the time.”