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April 9, 2013 11:59 am

Cardozo Law School’s Honoring of Jimmy Carter Provides an Educational Moment

avatar by Alan Dershowitz

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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

The ill-advised decision by a student run journal of conflict resolution at the Cardozo Law School to honor Jimmy Carter provides a long overdue opportunity to set the record straight with regard to Carter’s dishonorable history with regard to conflicts.

Carter causes conflicts by encouraging terrorism, supporting some of the most tyrannical regimes in the world, and interfering with American foreign policy.

Let’s begin with the Middle East.  In 2000-2001, Jimmy Carter was advising Yassar Arafat, with regard to the ongoing peace negotiation with Israel.   President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak had offered the Palestinians a state on more than 95% of the disputed territories, captured by Israel in a defensive war.  They also offered Jerusalem as a the capitol of that state.  Jimmy Carter believed that if Arafat were to accept this generous offer his life would be at risk.  He repeated that assessment subsequently in his book Palestine:  Peace not Apartheid in which he wrote “There was no possibility that any Palestinian leader could accept such terms (as the ones offered at Camp David) and survive.”  Carter surely shared that assessment with Arafat, who rejected the offer and initiated an intifada in which several thousand Palestinians and Israelis were needlessly killed.   The blood of these victims is, at least in part, on the hands of Jimmy Carter.  Had he urged Arafat to take the deal, we might now be celebrating a dozen years of peace and a two state solution.

The blood of Israel’s victims of Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism is also in part on Carter’s hands, since Carter has embraced every Mideast terrorist leader, while showing contempt for Israeli democratically elected leaders.  When in Israel in 2008, he visited the grave of his “dear friend” Yassir Arafat but not the graves of Arafat’s victims or of Yitzak Rabin.

Nor does he deserve all the credit he has gotten for brokering the peace between Egypt and Israel; that peace, which caused Anwar Sadat his life, is the result of two courageous leaders:  Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, who took enormous risks for peace.  Carter almost ruined it by insisting that Egypt not take back the Gaza Strip -a decision that has cost many lives over the past 30 years.  While Carter was president, he stood idly by the mass murder of more than 2 million Cambodians by Pol Pot.

Since leaving the presidency Carter has helped build homes for the poor, which deserves commendation.  But he has refused to speak out against some of the worst human rights abuses committed by the Saudi regime, which has bought his silence by significant contributions to the Carter Center.   While accusing Israel of apartheid, he has allowed Saudi Arabia to escape that description, despite the reality that the Saudis explicitly practiced gender, religious, and sexual orientation apartheid.

Perhaps Carter’s worst offence is to have helped the hard left hijack the human rights agenda, and turn it into an ideological tool to be used primarily against American and its western allies.

None of these historical facts will be mentioned by those who bestow the award on Jimmy Carter at Cardozo Law School.  But facts are stubborn things and Carter should be confronted with these facts by students in attendance.  The students should prepare a leaflet which would tell the truth about Jimmy Carter — he should be asked to respond to these charges in his acceptance speech.  He should be challenged to debate his record.

Jimmy Carter does not like conflict or controversy when it’s about him.  When Brandeis University invited him to have a discussion with me about his apartheid book, he refused.  He likes to spark controversy and stimulate debate, but then he refuses to participate in the debate or respond to the other side of the controversy.

Let the students who disagree with this honor take the high road and respond to half-truths with full truths, to fiction with facts, and to dishonor with honor.  Law schools are supposed to be places of debate.  So let there be a debate about Jimmy Carter’s dishonorable record in conflict resolution and human rights.  Let the students of Cardozo turn this wrongheaded honor into an educational moment, so that Jimmy Carter will regret having accepted this undeserved accolade.

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  • Al T. Alena

    As a YU (YC) alumni, and as a contributor to YU, if YU does not rescind their invitation to this anti-Semite, I will no longer donate to YU.

  • This kind of article can only sway the extremely ignorant who have no clue the actual historical facts but only the propaganda outline and talking points given to them by ardent supporters of Israel.

    There was no generous offer at Camp David for Arafat to accept, only bantustans and a non contiguous Palestine which Carter rightly said would be unacceptable.

    The intifada was not begun by Arafat, but by Sharon and his “visit” to Al Aqsa and subsequent violent repression of demonstrations which followed.

    Israel has the same problem it has had since 1947 – it wants the land but not the inhabitants. So the occupation continues, more land is stolen, more settlements built, and apartheid cemented in place.

    The author and commenters on this page are extremely ignorant, and calling Carter an antisemite is beyond ridiculous.

    • Louis Grace


      If you really believe all the lies you set forth in your comment, then you are the ignorant one. “Bantustans” and a “noncontiguous” Palestine are talking points, completely at odds with the offer Prof. Dershowitz accurately characterizes in his article, and which is well documented. So is the lame excuse of blaming the intifada on Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount.

  • Robert E Topper

    AD is the Man!

  • Theresa

    Well thought out and well written!

  • Carter should stay home on his front porch and do things that he knows how to do…like whittle. HOW THAT GUY EVER GOT TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS BEYOND COMPREHENSION!!

    • Jack

      Remember, he was elected in 1976 as part of the reaction to Nixon’s resignation and subsequent pardon by President Ford. The guy was in way over his head from day one and continues to be nothing more than a do-gooding meddler.

  • Dan

    “Cardozo Law School’s Honoring of Jimmy Carter Provides an Educational Moment”

    So true, Dersh. It gives all of us another opportunity to see what a Jewish blowhard you are.

  • Rabbi Dov Forman

    Professor Dershowitz can be counted on to clearly articulate the issues. Yasher koach to him.

    If Jimmy Carter was truly honorable, he would refuse the invitation for he would know he is not worthy.

  • Robert Twic

    This article only asks that justice be done on Carter’s head for his views,(and their murderous effects), that have been bot’ by the Saudi’s money stuffing his pockets.

  • Otto Schiff

    These are very serious charges and it would be interesting to
    see a reply.

  • Leon Poddebsky

    Jimmy Carter is a deeply embittered failure, a fact with which he is confronted every time he looks in the mirror.
    Like so many other Jew-haters, he vents his disappointments, his bile and his jaundice on the Jews, that is on Israel, the new target in the ever-metamorphosing object of antisemites.
    Jimmy will one day leave this planet, but Israel will survive.

  • Barbara Klein

    In response to this information I sent an email to D. Miller of Cordozo School of Law and Richard M Joel, Pres. Yeshiva University:

    I am appalled, outraged, and disgusted at the level of self hate those responsible for “honoring” Jimmy “the worst president in recent history” Carter, possess. For a Jewish affiliated school to honor someone who has played such a high profile role in demonizing Israel is beyond rational.
    This is just another example of Jews being their own worst enemies. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED!!!!!
    Maybe next year you’ll choose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad!

    Cardozo….If there is no rescinding of this award, I hope all donations cease and future students apply elsewhere.

    I received this email from Mr. Joel:

    Thank you for sharing with me your concerns; I so appreciate and value your input.

    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

    So, I sent:
    What a bunch of crap!!! I sincerely doubt that students of a supposedly higher academic institution would choose such a anti–Semite as Jimmy Carter. But if that is true, one would have to note that the caliber of your students is rock bottom.
    Students are there to learn, not to be allowed to disgrace their people or their institution. If they would have invited a white supremacist would you have permitted this “honor” to be given? That “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.” is a feeble excuse for allowing stupidity. By stating that the student journal, not Yeshiva University or the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School was responsible is like saying the chickens are running the coup! Well, in a matter of speaking, I guess they are!
    I will encourage people that I know to stop all funding to Yeshiva University and Benjamin N Cardozo Law School.
    Your honor to this man is a disgrace to Jews.

    Please email Cardozo and Yeshiva Univ and register your complaint. Silence equals approval.

    • elan

      You make a good point: at what point would the university step in? WHat if the students decided to honor a mass murderer (Jimmy Carter anyone?)

      Or just imagine if the students had decided to honor David Duke? Does anyone believe for a minute the honoring would not go forth?

  • richard sherman

    The world can be taught what a school full of antisemetic Jews looks like.