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Law School Honors Carter, Controversy Ensues
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The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, a scholarly publication edited by the students of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School honored former President Jimmy Carter with their International Advocate for Peace Award, angering graduates and the student body of Yeshiva University, of which Cardozo is a part.

According to the New York Times, The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution is entirely student run and edited, and the staff decided to honor Carter for his humanitarian and mediation work in the years during and since his presidency. Carter, however, has come under fire in the last decade for his statements against Israel’s government regarding their ongoing conflict with Palestine. Carter has certainly contributed to world peace in his time, but his comments about Israel have turned him into a divisive figure.

  
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Further complicating matters is the fact that Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School is a secular part of Yeshiva University, an Orthodox Jewish college in Brooklyn. Though their campuses are distinct, the law school still follows the same orthodox parameter followed by Yeshiva, including no classes on Friday afternoon or Saturday and serving kosher food in campus cafeterias.

Current and former Cardozo and Yeshiva students have condemned the choice of Carter, and are actively petitioning for the school’s administration to revoke the former president’s award. One group, the Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni, posted a letter on their website declaring their outrage and comparing Carter to noted bigot David Duke. “By honoring Carter at a bedrock of the American Jewish community, Cardozo administration not only betrays the values of honesty, integrity and truth but it betrays its community of supporters who rightfully view Jimmy Carter as anathema to the aspirations of the Jewish people and the survival of the State of Israel.”

Dr. Richard M. Joel, the president of Yeshiva University, issued a statement saying that the publication is student run, and does not reflect the opinions of either school, which are adamantly pro-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.”

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(It’s worth noting that Cardozo Law School distanced themselves from Joel after he made statements condemning homosexuality in 2010.)

Carter is scheduled to visit the school in order to accept the award and answer questions. The Coalition of Concerned Cardozo Alumni has asked that alumni withhold financial support from the school unless the event is cancelled.





 

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